Well, it certaily would help if you were living in Mexico so your million would be a million pesos instead of a million dollars.
But seriously, success within the world of self-publishing via Amazon, Smashwords, KOBO and the other various distribution channels is within the grasp of many of us, depending on our expectations and business plan.
My plan for success has little or nothing to do with getting on the bestseller’s list or selling hundreds of thousands of copies. Sure, it would be nice but the chances are slim, the competition is, aside from brutally unfair, MASSIVE and I don´t have the requisite thousands of dollars to invest in promotion (PAYOLA) … besides which, while I chase this dream I still have to live a life, make a living, pay the bills and take care of the miriad of other distractions that keep me away from literary nirvana.
So how does one hedge his or her bets and diversify the investment of time and effort in order to turn a non-selling book or series of books into some kind of success?
In my particular case it is easy. I am an English teacher. Not an English lit teacher of the type we loved to hate in High school or University but rather an English as a Second Language teacher. I write fiction (mostly stories about animals … dogs …. along the lines of the classic dog fiction we loved as kids) and I write language tutorials.
I have developed a system that guarantees a person will understand the grammatical structure of English in record time. I can explain it to anyone within an hour. Then it is up to the student to apply what they know and study. A motivated student could be well on their way to being bilingual within a couple of months usiing my system.
So this has raised my prestige within the realm of my career. I get the top contracts and am probably one of the best paid English teachers in all of Mexico. I work a gruelling 12 hour week and live a wonderful life. And my English fiction doesn’t do anything to harm my reputation either.
Anyone can follow the example. What are you good at? What expertise do you have?
Obviously the recent changes to the Amazon policies of book borrowing have put the non-fiction, short tutorial writer in the worst possible light. Let’s face it, all those people who have been trying to cash in writing 20 page fluff tutorials have ruined it for serious writers. Outsourcing the writing? Let’s find these people and line them up against a wall. I’m the first volunteer to be the trigger man.
But that doesn’t mean that all non-fiction tutorails are without merit. I consider my tutorials to be a much better value for the money than my fiction simply because they serve to improve people’s lives. Ok, my fiction is entertaining but reading it won’t get you a better job. Knowing English will.
Write some non-fiction stuff to help someone – pass along your knowledge. Just don’t do another ‘ How to Make Millions with Amazon Kindle’ – it’s been done to death and let’s face it, big stinking LIE! Once you have a valid tutorial or two, blogg it, add new chapters and additional information that your readers or followers can use. I have a Spanish language blog to help my ESL students and to promote my ESL books. Pay it forward. It is all worthwhile. A payback will come of it in the end.
So the best developement as far as my particular case is that this week I was offerred a captial investment to open my own school. The project is in the planning phase and will hopefully start enrollment in January 2016. We are going to start small with a rental local and room for 4 classrooms.
So whether I ever sell another ebook again isn’t and has never been the priority. The books themselves have brought me the kind of luck and success I deserve after 20 years of toiling in the classrooms.
How can you diversify your ebooks and turn them into your own version of success?
Good luck with that!
David Gordon Burke
Find my ebooks here!