Of all the ways to earn money passively, self-publishing just might be one of the most exciting. Although, there is a ton of different, equally exciting ways to earn passively-- that’s the beauty of an online business.
But, if you’re a writer or you’ve always wanted to publish something, this is a fantastic way to earn and fulfill one of your dreams at the same time.
It’s important to get into the right mindset about this, of course. You aren’t going to become rich and earn a fantastic passive income if you only publish one book. You probably aren’t even going to earn a great income with even 5 books or 10 books. I’ve heard some who’ve been wildly successful with self-publishing say their success didn’t really take off until they’d published upwards of 30-40 books.
These books typically aren’t as long as you might be thinking, though. Some have become very successful releasing books of around 10,000-30,000 words or so.
I’m not saying this is the easiest path to online riches. But, if you target the right niches and work hard to hit the audience in the right way with high quality content, you could earn a great passive income.
Once your books are up and selling well, you can release a new book every once in a while to keep the momentum going. You can build a list with your books. Really, once your books have started to become successful, you can snowball that success and it can become easier and easier to earn a solid income.
Who Can Self-Publish?
Let’s talk about who can self-publish because this is something some people get wrong. You don’t have to be a world-class writer or novelist to be successful with this.
You don’t have to be someone who has wanted to write all your life, although that can help with mindset and motivation.
You don't have to be someone who will toil day and night for years to finish a book. In fact, that can be really detrimental to your success.
You can self publish if you're a great writer, or you can self publish if you’re just an okay writer but still have something to share with the world… it doesn’t matter. You can do this. Gone are the days when traditional publishers were the only ones who could decide who could get published.
With self publishing then, it isn’t who you know at all, it’s who you write for, and how much you write.
Today, as long as you have something important to share with the world and there are people out there who will buy and read your book, you can and should self-publish. Don't worry about the gatekeepers. Don't worry about those who tell you that your writing has to be perfect before you publish it.
I am in no way telling you to just publish junk. What I am telling you is that you shouldn’t worry about perfection. Worry about what people will pay for and what you can share with those people.
Remember, this is a business model for you, if you want it to be. You can self-publish if you love writing – you can self publish if you love earning a great income.
When you self-publish, you have to think of yourself as a publishing company as much as you do a writer. Publishing companies publish in order to earn money – that's what you're doing. Build up your mindset and you become very successful if you dedicate yourself to this.
What Can You Earn With Self-Publishing?
You are doing this, at least partially, in order to earn a great income. It makes sense that you would be wondering what the earning potential is here. There’s no exact figure that I can throw out to you.
I can tell you that your success and earnings should snowball with every book you put out. That’s even more likely if you target a great, hot niche and publish very frequently. That’s the name of the game on Amazon. They want frequent, high quality content (just as a search engine would for high rankings, if you’re familiar with search engine marketing at all).
There are plenty of people out there in various stages that are earning a full-time income from self-publishing. Some of them are doing so quietly while others are more vocal about it.
There are even people out there who have become millionaires through self-publishing.
What can you earn? Honestly, that’s completely up to you. Some niches are much more lucrative than other niches. For example, certain romance fiction niches have a much higher earning potential than certain mindset and business categories.
So, to figure out what you can and should earn with your self-publishing, you have to figure out what your niche or genre is going to be. Then, you have to do what you can to learn more about those who have been successful within that niche or genre to follow in their footsteps.
I’ll be honest and tell you that some of my publishing in certain business and mindset categories has not turned out as lucrative as I’d hoped it would. With some more effort in writing and publishing unique works and a lot more money spent, I’m sure I could do better in those categories. But, for my time right now, I’m focusing on other passive income streams—that’s not to say I’ll never return at a future date.
Still, I am getting royalties from Amazon every month for books that I wrote long ago and haven’t touched since.
Let’s talk about you again with passive royalties from self-publishing. You want to earn and you are capable of earning. You are willing to study those who are successful and choose a niche or genre that’s already doing well on Amazon Kindle. Put that together and you could earn some great royalties from self-publishing.
By the way – I don’t mean to make this all about the Amazon Kindle. There are definitely other opportunities and other publishing platforms out there that make it possible for you to earn. But, Amazon is the most well known and has the most profit potential for you to earn passively right now, so of course I’m highlighting that one.
Is there a chance that you could earn a full-time income from self-publishing? Yes – absolutely. Focus on what your goal is and figure out if it’s possible to achieve within the niche or genre you’re interested in. That’s really what it comes down to. Follow the trail of success on Amazon Kindle based on what other self-published authors have achieved.
What Are Some Great Niches or Genres To Self-Publish In?
I’m not going to go very in depth about great sub-niches or sub-genres to self publish in because those niches or genres change all the time. As someone who wants to earn a great income with self-publishing, you’re going to have to do some research and really do some digging and keep up with the trends.
With that said, fiction authors seem to have an easier time earning than some nonfiction authors. Indeed, some people speculate that it’s the romance novel industry that keeps publishing going in general.
Of course, romance is also extremely competitive. That’s why it’s important to look at niches within niches – or sub-genres within sub-genres.
Everyone knows of the 50 Shades of Gray and Twilight books that have been popular within the last few years. Many self-published authors have capitalized on those trends and have written similar books and have earned a lot of money doing so. What are the trends at this very moment? Do the research and figure it out.
Someone who I really admire, Steve (S.J.) Scott, has earned a lot of money publishing in the business, mindset, and self-help books. No one that I’ve found has been able to quite duplicate his success – probably because he releases so consistently and remains fresh. He really seems to have cracked the code.
The great news is that Amazon leaves their best seller lists open for you to view. Take a look at the genres or niches you’re interested in. Take a look through the top sellers. Are some of them self published? What could you publish to rank well? Dig down into very narrow categories to figure it out.
Getting Started Self-Publishing
Hopefully, you’ve decided that self-publishing is the path for you and you’re more excited than ever.
The first thing to do is choose your niche, sub-niche, genre, or sub-genre. Do some research. The research you do now, with really in-depth digging, is really going to pay off for you.
Don’t just dive right in and write whatever it is you want to write. You have to know that it’s going to be a popular seller first.
In general, books that are ranked under 20,000 in sales rank within Amazon Kindle are selling pretty well. The lower the number, the better.
So, if you see several self-published books that are ranking less than 20,000 in a particular category, then that might be something you want to pay attention to. There are other things that go into what sells, such as their cover, descriptions, keywords, traffic strategies, whether or not they have an email list, and so on.
Do some digging. Also take a look at the reviews within the genre. What do people like and what don’t they like?
What seem to be the emerging trends? You’ll spend a lot of time on the Amazon Kindle website trying to find the trends and profitable topics you can target for your own books. That’s really the first part of getting started self-publishing.
Then, you need to come up with a unique angle for your own book. Come up with a list of what you’re going to cover within your book and create an outline for yourself.
Next, go ahead and write your book. Don’t be scared – do a little bit at a time. Don’t edit yourself as you write – save that for later.
Finally, it will be time to edit and publish your book – formatting it for Kindle.
After you do that, you have to pay attention to things like the title of your book (although some people do that first before writing the book), the cover for your book (people really do judge books by their covers), the description, marketing activities, list building (the front and back matter of your books can be great for this), and more.
Just don’t get overwhelmed right now – focus on getting that first book written. Then, rinse and repeat until you have a veritable self published empire within a profitable niche. If you do that, then you really can’t go wrong.
Building Your List as a Self-Published Author
I can’t stress this enough – you should be building a list with every book you release on Amazon or any other self-publishing platform.
If you build a list using your book, then you can let people know when you have a new release out. If you have a list of fans, they should rush out (or click through your links…) to buy your book – that’s the hope, anyway.
That’s how your success can snowball. Because when you’re able to drive your own traffic to your books, Amazon will kick your book up in the rankings. Their algorithms kick in. They really reward success. That can lead to some great passive earnings.
Put a link to your website in the front and back matter of your book. Let people know that you’re giving something away for free – give them something that goes along with the book they’re reading or gives them a free book (or something else of interest for free). People love free things and they will click over to sign up.
Once you capture their email address, you can keep them up-to-date on what you’re doing and promote new books to them. Don’t hold off on building your list using your books – it can really pay off for you. Do it right away, even before you’re successful with self-publishing.
Publishing More Books to Build Your Name (or Pen Name)
This is another thing I can’t stress enough. Don’t just release one book and call it a day. You should release several books over time. You should have a self-published empire.
Don’t get frustrated if things are slow in the beginning. They will improve if you keep at it and write in really profitable genres and niches. Spend a lot of time (a lot) on researching profitable genres before you write. That’s half (or more) of the battle.
Earn Passively with Self-Publishing
Sure, it’s not easy, passive work in the beginning to self-publish and rake in the dough. You really have to be on top of things and release consistently.
With that said, if you work things the right way, you can earn day and night. You can earn from your books when you’re sleeping. You can earn with your books in countries you’ll never set foot in.
It doesn’t matter if you’re lounging on the beach in Tahiti, or you’re sick, or you just don’t feel like writing on a particular day, your books can earn for you.
Do the work now and you can reap the rewards for the months and years to come. Build your publishing empire bigger and bigger and tackle more and more profitable niches and genres and this can really turn into a wonderful thing for you.