If you are reading this, you probably already know that writing is a vehicle for sharing your unique voice, inspiring others and establishing yourself as an expert in your field. But did you know that it can also provide a passive income stream? One way to generate residual monthly income is by creating a series of eBooks. While there are many online platforms on which you can publish eBooks, the focus of this article will be on Amazon’s publishing platform, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
First, it’s worth mentioning how Amazon pays out royalties to authors who publish eBooks through KDP. Those who price their eBook between $2.99 and $9.99 earn 70% royalties on any sales; those who price their eBooks outside that range receive 35%.
Right now you’re probably wondering why any author would wander from the 70% range. Well, while I never recommend pricing an eBook above $9.99, there are times when it’s beneficial to price your book below $2.99, such as during a promotional period or when you have a series of eBooks and you want to attract new readers into that series by keeping the first book priced low.
Here’s an Example of What’s Possible
Let's say you have a 3-book Kindle series plus a boxed set for that series:
Book 1 retails for $0.99 (35% royalties) = $0.35
Book 2 retails for $2.99 (70% royalties) = $2.09
Book 3 retails for $4.99 (70% royalties) = $3.49
Boxed set retails for $6.99 (70% royalties) = $4.89
If you had one sale per day for each of the four books, you'd make approximately $11 per day. That's an extra $330 per month in your bank account. Not too shabby...
But what if each book in your series sold five copies per day? You'd make approximately $55 per day/$1,650 per month. Even better!
But what if you had two 3-book series, both with boxed sets? You'd make approximately $110 per day/$3,300 per month. And so on...
Selling More Books with a Series
There are a variety of ways an eBook series can help sell more books, but here are two worth mentioning:
Links to your other books in the back of each eBook. With Amazon’s powerful one-click purchase option, this makes it easy for readers to continue to the next book in your series once they finish the one in hand.
All the books in your series are featured on the product page of each book in that series. Amazon lists this above the “Customers who bought this book also bought” section, meaning potential readers will see all the books in your series before they see Amazon’s attempt to show them books by other authors.
See Melissa Ellen's Blackwood series below. All of the books in her Blackwood series are listed on the product page of each book in the series:
Getting Your Readers on Your Mailing List
Typically, the more books you publish, the more books you’ll sell because you’ll become known in your genre and you will grow your fanbase with each new book. That's why it's so important that you either have a way to collect your readers’ contact information or create a Facebook group for your readers to connect with you. Be sure to place a link to your mailing list or Facebook group inside each book, and always link to your other books at the back of each book as well!
A great way to do this is by giving your readers a free bonus gift inside your book (one that complements the topic you’re writing about) and add an opt-in link. This means they will trade their contact information for your free bonus, thus adding them to your mailing list. This is quite easy to do for non-fiction authors by offering a free report, MP3 download, video series or mini-course.
A popular strategy for fiction authors is to create a closed fan group on Facebook and link to that group inside the eBook(s). As you write each new book, share teasers and excerpts and behind-the-scenes information inside the group. This way your “super fans” will feel like they’re in the know and a part of each book launch. They are also the people who will become your beta readers and happy reviewers for each new book.
Pricing Strategies for Your Series
Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, creating a series is an excellent marketing tool and a way to create a loyal readership. For fiction, you could combine your duet, trilogy or longer series into a boxed set. The strategy for pricing a boxed set is to add the total of all the books in your series, then price the boxed set slightly lower so it entices your readers to buy the set and save a few bucks.
If you write non-fiction, you’re in luck! Most non-fiction how-to books on Amazon only average between 25,000 and 40,000 words. You could create a series of three or four 25,000-word eBooks based upon a central theme in your area of expertise.
For example, let’s say your topic of interest is the popular Ketogenic diet and lifestyle:
Book 1 ($0.99) – Keto Made Easy: The Complete Ketosis Jumpstart Guide for Beginners
Book 2 ($2.99) – Keto + Intermittent Fasting: Your Secret Weapon to Accelerated Weight Loss
Book 3 ($3.99) – The Ultimate Keto Cookbook: 101 Delicious Low-Carb Recipes
Book 4 ($5.99) – Ketosis Essentials Boxed Set: Books 1-3
Again, notice I’ve priced Book 1 in the series at $0.99. The reason for this is because $0.99 eBooks are an easy sell. Not only do they have their own category on Amazon, you can also promote them on countless “bargain” book websites and social media pages and groups. This means instead of having to promote all four books all the time (exhausting!), you can focus on promoting the first book in the series because it will funnel new readers into your series and onto your mailing list (if you’ve added an opt-in inside your book as I suggest).
And, since you’ve linked to all the other books in your series at the back of each book, and Amazon is going to list all the other books on Book 1’s product page, you can use Book 1 as the bait for your series when fishing in the sea of readers on Amazon.
If You're Going to Do it, Do it Right
It’s not enough to just publish your eBook or series to Amazon and wait for the sales to roll in. Many factors go into publishing a successful series, including choosing the proper categories, keywords, price point, and setting up a strategic book launch to bestseller so your book gets the appropriate exposure and ignites Amazon’s algorithm.
Just as necessary, you must ensure your eBooks are properly formatted, professionally edited, and have a professional, high-quality cover design, not ones that look “DIY.” These are three things you must never skimp on as an indie author.