Earlier this year, I shared how I made $9000 in author earnings from my self-published books. At the time, I hadn’t been focusing on my titles. Once published, I left Amazon to work its magic while I worked on other projects (aka shiny objects).
It wasn’t until late 2017 that I realized how well my Amazon books were doing. I reviewed my lifetime earnings and was surprised by what I saw.
My five short eBooks were earning a consistent income every month. And I was doing nothing to market them.
That was a light bulb moment for me. I love writing. And I really love passive income. My favorite kind of income is where you create (or buy) an asset then let it work for you.
Self-publishing with Amazon is one way to do this. After you’ve put in the work, Amazon will keep sending you monthly royalties… as long as you write a great book and launch it effectively.
Self-publishing allows me to combine my passions for writing and helping others, while earning a steady income.
Early in 2018 I decided to double down on books and increase my author earnings. Now that we’re half way through the year it seems like a good time to give you an update on how things are going.
In this post, I talk about how to increase royalties from your existing books. I have other sources of income – mostly new titles and affiliate sales. I’ll share more about these activities in future articles.
For now, here are three ways I’ve grown my author earnings by as much as 400%.
1. Increase Your Book Price
My first strategy may seem obvious. But many authors (myself included) are reluctant to experiment with book price. All I can say to you is this – just do it!
Worst case, your royalties drop off and you end up reducing your price back to its previous level. Best case, you earn more money by simply changing the price in Amazon’s KDP platform.
The key is finding the level that generates the most royalties. This isn’t always the same as the most book sales. Your sales may fall while, due to the higher ticket price, your royalties increase.
My books are short – typically 100 pages or fewer. I had been stuck at the $2.99 to $3.99 price point for more than a year. I had the mindset that nobody would pay more than that for a short Kindle book.
I was afraid to increase the price on my books. And I was wrong.
Instead of thinking about the number of pages in my books, I should have been thinking about the value to my customer. My titles show beginners how to earn their first $1000 (and in some cases much more) while working from home.
$1000 is a hefty return on the price of a short Kindle book. Lesson learned – don’t underestimate the value of your work.
I didn’t increase the price in one go. Instead I selected one book and gradually increased the price – one dollar at a time. Then, I left it at the new level for a couple of weeks and monitored my royalties.
Once I was sure royalties were trending upwards, I increased my book price again. I kept doing this until I reached a ceiling (the price at which my earnings started to fall).
I ended up with a price of $4.99 for my eBooks. This seems like a modest number – just $1 to $2 higher than my original price point – but it represents a 25% to 70% jump. That can add up to a lot of money over time!
Each genre has a different price ceiling. Your eBook limit could be higher than $4.99. For example, many technical and business eBooks sell at $9.99 or higher.
To get a feel for where your ceiling might be, browse the Amazon Kindle bestseller pages. Identify books in your genre that have been selling for some time (published several months or years ago). Then, check the price on each eBook. What’s the highest price point on titles like yours?
Changing my prices led to an increase in royalties between 25% and 70%. The size of the increase depended on the original price point of the title. Not surprisingly, I saw the biggest leap on books that were originally priced at $2.99.
2. Publish In More Formats
The next move I made was to publish my books in two additional formats – audiobook and paperback.
This is much easier to do than you might think. I wrote about how to create an audiobook version of your eBook here. You can learn how to create a paperback on KDP’s help pages.
In both cases, there was no dollar outlay. All it cost me was some time.
This is something I wish I’d done much sooner. There are many reasons why having multiple book formats on Amazon is a great idea.
First, more formats means more income sources. You reach people who may not buy eBooks but who do like print or audiobooks.
Second, having additional formats looks much more professional on your Amazon sales page. Some people associate audiobooks and paperbacks with a higher quality product (when compared to eBooks).
Finally, having a higher priced print book, makes your eBook seem like an even better deal. Here’s a screenshot of one of my book pages:
Note, how the Kindle price for my book is displayed as a 50% discount on the higher print price. Amazon is smart – it’s always working to sell more copies of your book. Displaying the price as a discounted amount can lead to more sales of the Kindle version of your book.
You need to experiment when pricing your paperback (you have no control over the audiobook price as Audible determines the price for you). Make sure your paperback is priced such that your royalty (after Amazon takes its cut) is equal to or higher than your eBook royalty. Otherwise, your total income may drop… especially if people start buying the print version of your title instead of the eBook.
At the time of writing, my paperback books are priced at $9.99 and my Kindle books at $4.99. This generates a royalty paid to me of approximately $3.80 on each paperback sale and $3.40 on each Kindle book sale.
3. Generate More Traffic To My Amazon Book Page
My last strategy is to increase royalties by driving more buyers to my Amazon book page. I’ve experimented with Amazon paid ads – which resulted in a jump in sales but a net loss in income. I’ll experiment more with paid advertising when I have time to give it my full attention.
I also started a blog. My goal with blogging is to reduce my reliance on Amazon. While it’s nice that Amazon sells my books (while I do nothing). This is a risky long-term strategy. Anything might happen to Amazon’s platform. I could see my author income plummet for reasons out of my control.
I publish weekly blog posts on topics relating to my books. In each of my articles I include a call-to-action. This is usually an invitation to sign-up for my email list or a link to one of my Amazon book pages.
My hope is that, as my blog traffic grows, more people will visit my Amazon book pages and buy my books. So far, I’m not seeing a big return on my efforts. I’ve been blogging for approximately three months and my website visitors are up. But not enough to translate into more than a handful of Amazon sales and email sign ups.
Increased Author Earnings
So, there you have it. Three ways to increase your earnings from your existing book(s). Two of these methods are a no-brainer – increase your book price and publish in more formats.
Here’s what happened to my royalties after increasing the eBook price and introducing two additional formats for my first book, Make Money On Airbnb:
As you can see my total royalties increased by 4X on just one title. That’s money I could’ve been earning over the previous two years. Please learn from my lesson – don’t wait to make these changes for your books!
I’m not sure if or when blogging will generate significant results. After three months, I’m seeing a trickle of new email subscribers from my blog. But most of my subscribers and sales are still coming from Amazon. Blogging is a long-term game. As always, I promise to keep you posted on how this goes.
What do you think? Have you tried changing your book price? What about publishing in other formats? Have you tried other methods to increase your author earnings, such as publishing on more platforms (iTunes or Nook) or in other languages?
To learn the exact steps to self-publish your nonfiction book, check out Make Money From Kindle Self-Publishing. My book shows you how to become a best-selling nonfiction author, help thousands of readers, and earn a recurring income.