Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Self-Publishing Authors Should Be Looking for More Distributors - and Bundles and Affiliates

Self-Publishing Authors Looking for More Distributors - and Bundles and Affiliates
(photocredit: covs97)

What's missing with most book distributors is the ability for indie authors to bundle their books into packages.

It's not rocket science: the more books you sell, the more you earn. Indie authors without bundles are missing income.

Fans who like your book (and like to save money) would probably opt for a bundle of them. J.A. Konrath, a pioneer in this area, long ago paid someone to convert his site so he could sell books directly. Included in this is bundles of his books, which you can download directly.

For any entrepreneur, the ebook publishing scene has long been profitable. Amazon (and particularly almost any book about how to publish on Amazon) has long been bringing money to the table for Indie Authors and others.

The difference between the "get rich quick" people and the real bread-winners is whether they are on more than just Amazon.

Why I've always sold to as many eyeballs as possible.

I started out as a indie author/self-publisher making more money on each of several other distributors than I did on Amazon - testing a dozen titles I had already published via Lulu (PDF's and paperbacks) in the last decade. So that made me profitable from day one. (Hat-tip: This was Mark Coker's advice - it works.)

Now I concentrate more on publishing than writing. (Every blog post will probably later become part of a book - but that's another story...)

Recently, one of my books started to take of with Amazon, and today I get more from them than the rest of my distributors combined. (While the others have been steadily improving their sales as well. This basically means I doubled my income over a couple of months by doing nothing except adding more books everywhere but Amazon. Read that paragraph again - slowly - if it doesn't make sense: earn more by working smarter.)

Bookselling isn't a zero-sum game. There are more ebook buyers created every second of every day. Getting your books bought is a matter of having your content in front of multiple eyeballs at different times and spaces. There is no real limit to how many readers can be reached to potentially buy your book. No one distributor has them all, however Amazon may want to claim...

Each of the major ebook distributors also has different algorithms and audience preferences. Some  books I sell on GooglePlay don't do as well on Kobo or iTunes, and vice-versa. Kobo sells more internationally, and GooglePlay just got into selling books seriously earlier this year. Amazon doesn't like PLR or public domain books (without extensive editing) and with this business plan, I only have a couple dozen original books on Amazon, while I have 137 on Google Play. Google (Android) and iTunes (IOS) have the bulk of the smartphones and tablets sewn up to sell books by default, so it's income insanity to just and only sell on Amazon.

This is why I can tell who's actually serious about earning income compared to Kool-Aid-drinking "get rich quick" types. Serious money follows authors who are serious about their distribution. One ebook which doesn't sell on Amazon doesn't mean it doesn't work - it just means you haven't worked hard enough at it. That same ebook may sell on Kobo or iTunes quite well. You will never know the income you've been missing if you go KDP only.

(And I tell exactly how to publish in such a high volume with "Just Publish! Ebook Creation for Indie Authors." And don't get all bent out of shape - it's taken me over a year to get all that amount published. The trick is in finding good content and assembly-lining quality production.)

Yes, as you can guess, I'm financially free and no longer have to work for anyone else.

Now I'm working on my first million-dollar income year.

Which brings up how to improve book sales by bundling.

The long and short of it is that the 6 main distributors (Amazon, iTunes, B&N, Lulu, Kobo, GooglePlay) do not allow you to bundle. They reserve this for themselves (people who bought this also bought this package - you save $___).

Sure, you can put several books into one as an anthology and sell them that way - but I would think that people want to keep their books separate on their ereaders, plus the marketing is better if you list out the descriptions and show the individual covers.

[Sidebar: There is also a relative newcomer to online booksales -, who has recently gotten into the subscription business. But they also don't like PD or PLR stuff and reject it with what seems to be a duplicate content filter. So that would make 7 main distributors. Smashwords would make 8, but are harder to submit to in general IMHO - they also forbid public domain and PLR.]

[Update: Another entry - which would bring our total distributors to an even 14 - would be DocStoc. You can sell your books here, and also promote yourself and your brand. They have courses and packages, but their documentation sucks on whether these are even possible for a self-publishing author/business could create these. From searching the docstoc blog, it appears their packages are internally curated, and their videos are shot in-house (Santa Monica, if you can get an invite.) But at least you can sell your books here - preferably non-fiction, it seems. Oh, and they share income from adsense they run next to your books...]

The Reason for Bundles - More Sales, More Income.

This post really is about a review of additional places to sell books.

My eyes were opened to this when Matt Stone from Archangel Ink contacted me about converting my Amazon hit over to an audiobook. Since I didn't know a lot of what he was saying, I was forced to do research on it. This area is changing almost as fast as regular publishing. And the lights went on with the work I now was inspired to do in order to promote this new book version.

My earlier experience in building websites and Search Engine Marketing said that the best way to do this was to get multiple points of contact for every book, and this includes multiple formats - and multiple distribution points.

Of course, this also means that you are building a wealth of content - which can be gathered together to sell in bundles - discount or otherwise.

With this website, I am looking at a series of 4 ebooks, with both paperback and hardback editions, audio books for each one, plus video-enabled ecourses which can be produced. Meanwhile, the books are also available as PDF's - just about every way these can be published, they need to be. (The doc-sharing and video sites all give link-love off the same content, with different descriptions and tags.)

Obviously, a full study package of all these books in the series, and individual bundles for each single book, would all be possible now. Each chapter of the audio book could be downloaded individually, as well as every version. (And the out-takes and cutting-room floor material would create some nice BitTorrent marketing...)

But there are people like me who would like to have the paperback version so I can dog-ear the pages and highlight it, the hardback so I can read it with some heft and store it in my reference library for later use, and also having the ebook and MP3 (and video) versions available on my smartphone and tablet for the odd scratches of times where I can pick these up to further my reading or study - or listen to on the road.

From an income view, this means actually creating more distributors for your works. Particularly if said distribution points had affiliates who could push your work for you. Like audio books, this would be sales you couldn't get otherwise.

The questions are: how-to? and where?

Finding Bundle Providers

This search, as I said, ran through these guys making my audio book (as I write this, we are still in the contract phase, but they have everything they need to start.)

Research lead me to Podiobooker (a way to serialize your blog-book by podcasting it), and their submission guidelines led me to Leanpub - which is another distributor who converts your book for you, much like Lulu or Smashwords. With them, it's a 90% royalty and they make both the epub and Kindle version. (I'm checking these guys out - they may be a replacement for my use of LibreOffice/Sigil/Calibre. [video link])

Main point is that this is yet another distributor - meaning "more eyeballs."

It was Leanpub which brought up bundling again. They allow you to do it directly on their site. There's videos on that linked page which will help you make your own decisions.

The income flow on this is that you usually - in Search Engine Marketing - will have a landing page with all the various distributors so they have a choice of who to go to.

Now on that page, you'd also have your Amazon and Lulu links so they could buy your hardcopy versions in addition to the ebook versions.

And you'd have an Audacity/Amazon/iTunes link to get the audio version.

Finally, you'd have bundles of related books so they could buy them there.

Every time you blogged about your book, they'd get this link to your book page, and so the search engine link-love builds and builds. As you add more distributors, you simply return to add update the links on that page.

What about Affiliates?

Obviously, encouraging your readers to promote your book for you and get paid for it is a no-brainer. Yet another reason for any of them to become an evangelist-fan.

Somewhere in all this, I found yet another place who will sell your digital products for you - Distribly. There's another site like them: Scubbly.

What these guys can do is to host your digital files in bundles so people can download them. They each have their own affiliate sales section (everyone becomes an affiliate) and so you start attracting sellers out of your loyal fans.

This of course brought up earlier research on Clickbank alternatives. A sidebar here: I'm not a big fan of Clickbank, as they have a whole structure of fees you have to pay and endure when you put products on their site. They've been around a very long time and have been stung more than once, so they have built in several defenses. They do a good job at what they do.

What I feel is that I shouldn't have to pay to put my product up, wait to get it approved, pay to get it sold, and pay each month to get it hosted, etc.

Distribly and Scubbly take the view that you shouldn't have to jump through these hoops. They host for nothing (or very little for huge 100MB files) and incorporate affiliates to sell them for you. Both have 10% or less commissions, so you wind up publishing for 90% royalties in most cases.

That older research found two affiliate programs which also host your digital products: PayDotCom and - these will host your digital products (and PayDotCom say's they'll deal with the physical as well...) They are both mainly Affiliate sites and so each have fairly large numbers of people going there to find products to pitch.

The Big Boys - Getting Physical

One other I found recently is - which has it's own fulfillment center, so you can create whole physical packages of goods and they'll create and ship them for you, as well as handle returns.

There is another company which is another old-hand at physical product fulfillment, which is - but they also don't do sales or affiliates. Most of the various affiliate centers will link to them, so this is a logical extension.

Both of these are upper-end, however. (Means initial set up fees, warehousing fees, etc. - not for the newbie or faint-of-heart-and-wallet.)

Splitting out non-bundle physical products

If you want to go simple, use Kunaki for your CD/DVD and then use some sort of shopping cart to send them the order details. They cover your alternatives on their site. I found they'd added the function of collecting sales for you based on a small percentage, plus manufacturing cost. Very easy to use. Just make sure you get at least one order every 180 days (or set up an alert to go and buy one regardless - which you can give away as a prize or use for other promotion.) Otherwise, they simply delete your file and you have to upload again. This isn't a bundle, but it gives you options for people who want a physical product. has routinely out-performed in quality print-on-demand books. It also is readily accepted by B&N as well as independent bookstores, who can order through Ingram. (Amazon imprints often get banned in these stores, for obvious reasons.) That's where people can buy your hardcopy books directly.

I use Lulu to publish my ebooks (porting to iTunes and B&N) and then turn around and edit a version for hardcopy publishing. One digital file with a cover can produce probably a couple-dozen different hardcopy formats - so you can have a spiral-bound study guide as well as a case-wrapped hardcover just as simply.  They also give you free ISBN's for each version, which is much easier for indie authors to get started.

(Of course, you can get  into your own fulfillment scene by ordering large amounts of everything and shipping out of your garage... I'd rather be writing or publishing in the time it takes. Earns me more income.)

Seeing Further from the Shoulders of Giants

So you see how this goes. We've now added five more distributors to our publishing lines, and the four last have built-in affiliate systems, so you can get your fans to buy and sell your books (as well as non-fan, profit-hungry professional affiliate salespeople.)

The idea in earning income with published books is to get multiple products up there, on as many distribution lines as possible. You also want to create these in as many formats as possible and create bundling options for potential readers. Add to these sales by getting affiliates to push them for you, getting you additional eyeballs reading your books you wouldn't have otherwise.

The overall datum we are using is stated simply:

Write once,
publish as many ways,

in as many formats, 
to as many eyeballs
as possible.

- - - -


Well, Good Luck with this.

And let me know how it goes...

PS. List of the 9 main ebook distribution outlets:

(Top 7 have about 90% of the ebook market between them, if not more.)

[Update: There are many, many more bundlers out there. Some maybe better than Distribly and Scubbly - so you'll need to do your due diligence. What you are looking for is a site which has a substantial following of avid users and will a) sell your digital book for you, b) allow packages (that's just another digital product, actually), and c) enable affiliate sales. After that look for customizable, SEO-friendly sales pages, etc. Here's one site to get you going: The key is finding sites which already have buyers and sellers frequenting them. After that is low-cost or free to use, and high royalties.

This leads off into a tangent that you'll become a digital publisher, instead of just an indie author. Another journey awaits, perhaps...]

[Update  Feb 21, 2014: This blog post by list 20 websites to sell your ebook on. Many of them are covered above, some (anything that costs to get you started) I've already discarded. Watch your sign up fees and royalties - as listed below each distributor. Again, you're looking for well-visited sites that preferably have affiliate programs.]

[Update continued: Sorted these out. If you are already publishing to the above (I generate an epub through a LibreOffice plug-in Writer2Epub, and then check and tweak in Sigil, proof and write description in Calibre - then post to Lulu for an ISBN, which takes care of iTunes and B&N submission - then post to Kobo - then post to Google Play.) you already have most of the above taken care of. Here's a rundown of what's left of the free-to-use from that Hongkia list:

Payhip - merely another landing page for your book, but without the also-bought suggestions. You're probably already blogging, so don't need this extra work.
Booktango - part of the disreputable Author Solutions - avoid.
myebook - closing down.
Blurb - looks to be iTunes-only.

Payspree - another affilate marketplace, like JVZoo and PayDotCom, useful.
Click2Sell - yet another affiliate marketplace, but some advanced features such as membership possibilities.

Add these last two under bundlers. My own advice would to be set up your packages and bundles with Leanpub and then port these to the other bundlers. This is after you publish all you can to as many of the 9 main distributors, then come back and expand your backbench with additional offers.

There's some more posts coming on email lists and upsell offers/sales funnel - so stay tuned: subscribe by email...]
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Saturday, October 12, 2013

How to Find a Millionaire

What Are the Four Questions any Real Millionaire Can Answer Instantly?

How to Find a Millionaire - Money: How to Get it, Keep it.

A millionaire isn't a person who has a million dollars.

A millionaire has the mindset to earn that much and more.

Anyone can develop this mindset, but only one in a million (on average) actually has. (That's the real meaning behind "millionaire.")

Once you've developed this mindset, and invested yourself in learning how to do what you need to do in order to earn the income and resources you require, then your first million - and all the subsequent millions and billions - are simple.

There are four questions which any millionaire can answer instantly when you ask them:
  1. What is your burning desire?
  2. Are you sure enough of yourself that you could be put on a stage in any major city - dressed in only bib overalls and a flannel shirt - and keep a full audience captivated for a half-hour speech?
  3. Do you know the how-to's and know-how of your industry or chosen business so well that you could be set down in any location on this planet where you know the language and make a complete success just from what you know?
  4. How much value do you give away openhandedly?

How did you do on this test?

Any you couldn't answer immediately can be solved. You can train yourself into becoming a millionaire. It will take some investment of time and money, and it won't happen overnight.

But all those "1%'ers" who control 99% of the wealth on this planet did just that. They invested in themselves and in what they needed to know, and then trained themselves with discipline to do what they needed to in order to become the success they wanted.

Let's take these all in turn:

1. Your burning desire. Of course, this comes from Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich." Studies of successful people showed that those who had written out their exact goal before they left high school usually made it. Those around them who didn't write out their goal usually didn't.

Hill (and many, many others) said to write this out on a piece of paper, or a 3x5 card, and put it in your pocket so you can review it every day, 2 or 3 times a day, getting the impression that this has already happened - embracing all the great feelings that go along with that state.

Get his book. Read it. Read it again. Do every action he tells you to in that book. Read it again. Apply it to your life. Read that book at least once a year from this point forward.

Now when someone asks you for your burning desire, you can simply rattle it off.

2. You have to be completely sure of yourself. This is esteem. Most people have problems with this area. Our school system and workplaces (due to government regulations) are filled with props that  support a person their entire life. Even "retirement" is supposedly taken care of.

And this is why most people are broke and dependent by the time they get ready to retire. They've relied on these props their entire life and followed the advice they've been given.

Successful entrepreneurs learn to ignore conventional wisdom and bring new solutions to the market in spite of what they are told. Read up on Steve Jobs, Sam Walton, Ray Kroc, all the great movers and shakers. (That is actually what Napoleon Hill did in order to write his bestseller.)

The shortcut route I've found is to get Earl Nightingale's Strangest Secret and follow the 30-day program he has outlined there. Read the books he recommends, such as Hill's book. Dorothea Brande's Wake Up and Live, and Claude Bristol's Magic of Believing. If you have problems speaking in front of people, get Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Internalize these for yourself.

3. You have to know how your industry works from the inside out. You don't have to know all the details, but you have to know and have access to people who do.

For an online entrepreneur, I tell people that there are four subjects you need to master:
a. Attraction Marketing
b. Affiliate Marketing
c. Content Marketing
d. Network Marketing
 While you will probably need to weed out some oddball ideas, if you find the really successful people in these areas, and then find out what they know, you'll be able to learn this for yourself.

  • Attraction Marketing: Dan Kennedy, Perry Marshall
  • Affiliate Marketing: Michael Campbell
  • Content Marketing: Copyblogger, Problogger
  • Network Marketing: Mike Dillard, Ann Seig/Mike Klingler

4. Hill also said, "You have to give before you can get."  His mentor, Andrew Carnegie, made a deal with God - that once he made his fortune, he'd give it all away. That is where most of our U.S. public libraries came from. Most of the extremely rich give their wealth away. It's these, not the government, which forms the back bone of the charities in the U.S. (Government handouts by study are known to increase poverty, inefficiency, and waste - not solve them.) Individual charities address specific areas in order to improve them - and do.

In order to attract value, you have to openhandedly give value away without expecting a return. If you want to make millions, you have to help people make their own millions - like Ray Kroc and Sam Walton both did. You enable people to improve their lives in order to improve your own. 

Know that the "Rule of the Millionaire" applies:
  • 1 out of a hundred will accept the offer of learning how to get rich.
  • 1 out of a thousand will complete any study course in this area.
  • 1 out of ten thousand will apply what they learned to break-even.
  • 1 out of a hundred thousand will become well-off from using that knowledge routinely.
  • 1 out of a million will become outrageously rich and stay that way forever.
 So while you always give in order to enable people - allow them to take a course or buy a product which can improve their lives - don't expect more than a few out of a hundred to become successful at this.

This of course means that you have to reach millions in order to make more millionaires like yourself. But realize that you are improving the lives of 900,000 while you do...

Once you can answer those 4 questions affirmatively, honestly, and without pause, then you are more than on your road to becoming outrageously rich and successful.

For you, now it's just a matter of when, not if.
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Friday, October 11, 2013

Master These Four Sets of Knowledge and Succeed

There are really just four sets of data which leverage your time and money into millions in income.

Four Cowboys? (detail)
(not our first rodeo - just cowboy up...)

Of course, it's taken me years to narrow down to just these. And I wish I had some simple affiliate programs I could send you to - but this is just an off-the-cuff blog post, not  a full release with videos and everything.

It's also a work in progress - but I thought you would want to know when there was a breakthrough.

The four courses of study you'll need to master:
1. Attraction Marketing
2. Affiliate Marketing
3. Content Marketing
4. Network Marketing

Yes, they all have marketing in the name - isn't that interesting.

In tracing down the back trails of millionaires, you'll find that while they got rich seemingly overnight, they actually spent years in study preparing themselves. They realized that they had to learn two skills:
a. How to copywrite
b. How the mind works 
Those really just describe marketing in its essence - how to communicate with people and offer them what they think they want.

My own challenge in this - as covered somewhat in "Get Your Self Scam Free" - was to figure out an ethical approach in marketing.

Because people can think they want or need this or that, but the question is what you think. 97% or more of them out there just are here to be entertained. That's why they have jobs and why most will retire broke and dependent on the government or relatives. They muddle through their lives in pursuit of happiness. Thanks to the laws and culture built up, this is a fairly safe route. It's easier to muddle through than become an outrageous success.

It's easier to be one of the masses than it is to be a millionaire. While there are some occastional protests (and attempts at regulation through taxation) - most people would like to be a millionaire, but realize it is easier just to go along with the crowd.

This was described by Earl Nightingale in his Strangest Secret in 1956. That long ago. Listen to that recording (or read it in the linked book) and you'll see the statistics he quotes haven't changed much. The percentages are the same.

Nightingale, T. Harv Eker, and Mike Dillard are the examples I've kept running into of people who were able to factually achieve their millions in a comparatively short time. Each of them spent years learning their craft, and then in a short time were able to move into a heady high-income altitude.

They each studied:
a. How to write and market
b. What made people tick.

Then they came out with a product which filled a need and was highly leveraged.

After that, they reinvested both their knowledge and finances in order to make subsequent millions.

Attraction Marketing

That is exactly what is covered in learning how to attract customers and prospects instead of chasing them. Perry Marshall and Mike Dillard both credit Dan Kennedy's Magnetic Marketing for their start - and Dillard also followed Perry Marshall's lead. However, you'll need to get a copy of Kennedy's stuff to see the real deal. Both Dillard and Marshall mixed what they learned with other data. While you can study either of them to get successful, you'll need to dig in and get these and other books to really understand and get to the point where everything clicks.

Affiliate Marketing

In learning to market other people's products, you'll learn all the current in's and out's of what you have to do to achieve passive income. It's all built on how well you can copywrite - how well you understand what people think they want and how to give it to them.

You'll also learn how fulfilment and delivery is done - all without having to create a product yourself. By figuring how to improve your own sales, you'll find what makes a good product - which will then prove your own understanding of human psychology as valid.

Content Marketing

This Internet-driven world we live in is all about being able to find valuable content. How you give this content to others is what keeps bringing people to you. Dillard say's "people are basically lazy" and want stuff presented to them. Content marketing is the point of searching and pre-digesting data to people in a format they like and will return to. This makes you an authority in this area, which is a key point of Dillard's approach, but also is a factor which any successful millionaire has done. This also comes back to Magnetic Marketing, as the alpha leader is the one who attracts followers.

This isn't difficult to learn, but again, it's built on your own understanding of - and ability to apply - copywriting and sales-psychology, in a non-salesy approach required in this Internet Age. That's why you study this third.

Network Marketing

Often derided as pyramid schemes and general scams, this is the most highly-leveraged business you can be part of. It's problem is that the whole subject has long appeared booby-trapped. The reality is that 97% of the people who sign up are expecting to just flow along like another job.

3% of them will do the hard work to keep those other 97% motivated and pushing product to people around them. The practical point is that those 3% will find out that they are doing more training than anything else.

But once they have an effective system they can train others on, they can acquire a stable downline which builds itself.

Network Marketing trains a person to run a business. A virtual business which produces regular online passive income. It trains you to have the people skills you need. And it trains you to be dispassionate about your business itself, but intensely focused on your own business success.

After this:

Somewhere in affiliate marketing, you learn about joint-ventures - which is the backbone of Affiliate Marketing. There is a point where you work out your own product and brand. This is where you'll then really rocket - on top of all the success you've already had.

For Dillard, Nightingale, and Eker, this is where they started on their next fortune - which was not a second million, but tens of millions. It's a whole new level of operating. It's where the actual "1%" live and work.

Anyone can do it. Most don't. Because it takes hard work and study. Of course. you can always fall back to the regular and hum-drum existence you've had up to this point.

My job is just to tell you that it's possible. I'm here to find and dissect those who have already done this, to let you know their secrets. As I do, I refine what I know - and give you the best tools I know of so you can do it on your own.

See you up the line.
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