The truth about Kindle today PLUS: Predictions for 2014
As I write this first newsletter of 2014, I am pondering some home truths about Kindle, and wanted to share my thoughts with you.
One question keeps cropping up in my mind:
Has Kindle lived up to its promise of delivering a passive income?
And my answer is both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.
When I first started publishing on Kindle almost three years ago, the potential of Kindle was largely untapped and its popularity was in its infancy.
It was certainly possible to put up a few short ebooks back then and expect them to generate a passive income on a monthly basis…
Heck, it was even possible to pay for PLR (private label rights) material and put it up on Kindle under your own name – now highly unadvisable.
The reason why the sales flooded in only a few short years ago was because there were relatively few digital books being published at that time.
Amazon, through Kindle, needed you. They were welcoming authors’ content with very little quality control, mainly because their digital shelves were bare.
From a buyer’s perspective, it was like walking into a huge digital library and yet finding only a few books available to choose from.
Thus, the authors who did have books published at that time knew they were onto a good thing, as there was a terrific demand with limited supply.
Roll on a few years to January 2014 and things have moved on in leaps and bounds.
You may be surprised to learn that there are now approximately 3,000 new Kindle books being uploaded every day!
That’s great, if you are a buyer, but as a published indie (independent) author, this changes the whole business-model entirely.
Under these conditions, your potential income can no longer be truly described as entirely ‘passive’, for the simple reason that you are now struggling to get your book noticed amongst all the other books.
It has turned from a sellers’ market into buyers’ market within a very short space of time.
Does this trend therefore spell the end of the passive income opportunity?
Well I’m pleased to say that is not the case.
If I sincerely felt this to be true, I would stop publishing today and look elsewhere for new income opportunities.
Both my wife and I are still committed to Kindle publishing and I don’t see that changing for the foreseeable future.
I realise that the business model has changed… but it hasn’t changed all that much. Let me explain…
The old way of Kindle publishing – ‘pile it high and sell it cheap’ – clearly is no longer viable.
Today, the watchword is ‘quality’ – and by quality, I don’t just mean that your book has to be a quality read: that’s an attribute that is taken for granted and is now just your starting point.
The most important factor now is ‘quality of your niche’.
This is now so, so important.
To write a half-decent book – even a short one – the effort can be measured in terms of many months of hard work.
In the past, if you weren’t spot on with your topic (niche) selection, it’s likely that your book sales wouldn’t have been affected too badly.
Whereas poor topic selection today is literally the kiss of death!
OK, if you are writing for your own personal satisfaction; wishing to only please your family and close circle of friends, then this is not an issue.
But if you wish to earn even a half-decent part or full-time income from Kindle publishing, then you have got to look at topic selection very seriously indeed.
When writing for money more than pleasure, you have got to publish what people are already buying in great numbers.
This may seem obvious, but I promise you that most indie authors simply don’t see this.
More than simply selecting a popular niche, your sales are almost guaranteed if you can find a popular niche with an existing poor supply of books on the topic.
There are proven techniques available to achieve this laser-targeted topic selection.
Far better to spend days, if not weeks, getting your topic just right than to toil away for months, only to be rewarded with sales of the ‘diddly-squat’ variety.
And if you get this technique just right, then you will find that the good old days of steady sales are back once again – this time all achieved without the need to publish very many books at all!
This is not just idle speculation on my part: my own book sales generated from my personal good (and bad) topic selection supports this theory very well.
I have spent the last few months heavily engrossed in uncovering a pattern as to what makes Kindle ‘tick’ today.
My findings will be released in a course, due (hopefully) by the end of January 2014. So if you are struggling to gain traction in the whole Kindle publishing arena, then I think this will help.
Enhanced ebooks – The must-have gift that many will have found sitting under their Christmas tree this year will have been the all new Kindle HDX.
The Kindle Fire, released a year ago, promised the ability to watch video, but was unreliable when push came to shove.
With the new Kindle HDX Amazon have ironed out all the bugs and have finally delivered a tablet that is not only perfect for reading in colour, but also perfectly suitable for viewing normal videos and video-based interactive books.
So get prepared to see more interactive ebooks filling the virtual Kindle bookshelves in 2014, and by ‘interactive’ I mean ebooks with sound and video clips embedded within the book itself, without the need for linking to external media such as YouTube.
In short, the pace of digital publishing is moving so fast, that if you blink you will miss it.
But let’s not forget that for those who struggled to get a publishing deal in the past with established ‘brick and mortar’ publishers, then these are wonderful times indeed!
These days are wonderful for indie publishers… as long as we don’t rest on our laurels. If we keep up with the trends and innovations of this fast moving media, then the future still looks rosy.
May I take this opportunity to wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!