We can learn a lesson about writing to sell on Kindle from the monetization efforts of John Scalzi, the author of Old Man’s War.
Old Man’s War is a science fiction and debut novel by John Scalzi published in 2005. It was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2006. It was optioned by Paramount Pictures in 2011.
John Scalzi is an American author and online writer, and president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He is best known for his Hugo Award-nominated science fiction novel “Old Man’s War” and for his blog “Whatever” he has written daily on a number of topics since 1998. He has also written a number of non-fiction books.
I am a voracious reader. Many writers are and John Scalzi has been my Sci Fi flavor of the month. I started with “Old Man’s War”…a four book series… then tried Scalzi’s “Agent to the Stars” which is a complete turnaround that left me laughing and crying, but was very unlike “Old Man’s War”.
Scalzi is a writer of many dimensions and readers have to take care. Not all of his books are similar. They cross genre boundaries and a couple of times I found my expectations unfulfilled… yet he is a craftsman so though “Agent to the Stars” is very different than “Old Man’s War” once I opened my horizons I enjoyed each.
If you like Sci Fi, I think you’ll enjoy the Old Man’s War series at least but it is Scalzi’s efforts at monetization that is our focus of interest here.
Scalzi writes so much I get tired just reading his bio (linked below) and I write a lot.
He makes apparently never ending tests in how to market and was into online printing at an early stage.
For example Scalzi writes about his Book “Agent to the Stars”: Several of my books have had strange journeys into print, but the journey of Agent to the Stars is probably the strangest. It began in 1997 as my “practice novel” – that is to say, the novel I wrote to see if I could write a novel (the answer seems so). I had no intention of ever selling it or ever really doing anything with it. Nevertheless in 1999 I posted it on my personal Web site, offering it as “shareware” and encouraging people to send me $1 if they liked it. I made about $4,000. It was a nice way to stay in pizza, but I did not expect anything more out of it.
In 2005 Bill Schafer, publisher of Subterranean Press, wandered by the Web site, saw Agent there, started reading it, and then sent me an email asking me if he could publish a limited edition hardcover. Well thought it would be cool to finally see it in print, so I said sure.
Subterranean printed 1,500 copies , sold them all and now people are asking (and getting) several hundred dollars for their copies on eBay. I think this is a little silly and wish had extra copies to sell. But again, after that I didn’t expect anything more out of it. And now we are here in 2008, and the book has come round again, this time in a really lovely paperback edition, of which there are more than 1,500 copies and I am officially done underestimating this book, because it clearly does not know when to stop. I am delighted by this chain of events, and hope you, the reader, are enjoying this little book which just won’t quit.
I purchased “Agent to the Stars” from Amazon for my Kindle so Scalzi’s marketing of the book continues!
There are several interesting lessons to be learned from this.
#1: Put your publications online. You never know who will read them.
#2: If you print in hardcover. Keep some copies. They may become worth more in the secondary market.
#3: Be open to different avenues for sales of your publications.
What Scalzi started in 2013 is of greater interest. He has picked up on his “Old Man’s War” series with a new “Human Division” series that brings back the Old Man’s War characters. In 2012, Tor announced that the fifth Old Man’s War novel, “The Human Division”, would be released episodically as several e-books from December 2012 through February 2013 and as a printed book later in 2013.
They are publishing a new e-epsiode every Tuesday from January 15, though April 9, 2013. They are a cross between a novelette and short story. I have read four and they do not seem connected so I can only assume the print book will be a compilation.
Scalzi’s marketing and monetization model makes a lot of sense and shows one direction the publishing industry is taking that is especially suited for independent publishers.
Here are several points that seem apparent:
#1: His full novels appear once a year and sell at Amazon.com for $7.99
#2: The weeklies sell at .99.
#3: 52X.99 generates a lot more income than $7.99 once a year!
#4: Scalzi’s income stream comes much faster… every week instead of after a year.
#5: The success of each episode works on Amazon.com’s algorithms so when looking at the Kindle top 50 sellers you see many “Human Division” episodes. This is exactly how I stumbled onto his books. As successful as he has been, I had never read or heard of him. I kept seeing “Human Division” series as I scanned for books to read, so asked myself “Why not give one a try? It is only .99 cents!”
REM stands for Reach, Engagement and Monetization. FIF is how you monetize… Focus, Inform and Fulfill.
Scalzi gives us perfect examples of reach and engagement that we hear about so often.
For reach, he has Amazon.com’s algorithms working for him. The B-Team and Walk the Plank hit the USA Today best seller lists in the last couple of weeks.
He also has his existing list of readers who read his daily blog… plus everyone who has read his books.
That is a lot of reach. Then Scalzi uses his blog and Twitter to engage his fans daily.
The three FIF steps create successful monetization.
#1: Focus. In this case the focus is Scalzi’s Sci Fi… yet he goes beyond. This can be dangerous for a new writer. Scalzi has enough success to survive the twists and turns that spring from his pen (or rather keyboard). He brands himself at his blog and through Twitter so his writing can go beyond the strict Sci fi genre. Writers can do this once a brand is established. To begin… stick to what has been bringing success.
#2: Inform. Scalzi lets his fans know what’s up in his blog and Tweets.
#3: Fulfill. This approach to monetization means you have to have a lot of copy. Keep writing. Excite and then incite… ie. give them something more to read.
Most good writers also read… usually a lot. Keep reading but now when you read look beyond the text… thinking about how that book was sold… to you. Analyze the selling of the writing as well as the text itself. Think about the publications REM and its FIF. Being a good writer is important… but being a good seller of whatever you wrote more important if you are writing to sell.
Learn Ways to Write to Sell.
#1: Publish a Positive Community Magazine. See why we believe in small positive community magazines. Order a FREE report here.
#2: Enroll in in our ONLINE course. You can use the fee later as part payment to a Writer’s Camp.
#3: Attend our Writer’s Camp March 15, 16, 17 and we’ll deduct the cost of the online course or reserve a place at our Writer’s Camp and receive the online course FREE today.
Writer’s Camps – Recorded on MP3Learn how to learn how to wrote and self publish from our recorded Writer’s Camp…
Seven P Secrets of Self PublishingHere are seven secrets that can help you earn as a writer and self publisher.
When you write, you can work anywhere. Here I am working in my greenhouse.
Gain the freedom to earn everywhere, while living anywhere you choose.
These seven secrets are important because growing numbers of unknown writers have become famous writers and rich by self publishing over the internet.
Take for example Amanda Hocking. After self publishing her first book at Amazon.com in the spring of 2010 she became one of the the best-selling e-authors. In the next year her book sales grossed approximately $2 million.
In 2011, St. Martin’s press paid Hocking more than $2 million for the world English rights of a four book series. In 2013 she sold another series to St. Martin’s Press.
E.L. James is another such story. She sold 250,000 copies of “50 Shades” via Createspace and Amazon.com before publishers noticed her and published the erotic romance trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed which sold over 70 million copies worldwide, setting the record as the fastest selling paperback of all time.
Hugh Howey is a third example. He was working for $10 an hour in a book store when he self published his novel Wool, typing in a storage room during his lunch breaks. Soon he was earning over $100,000 a month on Amazon. This helped secure a six-figure book deal from Simon & Schuster, and an option for film by Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner and Alien.
I know Hugh. Sometimes we get together at my farm and play chess (he beats me badly).
These writers are great inspirations.
Hugh’s success could not happen to a more deserving and talented person. He pours enormous energy into being worthy of his readership.
Neither you or I are likely to have this type of success. The good news is… we do not need this type of success to have a rich and fulfilled lifestyle. Self Publishing offers so many opportunities that one can have a life that most people only dream of as a journeyman writer, instead of a super star.
May I hastily add that the path to stardom begins as a journeyman… so the journeyman’s path brings success without stardom… but can also lead to stardom.
What most success stories like those of Hugh Howey or E.L James or Amanda Hocking rarely explain how many hours of writing each devoted before their self published book sales soared. They were journeymen first… stars second.
The sevens secrets are the journeyman secrets… call them a writer’s armory of tools that allows almost anyone to create successful publications for income and fulfillment.
Take Merri’s and my publishing business as an example.
Merri and I are not writing stars. We are journeymen who have for more than 40 years, year in a year out, earned solid income writing and self publishing dozens of publications about multiple subjects.
Some years that income has been more than solid… over a million dollars. Yet in terms of stardom, we are hardly known.
In a moment you’ll see why that’s fine for us and probably for you too. First some history.
Merri became involved in self publishing over 40 years ago… first helping a veterinarian publish a book on a very specific market… animal acupuncture. Then she showed a needle point artist how to sell more books to an even more specific audience… “needle point enthusiasts” about her needle point work to an audience larger than the population of the city she lived in. This led Merri to eventually become Executive Editor of an award winning magazine in Florida.
My story allowed Merri and me to work and live from Hong Kong to London to Europe to Eastern Europe, then the Caribbean and then Ecuador… making millions in the process of following our adventures… having fun… while helping a large readership adapt to a rapidly changing world.
That’s what self publishing can bring, profit, adventure and fulfillment, a great feeling of worth and wonder.
Self Publishing has created exactly the lifestyle we desire allowing us to span the world and work with meaning and purpose.
Self Publishing has become a new business art form and the seven secrets can help you start your own self publishing business now.
Everything in publishing is new and exciting and changing. Publishing is being recreated by the wonderful power of destructive technology. Everything seems new… except the seven secrets. Change in the publishing industry is disturbing many. We love it due to these seven secrets we call the 7Ps. The 7 Ps are so fundamental to writing and publishing that new technology enhances rather than reduces their power.
The First P is Passion.
Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it AND create income with self publishing. This can be your direct ticket to the kind of fulfillment you’ve always wanted in life. Whether you want to travel the world or live as a recluse, work 12 hours a day or not work much at all, you can set your schedule to succeed, if you’re willing to learn these seven secrets on writing to sell.
You can start part-time with any dream, passion, and budget. Once you’ve created a product, you’ll enjoy the “multiple effect” of producing profits over and over again.
So the question is… What do you love to do?
What’s Your Passion: An example is that thirty years ago, a client of Merri’s had a passion to help people who were in pain? He published a series of pamphlets explaining various chiropractic disorders in very simple terms. For example: “What Is Whip Lash?”
The pamphlets contained solid information, but were simple 5″ x 7″ brochures with drawings and explanations. He sold them with a rack to chiropractors, who put them in their offices for patients to read. These little self-published items sold year in and year out for decades.
There are thousands of ideas of this sort that can lead to big business. It’s just a matter of defining and then acting on your passion.
Although I can work when I please and go where I wish, for me the most important reason for being a publisher is the satisfaction it brings. I love the projects I take on, so work doesn’t feel like, well… work.
I’m passionate about investing, so I write and self publish ideas about investing. Merri and I love Ecuador… so we wrote about Ecuador.
What do you love? If you love golf, then you can write and sell publications about golf. Love travel, fishing, dogs, dolls, or art? Write and sell publications in these fields.
Are you concerned about crime, war, poverty or environmental issues? You can publish information products that help reduce these concerns.
Would you like to help the world be a more spiritual place? Publish a newsletter, write a book (or hire someone to write it for you), record a tape… publish something that enlightens people.
Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it and earn income by publishing for ereaders, print on demand, CDs, lists, bound books, or any format you choose.
This is why stardom is not the main goal for most writers and self publishers. To be immersed in our passion and get paid well for it. That usually enough.
The seven Ps are:
#4: Profitably Priced Product
#5: Prospecting Pathway
In 1974, I had a business that never got ahead. I was almost penniless, in debt and living from hand to mouth. Then I discovered these seven secrets. They helped me write and sell book after book and report after report. Since then, our self publishing business has brought in millions.
One key to building a successful self publishing business is to use the Golden Rule of Simplicity and the 7Ps to create your publication. The premise behind the Golden Rule is that if you have a passion… you have a problem. Your problem is a desire to fill.
The Golden rule of writing uses a writer’s desire as a compass to direct the creation and sale of the publication.
Here is the Golden Rule of Simplicity: Your Desires Are in Others. Your Desires ID Markets. Your Habits Reveals Pathways. Your Emotions Create Stories. Your Demands Create Publications.
This creative pathway works whether your publication is written by hand and sold on the street corner or published for Kindle at Amazon.com. These simple but basic fundamentals guide the creation of your works whether you use the most sophisticated equipment and algorithms or are totally low tech.
The first time I exposed others to the secrets in Self Publishing was in a weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar. We offered the camp for $1,500. 80 delegates enrolled. People from all walks of life attended—chiropractors, businessmen, investors, doctors, realtors, inventors, airline pilots, engineers, and housewives.
Merri and I were so overwhelmed by the response, we decided to make it available to a larger audience. We created a written course based on our current self publishing activity called “Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher.” Then we recorded the weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.
Thousands have used the course as it has evolved over the decades.
You can receive both the written course and the recorded weekend seminar, in an MP3 file, in a special “Live Well and Free Anywhere” program I am making available to you. The normal fee is $299 for the written course and $299 for the recorded workshop. I’ll send you both the course and the recorded workshop and my course “International Business Made EZ (also $299) all for $299. You save $598.
We are so confident that you’ll gain from this offer that if you are not fully satisfied, simply email us within 60 days for a full refund .
These courses are not theoretical. They describe, step-by-step, how Merri and I built a million-dollar international business and how we are running this self publishing business right now. We use the 7Ps today just as we did four decades ago to create a strong annual income.
This correspondence course is for those who would like their own international self publishing micro business for fun and profit. If you want fun, freedom, extra income and fulfillment with your own full or part time writing or want to build your existing business, by writing to sell you can profit from this course. The course can help who want their own business or who want to have a business together or a family business. This is the perfect course for those who can no longer find employment, who are looking for ways to earn abroad and who wish to retire and supplement their income.
Whether you are retired, an investor, chiropractor, doctor, dentist, professional or already own your own business, this offers another way to make money, to turn your passion into profit. We guarantee that we have shared all we know to help you start and run your own international business. Enjoy and live a life of following your Passion to Profit… through writing.
Here is a special offer. We provide two emailed courses “Self Fulfilled – How to Write to Sell and be a Self Publisher” and “International Business Made EZ”.
We include the “Self Fulfilled Writing and Self Publishing Course” because there are two reasons to write, when you have something to say or when you have something to sell. In this day and age many of us want to do both, make a statement that makes the world a better place and earn something extra in the process.
Whatever your passion, however you do business, chances are you’ll be writing either to create a product or to sell a product.
You save more than $598 because you also receive a recorded webinar conducted by our webmaster David Cross (at no extra cost).
David has been our webmaster since our website began in the 1990s. He is Merri’s and my business partner. We could not run our business as we do without him.
You can learn the tactics we use in our web business that condenses 27 years of practical experience about search engine optimization, and writing for search engines.
For the last 27 years David has worked with companies large and small – IBM, Agora Publishing, AstraZeneca and many small business owners. He has worked in 22 countries, and lived in six of them.
David’s clients span the globe and represent companies and charities both large and small. From corporate giants to small, one-woman businesses and everything from finance, healthcare, publishing, technology, real estate, veterinarians, alternative health centers and everything in between.
David is an essential part of our web based business and Myles Norin, CEO of Agora, Inc. wrote: “I have found David’s knowledge and experience unmatched in the industry. Without David’s expertise and guidance for the past 7 years, we would not be nearly as successful as we are.”
As Senior Internet Consultant to Agora Inc. in Baltimore, MD, he worked closely with Agora’s publishers and marketers and – over a 7-year period – helped to propel Agora’s online revenues from around $20 million to well over $300 million.
David’s webinar will help you gain benefits in your micro business that large internet marketing companies use. In this practical recorded workshop you will learn valuable skills to help your micro business.
There has never been a time when the opportunity for small businesses abroad has been so outstanding. Expand your borders now! Increase your economic security freedom, independence and success.
If you are not fully satisfied that this offers you enormous value simply email us for a full refund within 60 days. You can keep all three courses as our thanks for giving our courses a try.
You also receive a report “How to use Relaxed Concentration to Brainstorm Business Ideas” and a recorded workshop “How to Become and Remain Rich With Relaxed Concentration” at no additional cost.
Plus you get more in the program.
You receive the Report, “How to Finance a Small Business Overseas” (no extra fee).
Merri and I have always preferred to start our micro businesses through cash flow. However in the early the days of our business I found myself raising extra capital several times. I have also helped numerous businesses raise money to get started. This report shares several experiences to give a thumbnail sketch of how to raise money abroad.
In addition you receive any updates we make on any of these courses reports or recordings, free for a year. Businesses usually need to evolve. Merri and I continue to publish and have our independent businesses. Some basics have remained for decades, but new strategies occur all the time throughout the year. We’ll be sending along updates that share our most recent experiences as we learn and continue to grow our international micro business from Smalltown USA.
My special offer to you in this “Live Well and Free Anywhere Program”, is that you receive:
- “International Business Made EZ” course
- “Self Fulfilled – How to Write to Sell” course
- Video Workshop by our webmaster David Cross,
- The entire weekend “Writer’s Camp” in MP3,
- The report “How to Raise Money Abroad”
- Report and MP3 Workshop “How to Gain Added Success With Relaxed Concentration”
- Any updates to any of the courses, workshops, reports or recordings for a year.
We are so confident that you’ll gain from this offer that if you are not fully satisfied, simply email us within 60 days for a full refund .
To order International Business Made EZ and the entire “Live Well and Free Anywhere” program for $299. Click Here.