Self-Publishing a Marketing Book on Amazon

My book, Google Adwords for Beginners, has been on Amazon for a few years and I never got around to documenting the process. The book had over 20,000 downloads in the first month and the response was nothing less than amazing.

A few folks asked me to circle back and share the stats from the book, so here I am.

Quick Background #

I wrote the book to test self-publishing on Amazon and to promote my video course. The course is currently hosted on Udemy, but I wanted to create my own site so that I didn’t have to split the revenue with Udemy. My idea was to use the book as a content marketing piece that pointed directly to the course and would provide readers with more in-depth learning resources if they needed them. Seeing the success that folks like Nathan Berry have had with a similar self-hosted strategy, it seemed like a viable approach worth trying.

I chose Teachable to host the course because it had features to easily import my course from Udemy and a reasonable fee structure. I’ve been very happy with the choice ever since.

I included a link to the course in the book’s introduction as well as in the final chapter. I thought this would be the best way to introduce the course and then reinforce it after the reader was finished.

Writing the Book #

I won’t get into all of the specifics of the writing process, but for the most part, I followed my course structure to develop an outline for the book. With this as my guide, I determined that the book would have twelve chapters.

I decided to carve out three-hour chunks devoted specifically for writing the book. It was difficult initially to find the time but eventually settled on Saturday mornings as my power sessions. After scheduling it in my calendar every week it really seemed to stick.

It took me about six weeks to write the first draft. From there, I went back and edited each section two to three times and let my wife (who is a fabulous writer) take a look.

When I felt like the book was nearly ready for publishing, I uploaded the manuscript at BookBaby. Since they specialize in e-book editing and proofreading, I choose them to give the book a final pass.

About two weeks after I submitted my draft, they sent back the edit and made a few great content suggestions.

After I added in a couple of sections he suggested, I formatted the book for Kindle following Amazon’s guide and submitted it for publishing. It was accepted and went live in the Kindle store the next day.

The Launch #

Prior to launching, I read a post on eBook marketing and, per their suggestion, decided to make the book free for the first five days after publishing. Once the promo started, I posted the book link on the /r/Entrepreneur , /r/FreeEBOOKS, and /r/eFreebies subreddits. Outside of Reddit, I posted on a few other free ebook Facebook groups.

Additionally, I used ConvertKit to build a pre-launch email list. I messaged my Udemy students and told them to add their email address if they’d like free access when it was launched. I also linked to the landing page in social posts. All in all, I got 736 people signed up to the pre-launch list, which was much higher than I anticipated.

Results #

The book got almost 5,000 downloads during the first five days while it was free. Because of the way Amazon reports, it’s impossible to tell what sources drove the most downloads.

Based on the responses I received, I think /r/Entrepreneur and the email list I built with ConvertKit sent the most traffic. Post-freebie, the book has netted close to $400 in the first month.

The book resulted in 10 direct sales of the corresponding video course. I also ran a promo with AppSumo to give the book away to their subscribers, which added another 15,000 downloads and about $1k in revenue from course sales.

Summary #

Overall it was a very rewarding process and gave me an interesting insight into the world of self-publishing. If you’re on the edge and considering whether or not to self-publish a book of your own, I am here to tell you DO IT.

 
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