kindle ebooks

Do you want to earn $30,000 a month with Kindle e-books?

kindle-direct-publishing

With online marketing, we’re always looking for the holy grail. The one great idea that can catapult us to great success, crazy riches, the Kim Kardashian or Puff Daddy celebrity lifestyle, and more.

Tim Ferriss’ book, The Four Hour Workweek, became the bible for digital nomads around the world who wanted to free themselves from the cubicle and live a location independent lifestyle (or just one with more options).

The reality was that at the time of publication, Ferriss was working more than 80 hours a week and the book title wasn’t his idea…

Move ahead a few years, and we’re now seeing YouTube celebrities pop-up with a growing social following, hundreds of thousands of video views, a rabid crowd of fans catching their live broadcasts using the Periscope app, and all achieved in record time. One example is Dave Koziel.

Dave Koziel used to work at the local UPS depot, but branched out first into eBay trading and Amazon FBA by buying cheap at the pawn shops & discount stores and selling online.

This worked okay until one of his employees failed to note problems with items being sold and Koziel failed to look at the reviews in his eBay dashboard.

Ebay eventually stopped his being a seller in their marketplace.

Cody Hawk Makes a Suggestion

He had been following Cody Hawk, an internet marketer, for quite a while by this stage. He paid for private coaching with him and eventually Hawk suggested that he go into Kindle Publishing to make some easy money. Hawk was already doing well with Kindle e-books that he was ordering from freelance writers and selling mostly under pen names on Amazon.com.

Kindle Publishing Starts Slowly, Builds to Low Four Figures in a Year

Koziel took at least five Kindle courses, from standalone video courses to Udemy ones, to learn all he could about being a Kindle publisher.

The best course ended up being K Money Mastery from Stefan Pylarinos which was recently updated to version 2.0. This is a step-by-step video training course for a one-off $67 price tag. There are also several upsells including a monthly subscription one with a private Facebook group which has several thousand members.

Within approximately 18 months, Koziel had published over 50 books (none written by himself), mostly 30-50 pages long, sold for $2.99 each on Amazon.com. The cost of each book production was approximately $80 for the writing and $10-25 for the Kindle & CreateSpace e-book covers (CreateSpace is an Amazon company that provides print-on-demand physical books). He documented in various YouTube videos on his popular channel.

His income was said to be in the low four figures at this point. Whilst Dewan Bayney, an entrepreneur who had branched into music, Kindle publishing and other areas online, was being interviewed talking about Scaling an Online Business to $20k+ Per Month, Koziel was finding the Kindle e-book quality threshold becoming a problem.

Scaling an Online Business to $20k+ Per Month

K Money Mastery Goes High Quality, Not Everyone Follows Suit

Pylarinos (creator of the K Money Mastery course) originally promoted the idea of ordering books like his The Binge Eating Cure for $22.50 from a writer, paying just $2.50 for an e-book cover, and selling the e-book on Amazon for a couple of dollars each.

He’s since adjusted his approach to focus on quality with a series of fitness books still under the pen-name Michael Matthews.

His biggest success has been the Bigger Leaner Stronger series which has sold several hundred thousand copies over the last couple of years. Each book is 200-400 pages long, a far cry from the 20-30 page Kindle e-books he started with.

Many Kindle publishers haven’t moved up in quality or page count as Pylarinos did. They prefer to pay circa 1.1c per word for rapidly written e-books that are only 6,000 to 10,000 words long (approximately 30-50 pages short).

Pumping out 4-5 e-books each week, buying fake book reviews on Fiverr for $5 a piece, (a practice which eventually prompted Amazon.com to sue 1,114 reviewers last October), and keeping the word count down has enabled many Kindle publishers to profit quickly.

Then, Amazon changed the game…

Amazon Switches to Paying For Pages Read

Amazon switched up Kindle publishing for self-published authors and Kindle publishers late June 2015 when they stopped paying for every book borrowed under the Kindle Unlimited program which offers customers unlimited books for a low monthly fee.

Instead of a flat fee approach, Amazon would agree to pay per page read which currently works out to be approximately 0.48c per page.

What Koziel discovered when opting out of the KDP Select scheme that includes Kindle Unlimited, was that sales were largely unaffected by the change.

This meant that Amazon customers who were already enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited monthly membership program were often not buying books that they could now borrow for free.

Were There Any Negative Outcomes From The Change?

For Kindle publishers like Dewan Bayney, Steve Raiken, Stefan Pylarinos and Dave Koziel, previous statements on YouTube videos of $10,000 and $20,000 income months from Kindle publishing were never updated.

Privately, Raiken and Koziel confirmed that since the publication of the videos, their Kindle income had dropped 50-60% virtually overnight.

Kindle Book Publishing #7: Cody Hawk and Steve Raiken

Kindle E-Book Quality Problem

The problem in most cases was that the e-books were low quality, written fast, with little research and often poorly targeted to a particular market niche.

A 30 page book on depression isn’t necessarily going to help with depression; it covers only surface issues and isn’t written by a trained therapist.

For Kindle publishers, they were getting around the low quality problem by paying Amazon customers to place fake five-star reviews stating that these little books were wonderful, but the increasingly savvy Amazon customers were beginning to understand that the Kindle book market was being flooded with cheap books offering little value and their customer reviews were starting to reflect that reality…

Look at self-published books on Amazon and you’ll see something strange:

Many 5-star reviews and some 1-star reviews, and nothing in between.

Amazon buyers were starting to filter out the 5-star fake reviews, go straight to the real 1-star reviews to read them, and ultimately decide not to purchase the books.

Kindle Book Publishing Has Become A Trap

For the Kindle publishers, they were (and still) are caught in a trap with Kindle.

The bitter pill with Kindle publishing is that without a huge, pre-existing following and large email list, an e-book has to be offered free or heavily discounted to stand a chance of receiving any real customer reviews.

Reviewers are far more likely to leave a negative review with 100 negative reviews placed for every single positive one being a common experience with both Kindle authors and publishers.

Even with an extensive marketing campaign, few books sell well past the first month. After month one, their Amazon sales rank rises above 100,000 which usually suggests that they’re only selling one book a day or less, and sales never recover.

Therefore, if you don’t make your publication costs back in the first month, you might never do. This creates a dilemma for Kindle publishers who wish to offer longer, higher quality books. Who’ll pay for them?

Kindle Publishing Isn't Google Adsense

Many Kindle publishers came from the Made for Adsense micro niche site world where scores of websites were launched each week using low quality content for search engines, aimed at getting ad clicks from unsuspecting visitors turned off by the low quality content.

They felt like the same “throw paint at the wall, see what sticks” approach could be used with Kindle from 2010 onwards and that worked for several years. But now customers expect more.

Even if the book is offered for free on a 5-day promotion it still takes the customer time out of their busy lives to read the e-book, so even a free book can receive negative customer reviews now.

Kindle Income Fell Off A Cliff

Koziel interviewed Justin Kemperman, a 14 year kid still in high school in the United States, to learn about his Kindle publishing success.

Initially, strapped for cash as a 14-year old school boy, Kemperman amassed four published books which were generating $780 a month at the time of the interview.

How Justin Makes $780 Per Month Kindle Publishing at 14

Koziel was curious because the revenue per book for Kemperman was much higher than for Koziel. With Koziel, more books were needed at the time to ramp up the income stream.

Due to the short length and swift production, his books weren’t selling as well, possibly partly due to issues with quality and partly due to more customers using Kindle Unlimited and no longer buying books at all.

Since July 2015, Kindle publishers have been uncharacteristically silent about their Kindle income following the switch to Kindle pages read by Amazon.

Later, Koziel hired Kemperman as his personal virtual assistant to help with his growing Kindle publishing business.

This grew into a friendship and along the way Kemperman learned about a method of gaining more Kindle page reads than were accurate.

Later, the 14-year old became a co-admin of the Dave Koziel Inner Circle Facebook group.

10X Your Kindle Page Reads

What Koziel learned from Kemperman was a method that was secretly going around Kindle publishing circles in a hush-hush manner.

The 10X Your Kindle Page Reads method involves changing the e-book format to place a link from near the front of the book to the back of the book.

The buyers open the book, read the first couple of pages, is tempted by the promotional offer (i.e. A free extra chapter or free audio download), clicks the link, jumps to the back of the book, and then out to their website.

With short 50 page e-books, this meant the reader jumped from page 5 to page 50. Even though not every page in between page 5 and page 50 were actually read, Amazon’s Kindle e-book reading devices were able to tell the difference.

They do not record which page numbers were actually read; only the starting page and the latest page read. As a result of this current limitation, Kindle publishers like Koziel and Kemperman are exploiting this loophole by updating their books to create ways to get the reader to click to the back of the book before they’ve even read it through.

Koziel came up with a new trick with his method. Why not bundle 20 books into a single book (buy one, get 19 free!) and then, when the reader jumps between books or jumps to the end, the number of pages read would indicate hundreds of pages had been read.

Hey presto! A 50-page book becomes a 1,000 page bundled book with potentially 1,000 pages being read in one second in a single tap or mouse click.

Discussions on Dave Koziel’s Inner Circle Facebook group went back and forth recently about whether the method was ethical, moral or right to use.

Koziel at one point cited Tim Ferriss’ example of pushing competitors out of a kick-boxing ring and winning a kick-boxing championship based purely on a rapid rehydration technique to gain a weight advantage.

Koziel pointed out to followers on Facebook that if they didn’t like Tim Ferriss, they should stop following him.

This gave a number of his fans pause for thought. Later, as Christmas 2015 approached, Koziel published Is It Ethical to Pay to Skip The Line to See Santa Claus? in an age where we’re still trying to teach our kids right and wrong, this is the example being set.

Events seemed to have taken a strange turn.

Financial Rewards: How Much Has Been Made?

Kemperman released his own spreadsheet detailing his recent monthly earnings which went into the many thousands of dollars (he even recently won two Amazon awards in the USA and the UK).

The spreadsheet was only made available privately in the Koziel’s Facebook group. It revealed that more than 98% of his earnings that month came from the Kindle page reads technique. Almost no one was actually buying the books.

Not to be outdone, Koziel showed his live earnings page on Amazon to his Periscope audience on more than one occasion and later released How I Worked My Ass Off to Make $30k Online in a Month From Self Publishing on YouTube.

Other Kindle publishers soon followed with their own income testimonials seemingly trying to one-up each other.

Whilst these Kindle publishers are in the USA and Canada, the Kindle page read scheme is available to any Kindle publisher who wishes to take the risk.

Koziel developed a video course to teach his YouTube and Periscope followers how to replicate his success. One day he was only doing a few thousand pages “read” per day, then it leapt up to 100,000 pages “read”, and some days he even went over 1m pages “read”.

His earnings from Amazon for the previous month exceeded $30,000

This is not forgetting the financial gain for Koziel from selling the 10X Your Kindle Page Reads e-course for $47 a pop on Gumroad.

Several thousand dollars have been generated from the sales in the last two months alone.

What's Next for Kindle Publishers?

The road is still unclear for Kindle publishers. For those publishers with 50+ books who can bundle them together in the same way that Koziel has done, it’s still possible to make it look like more pages were read than actually were.

As things stand today, this method doesn’t breach Amazon’s terms of service for Kindle publishers.

It is a technical problem with the Kindle software used on Kindle e-readers, Kindle apps and the Kindle Cloud Reader, which fails to record each actual page viewed and instead records the before & after page numbers and incorrectly approximates the pages “read” during that reading session.

For people interested in publishing to Kindle, it is a still a growing market with more people reading digitally than buying physical books now.

Readers are starting to be heard more with Amazon’s deletion of fake reviews (many more still stand and more continue to be added by Kindle publishers) and 1-star customer reviews becoming more obvious than ever.

The difficulty is in writing a book or paying a writer to produce one that is a higher quality with a longer length.

If Kindle books continue to only perform well in the first month and even popular self-published authors like Steve Scott failing to beat the 100,000 Amazon sales rank for his older books in many cases, it is difficult to support investing money into quality.

Right now the market wants it, but isn’t really paying for it. Or, to put it another way, a disproportionate few are collecting the bulk of the gains at the expense of the rest.

What's Next for Dave Koziel?

Whilst most Kindle publishers use Kindle books as a low barrier to entry business category that they later move out of and into the Amazon Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) program, Dave Koziel is using the YouTube, Periscope and the website following he’s built up over the last year through the travails of his eBay seller ban, yo-yo Kindle book sales, and Kindle page read scheme, to move further into affiliate marketing.

He plans to produce a video course covering Kindle publishing for beginners in 2016.

He believes that the door will close on the 10X scheme in due course and he realises that following his virtual eBay seller ban, he shouldn’t be overly reliant on a single e-commerce store for his income.

Building out the DaveKoziel.com brand is his main goal for 2016. He’s been running informal live YouTube and Periscope webinars for the past few weeks with his latest one on Publishing on Createspace and ACX due to take place on January 1, 2016.

Ironically, he recently bought the Grant Cardone’s University package heavily discounted for $997.

Cardone’s own 10X book has been a huge success for him and it’s a little ironic that Koziel is now learning from this sales master.

He may be taking his Journey of an Entrepreneur: 13 Lessons I Learned My First Year As A Digital Entrepreneur (What I Learned From My Journey Into Entrepreneurship) e-book out of the Kindle market as it has sold relatively poorly.

The book which covers a short period of time for an entrepreneur still in his 20s lacked a specific focus on any one online business segment. So far, Koziel’s other product which was more targeted has performed much better.

Should You Use 10X Kindle Page Reads?

The scheme works better for people who either have books that are 200+ pages or who can bundle several books together to extend the page length.

It is also necessary to be accepting of a scheme that whilst it may not currently breach the trading terms that Amazon require Kindle publishers to adhere to, it clearly breaches the ethical intention behind the Kindle publishing system.

Amazon never intended to pay authors or Kindle publishers for pages that were never actually read. That much is perfectly clear.

It appears that Amazon is aware of the issue, but has yet to resolve it.

Will your Amazon account be put at risk if you choose to follow the 10X Kindle scheme? Maybe.

Will you want to sell on Amazon via FBA or any of their other Amazon sales programs in the future?

There is something to be said for protecting the Amazon account from a potential ban. Quite often Amazon bans accounts without warning, explanation or satisfactory recourse. Something to bear in mind….

About the Author Azzam

As a Digital Marketeer and Entrepreneur, I have been fortunate to have learnt from some of the best of the best. That is what I believe is critical to ensuring anyone’s success. Take what has worked for successful people and make owning it, knowledge first and then applying what you learn by taking action. Persevering on that path will bring about sure success, simple but effective formula.