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How I Wrote And Published 4 Books on Amazon in One Month

I don’t really believe in advertising as a valid, long-term monetizing strategy for a blog. There are more cons than pros, if you take the time to really look at it. Yet, many bloggers are rushing towards advertising and fill up their blog real estate with tons of banners and then dumbly wait for money to pour in.

Advertising has a very low entry point, all you need is some traffic and traffic building is relatively cheap, that’s true. But advertising also have a very, very low output: you need incredibly high amounts of traffic to make a decent amount of money. I won’t talk about the pros and cons of advertising as a blog monetizing strategy in this post. What I am going to talk about is my blog monetizing strategy for 2010.

The Strategy

First of all, let me tell you that I intend to make a huge change in my blog revenue in 2010. And by huge I mean huge, period. Second, I intend to make this happen by increasing my throughput. Delivering more value. This extra value may be contained in the form and the structure of this blog or it may be just an extension of the blog. Precisely, I’m going to build my own line of information products.

In the first 3 months of the year (including January, which is gone) I will create a series of ebooks. After that I may try a line of podcasts and/or video. If talking to a microphone is not at all unusual for me (I worked as a radio host for more than 7 years) doing some vlogging is certainly something intriguing. Which for me translates into “I have to do this”.

The very first items of my information products line are already out and they have been out for at least 2 weeks now. If you’re reading my blog on the web (as opposed to being an RSS subscriber) you noticed some changes. To make a long story short: during January, I already wrote 4 new books and also published them on Amazon. I won’t describe them now, I will let you download the free previews, if you want. Word of caution: there is one book which doesn’t have an associated ebook version and that would be The Productivity Trap (Amazon affiliate link).

Now let’s move on the “why” part of this decision.

Why Selling My Own Information Products

Because it’s more suited to my own lifestyle, to be honest. And because I find it much more appropriate to the whole concept of blogging as a business. A highly successful blogger should focus on increasing his throughput and deliver more of his personal experience, rather than relying on external, adjacent businesses, like advertising or affiliate marketing. I have nothing against that, and as a matter of fact I’m doing pretty well on affiliate marketing, I just came to a point where I want to do more. And here’s why:

1. Bigger Input

If I will build my own series of information products I will have greater control over the audience response. I can see what products are performing well and what products are not. I will see exactly what parts of my efforts are making the biggest impact. And adjust. We will grow together.

2. Better Connectivity

I will get in touch faster and deeper with my readers. Each of their responses will help me provide more value. Or, if I’m on the wrong path, I could be warned earlier. Anyway, creating more value on top of an already existing layer will streamline the existing communication.

3. Better Return

Let’s face it: in advertising, you’re the last layer from a huge pile. Each layer on this pile is retaining something of the value you deserve. At some level, this is understandable and I have nothing against it, as I already said it. I just choose to minimize this pile and keep fewer layers of interaction.

How I Did It

I started to write. Ok, it was a little bit more than that. πŸ™‚ Before sitting at a table and write, I tried to find the answers to 3 simple questions:

1. What Are You Going To Write About?

Not that I don’t have a gazillion topics ready to be extracted from my brain in the form of a readable ebook. It wasn’t the lack of topics, on the contrary, it was the prioritizing and selling strategy. What exactly would be the most fit and useful range of topics for my audience? And then it hit me: since I already have a lot of topics covered in this very blog, why not just run a content analysis and see which type of content performed better than the other?

I think the technical term for this is “crowd-tested”. Selecting topics which were already doing great in terms of traffic, comments and social media exposure. That’s one of the biggest advantages of a blog. You get all the interaction with your readers and deliver your message to a live audience, ready to validate or invalidate it. Oh, and in the process you do have a lot of fun too. Well, to keep a long story short, I chose to write ebooks based on the most popular posts I had in the last year.

2. How Much Do You Want To Write On Top Of These Posts?

I was fortunate enough to have a previous experience on this: my first ebook. It took me about 2 months of on and off writing to get that done. But it was like 90% new content. And, to be honest, it really felt like huge.

So I decided this time I will only go for 60% new content on top of the blog posts. That would lower the pages number, but this is not necessarily something bad. On the contrary. My aim is to provide easy to use and to re-use information. I’m not writing a philosophy manual. If I would write something like this, I would make revenue plans not for a year but maybe for 50. Or even 150 ;-).

Now, one would argue that you can’t write tons of good, easy to read, appealing books just by using crowd-tested blog posts, and I would very much agree with that. I have more than 350 personal development articles on this blog now but I won’t go for more than 10-15 good books using only the best of the best.

I intend to freeze this strategy somewhere around book number 15. By that time I hope to gather enough experience and ability to be able to start writing books from the scratch, without the skeleton of a blog post. To be honest, I have 3 book projects (on personal development) that are waiting in my Someday/Maybe folder. Maybe that Someday is sooner than I thought πŸ™‚

3. In What Form Are You Going To Sell Those Ebooks?

That was tricky, but in the end I come up with something really neat. I decided to have both electronic and printed formats. If there’s nothing to be explained about electronic formats (I already did it for my first ebook and I explained a little bit the process in the launch post) I think the printed part of this decision deserves a little bit of an explanation.

I was studying self-publishing platforms for a few months and sometimes during November last year I decided to give a try to CreateSpace.  The whole process looked clean and also easy to manage. All you have to do is to upload a PDF containing your book and a cover. You get an ISBN number and your own eStore, handling the whole selling process. The book is printed on demand, of course.

After I played a little bit with the site I abandoned the idea. And then, just a few weeks after, I saw that one of my fellow bloggers, Steven Aitchison, started to do exactly that. He published his first book on CreateSpace and… Amazon! Wow. It was like a thunder for me. I knew all the time that CreateSpace was an Amazon company, but for some reason my mind refused to make the connection. Of course! If you self-publish via CreateSpace you can make your book available on Amazon.com too.

And why is that important? you may ask. Why that thunder? Because Amazon gives exactly what you don’t have as a blogger: marketing and a HUGE captive audience (you may have a big community as a blogger, but not a HUGE captive audience).  It was really enlightening. So, I re-started the whole self-publishing process. The first one was 30 Sentences For A Millionaire Mindset (Amazon affiliate link), just to have a printed peer and then moved on the new ones. Everything was going on smoothly, but something was missing.

And I didn’t know exactly what, until I decided to start a challenge with Steven. We decide to race: whoever will be the first to have 5 books published on Amazon during January, will win. Strangely enough, I won that one. But the February challenge is already on, and we’re targeting 4 new books with that. So it’s complicated. πŸ™‚

I started a challenge not because I wanted to win, in the first place (although the desire to win was there too) but because I wanted to be held accountable. To have somebody who can tell me: I will do it regardless of what you choose to do and I may win this. These types of challenges are a fantastic motivator. At least for me.

The Routine

If you’re going to follow this monetization strategy, you have to be aware of some of the pitfalls.

First of all: you will write more. Much more. So be sure to put aside some extra time for that, if you’re not a full time blogger. Writing blog posts is one thing, but committing to a book, even if you already have a scaffold for it, will take more energy and focus. Prepare to spend more on this side. The good thing is that books have a bigger inertia than blog posts: they tend to remain alive much more time than a blog post. So the passive income revenue potential is bigger.

Second: It will take some time. It’s not only the approval process for the printed books, this one is relatively manageable, somewhere between 24 and 48 hours. It’s about the extra work you should do AFTER everything is done. You will have some new activities or you’ll have to put more time in activities you already perform, like writing landing pages, communicating with your affiliates (if you already have a network of affiliates) and analyzing market inputs (sales, evolution, etc).

Third: balance it. It will be a huge effort. Be aware! Balance your extra work with some rest or other activities. I did feel a few times the gentle touch of a potential burn out during this month, but hopefully I made it without it.

The Goodies

Now, I know you’re curious about what’s in those ebooks anyway. I can feel it. πŸ™‚ Since you made it till here I can tell you have a genuine interest in them and you could really, really find a use for one or all of my ebooks. So, without further ado, here’s my proposal.

Are you ready?

Really?

Ok, let’s do it:

I’m going to give free copies of any of my ebooks in exchange for a review. How does it sounds? Yeah, I heard that πŸ™‚ Oh, and the best part is that you DON’T need to have a blog to get a free copy! Because you can write a review at Amazon.com too. How cool is that? You get a free ebook and all you have to do is to write a review on your blog OR on Amazon.com. Kinda neat, if you ask me :-).

Now let’s get practical. Here’s what you have to do: leave a comment and let me know which ebooks are of interest to you. You can have any of the ebooks, including the flagship of my fleet, 30 Sentences For A millionaire Mindset! If you want, you can have all 4 ebooks (The Productivity Trap [Amazon affiliate link] is available only in printed form, I’m afraid, so that one should be bought directly).

Also, please let me know if you want or not to become an affiliate. Ups, I almost forgot: you can promote and resell my ebooks and you’ll get 50% off of each sale. I could have pick a smaller amount and then try to lure you in with some “extra” discounts up to this number, but I choose to do it upfront: 50% no questions asked. And since the printed versions are on sale on Amazon, you can promote them just as you promote other Amazon books on your site, if you’re an Amazon affiliate.

Ok, after you let me know which ebooks are you interested in, I will email them to you for free. The only thing I ask is to let me know when you’re going to publish the review, where (your blog and/or Amazon) and if you found some value in what I wrote. If you think somebody else would be interested in this giveaway, feel free to spread the word.

I don’t know for how long I’m going to do this, so be sure to act now, because, based on the response I get, this offer may end really soon.

That’s all.

Go!



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: β€œHail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: β€œMaybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: β€œWhy would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

This Post Has 58 Comments
  1. Dragos, that a very good idea! I’m reading your blog online so yes, I noticed the new books coming up.

    I had also thought about the idea of writing an ebook, mainly because blog posting seems to me just giving away bits and pieces, while an ebook gives you much more insight. So there’s this platform you can use, huh? I’ll make sure to give it a shot.

    Very useful!
    I’ll make sure to put aside some time for a review πŸ™‚
    .-= Maria´s last blog ..The Un-Work Life Balance =-.

    1. Thanks for putting aside some time for a review, but I didn’t quite get what ebook do you want to review in the first place πŸ™‚

      As for writing your own ebook, what exactly holds you back?

  2. Hey Dragos!
    Good stuff bro! You’re working hard and I hope the rewards are going to be plenty! All the best of luck and success!
    .-= Diggy – Upgradereality.com´s last blog ..Bill Gates to Jay Z Γ’β‚¬β€œ Wisdom And Quotes from 22 Incredibly Successful People =-.

  3. PS Ill be happy to do a review for you of a book. Just email me a copy and Ill send you a review asap.
    .-= Diggy – Upgradereality.com´s last blog ..Bill Gates to Jay Z Γ’β‚¬β€œ Wisdom And Quotes from 22 Incredibly Successful People =-.

  4. Congratulations mate, you seem to be doing really well here. You are rising quickly in the blogosphere.
    .-= Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com´s last blog ..Lessons From a Month of Meditation =-.

  5. I’d be interested in reviewing 7 Ages of an Online Business, personally. They all look good, though!
    .-= Thursday Bram´s last blog ..Is There Anything You Refuse to Write? =-.

  6. Hi Dragos,

    I found your blog through Karol Gajda and must say that it’s very interesting. I’m starting a small online business and therefore trying to find as much information as possible to act as a guideline (but it’s never that simple :)).
    I’d love to write a review of “The 7 Ages Of An Online Business” and “30 Sentences For A Millionaire Mindset”. I’ll write the reviews on Amazon in the next seven days.

    Btw. This looks like a great way of spreading the word πŸ™‚

    Cheers!

  7. Hey Dragos, Congratulations on your new plan. You’ve pulled off quite a feat! We have done the same thing with our NuNomad book (offer ebook and Createspace/Amazon) I’m glad to be able to offer choices of affordability and “touchability”. I think we sell about half and half. A coaching client of mine has done the same thing and sells many more through Amazon than her site but she has a niche that people are searching for on Amazon a lot. Anyway, I’d love to review 100 ways to Screw Up Your Life if noone has dibs on that one yet. I’d better find out how many of them I’m doing!
    .-= Carmen´s last blog ..4 Lessons Children Can Learn From Location Independence =-.

  8. Since I received a link to “100 Ways to Screw Up Your Life” yesterday, I can’t seem to break away from your blog. I’m completely hooked! I’ve already forwarded both “Screw Up” and “~Better” to dozens of my friends – and their thanks keep pouring in. I’d love to write reviews on Amazon for all of your ebooks.

  9. Hi Dragos!

    I’d be very interested in getting to read “100 ways to improve your life” . Would review it for Amazon.com, since I don’t operate a blog or have any sort of website. As of yet, I’m a 19 year-old student, so I’d perfectly understand if you were to chose other people to write reviews for you. I’ve done some other reviews recently as part of course-work, so I’ve been reading up on NY Books Review. Those books were mainly in the field of History and International Relations, that’s true, but I also have quite an interest in pshychology and personal development.

    Ever since about two months ago I started reading PD blogs. Stumbled across yours via one of the posts on Maria Galca’s blog on Lifetoolkit.net. I guess I would provide a bit of a different perspective about the book since I (suspect ) that I am not quite the kind of folks you usually attract on this site. Were I to review your book, I’d definitely try hard to make it a good review. As for being honest, well, I’m almost too honest for my own good sometimes. Comes with being a teenager, I guess πŸ™‚ . I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes,
    Adi

    PS – Either way, this is a fantastic way of raising awareness, I must say. I feel lucky that I started reading the post when only 8 people had commented. Might it be my lucky day?

    PPS – I’m Romanian, so that, if you were to answer, be it in a comment or via e-mail, we can use whichever language.

    1. Glad you’re reading PD blogs, the offer is quite rich nowadays πŸ™‚

      Ebook is on its way.

      P.S. The age is not a number but a mental construct πŸ˜‰

  10. I kind of appreciate your passion on doing some things.

    Still, personally, I would think twice before buying some e-book that was written also as a consequence of a bet involving speed πŸ˜›

    1. Thanks for being honest. It looks like you are into speed-something too, so to speak, in this case: speed-reading. If you would read twice you’ll see that it wasn’t a bet, it was a challenge, and it didn’t involved speed writing specifically. It was a limited time challenge, forcing both of us to deliver more than we usually do. In my experience, forcing your own limits will always generate some value.

      Not to mention that even when you leave a comment on a blog you have some speed challenges, right? Like you can’t spend your entire day reading the entire post, right?

      Peace πŸ™‚

      1. Oh, sorry, it was a challenge and not a bet πŸ™‚

        I tend to believe in the accomplishments that are on our comfort zone at the time being. Whatever sounds like a challenge can have some issues considering you pushed some limits somewhere. This can be OK for some aspects, but when you’re thinking to inspire other people with your knowledge it should be as close to perfect as possible. In the end, I guess you can never choose 3 items from quality, speed and costs πŸ™‚

        “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice” πŸ˜›

  11. Hi Dragos,

    I think your book marketing strategy is ingenious. I’m prepping my book as well so will be looking to you for some advice. I’ll catch you on email. Take care!
    .-= Steve @ MyWifeQuitHerJob´s last blog ..Learn How To Make Money On The Side With Ramit SethiÒ€ℒs Earn1K Program =-.

  12. Dragos,
    Nice post. I’ve been a lurker for about a month now, and have been enjoying the blog. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the ebooks. A friend and I are working on an ebook project, but it’s in the planning stages so this information is really helpful.

    My own blog has a very small readership, but the topic is sort of personal development–it’s about what motivates me (and others) and inspires us to work towards our dreams, even when that work is dull and mundane. I would be happy to review either/or both of your 100 Ways ebooks. I will send you an email with the expected date of the publication of the reviews after I get the ebooks and figure out how long it will take to read them. Thanks for the offer.

  13. Hey Dragos!

    It’s great to read into your process of monetizing a blog. I’m about as fresh as it gets in the blogging world (~6 days) and would love to read all four of your eBooks. I’ll stick with the rules and notify you of my reviews if you will send me copies πŸ™‚

    Thank you for your kindness!
    Spence

  14. Hi Dragos,

    Not only are you successful because your writing is clear and great but you are a generous man sharing how you succeed with all of us. I appreciate all the help and advice you give and yes I’ll write a review. You can send me, “30 sentences for a millionaires mindset.” You’re the best!
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Born To Run =-.

  15. Nice post! If you still open I would love to review your ebooks. I am interested in both of the 100 ways books, but especially the 30 Sentences for a Millionaire Mindset and 7 Ages of an Online Business.

    I will be honest, I have been very interested in your books since they popped up and would love to be an affiliate as well!

    I will write reviews for all the books on amazon in a 7 days or so, and for sure a review of them on my blog over the next two weeks.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  16. I think this is a great thing you’re doing. I’ll be happy to give your books a review if you send me a copy.

    I’m not sure how exactly you plan on doing this whole thing so get a hold of me via my contact page and we can work something out if you like.

    Thanks!
    .-= Eric´s last blog ..Lets Help Each Other =-.

  17. Interesting information Dragos, especially because I’m considering doing a similar thing myself. To be honest though, the book I’ve started working on isn’t an ebook… it’s a full size novel (I’d like to have at least 300 pages) so I’ve got quite a bit of work ahead of me. Still, while I was initially overburdened at the thought of having to write so much, it’s actually kind of enjoyable; waking up each morning and seeing my creative process develop.

    While the road traveled to get there is long, if I put my best effort into it, the final result will be more than worth the effort.
    .-= Travis´s last blog ..Dream-Play =-.

  18. Hi Dragos,

    I’d like to take you up on your generous offer and read your e-books.
    Next week I’ll have the time to read and leave my reviews on Amazon.

    Thanks in advance and also thanks on the info about CreateSpace. I didn’t know about that option before.

    Looking forward to reading more posts about your 2010 strategy.
    .-= Marko´s last blog ..Space Night Ò€” A Tribute Music Video =-.

  19. Great stuff Dragos, I know you are working your butt off at the moment and I wish you all the success in the world.
    .-= Steven Aitchison´s last blog ..Focus On Your Output, And Restrain Your Input =-.

    1. Hey, Steven, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I know you’re working out too, but what can I say? I’m right behind you πŸ˜‰

      I’m really enjoying this challenge, by the way.

  20. Ò€œ30 sentences for a millionaires mindsetÒ€ please! I’d love to review your book,Dragos, both on the blog and Amazon. Thank you for this great opportunity to learn your wisdom. I am finishing an ebook with a CD, can’t imagine how you did 4 books in one month!
    .-= Lana – DreamFollowers.com´s last blog ..How To Clear Your Limiting Beliefs =-.

  21. Dragos,

    Congratulations on the ebooks – it’s quite an achievement. You and Steven are off to a fantastic start and being able to push each other has paid off handsomely.

    Your ‘100 Ways to Improve Your Life’ ebook is something that will fit in very nicely with my ‘Just For Today – 31 Days to A Better You’ ebook that I wrote on my site. I will be happy to review your ebook for you if you send me a copy.

    Thanks very much and looking forward to reading the entire ebook.

    Karen

  22. First off Congrats on getting four books cranked out that quickly.

    I’d give all four of them a review, but if you can only spare one then I’ll take, The 7 Ages of An Online Business.

    Once the review/reviews are up I’ll link away!

    Once again, fond wishes of success.

  23. Hey Dragos,
    Youre awesome! 4 books one month…here I am having the time of my life on my first ever ebook πŸ™‚
    Your writing plus the awesome person that you are….make this blog the awesome success that it is today…and tomorrow we might all have to wait in line just to get a hold of you πŸ˜‰
    Keep up the awesome work! Youre the best for sharing your secrets here πŸ˜‰
    Much Love,
    Z~

  24. Hey Dragos,

    I started reading your stuff a few days back and I find your blog posts very well-written and interesting.
    I myself am very interested in articles concerning self-improvement and development – I’m currently serving compulsory national service in Singapore (as an army officer) for two years – and I want to be the best person I can be when I reacquaint myself with the civilian world.
    Hence, I’m delighted that you have generously offered all four of your ebooks for a free preview and I would like to partake in this joyous event.
    Looking forward to reading and reviewing your materials!

  25. That is a nice write-up of your plans for the coming months. Very open and straightforward. The post will definitely be helpful to a lot of bloggers with similar ideas.
    I didn’t know CreateSpace is owned by Amazon. As you said, this makes the whole idea very appealing. Thanks for a ton of fresh ideas.
    By the way, I like your ambition, Dragos :-)!
    .-= Bart´s last blog ..Mind, Ego, And Meditation =-.

  26. Very interesting idea. I would be happy to start by reading the “30 Sentences” and write a review on Amazon.

    Looking forward to learning from you and also helping you along the way.

    Warm Regards,

    Moudy

  27. I’m definitely going to check out those books. I was reading the Millionaire Sentences and really liked the straight forward, no hype style you have. You got me thinking about a few eBooks I could write and publish as well. Thanks for the ideas and fresh outlook !!!
    .-= Kindle Covers and Cases´s last blog ..ItÒ€ℒs 1984 and Big Brother is Watching you from your Kindle! =-.

  28. I would be happy to write a review for all of these ebooks if you could provide them to me. I am interested in becoming an affiliate as well but i don’t have a website up yet so we can cross that bridge when the time comes.

    Great blog by the way, i really like your writing style and the content has proven quite valuable. I have been wanted to start my own blog for awhile now and this just gave me the extra push i needed to start writing. Thanks!

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