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Greg Lim

Greg Lim

2 years ago

How I made $160,000 from non-fiction books

I've sold over 40,000 non-fiction books on Amazon and made over $160,000 in six years while writing on the side.

I have a full-time job and three young sons; I can't spend 40 hours a week writing. This article describes my journey.

I write mainly tech books:

Thanks to my readers, many wrote positive evaluations. Several are bestsellers.

A few have been adopted by universities as textbooks:

My books' passive income allows me more time with my family.

Knowing I could quit my job and write full time gave me more confidence. And I find purpose in my work (i am in christian ministry).

I'm always eager to write. When work is a dread or something bad happens, writing gives me energy. Writing isn't scary. In fact, I can’t stop myself from writing!

Writing has also established my tech authority. Universities use my books, as I've said. Traditional publishers have asked me to write books.

These mindsets helped me become a successful nonfiction author:

1. You don’t have to be an Authority

Yes, I have computer science experience. But I'm no expert on my topics. Before authoring "Beginning Node.js, Express & MongoDB," my most profitable book, I had no experience with those topics. Node was a new server-side technology for me. Would that stop me from writing a book? It can. I liked learning a new technology. So I read the top three Node books, took the top online courses, and put them into my own book (which makes me know more than 90 percent of people already).

I didn't have to worry about using too much jargon because I was learning as I wrote. An expert forgets a beginner's hardship.

"The fellow learner can aid more than the master since he knows less," says C.S. Lewis. The problem he must explain is recent. The expert has forgotten.”

2. Solve a micro-problem (Niching down)

I didn't set out to write a definitive handbook. I found a market with several challenges and wrote one book. Ex:

3. Piggy Backing Trends

The above topics may still be a competitive market. E.g.  Angular, React.   To stand out, include the latest technologies or trends in your book. Learn iOS 15 instead of iOS programming. Instead of personal finance, what about personal finance with NFTs.

Even though you're a newbie author, your topic is well-known.

4. Publish short books

My books are known for being direct. Many people like this:

Your reader will appreciate you cutting out the fluff and getting to the good stuff. A reader can finish and review your book.

Second, short books are easier to write. Instead of creating a 500-page book for $50 (which few will buy), write a 100-page book that answers a subset of the problem and sell it for less. (You make less, but that's another subject). At least it got published instead of languishing. Less time spent creating a book means less time wasted if it fails. Write a small-bets book portfolio like Daniel Vassallo!

Third, it's $2.99-$9.99 on Amazon (gets 70 percent royalties for ebooks). Anything less receives 35% royalties. $9.99 books have 20,000–30,000 words. If you write more and charge more over $9.99, you get 35% royalties. Why not make it a $9.99 book?

(This is the ebook version.) Paperbacks cost more. Higher royalties allow for higher prices.

5. Validate book idea

Amazon will tell you if your book concept, title, and related phrases are popular. See? Check its best-sellers list.

150,000 is preferable. It sells 2–3 copies daily. Consider your rivals. Profitable niches have high demand and low competition.

Don't be afraid of competitive niches. First, it shows high demand. Secondly, what are the ways you can undercut the completion? Better book? Or cheaper option? There was lots of competition in my NodeJS book's area. None received 4.5 stars or more. I wrote a NodeJS book. Today, it's a best-selling Node book.

What’s Next

So long. Part II follows. Meanwhile, I will continue to write more books!

Follow my journey on Twitter.


This post is a summary. Read full article here

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Bradley Vangelder

Bradley Vangelder

1 year ago

How we started and then quickly sold our startup

From a simple landing where we tested our MVP to a platform that distributes 20,000 codes per month, we learned a lot.

Starting point

Kwotet was my first startup. Everyone might post book quotes online.

I wanted a change.

Kwotet lacked attention, thus I felt stuck. After experiencing the trials of starting Kwotet, I thought of developing a waitlist service, but I required a strong co-founder.

I knew Dries from school, but we weren't close. He was an entrepreneurial programmer who worked a lot outside school. I needed this.

We brainstormed throughout school hours. We developed features to put us first. We worked until 3 am to launch this product.

Putting in the hours is KEY when building a startup

The instant that we lost our spark

In Belgium, college seniors do their internship in their last semester.

As we both made the decision to pick a quite challenging company, little time was left for Lancero.

Eventually, we lost interest. We lost the spark…

The only logical choice was to find someone with the same spark we started with to acquire Lancero.

And we did @ MicroAcquire.

Sell before your product dies. Make sure to profit from all the gains.

What did we do following the sale?

Not far from selling Lancero I lost my dad. I was about to start a new company. It was focused on positivity. I got none left at the time.

We still didn’t let go of the dream of becoming full-time entrepreneurs. As Dries launched the amazing company Plunk, and I’m still in the discovering stages of my next journey!

Dream!

You’re an entrepreneur if:

  • You're imaginative.

  • You enjoy disassembling and reassembling things.

  • You're adept at making new friends.

  • YOU HAVE DREAMS.

You don’t need to believe me if I tell you “everything is possible”… I wouldn't believe it myself if anyone told me this 2 years ago.

Until I started doing, living my dreams.

Tim Denning

Tim Denning

1 year ago

Bills are paid by your 9 to 5. 6 through 12 help you build money.

40 years pass. After 14 years of retirement, you die. Am I the only one who sees the problem?

Photo by H.F.E & Co Studio on Unsplash

I’m the Jedi master of escaping the rat race.

Not to impress. I know this works since I've tried it. Quitting a job to make money online is worse than Kim Kardashian's internet-burning advice.

Let me help you rethink the move from a career to online income to f*ck you money.

To understand why a job is a joke, do some life math.

Without a solid why, nothing makes sense.

The retirement age is 65. Our processed food consumption could shorten our 79-year average lifespan.

You spend 40 years working.

After 14 years of retirement, you die.

Am I alone in seeing the problem?

Life is too short to work a job forever, especially since most people hate theirs. After-hours skills are vital.

Money equals unrestricted power, f*ck you.

F*ck you money is the answer.

Jack Raines said it first. He says we can do anything with the money. Jack, a young rebel straight out of college, can travel and try new foods.

F*ck you money signifies not checking your bank account before buying.

F*ck you” money is pure, unadulterated freedom with no strings attached.

Jack claims you're rich when you rarely think about money.

Avoid confusion.

This doesn't imply you can buy a Lamborghini. It indicates your costs, income, lifestyle, and bank account are balanced.

Jack established an online portfolio while working for UPS in Atlanta, Georgia. So he gained boundless power.

The portion that many erroneously believe

Yes, you need internet abilities to make money, but they're not different from 9-5 talents.

Sahil Lavingia, Gumroad's creator, explains.

A job is a way to get paid to learn.

Mistreat your boss 9-5. Drain his skills. Defuse him. Love and leave him (eventually).

Find another employment if yours is hazardous. Pick an easy job. Make sure nothing sneaks into your 6-12 time slot.

The dumb game that makes you a sheep

A 9-5 job requires many job interviews throughout life.

You email your résumé to employers and apply for jobs through advertisements. This game makes you a sheep.

You're competing globally. Work-from-home makes the competition tougher. If you're not the cheapest, employers won't hire you.

After-hours online talents (say, 6 pm-12 pm) change the game. This graphic explains it better:

Image Credit: Moina Abdul via Twitter

Online talents boost after-hours opportunities.

You go from wanting to be picked to picking yourself. More chances equal more money. Your f*ck you fund gets the extra cash.

A novel method of learning is essential.

College costs six figures and takes a lifetime to repay.

Informal learning is distinct. 6-12pm:

  • Observe the carefully controlled Twitter newsfeed.

  • Make use of Teachable and Gumroad's online courses.

  • Watch instructional YouTube videos

  • Look through the top Substack newsletters.

Informal learning is more effective because it's not obvious. It's fun to follow your curiosity and hobbies.

Image Credit: Jeff Kortenbosch via Twitter

The majority of people lack one attitude. It's simple to learn.

One big impediment stands in the way of f*ck you money and time independence. So often.

Too many people plan after 6-12 hours. Dreaming. Big-thinkers. Strategically. They fill their calendar with meetings.

This is after-hours masturb*tion.

Sahil Bloom reminded me that a bias towards action will determine if this approach works for you.

The key isn't knowing what to do from 6-12 a.m. Trust yourself and develop abilities as you go. It's for building the parachute after you jump.

Sounds risky. We've eliminated the risk by finishing this process after hours while you work 9-5.

With no risk, you can have an I-don't-care attitude and still be successful.

When you choose to move forward, this occurs.

Once you try 9-5/6-12, you'll tell someone.

It's bad.

Few of us hang out with problem-solvers.

It's how much of society operates. So they make reasons so they can feel better about not giving you money.

Matthew Kobach told me chasing f*ck you money is easier with like-minded folks.

Without f*ck you money friends, loneliness will take over and you'll think you've messed up when you just need to keep going.

Steal this easy guideline

Let's act. No more fluffing and caressing.

1. Learn

If you detest your 9-5 talents or don't think they'll work online, get new ones. If you're skilled enough, continue.

Easlo recommends these skills:

  • Designer for Figma

  • Designer Canva

  • bubble creators

  • editor in Photoshop

  • Automation consultant for Zapier

  • Designer of Webflow

  • video editor Adobe

  • Ghostwriter for Twitter

  • Idea consultant

  • Artist in Blender Studio

2. Develop the ability

Every night from 6-12, apply the skill.

Practicing ghostwriting? Write someone's tweets for free. Do someone's website copy to learn copywriting. Get a website to the top of Google for a keyword to understand SEO.

Free practice is crucial. Your 9-5 pays the money, so work for free.

3. Take off stealthily like a badass

Another mistake. Sell to few. Don't be the best. Don't claim expertise.

Sell your new expertise to others behind you.

Two ways:

  • Using a digital good

  • By providing a service,

Point 1 also includes digital service examples. Digital products include eBooks, communities, courses, ad-supported podcasts, and templates. It's easy. Your 9-5 job involves one of these.

Take ideas from work.

Why? They'll steal your time for profit.

4. Iterate while feeling awful

First-time launches always fail. You'll feel terrible. Okay. Remember your 9-5?

Find improvements. Ask free and paying consumers what worked.

Multiple relaunches, each 1% better.

5. Discover more

Never stop learning. Improve your skill. Add a relevant skill. Learn copywriting if you write online.

After-hours students earn the most.

6. Continue

Repetition is key.

7. Make this one small change.

Consistently. The 6-12 momentum won't make you rich in 30 days; that's success p*rn.

Consistency helps wage slaves become f*ck you money. Most people can't switch between the two.

Putting everything together

It's easy. You're probably already doing some.

This formula explains why, how, and what to do. It's a 5th-grade-friendly blueprint. Good.

Reduce financial risk with your 9-to-5. Replace Netflix with 6-12 money-making talents.

Life is short; do whatever you want. Today.

Simone Basso

Simone Basso

1 year ago

How I set up my teams to be successful

After 10 years of working in scale-ups, I've embraced a few concepts for scaling Tech and Product teams.

First, cross-functionalize teams. Product Managers represent the business, Product Designers the consumer, and Engineers build.

I organize teams of 5-10 individuals, following AWS's two pizza teams guidelines, with a Product Trio guiding each.

If more individuals are needed to reach a goal, I group teams under a Product Trio.

With Engineering being the biggest group, Staff/Principal Engineers often support the Trio on cross-team technical decisions.

Product Managers, Engineering Managers, or Engineers in the team may manage projects (depending on the project or aim), but the trio is collectively responsible for the team's output and outcome.

Once the Product Trio model is created, roles, duties, team ceremonies, and cooperation models must be clarified.

Keep reporting lines by discipline. Line managers are accountable for each individual's advancement, thus it's crucial that they know the work in detail.

Cross-team collaboration becomes more important after 3 teams (15-30 people). Teams can easily diverge in how they write code, run ceremonies, and build products.

Establishing groups of people that are cross-team, but grouped by discipline and skills, sharing and agreeing on working practices becomes critical.

The “Spotify Guild” model has been where I’ve taken a lot of my inspiration from.

Last, establish a taxonomy for communication channels.

In Slack, I create one channel per team and one per guild (and one for me to have discussions with the team leads).

These are just some of the basic principles I follow to organize teams.

A book I particularly like about team types and how they interact with each other is https://teamtopologies.com/.

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Jon Brosio

Jon Brosio

1 year ago

This Landing Page is a (Legal) Money-Printing Machine

and it’s easy to build.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

A landing page with good copy is a money-maker.

Let's be honest, page-builder templates are garbage.

They can help you create a nice-looking landing page, but not persuasive writing.

Over the previous 90 days, I've examined 200+ landing pages.

What's crazy?

Top digital entrepreneurs use a 7-part strategy to bring in email subscribers, generate prospects, and (passively) sell their digital courses.

Steal this 7-part landing page architecture to maximize digital product sales.

The offer

Landing pages require offers.

Newsletter, cohort, or course offer.

Your reader should see this offer first. Includind:

  • Headline

  • Imagery

  • Call-to-action

Clear, persuasive, and simplicity are key. Example: the Linkedin OS course home page of digital entrepreneur Justin Welsh offers:

Courtesy | Justin Welsh

A distinctly defined problem

Everyone needs an enemy.

You need an opponent on your landing page. Problematic.

Next, employ psychology to create a struggle in your visitor's thoughts.

Don't be clever here; label your customer's problem. The more particular you are, the bigger the situation will seem.

When you build a clear monster, you invite defeat. I appreciate Theo Ohene's Growth Roadmaps landing page.

Courtesy | Theo Ohene

Exacerbation of the effects

Problem identification doesn't motivate action.

What would an unresolved problem mean?

This is landing page copy. When you describe the unsolved problem's repercussions, you accomplish several things:

  • You write a narrative (and stories are remembered better than stats)

  • You cause the reader to feel something.

  • You help the reader relate to the issue

Important!

My favorite script is:

"Sure, you can let [problem] go untreated. But what will happen if you do? Soon, you'll begin to notice [new problem 1] will start to arise. That might bring up [problem 2], etc."

Take the copywriting course, digital writer and entrepreneur Dickie Bush illustrates below when he labels the problem (see: "poor habit") and then illustrates the repercussions.

Courtesy | Ship30for30

The tale of transformation

Every landing page needs that "ah-ha!" moment.

Transformation stories do this.

Did you find a solution? Someone else made the discovery? Have you tested your theory?

Next, describe your (or your subject's) metamorphosis.

Kieran Drew nails his narrative (and revelation) here. Right before the disclosure, he introduces his "ah-ha!" moment:

Courtesy | Kieran Drew

Testimonials

Social proof completes any landing page.

Social proof tells the reader, "If others do it, it must be worthwhile."

This is your argument.

Positive social proof helps (obviously).

Offer "free" training in exchange for a testimonial if you need social evidence. This builds social proof.

Most social proof is testimonies (recommended). Kurtis Hanni's creative take on social proof (using a screenshot of his colleague) is entertaining.

Bravo.

Courtesy | Kurtis Hanni

Reveal your offer

Now's the moment to act.

Describe the "bundle" that provides the transformation.

Here's:

  • Course

  • Cohort

  • Ebook

Whatever you're selling.

Include a product or service image, what the consumer is getting ("how it works"), the price, any "free" bonuses (preferred), and a CTA ("buy now").

Clarity is key. Don't make a cunning offer. Make sure your presentation emphasizes customer change (benefits). Dan Koe's Modern Mastery landing page makes an offer. Consider:

Courtesy | Dan Koe

An ultimatum

Offering isn't enough.

You must give your prospect an ultimatum.

  1. They can buy your merchandise from you.

  2. They may exit the webpage.

That’s it.

It's crucial to show what happens if the reader does either. Stress the consequences of not buying (again, a little consequence amplification). Remind them of the benefits of buying.

I appreciate Charles Miller's product offer ending:

Courtesy | Charles Miller

The top online creators use a 7-part landing page structure:

  1. Offer the service

  2. Describe the problem

  3. Amplify the consequences

  4. Tell the transformational story

  5. Include testimonials and social proof.

  6. Reveal the offer (with any bonuses if applicable)

  7. Finally, give the reader a deadline to encourage them to take action.

Sequence these sections to develop a landing page that (essentially) prints money.

Cody Collins

Cody Collins

1 year ago

The direction of the economy is as follows.

What quarterly bank earnings reveal

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Big banks know the economy best. Unless we’re talking about a housing crisis in 2007…

Banks are crucial to the U.S. economy. The Fed, communities, and investments exchange money.

An economy depends on money flow. Banks' views on the economy can affect their decision-making.

Most large banks released quarterly earnings and forward guidance last week. Others were pessimistic about the future.

What Makes Banks Confident

Bank of America's profit decreased 30% year-over-year, but they're optimistic about the economy. Comparatively, they're bullish.

Who banks serve affects what they see. Bank of America supports customers.

They think consumers' future is bright. They believe this for many reasons.

The average customer has decent credit, unless the system is flawed. Bank of America's new credit card and mortgage borrowers averaged 771. New-car loan and home equity borrower averages were 791 and 797.

2008's housing crisis affected people with scores below 620.

Bank of America and the economy benefit from a robust consumer. Major problems can be avoided if individuals maintain spending.

Reasons Other Banks Are Less Confident

Spending requires income. Many companies, mostly in the computer industry, have announced they will slow or freeze hiring. Layoffs are frequently an indication of poor times ahead.

BOA is positive, but investment banks are bearish.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, outlined various difficulties our economy could confront.

But geopolitical tension, high inflation, waning consumer confidence, the uncertainty about how high rates have to go and the never-before-seen quantitative tightening and their effects on global liquidity, combined with the war in Ukraine and its harmful effect on global energy and food prices are very likely to have negative consequences on the global economy sometime down the road.

That's more headwinds than tailwinds.

JPMorgan, which helps with mergers and IPOs, is less enthusiastic due to these concerns. Incoming headwinds signal drying liquidity, they say. Less business will be done.

Final Reflections

I don't think we're done. Yes, stocks are up 10% from a month ago. It's a long way from old highs.

I don't think the stock market is a strong economic indicator.

Many executives foresee a 2023 recession. According to the traditional definition, we may be in a recession when Q2 GDP statistics are released next week.

Regardless of criteria, I predict the economy will have a terrible year.

Weekly layoffs are announced. Inflation persists. Will prices return to 2020 levels if inflation cools? Perhaps. Still expensive energy. Ukraine's war has global repercussions.

I predict BOA's next quarter earnings won't be as bullish about the consumer's strength.

Hector de Isidro

Hector de Isidro

1 year ago

Why can't you speak English fluently even though you understand it?

Many of us have struggled for years to master a second language (in my case, English). Because (at least in my situation) we've always used an input-based system or method.

I'll explain in detail, but briefly: We can understand some conversations or sentences (since we've trained), but we can't give sophisticated answers or speak fluently (because we have NOT trained at all).

What exactly is input-based learning?

Reading, listening, writing, and speaking are key language abilities (if you look closely at that list, it seems that people tend to order them in this way: inadvertently giving more priority to the first ones than to the last ones).

These talents fall under two learning styles:

  • Reading and listening are input-based activities (sometimes referred to as receptive skills or passive learning).

  • Writing and speaking are output-based tasks (also known as the productive skills and/or active learning).

by Anson Wong

What's the best learning style? To learn a language, we must master four interconnected skills. The difficulty is how much time and effort we give each.

According to Shion Kabasawa's books The Power of Input: How to Maximize Learning and The Power of Output: How to Change Learning to Outcome (available only in Japanese), we spend 7:3 more time on Input Based skills than Output Based skills when we should be doing the opposite, leaning more towards Output (Input: Output->3:7).

I can't tell you how he got those numbers, but I think he's not far off because, for example, think of how many people say they're learning a second language and are satisfied bragging about it by only watching TV, series, or movies in VO (and/or reading a book or whatever) their Input is: 7:0 output!

You can't be good at a sport by watching TikTok videos about it; you must play.

“being pushed to produce language puts learners in a better position to notice the ‘gaps’ in their language knowledge”, encouraging them to ‘upgrade’ their existing interlanguage system. And, as they are pushed to produce language in real time and thereby forced to automate low-level operations by incorporating them into higher-level routines, it may also contribute to the development of fluency. — Scott Thornbury (P is for Push)

How may I practice output-based learning more?

I know that listening or reading is easy and convenient because we can do it on our own in a wide range of situations, even during another activity (although, as you know, it's not ideal), writing can be tedious/boring (it's funny that we almost always excuse ourselves in the lack of ideas), and speaking requires an interlocutor. But we must leave our comfort zone and modify our thinking to go from 3:7 to 7:3. (or at least balance it better to something closer). Gradually.

“You don’t have to do a lot every day, but you have to do something. Something. Every day.” — Callie Oettinger (Do this every day)

We can practice speaking like boxers shadow box.

Speaking out loud strengthens the mind-mouth link (otherwise, you will still speak fluently in your mind but you will choke when speaking out loud). This doesn't mean we should talk to ourselves on the way to work, while strolling, or on public transportation. We should try to do it without disturbing others, such as explaining what we've heard, read, or seen (the list is endless: you can TALK about what happened yesterday, your bedtime book, stories you heard at the office, that new kitten video you saw on Instagram, an experience you had, some new fact, that new boring episode you watched on Netflix, what you ate, what you're going to do next, your upcoming vacation, what’s trending, the news of the day)

Who will correct my grammar, vocabulary, or pronunciation with an imagined friend? We can't have everything, but tools and services can help [1].

Lack of bravery

Fear of speaking a language different than one's mother tongue in front of native speakers is global. It's easier said than done, because strangers, not your friends, will always make fun of your accent or faults. Accept it and try again. Karma will prevail.

Perfectionism is a trap. Stop self-sabotaging. Communication is key (and for that you have to practice the Output too ).

“Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the process.” — Ruri Ohama

[1] Grammarly, Deepl, Google Translate, etc.