You might be wondering why am I rambling about selling just 100 books on Amazon, and what sort of lessons could anyone get from it. You might be right about it, but if you look at it from my perspective, selling anything that you’ve made for the online world in 2020, the year of the pandemic and unprecedented competition, it’s a blessing and something to cherish.
Just to make things clear, this morning, November 19th, 2020, I’ve sold my 100th book on Amazon. This book was published using the Kindle Direct Publishing tool, which is amazing! Then, it was advertised on my blog here, on Instagram for a few times, and with the help of a Facebook ad for about 25 bucks. I published it on October 15th, so a little over a month ago.
My goal with the book was to sell 100 digital copies by the end of 2020. To my surprise, the book did better than expected initially. It’s a book about working from home, earning an income through writing and freelancing, so the fact that many people are trapped indoors and looking for new ways of making money… that helped a lot! Nevertheless, for me, 100 is a great figure.
Lessons after selling 100 books on Amazon
After selling 100 books on Amazon, I can safely say that whoever is a bestselling author on this platform has surely done their homework. Selling books today, on Amazon or in a bookstore, is a Herculean task. Why? Because the market is so concentrated, it barely has any room left for newbies like me. But there’s more than one reason why people sell books, other than profit.
-It’s a great conversation starter-
As a content creator, I’m always getting pitches from people who want me to work for them. I’m not the only one trying to get some work, no. I’m also pitched for my services, and when you start a conversation with someone by saying “I love writing, I’m also an author”, in 90% of cases the person you’re talking with is going to buy your services. A book is the best confirmation of your writing.
It’s like being a fitness instructor with a six-pack. Or a painter with works of art displayed in a gallery in Paris. Or a chef that’s somewhat big, but just fit enough. But yes, a little fat. So is the case of the writer who’s selling their services to others and has a published book. It’s not just about making money with a book, it’s about showing people you can actually write.
-It teaches you business management-
You know what’s ten times more important than having a great product or service, as a personal brand. Learning how to sell your product or service to clients. While I’m well into my freelancing career and have been doing good or better for most of the last 5 years, writing and publishing a book is just like opening a new business. The writing itself is like a business plan with yourself.
Then comes the editing part, the notes, the rewrites, these are all of those little changes over the initial plan. Then comes the publishing, launching day, and therefore the pricing, which are just like when you’re first launching a service or a product. Then comes the hard part, ads, marketing, convincing people that your product, in this case, a book, is worth their time AND money.
-It shows that paid ads are bleak-
Speaking of ads, while I can’t say advertising on Facebook and Instagram has been a complete disaster, it hasn’t been good either. Not even decent, actually. Sure, my budget was extremely low, at about $25 for both social networks, but the ads there have sold me 9 books. That was that! Maybe I’m not an expert when it comes to ads, but I did decent targeting and all the rest.
Still, Facebook sent the wrong people my way. For some reason, people who’ve been sent to my Amazon book page stopped there, for the most part. Out of 89 people who’ve clicked on the ad, out of the thousands who’ve seen it on their feed, just 7 decided to purchase the book. Instagram was even worse, with just 2 people buying the book.
Luckily, my organic traffic on my blog, Instagram Stories and Facebook did great, and I sold another 91 books with no investment but content. I guess I’m good at content? Look, Facebook still works, but for this book, it did nothing. This teaches us that when it comes to launching a new product, it’s not just about spending cash on ads, but also doing your organic stuff right.
-It shows readers care about feedback… –
… but never bother with leaving some of their own! After selling 100 books, I’ve got zero comments on Amazon. I got feedback from my readers, as most of them are friends with me on Instagram, a few are my working colleagues from overseas, and they enjoyed it, but the many other people who’ve read it? Nothing came from them in terms of feedback! If you’re reading this, WHERE IS MY FEEDBACK?! It can be that bad because then people would’ve asked for their money back, and no return request has been registered so far.
-It makes you want to write more-
Writing a book is merely the beginning of it. After the writing comes the advertising. And this is usually done by posting about your book on social media, by sending a few messages to your friends and colleagues, or by writing blog articles about your creation. Like this one. Writing a book is an incentive, the best incentive, to push out even more content. So to learn more, and become a better writer.
-It gives you the motivation to write a second book-
100 sold books are nothing for your average published author. It’s not even peanuts money. For me, it means the world. 100 people have decided that their time and money are well invested if they’d to spend them on my creation. That is nothing but a great motivator to write a second one. Which I will! Not right now, as I’m slumped with work, but next year? 100% gonna happen!