“The key is having great players. But there are a lot of teams that have All-Stars and haven’t been able to put it together.”
- Mark Cuban
How to create a Self-Sustaining Business
For a long time I thought that writing junk eBooks was a waste of time and money. Generally I earn about eight bucks a month in royalties off the 12 titles I’ve produced. That’s nothing to write home about.
However, recent information has made me rethink my stance. While I only make eight dollars in sales, my actual profits are mush higher. This is due to Amazon Kindle’s borrowing program. The system pays you between $1.33 and $2.50 (it fluctuates every month) for titles that people borrow.
A $0.99 eBook will earn you $0.35 for every unit sold. If that same book is borrowed you’ll get at least $1.33. If one of your books gets borrowed every day, which can happen, you’ll make at least $40.
Since the start of 2014 I’ve been making $20 to $40 a month off Kindle without even realizing it. This isn’t a ton of money, but it was a pleasant surprise. Everyone could use an extra $300.
While looking over my earnings I found that two titles moved almost all the sales. Both are short 3,000 stories that generate a decent number of borrows. With this in mind, I decided to produce more stories in the same category for 2015. My goal is to make an extra $250 a month from little eBooks.
Unfortunately there’s a problem.
I hate writing books and stories. It’s boring and monotonous. Plus, putting three hours of work into a project that will make a couple bucks a month isn’t a good investment. I can earn significantly more by writing 1,000 words of copy.
Enter the publishing house
I’ve experimented around with a lot of book projects. I’ve also worked for others and ghost written a variety of works. I know what does and does not sell well (hint: those “how to” books that gurus always advocate writing are one of the worst fields to go into). And a particular type of short fiction, I’ll reveal it to you once my project takes off, is a hot seller.
Without getting too specific, I’ll give you all the gritty details once the money starts flowing, these stories write themselves. I can come up with 10 titles in an afternoon.
This is all great, except for the fact that I hate writing eBooks. It’s a pretty big issue if that’s what you’re whole plan revolves around. Fortunately, I’ve already made some money from this year’s royalties. And rather than spending it, I decided to reinvest. The cash went to hiring freelance writers for my project.
Are ghost writers any good?
On oDesk I put out a call for talented authors. They’d earn a little over $30 if they could produce a title between 2,500 and 3,000 words.
Most of the applicants sucked.
(This is a real message I got)
But, some of them had talent that blew my mind. One writer wrote up a title for me in less than 24 hours and did a fantastic job. It was better than anything that I could ever do.
The story will pay for itself in less than 30 days and is surpasses what I can do. Additionally, I was able to focus on my regular job while it was being created, earning me even more.
Why this plan won’t work for everybody (and how you can adapt it to fit your needs)
I’m not going to Tim Ferriss you and preach about how awesome outsourcing is. Truthfully, it’s something that most people would have a difficult time with. Unless you’ve worked on eBooks before, you won’t know how to market them or pick the best writer for a job. I’ve hired editors for projects in the past and would often get ripped-off. The idea that you can simply make everyone else work while you relax on a beach is just silly.
However, getting outside help is great for secondary projects that you just don’t have the time or energy to do yourself. I could spend 3 hours writing an eBook (costing me about $100 in time), or I can pay someone $30 to do it for me.
You need to know what your time is worth. A lot of guys make the mistake of undervaluing themselves. They’ll waste a thousand dollars of their time to avoid spending a hundred dollars. Likewise, there are others who won’t pick up easy money. Some Kindle books that turn a profit with no marketing or promotion are about as passive as passive income can get.
I know several people who could have bestselling books out if they were willing to get someone to write for them. These people are living libraries of knowledge, but they feel intimidated by writing.
Yet they could easily hire someone to sit down with them and transcribe their thoughts. With a little editing you could easily make a book out of that.
If you have one aspect of a particular skill set down, like knowing how to sell a product or having the idea for a book, there’s no reason not to get help with your vision.