Author Topic: eBook Passive Income  (Read 20612 times)

Grigory

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eBook Passive Income
« on: March 23, 2012, 11:28:19 PM »
MODERATOR NOTE: This thread is created from a discussion that was split off from Passive Income Streams thread.  Original thread here: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/passive-income-streams/

My most successful passive income stream so far is my e-books. I've got a few of them on Amazon (gotta love those Kindles!) - despite their low prices, the combined sales are enough to pay for my student loans and half of my rent, and that's on a bad month. I write about subjects I know a lot about (see Warren Buffett's concept of "circle of competence") and I try to keep it short, concise and informative. It only took me a couple of days of nonstop writing to finish each e-book. All I have to do now is sit back and relax. :^D
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 10:54:01 PM by arebelspy »

arebelspy

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2012, 08:25:17 AM »
My most successful passive income stream so far is my e-books. I've got a few of them on Amazon (gotta love those Kindles!) - despite their low prices, the combined sales are enough to pay for my student loans and half of my rent, and that's on a bad month. I write about subjects I know a lot about (see Warren Buffett's concept of "circle of competence") and I try to keep it short, concise and informative. It only took me a couple of days of nonstop writing to finish each e-book. All I have to do now is sit back and relax. :^D

I'd love to hear more specific details and numbers.  Most specifically: average length of book (number of pages and/or word count), average selling price, and average income over the last, say, six months.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

kudy

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2012, 10:12:56 AM »
Could you give us a bit of information about how to self publish an ebook on Amazon? Thanks!

shedinator

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2012, 10:31:00 AM »
My most successful passive income stream so far is my e-books. I've got a few of them on Amazon (gotta love those Kindles!) - despite their low prices, the combined sales are enough to pay for my student loans and half of my rent, and that's on a bad month. I write about subjects I know a lot about (see Warren Buffett's concept of "circle of competence") and I try to keep it short, concise and informative. It only took me a couple of days of nonstop writing to finish each e-book. All I have to do now is sit back and relax. :^D

Could you explain why you feel that your e-book income is passive? I understand that you don't have to do more work (unless you do some marketing), but you did have to do work to produce them. Do you value your work at a certain level, and anything you bring in above that amount is considered passive? I'm trying to wrap my head around this notion, but as far as I can tell, you are being paid for a product which you created. I guess my understanding of passive income is income that requires no work, rather than income received for work already done...

I'm also curious how much money your books are providing; At least on Amazon, I can get them both for free (I have a kindle and a Prime membership). I can see where they rank overall in various categories, but I don't see information about how many copies you've sold, etc. Would you be willing to give some insight on how many sell, what your cut is, etc?

Sparafusile

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2012, 03:51:36 PM »
My most successful passive income stream so far is my e-books. I've got a few of them on Amazon (gotta love those Kindles!) - despite their low prices, the combined sales are enough to pay for my student loans and half of my rent, and that's on a bad month. I write about subjects I know a lot about (see Warren Buffett's concept of "circle of competence") and I try to keep it short, concise and informative. It only took me a couple of days of nonstop writing to finish each e-book. All I have to do now is sit back and relax. :^D

I'd love to hear more specific details and numbers.  Most specifically: average length of book (number of pages and/or word count), average selling price, and average income over the last, say, six months.

I second this. I'd also like to know how you decide what you should write about. I have published books the old fashioned way, but not through Amazon. I'm interested in getting started and would love a first hand experience.

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2012, 04:26:06 PM »
My most successful passive income stream so far is my e-books. I've got a few of them on Amazon (gotta love those Kindles!) - despite their low prices, the combined sales are enough to pay for my student loans and half of my rent, and that's on a bad month. I write about subjects I know a lot about (see Warren Buffett's concept of "circle of competence") and I try to keep it short, concise and informative. It only took me a couple of days of nonstop writing to finish each e-book. All I have to do now is sit back and relax. :^D

I'd love to hear more specific details and numbers.  Most specifically: average length of book (number of pages and/or word count), average selling price, and average income over the last, say, six months.

I second this. I'd also like to know how you decide what you should write about. I have published books the old fashioned way, but not through Amazon. I'm interested in getting started and would love a first hand experience.

Great. Now instead of just telling us how to write and publish an ebook on this forum, he's just going to write an ebook about how to write an ebook and make us buy it on Amazon ;)

Grigory

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2012, 02:13:53 PM »
Wow, I had no idea my post would generate so much interest. :) Sorry for the delay - I've spent the last few days hunting for a new used car...

Quote
I'd love to hear more specific details and numbers.  Most specifically: average length of book (number of pages and/or word count), average selling price, and average income over the last, say, six months.
I've written two books (well, technically three, but the last one is under a pen name ;) ) - Go to college without going broke: 33 ways to save your time, money and sanity and Atheism 101: Answers, Explanations and Rebuttals. Both books are around 30 pages. That's not too long, admittedly, but I wrote them as concise informative guides on the subject matter - and advertised them as such. (I could have expanded them to 200+ pages if I wanted to by filling them with pointless anecdotes, cartoons and quotes, but that's why we have "For Dummies" books.)

The selling price is $2.99, which is the lowest price I can set with Kindle's "KDP select" program. That way, I get paid every time an Amazon Prime user borrows one of my books. The downside is that I can't sell my books on other platforms (Barnes&Noble, Sony reader, etc.), but they'd never been very profitable in the first place. $2.99 is the standard e-book price - anything higher than that, and you'll risk losing some of the more frugal readers. Amazon takes a 30% cut of the profits, which means each book sale nets me about $2.10 - and each borrowed copy is worth $1.50-$2, depending on the month. The income always fluctuates - my worst month over the past year got me $300 and the best month was just short of $1,200. Usually, I can expect to make about $400-500 a month. The downside is that there's a 2-month holding period, which means I won't get my January profits until the end of March. It can be a bit discouraging if you're just starting out: i.e., you publish a book on April 1, and won't get your April profits until the end of June... However, if you've been at it for a few months and have several titles, it becomes mostly irrelevant.

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Could you give us a bit of information about how to self publish an ebook on Amazon? Thanks!
Google is your friend. :) In a nutshell, just type up your masterpiece in Word, make sure to copy-edit it and get a great book cover (I ever so humbly recommend checking out my book covers) because let's face it - people do judge books by their covers, and if the free preview for your book is filled with typos, you'll lose potential customers. Luckily for me, I'm a former copy editor and a good friend of mine is a graphic designer, so I'm set hahaha. Once that's done, you create an account on kdp.amazon.com, give them all your tax information, upload your book, cover, description and key words, set up your selling price and wait for ~3 days for it to go live. Then you have to beg, plead and/or blackmail everyone you know to read it and leave a good review (books without reviews never sell) and do some shameless self-promotion on Twitter, forums, etc. Once that's done and you get some traffic going your way, you can just sit back, relax and watch the money pour in. ;) Or trickle in - either/or.

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Could you explain why you feel that your e-book income is passive?
cparnette's definition is the same as mine. Active income is something you have to work on constantly - for example, my full-time job or the occasional gadget-scalping gig that comes my way. Passive income is the money you get from something that you created once (book, music, etc) and haven't had to work on ever since. I haven't had to do any work after I wrote my books and did some PR for them. I get a fairly substantial amount of money every month for the work I've done almost a year ago. In my book, that counts as passive income.

Quote
I'd also like to know how you decide what you should write about.
I wrote about things I know well and am passionate about. It also helps if nothing of the sort has been written before - you'd be amazed how many unfilled niches there are. The atheism book was a product of a very boring, sleepless night when I decided that maybe I should write the first and most concise FAQ on atheism for Kindle. (There are some similar FAQs online, but mine was the first one in e-book form.) A few hours of typing later, it was ready. The "Go to college" book was something I'd been meaning to write for the longest time - I found plenty of hacks and loopholes when I was a college student, and I wanted to share that knowledge with others. Unfortunately, I couldn't reach out to a whole lot of people, so I kept brainstorming the concept until I finally figured what my e-book would look like. After that, it was just a matter of sitting down, overdosing on caffeine and pulling an all-nighter. :^D Seeing as my second e-book was mentioned in both New York Times and USA Today, I daresay I did a pretty good job with it...

If you guys have more questions, feel free to ask them. And sorry for monopolizing this thread - please post about other passive income streams, too! :)
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 02:20:43 PM by Grigory »

shedinator

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2012, 02:48:30 PM »
I get paid every time an Amazon Prime user borrows one of my books... each borrowed copy is worth $1.50-$2, depending on the month.

That's interesting. Do you choose whether it's available for free/borrow, or is that up to Amazon? I had a copy of your book for a month (it was one of several free frugality texts I grabbed), so I guess I factored in to your profits without even realizing it.

kudy

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2012, 02:53:37 PM »
Thanks for the info!

I guess they hardest part for me would be deciding on a ebook topic that isn't already flooded with competing titles... I imagine it would be hard to break the ranks and actually sell well in a crowded market.

Grigory

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2012, 03:31:24 PM »
That's interesting. Do you choose whether it's available for free/borrow, or is that up to Amazon? I had a copy of your book for a month (it was one of several free frugality texts I grabbed), so I guess I factored in to your profits without even realizing it.
Every now and then, I give away some of my books for free for a day or so in order to boost sales and ratings. Seeing as this takes about two minutes to set up, I don't think that qualifies as work lol

I guess they hardest part for me would be deciding on a ebook topic that isn't already flooded with competing titles... I imagine it would be hard to break the ranks and actually sell well in a crowded market.
It depends. You can always try your hand at fiction - from what I understand, romance, vampires and fantasy novels are always popular.

shedinator

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2012, 03:51:16 PM »
That's interesting. Do you choose whether it's available for free/borrow, or is that up to Amazon? I had a copy of your book for a month (it was one of several free frugality texts I grabbed), so I guess I factored in to your profits without even realizing it.
Every now and then, I give away some of my books for free for a day or so in order to boost sales and ratings. Seeing as this takes about two minutes to set up, I don't think that qualifies as work lol

I was more wondering about it from a potential profit standpoint. If you get to decide whether your book is "borrowable," and you get paid when people borrow it, then that seems like a pretty good deal. But if it's Amazon's discretion, that could be frustrating and unpredictable.

Grigory

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2012, 03:57:23 PM »
Only the author can decide whether the book will be given away for free, and even then it's only if you enroll in their "KDP select" program, which also makes your book "borrowable" by default. It's a pretty good setup, a win-win for both the readers and the authors: readers get to download a lot of e-books for free during those promotional periods, and authors get free publicity, new fans and higher sales ratings once the promotion ends.

arebelspy

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2012, 10:55:48 PM »
Since you say your college book was mentioned in "New York Times and USA Today," is it fair to say that the majority of your ebook revenue comes from that book?  What's the average income on the other ones then?

Also, what sort of advertising and such did you do?  Can you go in to more details on that?

Appreciate the information, a lot!
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Grigory

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2012, 11:25:21 PM »
Oddly enough, it's my least favorite and most clumsy ebook - Atheism-101 - that brings most of the dough. Without checking my records, I'd guesstimate that ~60-65% of the profits come from it. "Go to college" is a wild card: it made a ridiculous amount of money the first time I unleashed it on the web and has calmed down a bit since then, with an occasional spike in volume once in a while. It still earns enough to pay for my student loans, though. :)

As far as promotion goes - just look at my signature. ;) I post on several forums and use my signature to link to my books (I don't consider it work because I'd be a forum-dweller even if I hadn't written my ebooks), write an occasional blog post that deals with the subject of one of my books (dropping the links right and left, of course), scan through HARO (Help A Reporter Out) newsletters to see if anybody wants to interview a Siberian-American heathen entrepreneur who happens to be an expert on college financial aid lol, etc. I'm not quite sure why or how it happened, but both of my big ebooks (especially the one on atheism) are mentioned in a number of Amazon's Listmania shopping guides (i.e., "Best books on college savings!" by Joe Schmoe). Not quite sure how I got there - it may have been caused by some of my early self-promotion (emailing prominent bloggers in the field and asking for their blurbs, etc.).

There are probably a few other self-promotion methods I can recall right now, but a lot of it is linked: if you email a bunch of bloggers and ask for blurbs, one or two of them might even mention you on their blogs, which in turn will get you on some Listmania lists, and then who knows - maybe you'll get a few of those coveted 5-star reviews. Or let's say you give away your book for free for a couple of days. If it's got a low enough price and a high enough review rating, and if you get it mentioned on freebie forums and in a few popular Kindle-related newsletters, your book's sales rank will rise high enough that when the giveaway is over, people will start buying it and keeping it afloat, rank-wise.

I realize that this probably sounds complex and not worth it to some people, but I grew up around computers, been online since I was 11, and I could do all this twitter-forum-newsletter-blog cross-promotion stuff with my eyes closed. It's just a matter of practice and perseverance.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 11:28:24 PM by Grigory »

YoungAndWise

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2012, 02:53:24 PM »
Grigory: Do you know if there is a market for short stories of any sort? Just wondering.

bananabread

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2012, 08:36:53 PM »
Grigory: Do you know if there is a market for short stories of any sort? Just wondering.

I know an author who writes primarily short stories and novellas. Right now it's her primary source of income, but it's also a full-time job for her - she has to do a ton of promotion, and she also gets income from art and from serializing her stories. The biggest points Grigory hit are still so valid - reviews sell books, and especially for short stories, $0.99, $1.99, $2.99 are your winners.

shedinator

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2012, 08:56:02 PM »
Grigory: Do you know if there is a market for short stories of any sort? Just wondering.

absolutely. Particularly if it's a collection of several short stories revolving around a similar theme. But it's probably not the largest market out there. If you're looking for the most popular markets, a good way to do it is go to Amazon's kindle store and look at their lists. They keep track of "Kindle Best Sellers," which are the 100 top-selling books, and the 100 most downloaded free books. It looks like Young Adult Fiction, mystery novels, and harlequin-style romances dominate the paid list. Books that have been turned into movies or TV shows are also over-represented. But if you search "short stories," you've find a plethora of ebooks, ranging from one-off stories to full-blown anthologies, that are offered for sale and have received multiple ratings, which means people are definitely still buying short stories.

YoungAndWise

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2012, 09:35:53 PM »
@banana
@shedinator

Awesome! Thanks for the information. Preparing and prepping my plan of financial independence since I can do anything.
Sucks being less than eighteen years old.

arebelspy

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2012, 09:49:04 PM »
@banana
@shedinator

Awesome! Thanks for the information. Preparing and prepping my plan of financial independence since I can do anything.
Sucks being less than eighteen years old.

Why's that suck?  I bet most of us here wish we would have started that young, or that we had had MMM to read at 17.

All depends on how you look at it.  ;)

You should easily be FI by 30.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

YoungAndWise

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2012, 09:50:53 PM »
@banana
@shedinator

Awesome! Thanks for the information. Preparing and prepping my plan of financial independence since I can do anything.
Sucks being less than eighteen years old.

Why's that suck?  I bet most of us here wish we would have started that young, or that we had had MMM to read at 17.

All depends on how you look at it.  ;)

You should easily be FI by 30.

True enough. Still I've been wanting to start since I was a sophomore so I kind of impatient.

shedinator

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2012, 11:22:13 PM »
@banana
@shedinator

Awesome! Thanks for the information. Preparing and prepping my plan of financial independence since I can do anything.
Sucks being less than eighteen years old.

Why's that suck?  I bet most of us here wish we would have started that young, or that we had had MMM to read at 17.

All depends on how you look at it.  ;)

You should easily be FI by 30.

True enough. Still I've been wanting to start since I was a sophomore so I kind of impatient.

So start.
I don't want to get into a long-winded "when I was your age" speech, but here's the deal:
When I was 15, I spent 3 months sitting at a table at the beach, selling candy and refreshments. Made a couple grand, and bought my first computer and some other stuff my parents refused to foot the bill for. At 17, I was a college sophomore with 2 years' work experience under my belt. I'm quite certain my story isn't unique, but you have a chance for yours to be. It's really not hard to find work at your age, because you're not a skilled laborer, and employers know you come cheap.  Take advantage of that. Take advantage of the fact that you (I'm guessing) live at home with your parents or some other subset of adults who pay the bills for the necessities. Ride a bike to work instead of saving up to buy a car. Put 95% of every paycheck in the bank. You can open a Roth IRA tomorrow if you've got the cash. You can open an investment account as well. Go to an affordable college, work your way through to avoid debt and keep investing, and major in something that will pay when you come out the other end (unless you feel some moral/spiritual call to a specific, lower-paying career... says the guy whose graduate degree has earned him less than $5k/year). Look at this way: If you put the maximum in a Roth IRA at 17, and put it in index funds, by the time you're my age (~24), there's a good chance you'll have doubled your money. If you put the maximum in a Roth IRA every year between now and then, you'll have already deposited enough principle that you'll have a very strong chance of retiring at 65 without investing another penny. Of course, you'll also have developed a 7 year habit of investing, so you'll keep it up, probably increasing the amounts as time goes on, and be Financiall Independent at 30 if you feel like it. Do it up, man! there's no time like the present. It doesn't suck being less than 18 if you're already growing a mustache :{)

MVal

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2016, 04:11:20 PM »
Tagging, I've got to read all this later.

MrSal

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2016, 06:35:32 PM »
hmmm ... i am thinking "healthy cookbook recipes on a budget" might be a good option if you actually know how to cook!

I spend about 80 dollars on groceries a month and I can tell you I eat like a king almost! My kitchen and dishes are full mediterranean since thats where i am from... thinking this sub-market might be a good idea since cookbooks are always on demand! might try one or two books and see where it goes!

trashmanz

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2016, 07:14:42 PM »
This is an interesting thread, anything along this line for ebook authorship that is more recent?  I wonder if the market and process is similar today still?  The search function didn't really lead me to much. 

MonkeyJenga

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2016, 11:27:30 AM »
This is an interesting thread, anything along this line for ebook authorship that is more recent?  I wonder if the market and process is similar today still?  The search function didn't really lead me to much.

There are a couple journals with personal examples of people starting out, including two of mine where other authors have chimed in with their experiences:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/book-blog-income-my-path/
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/shitlord-and-master/
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/spite-reading-50-shades-of-grey/

Another Reader

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2016, 11:30:12 AM »
Your MOTHER is proud?  The (rotten) apple does not fall far from the tree!!

MonkeyJenga

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2016, 11:38:08 AM »
Your MOTHER is proud?  The (rotten) apple does not fall far from the tree!!

Hah! That is a fake review. My mother does not know, and she never will.

Larabeth

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2016, 02:45:23 AM »
Your MOTHER is proud?  The (rotten) apple does not fall far from the tree!!

Hah! That is a fake review. My mother does not know, and she never will.

Hahahhaahahahhahaaaaa.  Love it.

eliza

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2016, 11:46:25 AM »
Your MOTHER is proud?  The (rotten) apple does not fall far from the tree!!

Hah! That is a fake review. My mother does not know, and she never will.

And here I thought I had a chance at meeting Jane Austen using your time machine.   ;-)

cheddarpie

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2016, 11:53:07 AM »
Following. Love all these book ideas.

MVal

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2016, 08:16:00 AM »
Are there any kind of free, e-book publishing software out there? I've heard of KD Publishing Pro, but I have no idea what the cost is or if there is no cost. Or is this even needed to create e-books?


arebelspy

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2016, 08:34:38 AM »
Are there any kind of free, e-book publishing software out there? I've heard of KD Publishing Pro, but I have no idea what the cost is or if there is no cost. Or is this even needed to create e-books?

Where are you planning on putting the book?  If on Amazon, you use their software.  Otherwise it depends on the platform you're publishing to (Kobo, for example, or Apple's iBooks).

What do you mean by "publishing," basically.

Yes, there are lots of free tools for formatting and getting a book ready, but to "publish" it will depend on where you're publishing it (and they're basically all free).
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MVal

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2016, 10:54:39 AM »
Are there any kind of free, e-book publishing software out there? I've heard of KD Publishing Pro, but I have no idea what the cost is or if there is no cost. Or is this even needed to create e-books?

Where are you planning on putting the book?  If on Amazon, you use their software.  Otherwise it depends on the platform you're publishing to (Kobo, for example, or Apple's iBooks).

What do you mean by "publishing," basically.

Yes, there are lots of free tools for formatting and getting a book ready, but to "publish" it will depend on where you're publishing it (and they're basically all free).

I see. I'd really like to publish a recipe book to start with. I am completely unfamiliar with e-books as I do not own a Kindle or any kind of tablet for that matter, but I'd like to take advantage of the opportunity.

arebelspy

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2016, 11:50:58 AM »
Are there any kind of free, e-book publishing software out there? I've heard of KD Publishing Pro, but I have no idea what the cost is or if there is no cost. Or is this even needed to create e-books?

Where are you planning on putting the book?  If on Amazon, you use their software.  Otherwise it depends on the platform you're publishing to (Kobo, for example, or Apple's iBooks).

What do you mean by "publishing," basically.

Yes, there are lots of free tools for formatting and getting a book ready, but to "publish" it will depend on where you're publishing it (and they're basically all free).

I see. I'd really like to publish a recipe book to start with. I am completely unfamiliar with e-books as I do not own a Kindle or any kind of tablet for that matter, but I'd like to take advantage of the opportunity.

Write it, and get the pictures done.  Format it.

That's the hard part.  Publishing it is easy, and can be done in (literally) a few minutes.  I'd suggest taking a "cross that bridge when you come to it" approach.  Getting hung up on the last step of the process won't help when there's 999 steps before that one.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

hb187

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2016, 03:50:05 PM »
Great ideas in this thread. Really thinking about putting some words on some paper now.

MVal

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2016, 04:09:08 PM »
Are there any kind of free, e-book publishing software out there? I've heard of KD Publishing Pro, but I have no idea what the cost is or if there is no cost. Or is this even needed to create e-books?

Where are you planning on putting the book?  If on Amazon, you use their software.  Otherwise it depends on the platform you're publishing to (Kobo, for example, or Apple's iBooks).

What do you mean by "publishing," basically.

Yes, there are lots of free tools for formatting and getting a book ready, but to "publish" it will depend on where you're publishing it (and they're basically all free).

I see. I'd really like to publish a recipe book to start with. I am completely unfamiliar with e-books as I do not own a Kindle or any kind of tablet for that matter, but I'd like to take advantage of the opportunity.

Write it, and get the pictures done.  Format it.

That's the hard part.  Publishing it is easy, and can be done in (literally) a few minutes.  I'd suggest taking a "cross that bridge when you come to it" approach.  Getting hung up on the last step of the process won't help when there's 999 steps before that one.  :)

Well, that is true. I don't own any fancy cameras, so I would probably just use a few open-source images of some sort. As far as formatting, format it with what? I thought that is what I needed the publishing software for.

arebelspy

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2016, 04:11:45 PM »
A normal book you wouldn't need anything fancy for formatting. Word or the equivalent (LibreOffice) is fine.

A cook book?  That's going to require more formatting, and more images--most recipes will need pictures of them, cooked.

I'm surprised you're planning on using open source images. I could see that for a normal book with no photos, just the cover, but a cook book?  That seems surprising, to me.

We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #37 on: February 22, 2016, 04:37:33 PM »
Wow, my mind is blown.  I can't believe how much money you're making off of something that, according to you, was quick and easy.  I can't wait to get started.

MVal

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #38 on: February 24, 2016, 10:42:07 AM »
A normal book you wouldn't need anything fancy for formatting. Word or the equivalent (LibreOffice) is fine.

A cook book?  That's going to require more formatting, and more images--most recipes will need pictures of them, cooked.

I'm surprised you're planning on using open source images. I could see that for a normal book with no photos, just the cover, but a cook book?  That seems surprising, to me.

More pictures would be nice, I suppose, but I have many cookbooks that don't have a picture of every dish in the book. Same goes for online recipes. I just want to do something pretty basic to get started in this.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #39 on: February 24, 2016, 10:47:24 AM »
Your MOTHER is proud?  The (rotten) apple does not fall far from the tree!!

Hah! That is a fake review. My mother does not know, and she never will.

And here I thought I had a chance at meeting Jane Austen using your time machine.   ;-)

Haha, I WISH.

Grigory

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Re: eBook Passive Income
« Reply #40 on: July 03, 2016, 05:44:18 PM »
Well, seeing as I was the one who accidentally created this thread 4 years ago, and since there have been 11,328 views, I think it's only fair to post an update. :)

Everything has gone to hell. A few years ago, Kindle set up a lending program, wherein each Amazon Prime member could borrow 1 e-book per month for free and members that bought Kindle Unlimited membership ($10 a month) could read as many e-books as they wanted. Of course, the e-books would have to be enrolled in this KDP select program in order for it to work.

Each month, Amazon would allocate a chunk of money to be divided between all the books that got borrowed. Each "borrow" was worth between $1.20-1.80, depending on the activity level that month, the amount of money to be divided, etc. That system primarily benefited authors with short books or short stories: why write a 400-page novel that will be borrowed just once if you can write 40 10-page short stories and get paid for 40 borrows? The system paid as soon as a reader got 15% into your e-book. Since most of my e-books were of the "short and sweet" variety, I too was one of the beneficiaries.

Eventually, however, the frustrated long-book authors lobbied Amazon to change the award system. And Amazon listened, and thus the KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) system was born, and thus began the decline. Under the KENP system, Amazon would end up using an algorithm to measure how many standardized pages your book consisted of. Then they'd measure how many pages readers actually read. Then they'd tally up the number of all the read pages from all of the borrowed books for the month, split that month's fund evenly and pay the authors whose books actually got read the most.

Sounds like a nice system in theory. In reality, however, there were two issues:
1. People with very informative but somewhat short books ended up getting extremely little money. At its best, the KENP system paid $0.006 (that's 0.6 cents) per every read page. The e-book I've worked the hardest on, and that I'm most proud of, Buffett's Biggest Blunders: the Greatest Inventor's Greatest Mistakes, contains a wealth of concise information for all the investors out there. However, since it's only 78 pages long (what can I say - I hate creating bloated books like the "for Dummies" series), at $0.006 per page, I'd get only $0.47 every time somebody read my book. Ever since then, the already low payout started dropping even lower. I believe it's at $0.004 per page now. Why, you ask? Because...

2. People cheated. A lot. The Kindle library got flooded with 10,000-page books that consisted of nothing but utter gibberish, recipes, etc. Sometimes, the books would start with a halfway-decent story that was written to bypass the cursory Amazon review process when submitting the book. The protocol for checking the number of pages read was also broken: if somebody were to jump from page 1 to page 10,000, the author would have been paid for all 10,000 pages. (Which would have netted the author a sweet $60 profit!)

Some of those "books" had descriptions that advertised a huge giveaway (new video game console, a gift card, etc) for borrowing the book, going to the last page, entering the code word on that page on such-and-such site, etc, etc. It might not surprise you to learn that no prizes have ever been actually awarded. Heh.

On top of all that, scammers set up "click farms" wherein dozens (or even hundreds) of participants would borrow each other's e-books and go straight to the end, effectively enriching one another. Rumor has it that a particularly industrious teenager (14-year-old?) in the States made over $70,000 by abusing the system.

The worst part was that it was all perfectly legal and within the rules Amazon had set up for the new lending program payout. The long-book writers, who were initially so ecstatic about the reform, ended up succeeding in driving the short-book writers out of business. However, when scammers with 10,000-page e-books got on the scene, everybody's share of the profits plummeted. Amazon didn't do a whole lot to fight the scammers, aside from limiting the e-book length to 3,000 pages.

Like many other authors, I withdrew my e-books from Amazon's lending library, making them available only through purchase. It might be a bit petty, but I'd rather not have my Buffett book read at all instead of being paid a paltry 47 cents for all my hard work. I did, however, cash in on the "super-long book" craze (though in an honorable, non-scammer way, mind you) when I put together Legends&Lore from Around the World - the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of mythology. (The best thing about myths is that they're in public domain mwahahaha) It's roughly 14,000 pages long - I published it just before the 3,000-page cap went into effect. I'm pretty bad at promoting my own books, which is why the long and "real" sci-fi book I'm writing now will be sold to an actual publisher, to have actual professionals do it all for me. Even so, despite having little if any publicity, Legends&Lore gets me a nice chunk of change every time somebody decides to borrow it and flip through some ancient myths. :^D

That was an isolated exception, though, and it had taken me weeks of work to collect all the myths, format them, edit the book, find a way to compress it just so in order to upload it, etc, etc. If you're just starting out, I'm afraid the e-book party is over, at least for the time being. You can always sell your book on Amazon without the "borrow" option, which would also allow you to sell on other sites - Barnes&Noble, Apple e-book store, etc. (Smashwords is a nice one-stop portal for that.) Technically speaking, if you enroll your book into Amazon's lending library, you're not allowed to sell it elsewhere. I don't know how strictly that's actually enforced, but why take the chance?..

There - I think this novella-length post describes most of the developments since this thread's OP. ;) Post your questions here if you have them and I'll do my best to answer them.