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:
- Instead of web development, what about web development using Angular?
- Instead of Blockchain, what about Blockchain using Solidity and React?
- Instead of cooking recipes, how about a recipe for a specific kind of diet?
- Instead of Learning math, what about Learning Singapore Math?
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.
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
More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
1 year ago
Build This Before Someone Else Does!
Do you want to build and launch your own software company? To do this, all you need is a product that solves a problem.
Coming up with profitable ideas is not that easy. But you’re in luck because you got me!
I’ll give you the idea for free. All you need to do is execute it properly.
If you’re ready, let’s jump right into it! Starting with the problem.
Youtube has many creators. Every day, they think of new ways to entertain or inform us.
They work hard to make videos. Many of their efforts go to waste. They limit their revenue and reach.
Content repurposing solves this problem.
One video can become several TikToks. Creating YouTube videos from a podcast episode.
Or, one video might become a blog entry.
By turning videos into blog entries, Youtubers may develop evergreen SEO content, attract a new audience, and reach a non-YouTube audience.
Many YouTube creators want this easy feature.
Let's build it!
We identified the problem, and we have a solution. All that’s left to do is see how it can be done.
Monitoring new video uploads
First, watch when a friend uploads a new video. Everything should happen automatically without user input.
YouTube Webhooks make this easy. Our server listens for YouTube Webhook notifications.
After publishing a new video, we create a conversion job.
Creating a Blog Post from a Video
Next, turn a video into a blog article.
To convert, we must extract the video's audio (which can be achieved by using FFmpeg on the server).
Once we have the audio channel, we can use speech-to-text.
Services can accomplish this easily.
Speech-to-text on Google
Deepgram's affordability and integration make it my pick.
After conversion, the blog post needs formatting, error checking, and proofreading.
After this, a new blog post will appear in our web app's dashboard.
Completing a blog post
After conversion, users must examine and amend their blog posts.
Our application dashboard would handle all of this. It's a dashboard-style software where users can:
Link their Youtube account
Check out the converted videos in the future.
View the conversions that are ongoing.
Edit and format converted blog articles.
It's a web-based app.
It doesn't matter how it's made but I'd choose Next.js.
Next.js is a React front-end standard. Vercel serverless functions could conduct the conversions.
This would let me host the software for free and reduce server expenditures.
Taking It One Step Further
SaaS in a nutshell. Future improvements include integrating with WordPress or Ghost.
Our app users could then publish blog posts. Streamlining the procedure.
MVPs don't need this functionality.
Repurposing content helps you post more often, reach more people, and develop faster.
Many agencies charge a fortune for this service. Handmade means pricey.
Content creators will go crazy if you automate and cheaply solve this problem.
Just execute this idea!
1 year ago
How Much I Got Paid by YouTube for a 68 Million Views Video
My nameless, faceless channel case study
I anonymize this YouTube channel.
It's in a trendy, crowded niche. Sharing it publicly will likely enhance competition.
I'll still share my dashboard numbers:
A year ago, the video was released.
What I earned
I'll stop stalling. Here's a screenshot of my YouTube statistics page displaying Adsense profits.
YouTube Adsense made me ZERO dollars.
How is this possible?
YouTube Adsense can't monetize my niche. This is typical in faceless niches like TikTok's rain videos. If they were started a while ago, I'm sure certain rain accounts are monetized, but not today.
I actually started a soothing sounds faceless YouTube channel. This was another account of mine.
I looped Pexels films for hours. No background music, just wind, rain, etc.
People could watch these videos to relax or get ready for bed. They're ideal for background noise and relaxation.
They're long-lasting, too. It's easy to make a lot from YouTube Adsense if you insert ads.
Anyway, I tried to monetize it and couldn’t. This was about a year ago. That’s why I doubt new accounts in this genre would be able to get approved for ads.
Back to my faceless channel with 68 million views.
I received nothing from YouTube Adsense, but I made money elsewhere.
Getting paid by the gods of affiliate marketing
Place links in the video and other videos on the channel to get money. Visitors that buy through your affiliate link earn you a commission.
This video earned many clicks on my affiliate links.
I linked to a couple of Amazon products, a YouTube creator tool, my kofi link, and my subscribe link.
Brands pay you to include ads in your videos.
This video led to many sponsorships.
I've done dozens of sponsorship campaigns that paid $40 to $50 for an end screen to $450 for a preroll ad.
Overall, I made less than $3,000.
If I had time, I'd be more proactive with sponsorships. You can pitch brand sponsorships. This actually works.
I'd do that if I could rewind time.
I still can, but I think the reaction rate would be higher closer to the viral video's premiere date.
1 year ago
Ads Coming to Medium?
Could this happen?
Medium isn't like other social media giants. It wasn't a dot-com startup that became a multi-trillion-dollar social media firm. It launched in 2012 but didn't gain popularity until later. Now, it's one of the largest sites by web traffic, but it's still little compared to most. Most of Medium's traffic is external, but they don't run advertisements, so it's all about memberships.
Medium isn't profitable, but they don't disclose how terrible the problem is. Most of the $163 million they raised has been spent or used for acquisitions. If the money turns off, Medium can't stop paying its writers since the site dies. Writers must be paid, but they can't substantially slash payment without hurting the platform. The existing model needs scale to be viable and has a low ceiling. Facebook and other free social media platforms are struggling to retain users. Here, you must pay to appreciate it, and it's bad for writers AND readers. If I had the same Medium stats on YouTube, I'd make thousands of dollars a month.
Then what? Medium has tried to monetize by offering writers a cut of new members, but that's unsustainable. People-based growth is limited. Imagine recruiting non-Facebook users and getting them to pay to join. Some may, but I'd rather write.
Tiered subscriptions ($5, $10, $25, etc.)
and these may be short-term fixes, but they're not as profitable as allowing ads. Advertisements can pay several dollars per click and cents every view. If you get 40,000 views a month like me, that's several thousand instead of a few hundred. Also, Medium would have enough money to split ad revenue with writers, who would make more. I'm among the top 6% of Medium writers. Only 6% of Medium writers make more than $100, and I made $500 with 35,000 views last month. Compared to YouTube, the top 1% of Medium authors make a lot. Mr. Beast and PewDiePie make MILLIONS a month, yet top Medium writers make tens of thousands. Sure, paying 3 or 4 people a few grand, or perhaps tens of thousands, will keep them around. What if great authors leveraged their following to go huge on YouTube and abandoned Medium? If people use Medium to get successful on other platforms, Medium will be continuously cycling through authors and paying them to stay.
Ads might make writing on Medium more profitable than making videos on YouTube because they could preserve the present freemium model and pay users based on internal views. The $5 might be ad-free.
Consider: Would you accept Medium ads? A $5 ad-free version + pay-as-you-go, etc. What are your thoughts on this?
Original post available here
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1 year ago
How to Explain NFTs to Your Grandmother, in Simple Terms
In simple terms, you probably don’t.
But try. Grandma didn't grow up with Facebook, but she eventually joined.
Perhaps the fear of being isolated outweighed the discomfort of learning the technology.
Grandmas are Facebook likers, sharers, and commenters.
There’s no stopping her.
Not even NFTs. Web3 is currently very complex.
It's difficult to explain what NFTs are, how they work, and why we might use them.
1. Everything will be ours to own, both physically and digitally.
Why own something you can't touch? What's the point?
Blockchain technology proves digital ownership.
Untouchables need ownership proof. What?
Digital assets reduce friction, save time, and are better for the environment than physical goods.
Many valuable things are intangible. Feeling like your favorite brands. You'll pay obscene prices for clothing that costs pennies.
Secondly, NFTs Are Contracts. Agreements Have Value.
Blockchain technology will replace all contracts and intermediaries.
Every insurance contract, deed, marriage certificate, work contract, plane ticket, concert ticket, or sports event is likely an NFT.
We all have public wallets, like Grandma's Facebook page.
3. Your NFT Purchases Will Be Visible To Everyone.
Everyone can see your public wallet. What you buy says more about you than what you post online.
NFTs issued double as marketing collateral when seen on social media.
While I doubt Grandma knows who Snoop Dog is, imagine him or another famous person holding your NFT in his public wallet and the attention that could bring to you, your company, or brand.
This Technical Section Is For You
The NFT is a contract; its founders can add value through access, events, tuition, and possibly royalties.
Imagine Elon Musk releasing an NFT to his network. Or yearly business consultations for three years.
It's worth millions.
These determine their value.
No unsuspecting schmuck willing to buy your hot potato at zero. That's the trend, though.
Overpriced NFTs for low-effort projects created a bubble that has burst.
During a market bubble, you can make money by buying overvalued assets and selling them later for a profit, according to the Greater Fool Theory.
People are struggling. Some are ruined by collateralized loans and the gold rush.
Finances are ruined.
The same happened in 2018, during the ICO crash or in 1999/2000 when the dot com bubble burst. But the underlying technology hasn’t gone away.
1 year ago
How can you bargain for $300,000 at Google?
Don’t give a number
Google pays its software engineers generously. While many of their employees are competent, they disregard a critical skill to maximize their pay.
If Google employees have never negotiated, they're as helpless as anyone else.
In this piece, I'll reveal a compensation negotiation tip that will set you apart.
The Fallacy of Negotiating
How do you negotiate your salary? “Just give them a number twice the amount you really want”. - Someplace on the internet
Above is typical negotiation advice. If you ask for more than you want, the recruiter may meet you halfway.
It seems logical and great, but here's why you shouldn't follow that advice.
Haitian hostage rescue
In 1977, an official's aunt was kidnapped in Haiti. The kidnappers demanded $150,000 for the aunt's life. It seems reasonable until you realize why kidnappers want $150,000.
FBI detective and negotiator Chris Voss researched why they demanded so much.
“So they could party through the weekend”
When he realized their ransom was for partying, he offered $4,751 and a CD stereo. Criminals freed the aunt.
These thieves gave 31.57x their estimated amount and got a fraction. You shouldn't trust these thieves to negotiate your compensation.
Negotiating your offer and Haiti
This narrative teaches you how to negotiate with a large number.
You can and will be talked down.
If a recruiter asks your wage expectation and you offer double, be ready to explain why.
If you can't justify your request, you may be offered less. The recruiter will notice and talk you down.
a tiny bit more than the present amount you earn
a small premium over an alternative offer
a little less than the role's allotted amount
Recruiter: What’s your expected salary? Candidate: (I know the role is usually $100,000) $200,000 Recruiter: How much are you compensated in your current role? Candidate: $90,000 Recruiter: We’d be excited to offer you $95,000 for your experiences for the role.
So Why Do They Even Ask?
Recruiters ask for a number to negotiate a lower one. Asking yourself limits you.
You'll rarely get more than you asked for, and your request can be lowered.
The takeaway from all of this is to never give an expected compensation.
Tell them you haven't thought about it when you applied.
1 year ago
I received a $2k bribe to replace another developer in an interview
I can't believe they’d even think it works!
Developers are usually interviewed before being hired, right? Every organization wants candidates who meet their needs. But they also want to avoid fraud.
There are cheaters in every field. Only two come to mind for the hiring process:
Lying on a resume.
Cheating on an online test.
Recently, I observed another one. One of my coworkers invited me to replace another developer during an online interview! I was astonished, but it’s not new.
My ex-colleague recently texted me. No one from your former office will ever approach you after a year unless they need something.
Which was the case. My coworker said his wife needed help as a programmer. I was glad someone asked for my help, but I'm still a junior programmer.
Then he informed me his wife was selected for a fantastic job interview. He said he could help her with the online test, but he needed someone to help with the online interview.
Okay, I guess. Preparing for an online interview is beneficial. But then he said she didn't need to be ready. She needed someone to take her place.
I told him it wouldn't work. Every remote online interview I've ever seen required an open camera.
What followed surprised me. She'd ask to turn off the camera, he said.
I asked why.
He told me if an applicant is unwell, the interviewer may consider an off-camera interview. His wife will say she's sick and prefers no camera.
The plan left me speechless. I declined politely. He insisted and promised $2k if she got the job.
I felt insulted and told him if he persisted, I'd inform his office. I was furious. Later, I apologized and told him to stop.
I'm not sure what they did after that
I'm not sure if they found someone or listened to me. They probably didn't. How would she do the job if she even got it?
It's an internship, he said. With great pay, though. What should an intern do?
I suggested she do the interview alone. Even if she failed, she'd gain confidence and valuable experience.
Many interviewees cheat. My profession is vital to me, thus I'd rather improve my abilities and apply honestly. It's part of my identity.
Am I truthful? Most professionals are not. They fabricate their CVs. Often.
When you support interview cheating, you encourage more cheating! When someone cheats, another qualified candidate may not obtain the job.
One day, that could be you or me.