Launching an E-Book? A Peek at My $10K Earning Plan

Carol Tice

Earn Big from Your E-Book. Makealivingwriting.comI found out an interesting fact this past weekend: Amazon is ringing up close to $6 million in e-book sales every DAY.

It’s no wonder nearly every freelance writer I meet is either thinking about writing and launching an e-book, or has already published one.

My question to all of you e-book writers is: Why? What’s your goal?

Getting clarity on that is key to making your e-book journey a success.

Writers publish e-books for many reasons. For many of us, e-books are what marketers call a ‘tripwire’ product. It exists not to earn money so much as to start readers opening their wallets.

Then, you sell them the more lucrative and profitable thing later on. This is the kingdom of the 99-cent e-book.

Other authors are giving away their e-book free, in hopes of gaining ‘bestseller list’ credentials, and using that authority to get more speaking engagements or coaching students. Still others publish simply to say they’ve done it.

Then, there’s the big dream of many writers:

Launching an e-book to make Serious Money

It’s not easy to make an e-book a source of serious income, I can tell you from my past experience launching eight self-published e-books. Usually, my goal with an e-book launch is to break even on my $2,000 or so of design/editing/publishing costs–and then sell a few copies a month to continue giving new buyers a peek at the quality of my offerings. E-books also make useful course bonuses and allow me to create ‘bundle’ deals of multiple e-books that sell well.

I usually think of e-books as tripwire products that introduce readers to my courses and my writer community. But with the upcoming release of my new e-book, Small Blog, Big Income, I’ve got a new attitude toward e-book sales.

Because I believe this e-book has the potential to be the basis for a whole new business, I’m looking to make a bigger splash with it, and plan to spend more time marketing it. I’m aiming to earn $10,000 from its launch, with much more to follow.

The way I’m launching this e-book is radically different from what most writers seem to be doing, based on the chatter I hear from other self-publishers in some groups I’ve joined. Let me give you a tour of a typical e-book launch:

The e-book launch plan that fails

Here’s how most launches seem to be running —

  • There is no platform or audience-building activities, and little preselling during the writing/design process. Writer sits in a room, writes, and then publishes.
  • Then, the author launches the e-book on KDP Select on Amazon and does a 5-day free promo.
  • The author shells out $100 or more to several different book-promo sites like BookBaby or BuckBooks, to try to get more exposure for their title during the launch (see the graphic below for typical results on that).
  • Hundreds or even thousands of free downloads happen. Exciting!
  • At the end of this, the author switches the price to something in the neighborhood of $1.99-$3.99. And…makes about $300. (Seriously, I’ve heard from multiple authors now who got this sort of result, which doesn’t even cover costs for many e-books.)
  • Author gets depressed, and wonders what went wrong. E-book quickly disappears off the Amazon rankings and makes few additional sales, beyond launch week.

Paid-Book-Sites-SuckWhat DID go wrong?

I’m going to depart from the conventional wisdom here and tell you an uncomfortable truth: Amazon isn’t the best place for most authors to focus their sales, despite their volume.

One big problem is it’s hard to make a splash on Amazon unless you do a giveaway event. What’s wrong with that? Freebie e-book downloaders are not buyers–and on Amazon, you don’t even know who they are. So there’s no way to email and ask them to leave the reviews that are so critical to an Amazon e-book’s success.

What do I think works better than freebie giveaways on Amazon for launching an e-book that earns? Let me lay out my plan and show you:

15 Prep steps for a big e-book launch

As I was developing my new e-book — in which I tell the story of exactly how I built this-here blog into a multi-six-figure-earner — I realized something.

Teaching people how to earn from their blog is big business. Suddenly, I wasn’t thinking of just releasing an e-book, making a few bucks to cover my costs, and then moving on.

I started thinking of this e-book as the foundation for a new business.

Which is what all the big guys tell you to understand about your book launch. The more you treat it like a business launch, the better this will go. So…I’m going for it!

Here is a step-by-step action plan of what I’m doing, over the course of about six weeks, to launch Small Blog, Big Income, with a goal of earning at least $10,000 by the end of launch week:

  1. Build an audience. My core audience is freelance writers, but I had long suspected many were also trying to build blogs that earn. When I offered my subscribers the chance to ‘opt out’ on emails about Small Blog, Big Income and earn-from-blogging topics, nobody opted out! That meant I had a ready-made audience (currently nearing 17,000 subscribers) I could sell to directly, without giving Amazon a cut of the take. Don’t have an audience yet? Build one first — then publish.
  2. Develop the e-book with my readers. This book arose from the many, many requests I get to either review someone’s blog and tell them what I think, or to tell the story of how I built my blog, or both. My story–of earning very well from a blog without a huge, 100,000-subscriber audience or massive traffic–was different from most of the blog how-to advice out there. And looking at readers’ blogs, I could see there was a clear need for the information!
  3. Treat it as a business. I bought a stand-alone book site URL and began writing a sales page for the e-book–the start of a platform for this new (for me) topic of earning from your blog.
  4. Get feedback. A few key beta-testers starting reading through the e-book and making suggestions. Much content was added, and other sections were boiled down. (I cut about 35 pages out–and began planning to use it as fodder for the most powerful item you can have to sell an e-book: the sequel! The future release of Small Blog, Big Income: Advanced Ninja Earning Tricks will provide a future inflection point for making more sales.)
  5. Test related services. Most businesses don’t rely on a single product. I figured some readers would want individual or small-group help. I began testing a couple of blog-review packages, to confirm that interest, see how to structure the program, and learn more about what bloggers need in terms of feedback.
  6. Create the title and cover. I spent more time on this phase than I did for any past e-book, because of the potential I saw for this topic. After getting some feedback, I actually killed the original title–How I Earn a Six-Figure Income From My Tiny Niche Blog–and cover design in favor of the more succinct and snappy final title.
  7. Begin pre-selling the e-book. My first mention of this e-book happened back in early February, before it even had a title, and launch day isn’t until (tentatively) March 31st. Presales officially launched at the end of February, with special offers buyers can only get if they reserve a copy before launch day.
  8. Pre-sell only on my own site. This is critical: The first step to earning well is to sell to your own audience first (as I’m doing right now). Give them the inside line and the best deal…and keep all the money. Why should Amazon get a fat share of income from readers you already have?
  9. Price it higher. When you’re not selling on Amazon, where $3.99 is expensive for an e-book, it’s easier to ask higher prices–and you’ve got the space to create a long sales page that explains why the e-book is worth more. I am preselling this e-book at $9.99, which is the regular price for most of my e-books.
  10. Offer incentives and bonuses. On your own site, it’s also possible to offer different bonuses and levels, to give your loyal readers more value and stimulate interest in the launch. My presale, which began February 23, has three different offer bundles to drive early purchasing, including a 2-for-1 e-book offer that includes a ticket to a live Q&A call April 6, where I’ll do blog reviews in the $9.99 bundle. There’s no way to create these sorts of complex bundle offers on Amazon!
  11. Finish writing the e-book. This has been a real nail-biter. The last time I wrote an e-book from scratch was 5 years ago! My others are blog-post compilations, or derived from course or presentation content. It was hard to say ‘done’–I kept thinking of new things to add, or ways to make it better, clearer, or more concise.
  12. Begin planning guest posts. I’ve rarely done real marketing with my e-books beyond emailing my own list. This time, I’ve created a list of potential topics and am reaching out to blogs in this topic niche to ask whether I can guest post in the next few weeks, to drive more interest.
  13. Create affiliate materials. I let Freelance Writers Den affiliates sell my e-books after launch week to keep the momentum going, so ad banners and links need to be created for their use–and I need to alert them there’s a sales opportunity coming up.
  14. Do earlybird coaching. I’ve been doing blog reviews for several weeks now, learning about how to format my reviews so they’re maximally useful and easy to digest. At launch, the blog review/coaching offerings will be substantially different–and seriously more expensive, as I saw how much time was truly involved in the coaching. Super-glad I trialed these! And, of course, the early buyers got a deal on coaching, in exchange for being guinea pigs.
  15. Collect testimonials. As I do blog reviews, I’m collecting feedback and raves to share on the sales page.

Presale results so far

There’s still another week of presales before launch day (we’re shooting for March 31!)–and here’s the math as I write this:

  • 125 sales of the $9.99 bundle of 2-ebooks + live call = $1,246.25
  • 14 sales of the $47 coaching bundle (20-minute review video+ebooks+live call) = $658
  • 1 sale of the $97 coaching bundle (30-minute live review+email support+ebooks+live call) = $97

That’s over $2,000 in sales — and the e-book does not actually exist yet. (Which blows my mind! I’m honored by the trust readers give you when they buy in a presale.) Strong presales are key to making my earning goal.

By bundling this with coaching services, I’ve already earned nearly as much in presales as I usually make during my whole launch.

Big takeaway: If you want to earn more from your e-books, figure out what else you could package with them that has more value.

Launching with a bang

What do I have planned for the launch week? Besides guest posts galore, more goodies and discounts for buyers:

  • A limited-time discount on the e-book price
  • Blog reviews bundled with the e-book, at 30% off
  • A 20-seat, ongoing blogging mastermind at an introductory price

I’m still cooking up ideas and activities for launch week, to make it fun and provide lots of value to my readers, but the basic math hopefully looks like this:

  • 100 copies of the e-book at $6.99 = $699
  • 20 e-book + blog review videos @ $79 = $1,580
  • 20 mastermind seats @ $99/mo. with minimum 3-month commitment = $5,940

Total including presales: $10,219

Interested to hear the final results and whether I make (or beat) that goal? I’ll be emailing my blog subscribers with a secret sales report after launch week, so subscribe to get the deets.

Amazon’s role

Once launch week is over, then I’ll put Small Blog, Big Income onto Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other sites at $9.99 as I usually do, and ask the presale and launch-week buyers to leave reviews and help it rank and sell more copies there. I’ll also tell affiliates to sell the new e-book on my site, to keep driving sales on my own site.

In the future, I might do a brief promo on Amazon at a lower price, or include it in a multi-book 99-cent sale, to stimulate more interest.

I’m always learning more about how to sell on Amazon–but the site keeps changing its rules, leaving authors scrambling. Then there’s the rise of Kindle Unlimited memberships with its all-you-can-eat e-book offers (which many authors report is tanking their earnings).

I’ll continue to sell first to my own readers on my own site. I think of Amazon as a place to get extra sales from people I don’t know. I’ll also be exploring creating physical-book and audiobook versions of my e-books as a way to grow income and lessen dependence on Amazon.

Much like you don’t blog on Facebook, it’s unwise to focus the bulk of your e-book sales on a third-party platform you can’t control.

Have you published an e-book, or are you planning one? Share your e-book promo tips in the comments and let’s brainstorm.

Small Blog, Big Income: Earn Money from your blog!



  1. Summer

    Carol, this is perfect timing! I’ve been brainstorming ideas for ebooks after hearing the success Jasinda Wilder has had with her steamy romances. (Mine will be a different genre – lol!) Your advice has been very helpful, even answering questions I didn’t think of yet. Thank you, thank you, and good luck with your launch!

    • Carol Tice

      Thanks, Summer! Each time I do this, there are more aspects I get to. At one point, I thought I might do this launch Amazon exclusive…but the more I listened to authors talk about their results on Amazon, the less interested I got.

      Writers don’t understand that unless you have a big list you plan to drive to Amazon to buy that book, it’s not going to take off on there — and meanwhile, Amazon is taking a 35-70% cut.

    • Carol Tice

      I know nothing about launching fiction, but I gather similar platform-building is involved to what I’m doing here building an audience for nonfiction ebooks. Good luck with your launch idea!

  2. Rohi Shetty

    I think your launch strategy is awesome and so contrary to the usual advice to publish only on Kindle.
    I wonder if you are also planning to use Bookbaby or Buckbooks for promoting your Kindle books at some point? And a giveaway on Goodreads? And since this is going to be a whole new business, do you plan to have an affiliate program?

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Rohi —

      Good questions!

      I’m not starting a new affiliate program for SBBI — after launch week, everyone in the regular Den affiliate program will be able to sell this ebook as well, just like any of my other ebooks.

      Yes, it may be counter-intuitive for me to only involve affiliates AFTER launch week. But I like to give my own subscribers the very best deal. Also, this launch is complex, with 3 different package offers, and I’m not sure I want to let hundreds of affiliates sell my mastermind or blog reviews. So that’s another reason affiliates aren’t in this yet.

      I think I went into this in the post, but I’ve seen people spend $200 on Bookbaby, Buckbooks, and a half-dozen other promo sites, to promote a Kindle ebook on Amazon…get thousands of free downloads during their KDP exclusive, and then net $300 in total book sales. No thanks!

      I’ve done a giveaway on Goodreads in the past, on one of my print business books, which I’d rate OK, but no big thrills. Gets the title in front of some more eyeballs. I believe they are not accepting non-physical books these days…has to be a print copy.

      I think going all-in on Amazon could work if you do HUGE pre-marketing, tons of guest posts and podcasts and such, do a short free cycle, and keep promoting the heck out of it. AND you have a hot topic, fresh ideas, and a big ‘street team’ helping you make your book a bestseller.

      But honestly, I’m more intrigued by the ‘buy a bestseller slot’ strategy I see some authors doing now, where they give away a print book for the cost of shipping in a big presale, so that they can debut at official launch on the NY Times bestseller list. Bet THAT drives some ongoing Amazon sales! But it costs BIG.

  3. Emily

    Awesome advice here. I love your emphasis on treating your book launch as a business (because it is one!) and on regularly getting feedback from your audience. I’m an email subscriber, so I can’t wait to hear your results. I hope you’ll also share some of your guest posts with us, or direct us to them. I’d love to see how you use guest posting to help with your launch. Congrats and good luck!

    • Carol Tice

      I wish I could say I had 20 guest posts lined up…but we had two major power outages and no school days, a couple other kid emergencies (broken finger!)…and I have to say I had hoped to hit guest posting harder. But I will have at least a couple guest posts — I’ll try to let folks know about them. Maybe I can send out links when I send the launch week results. 😉

      • Emily

        Life happens, right? Definitely send out the links with your emails! I’m sure every guest post helps, so even a couple will surely make an impact on your goals.

        • Carol Tice

          I was reviewing my marketing sheet and think I’ll have at least 4 go out for sure…gotta write them today!

  4. James Truett

    Absolutely brilliant advice, Carol. I love that you’re focusing on independent platform development and not relying on Amazon. You’ve crystallized what I’ve been thinking for quite a while. This post motivates me to do it! Thanks.

    • Carol Tice

      Literally as I’m reading these comments, I saw yet another sad author on my Facebook group: “Gee, I did my free cycle but I ended up making $100. What’s wrong?”

      What’s wrong is, that doesn’t work anymore. KDP Select freebies have just given birth to oodles of readers who never buy ANY ebooks — they just get free downloads.

      The days when Amazon could be a magical cash machine for unknown e-book authors is over. The marketplace is too crowded there.

      It’s time for authors to do what they should have done all along: BUILD THEIR OWN PLATFORM, and build relationships with their audience.

  5. Willi M

    It’s so exciting that both you and Linda are launching ebooks around the same time. I’m learning so much from both of you about what this process is like. Thank you for the reminder that Amazon isn’t where you depend on sales.

    I’m writing a book on entrepreneurs with anxiety, but I’m planning it to be a physical book as well as an e-book. I’ve been taking my sweet time with it, because I have a long way to go before I build up my author platform.

    Looking forward to re-reading this. I didn’t know you were doing affiliates, too, so I will go check that out and work on a blog post or email subscriber blurb about it.

    • Carol Tice

      Affiliates won’t be on this until after launch week, Willi. 😉 Initial 3-level offer is too complicated!

      I’m planning an audio and physical book of this new ebook as well, but want to release them in stages…so that I can create new inflection points for selling, rather than blowing my powder all at once.

  6. Glen Kirkpatrick


    Thank you for the very informative post.

    My first manuscript is in the edit and rewrite stage. I plan to self-publish on Create Space and Kindle. I have constructed a web site using I had long ago decided to place the Amazon link on my web site. Reading your article helped me see the merits of selling my book directly from my web site.

    Thank you, Glen

    • Carol Tice

      Not sure if you actually CAN sell on Wix, but if so…yes, build your audience, and sell directly to them before relying on Amazon. I hear SO many stories of disappointment from aspiring authors who’re all-in on Amazon.Great way to earn $100…but if you were hoping the book would do more for you, think about platform-building.

      • Brian Bartlett

        Carol, great idea on pre-selling your ebook on your own site, then allowing Amazon the sale, post-release, One technical question on how to do that: how do you sell a Kindle ebook version on your own site? Is there a program or way to send the buyer a .mobi file? Please be as specific as you can. I want to executer this plan!

        • Carol Tice

          Great question — there is! We create our own .mobi files and send users a zip of PDF, mobi, and ibooks files, so they can view it in whatever format they like. I don’t like creating a .mobi through Amazon where only THEY have that file.

          Yes, it’s a cost to do all that, but to me it’s worth it.

          • Brian Bartlett

            Thanks! Are there any pitfalls with Amazon or really, with any of these retailers? I mean, do they frown on the direct sales model through Ganxy, for instance? Just don’t want to incur the big retailers’ wrath and get banned.

            Also, is there sales tax to be concerned with selling direct?

          • Carol Tice

            You’re good with Amazon as long as you don’t charge LESS elsewhere than you do on Amazon. That’s the main thing. If you do and they figure it out, they will lower your Amazon price to match or be less than, or they may want to kick you off. And of course your royalty is lower on Amazon, you can’t be in KDP Select when you sell elsewhere.

            I feel like I know perhaps a handful of people who make good money being all-in on Amazon…and millions of people who make pennies on Amazon, and need to build their own platform and sell other places.

  7. Katherine Swarts

    I’m glad to hear you say Amazon isn’t the essential starting point so many think it is. I, too, go nuts trying to understand and keep up with their rules!

    • Carol Tice

      I know a handful of authors who’re earning BIG money selling many-many ebooks on Amazon and doing a TON of marketing around it. But I know many, many more authors who just don’t earn anything meaningful. It’s sort of a moonshot — like having a blog that goes viral and gets 100,000 subscribers.

  8. Allen Taylor

    Great launch plan, Carol. After interviewing nearly a dozen independent non-fiction authors, I’ve learned two very important things about e-book self-publishing.

    1) Every launch plan is as unique as the author (and should be)
    2) The power to any e-book marketing plan is in the list

    While every author I’ve interviewed has taken a different path to success, they’ve all (even the Kindle-only publishers) attributed their success to building their own list and leveraging that list for sales. It’s the key to success with marketing any product. You’ve got to build that list.

    • Carol Tice

      Glad you’ve pointed that out. I hope I’m busting the myth that all you have to do to sell an ebook is pop it on Amazon. NO!

      You need your own marketing plan. Just like with selling a traditional print book (I’ve done two — same thing). All the work is on you.

  9. Judy

    Carol from your comments on FB I knew you were good, you are brilliant. I am going to print this and comments and study it line by line. My soon to launch “savvy online success” a big section on blogging so I am very interested in your strategy. I am wondering whethet I should keep chasing Amazon Best Seller Status !

    • Carol Tice

      Nice to see you over here, Judy!

      Well, I do occasional bulk 99-cent sales of all my ebooks on Amazon to get ranks I can publicize, now and then. But…it just doesn’t have anything to do with earning money. It’s a prestige thing. Most of those #1 ranks are gone in a couple days. It doesn’t keep sending you buyers.

  10. Michael

    Carol, your post is great and very timely. I love your first step to building an ebook launch: build an audience. It’s such an obvious first step to me now. Yet, it’s amazing how many self-publishing “gurus” don’t teach that step to their “students” even as they promote their courses and ebooks to them. Your authenticity is refreshing.

    • Carol Tice

      Thanks, Michael! Maybe those gurus built an audience so long ago that they sort of don’t recall how important that is…or that a lot of bloggers don’t HAVE an audience yet.

  11. Frank Phillips

    Carol, you are amazing! I never cease to be amazed at how much you know and how you are able to put that knowledge to use to be successful. My hat’s off to you, girl!

    • Carol Tice

      Well, thanks, Frank! I don’t ‘feel’ like I know all that much about self-publishing. To me it’s still a big experiment, and I learn more with each launch. Obviously, I’m swimming upstream on my launch ideas.

      I’ve had people telling me I’m CRAZY not to send my whole list to buy on Amazon, so I could hit Top 100 and that I’d sell hundreds of extra copies that way. But my math is that I STILL MAKE MORE selling it on my own site. I just think those brief appearances at the top of bestseller lists don’t necessarily pay off that big anymore. Amazon’s ebook marketplace is increasingly overcrowded, and success is fleeting there…and Amazon takes a cut. So I prefer to sell it myself as phase one.

  12. Molly

    Hi Carol and very exciting project you’ve got going – congrats. I agree with your assessment above about how the majority of kindle books get put up, make a litlte cash, then off into obscurity.

    My project (I’ve written a few e-books but this is first kindle book, and Createspace paperback out next week) I’m taking the slow and steady approach, and am hoping to not let it fall into obscurity, but keep up some momentum, gain interest with my blogging I am doing on the same topic on my website and keep on trying to market/promote as I learn.

    It’s a quality book, I have 22 reviews, 20 are 5-star and very complimentary – I’ve written about a very tough topic in a new, interesting way and from a personal perspective (which was tough) – I think I deserve a little success!

    I couldn’t start off like you are with such a bang (no 17k mailing list!) and needed to go slow to get a feel for how others would respond and to start to network within groups related to the topic, plus the e-book got quite a few updates/uploads as I did a zillion re-edits (could not afford an editor).

    Happy to have it done (editing complete and new cover on the way) and now am moving into a new phase, trying to see where I fit – as I speak out about some very sensitive issues (the bipolar spectrum/psych meds).

    I want to make money but it was a very personal project so just sharing the story and info, plus trying to educate about related issues (so much misinformation online) is of high value to me.

    I’ve given a little thought to ‘related projects/offerings’ like you mention above but not sure there are any (counseling would be one, but I am not a licensed professional and would never overstep that boundary – some folks do, that’s not me). Still learning, thinking and moving forward.

    Slow and steady, that’s my motto 🙂 Ok, too much blabbing but you asked for info LOL. Excited to follow your project and hear how you succeed with it plus cash you make.


    • Carol Tice

      I’d be interested to hear how that does, Molly. I’ve never met anyone who sold well with this sort of approach. Books don’t tend to build slowly — it’s more common that they never acquire any momentum or sell.

      What you’re doing is what the vast majority of writers do. Write first, then slowly start figuring out how to sell. In my experience, success comes from doing these in reverse order. Build connections and an audience first…then introduce the book. Unlike blogs, which I believe can do VERY well building slowly (that’s how I built this one!), ebooks seem to really need a big launch week with a LOT of attention and relationships to drive it to sell much of anything.

      One live book event I went to I thought was clever — if you PRE-bought the book, you got to attend a cocktail party with the author before a live reading. This was an established fiction author, but I thought that was real smart! And then they handed us our copies at the party and we got them signed. Nice way to give extra goodies to those who trust you up front.

      But I’d love to hear you report back on how this goes…

      • Molly

        I agree with you, but I see other books in same topic that are many years old and still being marketed and sold… so I’m not sure if they are just bored and not making any money or actually making sales 🙂

        One example is the amazing Kay Jamison who’s “An Unquiet Mind” is still selling and getting current reviews – written in 1997! But that’s a classic, and many of those are probably grad students, etc studying psychology…

        Still. I have hope lol.

        And I think it is true some books start out on Amazon and then can become bestsellers – I think that is the story of Shades of Grey. Probably more common to fiction success (the few who hit it big) than in my non-fiction area.

        We don’t all have the option of ‘starting big’ and it really didn’t make sense in my case, I wrote the book to share my story and add to the many others out there… not to become a super star or public personality. I’m a private person, do not like public speaking and feel I can have an impact in other ways.

        I wish I could have launched like you are – or could now with the paperback finally almost done – but I also wish I was a millionaire. LOL.

        • Carol Tice

          Yes, more common in fiction.
          Not saying start ‘big’ — I don’t think I’M big. Start with SOMETHING. Some audience.

          • Molly

            Yes, good point and I’ve learned, backtracking and getting some traction, book sales are slowly increasing (1-2 sales a day kind of craziness 🙂

            I could shoot myself (not literally!) for getting sidetracked and not saving the link but I read the story a couple weeks ago of a novice fiction writer (insurance professional turned self-published Amazon Kindle author) who put his book up (like I did, no pre-launch) and it sat for about 8 months.

            He used email marketing to generate buzz… long story short, his first novel became a bestseller (he was offered publishing contracts but stayed indie) – not sure of exact timeframe.

            Think it was maybe 6 years ago or so, he then published more, fulltime author now and has his own publishing house.

            So – not that it is common, but I think there are ways to stay in the game, not let your book go ‘backlisted’ and work at marketing it, a little similar to growing a blog (maybe that’s not the greatest comparison, but is a bit similar, an audience is an audience).

            When I find it – will post here! Excited to see how yours will succeed but I don’t think it has much chance of failing 🙂

          • Carol Tice

            You might be thinking of Hugh Howey, not sure.

            On launch week I actually only made it to 50% of my goal — but that’s partly because I haven’t launched the blogging mastermind yet. That makes up most of the rest of the projected income from it. Just getting that underway now.

            I’m also still guest posting about it and promoting it…it’s turning into more of a launch month or two than a launch week. So stay tuned!

  13. Lain Ehmann

    Great tips. I like your thinking! How do you think this would work, though, for someone with a much smaller community? You’ve been building yours for some time now… if someone is new, it seems they need to build the platform first (maybe for several years) before they can reap the level of results you have. Thoughts?

    • Carol Tice

      You said it — build your platform. Too many authors are publishing, then scrambling hoping to build an audience. It’s much easier when you do these things in the other order.

      And remember, many of my other ebooks sold with basically the same methods, back when I had a smaller audience. I just prepped a case study that is a bonus in the Small Blog, Big Income e-book on one of my first ebook launches — back when I had maybe 9,000 subscribers. And my very first one launched when I had around 1,000.

      Honestly, if you don’t have 1,000 subscribers, why bother trying to sell? Why are writers shocked, shocked, when they release their ebook into a vacuum, and it doesn’t sell anything? But that’s one of the big drifts of the SBBI book — build, THEN sell. Whatever it is you’re selling — a course, an event, an ebook, whatever.

  14. Katherine Swarts

    Your points on first building the audience, then writing the book, are well taken–but what do we do with the books we’ve already written, back before we knew better?

    • Carol Tice

      Build an audience and then repackage/remarket/relaunch them. 😉

  15. Carol

    Many good tips. I like the way you write. Create a real audience and then create a book is really a great idea.

  16. Ahmad Ben

    Hi Carol!

    I think you have an epic plan laid out here for a successful ebook launch. I’ve never seen such a well-thought out plan of action for an ebook launch.

    It is very true that most people sell ebooks as a introductory front-end product to then make the real money selling more expensive products/services on the back-end.
    I’m in the affiliate marketing space myself and the bottom line is you can’t make a fortune selling ebooks for $10 a piece.

    High-ticket products are where the money is at! Selling 5 products at $1000 each is sooooo much easier than selling 500 ebooks at $10!

    • Carol Tice

      Well, sounds like you have a good audience!

      I’ve actually yet to sell a $1,000 product, either mine or someone else’s. For my audience $500-$600 seems to be about the upper limit.

      That’s actually one of the big messages of my e-book — if you have a small audience, you’ll probably earn MORE selling lower-priced products. My biggest-earning item is $25.

  17. Moses Njoku

    hi carol,

    i guess that is true, most people launch on amazon the wrong way and their ebooks end up going nowhere. this was really interesting to read as am about to launch something myself.

    thanks carol
    -Moses Njoku.

  18. Moses Njoku

    i wanted to email you personally but i just realised theres no contact page.
    anyway, great post once again.

    • Carol Tice

      See the ’email’ icon near my picture in the right-hand sidebar, Moses, for an email link.

  19. Carrie

    Hi Carol, excellent and very detailed advice! Thank you for sharing your personal experience and strategies. I think your new eBook has great long-term selling potential simply because you chose a topic that is relevant to anyone wanting to earn money from a blog as well as being a topic that will be of interest to people as long as blogs are in existence. I think your strategy to sell to your own readers first is very smart. I think a lot of people jump onto Amazon without building an audience first because they think they will have greater exposure to a larger audience, which they might but like you said writers also need to have their own platform (blog, website, etc) to continue to generate future sales. To me it makes sense to sell ebooks in multiple places. Not just Amazon or your own blog but as many additional booksellers as possible. After you have sold to your initial core audience, obviously you have to expand your outreach if you want to increase your sales beyond that initial audience.

    • Carol Tice

      Well…I know a few people who do well selling Amazon-only as you get the better royalties. But their strategy is entirely different from mine, and they don’t have a platform of their own.

      • Carrie

        Yes I am aware it is possible to sell well on Amazon and there are a variety of methods for doing that. Traditional publishing marketing strategies such as pre-launches and pre-sales to loyal readers as you have been doing are a great way to stimulate those initial sales. I follow quite a few famous fiction authors who use the pre-sales strategy for their loyal readers but they also have their books distributed through multiple channels in addition to their personal author website or blog.

  20. Ajay Goel

    Hi Carol,

    I have already started writing an e-book. I will release it within few weeks. Unfortunately, I also got in touch with Amazon to publish it, but after getting negative feedback from you, what do you suggest, what are my other options to publish it? Can I also sell the same e-book on different websites?

    • Carol Tice

      Sorry, Ajay — I gave you negative feedback about your e-book? I don’t recall, sorry. Also don’t know what you mean by ‘I got in touch with Amazon to publish it’ — it’s an automated system to publish on Amazon. Maybe you mean negative feedback about trusting Amazon to be your sole publisher?

      Other options to publish it include what I do — launching on my own site first, and then putting it on Amazon, B&N et al. And yes, you can sell it many places at once — you just get a lower royalty from Amazon. This makes many people feel compelled to go all-in on Amazon…but I just hear too many stories about folks putting all their trust in that platform only to earn $300 on their launch, where mine brought in $5K the first week.

  21. Gene J. Horton

    A lot of people are selling crap on the name of ebooks by using automotive tools just for making money. My tip would be that before you launch an ebook,ask yourself if you have created something worthy, something that would actually help the audience. Your free ebook shouldn’t be about what you think people want. It should be about what they actually want.
    Because this would ultimately lead you to making more money if people like your book. & why wouldn’t they…when you write unique and genuine stuff?
    Take it from someone who has been in this business for more than 2 years. 🙂

    • Carol Tice

      Do you mean automatED tools, Gene?

      But I so agree with you — too many writers sit in a vacuum and decide on a topic without talking to their audience and figuring out what would truly be useful to them. I don’t care what automation or marketing initiatives you put in place, it’s all going nowhere if you don’t really have valuable information that folks haven’t already seen 100 times.

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