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passive income: write a book

 
steward
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I co-authored a book.  Then did a kickstarter.   And now we transition into the passive income.  

Shawn (my co-author) and I each have an unlimited distribution license.   Shawn can sell as many copies as he likes and he keeps all the money.   I can do the same.   We do not have to calculate any royalties for the other.  

My marketing has been extremely passive.  Just a mention in my mailing lists and on my sites.  Nothing else.  I am selling two or three copies per day - but I this seems like a lot more than the five a week or so from a couple of weeks ago.   I think it is because this is the holiday shopping season.   So I wonder if it will dry up.

Of course, I am hopeful that word-of-mouth will take the book big time.  

So far, the reviews at amazon are all excellent.  Five stars all the way.  The reviews at goodreads are a mix - currently 4.27 stars out of 5.

But it is now passive.  The ebooks and audiobooks are a fully automated process.  Physical book purchases send an email to my shipper who takes care of that - I just need to restock once in a while.  


But it was a huge leap.  Fortunately, the kickstarter brought in enough that I was actually paid.  And I did get more than minimum wage.   And now I have this passive income stream.


I read somewhere that in order to have a book sell really well, what you need is to write ten books.   People enjoy one book you wrote and then they seek out another.    

I have four more books in the hopper, but I think I wore out Shawn.  

Fortunately, Mike is running full speed ahead on what will probably be the next book.   And Jennifer is helping a lot on another.    I have two more that are sitting pretty idle.  


So, who are our authors harvesting passive income?  This is a chance to mention your book!
 
gardener
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Great to hear that the book is doing good!

I have a book planned for next year. Several topics I could write about but I plan to reach out to my existing audience on my email list (and/or Patreon) to get feedback on the possible topics to help me decide which to write first.

My hope is to write a book a year for the next few years and potentially 2 books a year once I get a system down.

I will share more once I know more of the details but I think a book can be a great income source.
 
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Nice to hear that you have good reviews, that must be because you bring some value to the customers and I think that's core in today's world of reviews.

A thing I've stumbled upon, is that the amount of published books has sky-rocketed since the world war (just about quintupled) and the amount of people reading is in decline. A study even found that half of all Americans aren't able to read a 7th grade book. So it's a tough competition for a declining market.
 
paul wheaton
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The thing that bugs me is:

  - people stating there are no solutions (such as the solutions that do exist, detailed in the book)

  - people stating "I wish we had solutions"

  - people stating that the only solutions are political, and there is NOTHING that an individual can do

  - people stating that really weak stuff (or false stuff) is "best"

  - that all the people freaking out is about 10,000 time bigger than the number of people that have actually read the book

-----------------

bringing this back on topic:  will true passivity work?  I think it will sell at least one a week for several years.  
 
Daron Williams
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paul wheaton wrote:The thing that bugs me is:
...

-----------------

bringing this back on topic:  will true passivity work?  I think it will sell at least one a week for several years.  



I think if someone has an existing audience that they could use relatively passive means like you mentioned (email list and then word of mouth) to sell a book. I'm less confidant that someone with no email list, no social media following, essentially no existing audience at all would be able to write a book, publish it and then get passive income from it. At least I doubt they would get enough to justify the time and effort it takes to write and publish a book. Other passive income streams could be better in that situation.

For myself I have been focused on building my own audience first and now that I have a small but good audience I think a book could work. I also think the first book will grow my audience which would then help a 2nd book do better which would then help a 3rd book do better... plus if there are other income streams that growth in audience could help those income streams grow too.
 
paul wheaton
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I have set up a 50% affiliate fee for my book.  So it seems that if a person has an existing audience, they can actually have a bigger passive income stream than me - and they don't even need to write a book!
 
pollinator
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I suspect that for many it is rather like Daron suggested, that you need a preexisting audience, and I think a continuing audience, to have most books become a passive income stream.  I'm sure this will depend on what the book is about, how well it is written, etc.  A completely awesome book that speaks to a wide demographic of people may well develop its own audience and following.

Sadly I've heard writing a book as being an expensive business card, something that you can use to promote what you do, but not likely to generate income directly.  I've considered writing a book about creating patinas on copper (not at all permaculture related) because that is one of my specialties that I am known for and I haven't found one out there I can really recommend.  However, the audience for such a book seems really narrow, and the work involved rather high, plus it would really need to be a well printed full color production due to the subject matter thus making it costly to produce.  So despite having contacts with a couple publishers who would likely be interested I just don't see it as viable economically.  I could be wrong though.  That said, what I have been toying around with in my mind is producing short instructional videos on how to produce many specific patinas to then set up as a pay for access sort of thing.  The advantage would be lower production costs for me and people could select just the patina videos they were interested in.  It probably makes sense to have a sales package where one would get all of them for a reduced rate.  If done well enough this I could see as becoming a passive income stream worth the time I'd have to invest in producing it.  I should probably make a pilot video to test the interest level and reaction of my target market.

More immediately, I really need to get a good review of "Building a Better World in your Backyard" written and posted on my blog to see if I can help Paul and Shawn sell more of the books and harvest some of those generous affiliate fees!
 
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I wrote a book about dairy goats, funded the publishing costs with a Kickstarter (largely thanks to the lovely community we have on Permies), set it up with a high quality print-on-demand publishing service, and now it sells around a dozen copies a month without me having to do anything.

I don't do any paid advertising, I've been a bit lazy with my blogging and guest posting, and I don't have the biggest online following, but I have written something from a unique perspective, there are some good reviews of it up, and hopefully word of mouth is getting around too. Maybe I'll convince myself to write some more goat and cheese articles soon to make it a bit more visible.

I have it up for sale on Amazon and other online retailers, the ebook is up for sale here on Permies. Any bookshop or library that wants to order it in can easily do this, and if any shop that has an ‘expresso’ book printing machine, they can get it that way too.

I’ve published this with a print-on-demand service (IngramSpark), so whenever someone orders a copy, an individual book is printed for them in the closest printing location to where they are, and then mailed directly to them. I don’t have to do anything now that it’s published, so it is a passive income that is helping fund my permaculture homestead dreams.

I also have it up on Kindle Unlimited, so people with one of those accounts can read it by the page, and I get paid depending on the number of pages they read. I don’t think I get paid much for this, but it is good to be able to bring permaculture-inspired ways of caring for goats into peoples’ minds who may not have discovered it otherwise.
 
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I've written and self-published 18 books & over 20 journals. Some books make a bulk of my income, others make almost nothing. Without any marketing, I average about a couple of $100/month in passive income. I would probably do much better if I market them but I'm currently working on expanding my passive income streams away from Amazon.
 
pollinator
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I have written four books: one straight fantasy, two urban fantasy, one contemporary religious. I never did a kickstarter, I don't have a mailing list, and pretty much no contact with my readers (whoever they may be).

I used Amazon for hard copy and I have the e-book just about everywhere. I get about two or three sales per month (dollar menu level). Up from one per month a year or so ago. I had another book ready to go out this January, but discovered a problem with the plot at the last minute. It may be out by June.

I wish I could get on Audible or a similar program, since a large percentage of the "readers" now listen instead. I've had several people ask if the books are on Audible. That's going to have to wait until I have either access to the recording equipment or the money to hire it done.
 
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its not a job if your doing what you truly love and enjoy what you do.
 
pollinator
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David Huang wrote:I've considered writing a book about creating patinas on copper (not at all permaculture related) because that is one of my specialties that I am known for and I haven't found one out there I can really recommend.


Will your book include Andy Warhol’s methods of getting patina on copper?

 
David Huang
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James Whitelaw wrote:

David Huang wrote:I've considered writing a book about creating patinas on copper (not at all permaculture related) because that is one of my specialties that I am known for and I haven't found one out there I can really recommend.


Will your book include Andy Warhol’s methods of getting patina on copper?



I hadn't known about that part of Warhol's work, but then I've never been that interested in such "conceptual" art.  Urine patinas are nothing at all new.  I've heard that Rodin used to get the local boys to all pee on his sculpture to develop some of their patinas.  I've tried it as well saturating some sawdust with urine and burying a piece in it.  This does work, and can produce a beautiful finish.  However, I can get basically the same thing easier and faster using regular household ammonia and salt.  If I ever do a book the ammonia and salt one would probably get in there, perhaps with a side note nod to being able to use urine.  :)  
 
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I wrote a short few how-to books.  They are on Amazon and do OK.  My biggest lesson learned is that 90% of the earnings come from one book.... And that book is not the one I would have predicted would have done well.  Bottom line -- there needs to be a market for a book.  Writing a good book is not enough.
 
paul wheaton
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Rick Martin wrote:I wrote a short few how-to books.  They are on Amazon and do OK.  My biggest lesson learned is that 90% of the earnings come from one book.... And that book is not the one I would have predicted would have done well.  Bottom line -- there needs to be a market for a book.  Writing a good book is not enough.



 
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