“In less than a year, I’ve been able to build a six-figure passive income business through Kindle publishing (see screen shots below).”
– Stefan Pylarinos
My earnings from the Stefan Pylarinos method
Being lazy and unimaginative, in addition to just finishing up about $300 worth of articles and not wanting to write anything serious, I’ve decided to piggyback off of some recent controversy. A few writers have gotten into a beef with Internet marketer Stefan Pylarinos. While I don’t really feel like rehashing the events, I do want to share a personal story about trying to use their “fool-proof” Kindle publishing methods.
A long time ago, someone decided that selling cheap and generic Kindle books was like a license to print money. All you had to do was write “100 ways to make organic apple pie” and you’d be raking in the dough. Like a lot of gullible young men I fell into this trap and even dedicated an entire month to try and get in on this awesome venture.
During this time I spent countless hours rewriting content that I found on Google and packaging it into nice little 2,500 to 5,000 word eBooks. It was something that I had done a lot for my oDesk clients, so I figured that it would be lucrative here as well. I was dead wrong.
How much did I make?
I actually earned about $50 for my first month. While this sounds like an okay bump in sales, it died out almost immediately. Content that has been taken off a search engine and thrown into a book isn’t exactly best seller material. Once people realize this, you’re out of luck.
In addition to only making an extra $50, I spent a ton of time creating and marketing my books. Re-writing material eats up hours, so does fixing formatting mistakes and finding places to post links to your work. Typically I make between $25 and $75 an hour while freelancing. That means that it would have to have taken me two hours, or less, to make the same from books. In reality it would take me about four hours to do each book. I ended up making peanuts off my efforts.
What if I can’t freelance?
Earlier this month I decided to restart my Fiverr account in order to show a friend how it worked. Within three days I had made $52. The work took me, at most, three hours to complete. That’s about $17 an hour, still more than my Kindle books were capable of earning. Even if you don’t have the time or resources to write professional level articles, you can still find better opportunities, like publishing short product reviews or translating documents, that will help to boost your income. You could probably even go on Fiverr and make a stupid “You can buy me a beer for $5” posting that will do better than your fraudulent eBook empire.
In my defense
I’m expecting someone, who will have zero expertise as to anything involving online business, to post a comment saying “You just sucked at making eBooks and now you’re mad.” While that might be true, there is some basic math that can easily show you why junk eBook sales are not lucrative. Matt Forney already explained this, but I’ll reiterate. Books that cost less than $2.99 only receive 35% royalties. You can’t, feasibly, sell a “book” under 5,000 words, and with no known author, for $2.99. As such, you’re stuck marketing the product at $0.99. To earn $100, you’d have to sell almost 300 copies of your book. This might sound easy on paper, but it is nearly impossible to do in real life. When someone realizes that they are being sold garbage, they post a negative review and warn everyone else. Also, selling books is a lot harder to do than it sounds. A lot of people don’t read, and those that do tend to be very cautious so that they avoid buying trash like the stuff you are selling.
In the marketer’s defense
Stefan Pylarinos probably isn’t a fraud. He might be shady, but I actually suspect that he could back up his claims if he really wanted to. I’ve worked with guys like him before and they do, somehow, make their junk empire profitable. While I suspect that profit margins are a bit thin, and its a lot more work than they lead on, they are able to make a living off of it. Having 5,000 books earning you $0.35 a day would allow you to do quite well. However, getting to that point, and trying to maintain that level of deception, is something that the average person would be better off skipping over.
If you want to write an eBook, go for it. One of my readers recently sent me a book that he wrote. It has honest information in it, and he’s not trying to get rich by scamming people into buying copy/pasted books. However, if you are trying to make money online, there are better avenues to go down. Freelancing, creating quality products, and building a trustworthy brand all take less time and effort than selling snake oil does.
P.S. If you want an interesting book on making money self-publishing, you might want to check out my review of The Six-Figure Erotica Author by Jade K. Scott. It is a short eBook that costs $2.99 and earned me several thousand dollars. Way better than some shady “get rich quick” program.