Lessons Learned From Selling 4,335 Copies Of Two Self-Published Non-Fiction Books In 8 Months

8 months ago I published Copywriting For The Rest Of Us and Video Marketing For The Rest Of Us out of frustration.

To make a long story short, Copywriting For The Rest Of Us was written in a day using Dragon Naturally Speaking and Video Marketing For The Rest Of Us was an info product I had created and launched with a JV partner but never got paid for.

I purchased Kindling, formatted my books and threw them up on Kindle. My wife made the covers.

Today, I checked up on my book sales stats by using Trackerbox and was happily surprised to see this:



These numbers do not include free giveaways (of which there were thousands) nor do they include any new clients I brought it by using those books (which I would estimate is around $30,000 worth of new business in the past 8 months) as marketing tools.  

These aren’t numbers to be quitting a job over, but the monthly checks from Amazon have been nice. I will spare you the month-by-month break down, but the total earnings breakdown per book looks like this:

Copywriting For The Rest Of Us = $6,132.06

Video Marketing For The Rest Of Us = $2,928.09

Grand Total = $9,060.15

Not bad.

In this post I want to offer some insights to how I achieved those numbers and how you can too.

How I Made $9,060.15 In Book Sales In 8 Months

First, I think it is important to realize that this number isn’t super accurate.

The book that I sold the most of was selling in a tiny market/niche (copywriting).

The books weren’t really related (copywriting and video marketing are two very different things).

I didn’t test price (I kept it $2.99 the entire time).

I didn’t actively try and promote these books.

I didn’t buy ads.

I didn’t really even put much effort into the blurb.

Aside from what I am about to share with you, I didn’t really do any active promotion.

Here is how I sold my books:


I Begged For Reviews

The only thing I care about when it comes to marketing things online is reviews.

My background is in the information marketing world and I know the power behind testimonial backed sales pages (can make the difference between a 5 figure launch and a near 7 figure launch).

Going into this project, all I wanted to do was get a load of reviews before the book got traction. The reasons for this are numerous and not necessarily obvious, but I will spare you the specifics. I figured if I could get a bunch of reviews upfront, I could launch the book and settle back to let Amazon do the rest.

That is exactly what happened.

The first thing that I did was enroll both of the books in the KDP program (just for the initial 90 days) so that I could set the book to 5 free days. I set the book to five free days and then I sent an email to my list. The email said,

“Please review my book.”

I didn’t beat around the bush, I asked. I received.

Then, I went and purchased this beautiful piece of software (my tool of choice – especially with my fiction): Publishers Review Accelerator

For the first week or two I would spend a few minutes per day asking people to review my book. After the initial burst of reviews I just quit asking for them. As you can see for yourself, they have continued to trickle in slowly. If I wanted to increase sales, I bet I could be spending more time on review getting – but I am happy with the books numbers right now.

Here are some more tips to getting more reviews for your book (ethically).


I Linked My Books On My Website

I put links to my books here on my website.

The thing is, I didn’t even have that much traffic coming to this site for those links to really matter. You can see how much traffic (aka how little I was blogging prior to this month) I was getting in my traffic and income report for November.

I might get 2 or 3 clicks per day from my site to those books. I would be surprised if any of those clicks turned to buys.

This means that close to 100% of my sales came directly by way of Amazon.

You won’t find my books on Nook. You won’t find them on iTunes or Kobo or even Createspace. I haven’t made audio versions and I don’t have plans to (not now that I am focusing 100% on fiction).


I Wrote Books The People Needed

I think the key to my selling a decent number of books in such a short time (not breakout numbers, but an extra $1,000 a month ain’t bad…) is that I wrote books that the market needed.

My copywriting book is a step-by-step book on how to write a sales letter. There aren’t many inexpensive books that do that.

My video marketing book was ridiculously all inclusive. It was a membership site before it became a book.

I have tried to follow that same model with my fiction. It has been working.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not (and would never) advocate trying to write for the market. There are numerous blog posts from people much smarter than me as to why you should never do that and I agree with almost all of their points.

What I mean is that I am trying to bring something new to the market with my fiction. I am trying to write honestly. I am trying to bring a breathe of fresh air by being myself and writing things that entertain – instead of trying to write for money or copy other writers.


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What I Will Be Doing Differently With My New Releases

As you may know, I have sold my company and will be focusing on writing fiction full-time now (read the confessional here).

Because of that I have put together a battle plan of sorts. Here it is:

  • Continue being prolific
  • Connect more with other authors (like you)
  • Write books in series
  • Write in one genre
  • Get my book professionally edited (something I didn’t do with my non-fiction)
  • Create a release schedule and stick to it
  • Focus all marketing efforts on getting more reviews (utilizing the Review Accelerator software)

That’s it!

I know a lot of authors get hung up on promotion etc. I get that. I have been making my full-time living online for the past 4+ years. I understand that feeling (especially when you read other authors talking about what they are doing). But I can tell you from experience (having sold well north of 6 figures worth of information products) that you only have so much limited time, energy and ability.

You can spend 15 minutes trying to promote your work or you can spend 15 minutes writing better stuff. I choose to spend my time writing better stuff.


But Don’t Take My Word For It

Who am I to make such haughty claims? Info marketing and selling fiction are two different things (or are they?).

I am just one opinion that you didn’t pay for in a sea of free opinions. Take it all with a grain of salt and conquer your own mountains.

In the meantime…

Let’s Connect

I love having accountability partners. If you find this battle plan encouraging and think it might work for you, then I would love to connect with you on Twitter (@smmykal). We can keep each other going when the times get tough and help share each other’s work (I am also a kickass beta reader… if I do say so myself…).

If you liked this post or think someone you know might like to take a peak behind the scenes of what it takes to generate over $9,000 in books sales in less than 8 months, please share this post!