I’ve never thought of myself as a writer until recently. This is even though I’ve written a fair amount in the past.
I had a travel blog for a few years for which I wrote about 300 articles. Yet I saw myself as a traveler and not a writer.
It was while traveling that I decided to write my first book.
I traveled with my wife, and often we’d stay in the same place for a month or two. This gave us time to explore, but also time to put in some work.
My first book was about raw food, which was pretty popular a few years back. It was a short book of 76 pages. I wrote the whole thing in just three days.
I remember publishing a few days from the end of 2012. This was the perfect time to publish it, as January is the top month for health and fitness. It seems like everyone has a New Year’s resolution to get fit and healthy.
I wasn’t expecting too much from the book and thought it would be great if I earned $50-$100 a month.
Come the first of January, the sales started rolling in. I could hardly believe it. By the end of January, I had earned around $500. I was blown away.
This is where it all started to go wrong.
Seeing this much money for so little effort got me thinking. If I could make $500 a month from one book, imagine how much I could earn if I wrote 10 books. $5,000 a month would mean we could travel in comfort.
So, I sat down and wrote my second book on raw food. It was released in February. Now I had two books for sale.
This is where the reality set in. In February I earned a total of around $300. So I’d gone from making $500 a month from one book to $300 a month from two books.
As the months went by, the book sold less and less. I should have expected this, as these types of book only sell well at the beginning of the year.
In the meantime, I set about writing some other books. Over the next year I wrote books on flipping websites, travel, health, and juicing.
The next January, sales picked up again, but they were nowhere near the previous year’s sales. After that burst of sales, I had maybe 5 sales a month from eight books.
As the years went by, I ended up getting one sale a month if I was lucky. At that point, I sold the books to a guy that ran a few businesses. Instead of selling the books on Kindle, he wanted to use the content for his various websites. I think I got $200 for the whole lot.
So, how much did I make?
If I remember correctly, it was around $4,500. About 90% of that was from the first book. The other 10% was split between the other seven. Two books didn’t even sell a single copy. The Pareto principle is alive and well.
Would I do it again?
Back in 2012–13, it was easier for a book to rank on the first page of the Kindle store for its category. The raw food book was in the top 3 when I first released it. I think there were around 50 books listed under raw food at that time.
If you search the Kindle store today for raw food, you’ll get over 10,000 results. Competition is now brutal, and the top books are very high quality. It seems almost impossible to compete.
So I probably wouldn’t do it again. Writing a book and then getting zero sales is very disheartening. But never say never.
Have any of you had success publishing on Kindle?