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Get Started: How Kindle Publishing Works (In Detail!) [Part: 1/7]

Get Started: How Kindle Publishing Works (In Detail!) [Part: 1/7]

​Kindle Direct Publishing is a dream come true for writers around the world.

Although 'Indie' authors are not a new concept, earlier they were mostly confined to stacking books in their garage and usually only recognized town-wide!

Enter Amazon - the big daddy of e-commerce and things change forever.

Amazon allows authors to publish their books on their Kindle platform and gives full control over the content, design, pricing and distribution of the ​book to the author.

All you need to do, is publish your book and wait for the moolah to roll in.. (I wish!)

While Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) gives you total control of the manuscript, it leaves all the marketing and promotion to you, the author.

So although you technically have worldwide ​distribution and millions of readers who could instantly access your book, you have to do find a way to stand out among the millions of books already available on the platform.

However, once your book gathers momentum on Amazon, it can get you hundreds or thousands of sales every month, with very little or no promotion.

​Remember I told you about making money from non-fiction books, in my previous post?

Yes, you do not have to be a creative writer or novelist to make money from Kindle Publishing.​ Hundreds of thousands of non-fiction books are sold on Amazon everyday.

What you need to do is figure out a pain point or a value addition in any specific niche.

Once you figure that out, you do not even have to be an expert in the field to write a book. You can simply hire a freelancer or an expert in the field to write it for you.

We'll get into the details of finding a profitable niche in a later post in the series. Right now, let's understand how the publishing process works, in detail.

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Getting Started

Kindle publishing is free. Amazon does not charge any fees for publishing your book. They charge delivery fees and a commission on every sale you make. We'll get to the exact royalties you receive, in a little while.

It is worth noting here that while the publishing itself is free, it does not mean that it will not cost you a dime to get your first book out there.

The Kindle platform is a marketplace and like every other marketplace in the world, in order to get sales and traction, you need to have a good product.

​The Kindle platform is a marketplace and like every marketplace in the world, in order to get sales, you need a great product.

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It is not just good writing that makes a good book. It needs a great cover, professional editing, proofreading etc to ensure that readers appreciate it.

Typos and incorrect grammar will invite poor reviews and a cookie-cutter cover will banish your book to ignominy. Any author worth his/her salt will tell you that it is always a good idea to invest in a great cover and professional editing.

Hence, you should definitely plan a budget, no mater how small, for your book, so that you can put out a professional piece of work.

Once your book is ready, the place to go to sign up is http://kdp.amazon.com. 

KDP Home

The sign up process is easy and you can create your account by filling up you name, address and a few other details. Once that is done, you also need to provide you bank details where you want to receive your royalties.

Amazon requires you to complete a 'tax-interview', which is a set of questions that you need to answer to help Amazon determine the taxes applicable on your royalties.

You can complete this from account in about 15 minutes and the instructions included makes it pretty self-explanatory. If you still have trouble, you could look at the 'Help' section or the 'Community' sections for help.

Amazon withholds 30% of the royalties earned by you as tax if you do not have a US TIN.

For some countries the deduction is lower if you enter your country's tax identification number. For example, for India, Amazon withholds only 15% of the royalties if you enter your 'PAN' number.

However, it is advisable to get your US TIN once you start generating sales and royalties as this brings your deductions down to zero in most cases.

Pricing & Royalties

Amazon offers two different slabs of royalties based on the price of your Kindle book. Also, you cannot price a book lower than 99 cents.

For books priced between $0.99 and less than $2.99, Amazon offers you 35% royalties.

For books priced between $2.99 and $9.99, Amazon offers an amazing 70% royalties.

The key to pricing your book right lies in researching the competition. The pricing of similar books in the marketplace will give you a good starting point to help price your own book.

The other important method for pricing includes testing your prices and meeting your goals.

For instance, with your book, you may want as many readers as possible and go for the $0.99​ price point to gain traction and gather reviews and readers. Once the books has reviews in triple digits and has stable sales, you may want to experiment with higher prices to maximize your earnings.

Most short reads and small non-fiction books are priced at the minimum $0.99. For full-length books, the prices most authors choose lie in the range of $2.99 to $3.99.

This range maximizes your earnings as it gives you 70% royalties while keeping your book affordable and competitively priced.

Kindle books can be returned for a refund by buyers for up to 60 days after the date of purchase. Due to this, the payment of your royalties is made by Amazon 60 days after the sales occur.

For instance, the royalties earned by you in the month of January (up to 31st Jan) are paid out to you at the end of March.​

Kindle books are sold in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, India, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Mexico and Australia in their own marketplaces.

If you live outside the US, the payment for marketplaces apart from the US and your local marketplace, is made by cheque if you do not have a bank account that supports each of the local currencies.

The cheques are sent out only after you hit a minimum threshold which varies at around 100 GBP, 100 Canadian​ Dollars etc.

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KDP Select

Amazon, being the big daddy of e-commerce that it is, also offers an exclusivity program. Under the 'KDP Select' program, you have to make your book exclusive to Amazon and in return Amazon gives you certain benefits.

This program is open to all authors and you can opt-in each book in to the program for 90 days at a time.

Your book is made available to readers under Amazon's 'Kindle Unlimited' membership for which readers pay $9.99 per month.​

Also, readers can borrow your book under the 'Kindle Owner's Lending Library' program.

You, as the author, get paid for every page of your book read by Kindle Unlimited members. The total fund for KDP Select, is decided by Amazon for each month and this amount is used to determine the rate per page.

The payout per page varies slightly every month and is usually in the range of $0.005 per page.

KDP Select Fund For Kindle Authors

Apart from this, KDP Select, also rewards the top 100 authors with maximum page reads every month, with cash bonuses ranging from $1000, right up to $25,000.

The Real Benefit of the KDP select program lies in the two promotion tools that Amazon offers exclusively to KDP Select Authors.  

The first one is the 'Countdown Deal' where you can offer your book at a lower price point for a limited amount of time. You can use this tool for up to 7 days in every 90 days.

Kindle Countdown Deals

The other tool is the 'Free Promotion' which allows you to make your book free for up to 5 days in every 90 day period.

Both of these are incredibly effective promotion tools for authors especially if you are starting out and we'll talk about them in greater detail in a later post.

Publishing Your First Book

Title and Subtitle:

The title is the 'hook', the primary selling point for any non-fiction or even fiction book. The cover has to draw a buyer's attention but the whole point of having an attractive cover is to get the person to read the title of the book.

The reader decides whether or not to look further (thus moving closer towards making the buying decision) as soon as he reads the title. It can make or break your book, especially when you are starting out and books don't sell out with just your name on it.

Your main aim while creating a title is to make it as memorable as possible. Avoid overused​ words and feel free to create a brand new word or a quirky or even shocking or contradictory phrase.

Your title must not only be unique but it must evoke curiosity or manifest a strong emotion like fear, love, shock etc.

​Think of the titles of some of the most popular books you know. Here are some that I know:

Fiction

Pride & Prejudice: Brings together two powerful words that evoke a barrage of wild imagination: Whose pride is it? What kind of prejudice are we talking about here? The reader gets a sense of the strong emotional turmoil that the story might entail.​

To Kill A Mocking Bird​: This title uses an element of shock - Why would anyone want to kill a bird? It invokes a sense of innocence being being lost, a tinge of revenge and even sorrow.

Non Fiction

The $100 Startup: This one makes use of contradiction which immediately highlights the revolutionary idea that the book embodies. In a world where startups are only associated with millions and billions, the ridiculously small amount of '$100' immediately draws attention when used with 'startup'.

Think And Grow Rich: The title proclaims a unique mantra that breaks away from the age old "Hard Work Leads to Riches" formula. It instantly switches the user from perceiving it as 'too good to be true' (How can one just 'think' and 'grow' rich!) to becoming increasingly curious about it (Could this be possible? Is it about a change in mindset?)

A subtitle is often used as a on-line description ​and is highly recommended for non-fiction book.

However, I do not believe in making it a condensed description but instead I prefer to use the subtitle to advertise the single biggest benefit your book offers.

I can explain the difference with an example:

1. Subtitle When Used As A Short Description: "The Ketogenic Diet: An Unbiased & Comprehensive Analysis"

2. Subtitle​ When Used To Advertise The Primary Benefit: "The Ketogenic Diet: Should You Go Keto or Not?

While both subtitles make it clear that the book is unbiased on its dealing with the diet, the first subtitle informs the reader that the book is a thorough analysis. The reader is unable to clearly gauge the benefit that he or she is to gain from reading an analysis of the diet.

On the other hand, the second subtitle clearly tells the reader that the book will help him or her make the decision whether or not to take up the diet.

This is a clear benefit to a person who is unsure whether or not the diet is good for him/her or who has been toying with the idea.

Book Description: Just like every print book​ has a book description on the back cover, every e-book needs a description too. A book's description gives interested potential buyers a look into what the book holds.

For non-fiction books, if the author has good credentials, or has had bestsellers in the past, the description is a good place to mention it. The description for non-fiction books should get directly to the most meaty portions of the benefits one can expect from reading the book.

For fiction books, it should be short and sweet and must leave a lingering taste of what lies inside. Evoking curiosity is the key. Using the right words to create suspense and strong emotional attachment to the characters in the book, even with the few words that a description allows, will help you create the perfect description.​

Book Cover: Creating the perfect cover for your book can be a tough job. With all the talk that we hear about people judging a book by its cover, it is hard to not focus on the cover and there is no reason why you should not!

Think of a cover as an Ad. Like any advertisement, be it a banner, a billboard, a flyer or even a bumper sticker, a book cover needs to draw attention.

A book cover is basically an Ad. Just like any billboard or hoarding or a flyer, it needs to instantly catch people's attention.

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The purpose of the cover is to draw people closer and get them to read the title. For Kindle books, it means that it has to make people interested enough to click through to the book's page.

A great cover separates the​ professional book from the amateur one. When was the last time you bought a book with a shoddy cover? You've probably never bought one. So why would people buy yours?

In a later post specifically dedicated to creating a great cover for your e-book, I will cover the cheapest and also, free​ ways to get a professional cover for your book.

There are the basic things you will need apart from of course, your book file, before you can go ahead and publish you first book.

If you have found this post helpful, I want you to help me get the word out about this series, and the blog.

In fact, if you share this post on Facebook in of the groups that has Kindle authors in it or in fact anywhere on Facebook, I have a valuable surprise (worth over $50) coming for you at the end of the series. (This is exclusively for people who share this and other posts in the series)

All you've got to do is share this post on Facebook using the button below and leave a comment below or send me an email with a screenshot or a link to the post (neerav.ankit [at] gmail [dot] com). Trust me, you'll thank yourself in a week's time! 😉

How To Make Money With Kindle Books

How To Make Money With Kindle Books

I remember when I was in 8th grade, I bought a copy of 'Digit' magazine, which talks about the latest gadgets and about the digital world in general. That month, they had a supplement about 'Google Adsense, which had just launched in India.

I was fascinated. You could make money out of thin air (or so i thought!) - you didn't have to sell anything or do anything!

I went hard at it. I set up a couple of blogs on Blogger's Blogspot domains and monetized them with Adsense. I was going to make money online.

You would be surprised how easy it was to sign up for Adsense at the time!

To this day I have ​a whopping $36.38 in my Adsense account. This was all the money I could make for my efforts.

Here is a screenshot:

My Total Adsense Earnings

My Total Adsense Earnings

The reason I have shared this story is because​ this was the first time I ever made money online. Although I did not see a penny of it in my hands, there was no stopping me.

I tried a bunch of things, right from micro tasks on Amazon Mechanical Turk (which netted me some cool Amazon gift cards), Microstock Photography,​ a 'Make Money Online' blog that went by the name of 'EarnOnlineIndia.com' (Its long past dead now!).

I had a bit success here and there but got no solid results until my first year in college, when Kindle Direct Publishing was launched in India.​

I published a short story ​(you can see it here) on the platform and was instantly blown away by how easy it was to publish your own book. I made very little money from this short book but got a couple of great reviews. 

That was enough. Before I could follow up on my plans to write a follow up novel and other stories, the make money bug bit me and​ over the next 12 months I reached a point where I was making  up to $2000 per month from non-fiction Kindle e-books.

This was the time when a lot of people were scamming the system. My books stood out from the crowd as I focused on providing value to the readers. This helped me build a sustainable business even as the scammers were blown out of the water and banned in hordes by Amazon.

I went on to garner positive reviews over time and to this day I receive anywhere between $400 to $600 a month from those books with zero promotion since the last 18 months.

Last December I published a new book and the revenue from it is growing every month. SO I have decided to create a Seven Part Series on how to make money by publishing Kindle eBook.

I will will be covering every detail right from how to set up your account to choosing the right categories, getting covers designed, getting sales, reviews, creating a powerful fan base, promoting your book for free, for both non-fiction and fiction books and a ton of other incredibly valuable stuff that I have learnt over the last 3 years.

The first post in the Seven Part Series will go Live tomorrow. Here is exactly what's in store for you: 

  • Part 1: How Kindle Publishing Works– Getting Started.
  • Part 2: How To Choose A Category & Decide The ‘Type’ of Book You Want to Write.
  • Part 3: The Exact Steps To Create A Stellar & Professional Book.
  • Part 4: How To Design The Perfect Ebook Sales Page on Amazon
  • Part 5: Getting Reviews and Sales For Your Kindle Book
  • Part 6: The Paid & Free Promotion Strategies That Actually Work
  • Part 7: The Steps To Build A Brand, A Loyal Fan Base & An Authority Business
  • BONUS: $300 In FREE Services For Your First Book!

And of course, this is all going to be 100% FREE! I've been working hard on this and I'm super excited about how this is going to turn out!

Before you go, leave a comment below with any topic that you want me to specifically cover in this upcoming series. Help me make it extremely valuable to you!

I Failed, Again.

I Failed, Again.

When I was in 6th grade at school, I saw my sister create a beautifully designed paper aquarium in a shoe box. I wanted to build one too, in a bigger and better box.

I was all excited about the project and hit the ground running on day one.

I had big plans. I invested a lot of time and the little money I had and as big as the project was, it would take a lot more time.

Gradually I began to lose interest.

I did get back to it here and there but it remained far from completion forever.

The reason I have shared this story is that this pattern has manifested itself in one form or another, over and over again in my life.

Don't get me wrong, there have been tremendous successes too and this by no means makes me a loser.

You have probably experienced this too if you are the entrepreneurial type or love to build things. You get all excited about something and then it loses steam as time passes.

One problem for me too, seems to be that the excitement for the project diminishes over time.

The other problem is that as a procrastinator I am overly confident in my ability to be able to do the task in a short span of time which makes me keep postponing it right until the last moment when there is not enough time left to complete it.

The end result is a failure or a back-breaking amount of work at the last moment that throws up a half-baked result. Be it my school or college tests or most other endeavors, completing things at the last moment has been my specialty.

Also, I tend to do well when I complete things at the last moment. This is because of two reasons.

The first is that I work really well under pressure. Even in extreme or emergency situations, I tend to keep my cool and get things done when others around me are freaking out.

The second reason I have done well when completing things at the last moment is that because the competitors were not as good and not in fact, because I had 'done well'.

In reality I have never really done well when I procrastinate on something.

​This is exactly what is happening to me on this challenge and this post gives you a clear, no holds barred look at what goes wrong with most people.

I started off on a great note (read about it here) and then began to lose interest and the excitement diminished progressively. I made a few posts here and posted my January Income  ​Report with $417 in revenue. 

Its now the 26th of March, I have not even posted my February Income Report and have made very little progress on my goals.

My initial plan was to hit $3000 in revenue by the end of March​. the reality is that, it is closer to $300. That is 90% lower than my goal. There is nothing to blame for this except my own complacency.

I have failed. Again.

One good thing is that I know exactly the steps I have to take to hit my goals​. So I have decided to take matters seriously from this moment onward. I have spent a lot of money and time to make this dream of mine come to life - this blog.

Although I do not believe that my reputation is on the line, (due to the fact that I have shared this Challenge on Facebook, ​with a lot of people I know). What I am worried about, is never getting the chance to do this again. 

So from here on, I have challenged myself to ​write one post every single day starting today.

This post goes Live on the 31st of March and I make a promise to You - and every reader of this blog who has spent their time on this blog that I am not going to let you down.

​Every single day from the 1st of April till the 31st of December, 2017, I am going to make a post here on the blog to bring you as much value as I can by sharing exactly what I am doing and the results that I get.

I have built a $2 Mn revenue company in the last 2 years and achieved other important milestones in my bucket list. This one looks harder than the rest but I love challenges​ and know exactly how GOOD victory tastes.

I am going to Win.

Again.​

January 2017 Income Report – Revenue $407

January 2017 Income Report – Revenue $407

I remember those happy summer evenings when I was in boarding school; packing my bags to go home for the summer holidays, carefully stowing away my pink report card. A Pink Card meant I had scored above 80% marks! Yes, that was an innovative marker that our school used, to give out grades.

The top performers literally got pink colored report cards, the ones just below them got blue cards and the ones who had just barely passed got white cards and finally the ones who had failed the tests, got yellow cards!

I remember never having received any other color apart from pink. Not that I did not hate the day that report cards were distributed, it’s just that I loved getting pink every time!

Fast forward seventeen years (whoa, that’s a long time!) and I am still excited. Although I could not get done as much as I would have liked to this month (January), I still managed to get the ball rolling. (If you have not read about the progress I made in January, check it out here: Why I Cheated On The Million Or Nothing Challenge)

Just like I had mentioned in the Million Or Nothing Challenge post, I am trying out a bunch of things right now to try and see what works best. I have already started working on my first niche site and had published my first Kindle ebook for the challenge in December itself.

The purpose of publishing this income report each month is to keep myself on track and be as transparent as possible about my progress with the challenge. It serves as a great way to measure my results while also exposing what is not working.

As far as personal development is concerned I seem to have started out really well, in Dec-Jan executing my plans to near perfection. However, I have started to slack a little in February and have begun to lag behind my planned schedule for the challenge.

This challenge for me, is not just about the money that I make but about achieving my self-discipline goals and sharing my wins and losses with you.

In all honesty, I was not up to the mark in terms of execution in the first two weeks of February but I have stepped up my game in the last two weeks. However I’ll leave that story for the February income report.

For January, I think I did get stuff done but I still did not achieve the speed and time allotment that I need to hit my target for this year. Since this is such an ambitious challenge I need an absolutely epic level of discipline and a blinding speed of execution.

So, for January’s performance I would give myself a score 6 out of 10 purely for the self-development side of things.

As far as the moolah goes, here is exactly what I made:

1. Kindle ebooks:

Amazon.com - $106.26

Amazon.co.uk - 12.62 GBP ($15.66)

Amazon.de – 4.25 EUR ($4.51)

Amazon.fr – 1.95 EUR ($1.06)

Amazon.in – 131.45 INR ($1.96)

Amazon.ca – 2.06 CAD ($1.57)

Amazon.com.au – 3.19 AUD ($2.44)

Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) Read - 3381 = $19.905(approx.)

1. Total Income from Kindle ebook: $153.365

2. Freelance Writing: Rs. 8650 ($129) (Read more about it here)

3. The Online Selling Meet-up Ticket Sales: Rs. 300 X 28 = Rs. 8400 ( $125)

The tickets for this meet-up were prices at Rs. 300 which is around $5. It was a 2 hour long workshop about how you could get started selling physical products online in India. (Read more about it here)

However, I did not make any money off it. All of the money was spent on booking the venue and the snacks.

The primary purpose was to validate the idea for my first niche site and see whether people were willing to pay money to learn this stuff. As it turned out, 28 people bought tickets online showed up at the event, even with very little promotion on my part.

Total Revenue: $407

Expenses:

1. Domain & Hosting ( Siteground)= $83.40

2. Email Auto-responder Service (Getresponse) = $15

3. Thrive Content Editor= $67

4. The Online Selling Meet-up Venue & Snacks Expenses = $125

Total Expenses: $290.40

Net Profit: ($407 - $ 290.40) = $116.6

While I am far, far away from my ultimate goal of $83,333 per month, I do feel that this challenge has made me take more action and do more than I have ever done in the past. Ultimately, you have to realize that $407 is much better than 0, (which is what I had made last year, even though I have had these goals for years now!).

Now you can see clearly how much procrastination has cost me in the past and how much it costs you every day that you put off chasing your dreams!

If I can start from scratch and generate $407 in revenue in the first month itself, there is no reason why you should wait for one more day.

Making my goal public is certainly helping me work towards my goal even if my execution is not yet at the pace I would like it to be. However, I am pulling up my socks in February and hope to work harder and faster towards my goal.

Wish me luck & go take action. Leave a comment below, and mention one action that you took today to help you get closer to your goals.

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Why I Cheated On The Million Or Nothing Challenge!

Why I Cheated On The Million Or Nothing Challenge!

It was a cold winter’s morning in Darjeeling, a hill station called ‘the queen of hills’ just like every other hill station in India! At a boarding school on a beautiful hill side, a sleepy classroom of fourth graders was brought out of the daze, when the teacher announced a “surprise quiz” in math. In the shock and awe that was meted out, a particular young helpless child, who peeped into another kid’s paper, was pulled up by the ear and made to stand outside the classroom for the entire lecture.

I have hated math for the majority of my school life. And well, um.., let’s just say I do not remember who that kid was. 😉 However, what I do remember is that, this was one of my earliest memories about cheating and the outcome it has. Put simply, cheating on anything is bad.

Yet, I cheated on the Million Or Nothing Challenge and I’m going to tell you why. (If you don’t know what the challenge is, you can read about it here.) Also, I’m going to tell you why it is good to cheat on everything in life (but only in the exact way that I did!)

Here is the thing. According to the challenge, I have to get to $83,333 per month by Dec, 2017, starting from January 2017. However, the truth is, I started out earlier!

The idea has been bubbling up in my mind since November 2016. More importantly, I had decided on my first niche site as well as the first couple of Kindle books in December 2016. Also, I had started to earn the money that I needed to set up this blog and the other websites in the last week of December itself.

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Here are the three things that I did beforehand:

1. My first niche site: It is meant to be, more of an authority site than a niche site. Although I keep repeating this here on blog, that I am not an expert but I figured I do have experience in selling physical products online in India. That is what I built my first business on. We have sold over a million dollars’ worth of products on Amazon India and other ecommerce marketplaces in India.

So I thought I could share valuable tips and advice on the topic and actually help people build their own online selling business in India. The first thing I did was, I went to a couple of Facebook groups that had entrepreneurs & startups from India and posted about our own sales figures along with a screenshot of the graph showing the sales.

Just like I’d expected, it generated a lot of interest and comments poured in.

Seeing the response, the admin messaged me asking if I wanted to do a Facebook Live session to answer people’s questions. I grabbed the opportunity.

Event Poster

We did a 60 min Facebook Live Q&A session, on the 24th of December which had over three hundred views and I answered a ton of questions. After this, I was certain that there was an audience for this kind of information.

I then created a beautifully designed lead magnet, “Online Selling 101” and bought the domain sellcraze.com. I set up an email opt in form to collect subscriber’s details. (See it here: www.sellcraze.com) (As of now, with very promotional efforts I have a little more than 60 opt-ins.)

After this, the admins of the Delhi Startups group contacted me to do a 2 hour meetup on the topic. I agreed.

Around 25 people signed up for the paid event and all of them showed up. It was a great experience for me. I answered a ton of question & I learned a lot about what people wanted to know!

Sell Products online

This has validated my idea that there are people looking to learn about the topic. I have decided to create an authority website on the topic and maybe a course as well. I will go in to more details about this site in another post meant specifically for my first niche site project.

2. Kindle Ebooks: I have successfully published and made money from kindle ebooks in the past. I have a total of 11 published ebook and 10 of them were published in 2015 or earlier. Last December, when I had formulated the MillionOrNothing challenge, I was naturally drawn to Kindle publishing.

I created a brand new account with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and planned out 3 ebooks after basic research. I published the first one on the 21st of December to make the most of the holiday rush.

I have to say, things are pretty different from what it used to be a year ago. It is not as easy, to publish a Kindle book and drive sales. I had expected this and planned to use the first book to check out if the old strategies still work and spent the month of January testing the waters.

I received a little over $100 in sales with very little promotional efforts. Now, this is nothing spectacular and I have made far more than that in the past but what I want you to note is that I spent zero dollars on the book.

Kindle Sales Graph For January

Here is basically what I did:

  • I picked out a popular category where I expected sales.
  • I spent close to 11 days (3 hours a day) to write the book which is roughly 16,000 words and crafted a title and a description.
  • Finally, I created a cover on Canva.com for free and published the book.

I know it sounds too simplistic and I do intend to create a “Kindle Publishing from Scratch” blog post to explain every step of the way. For now, I would say I had mixed results. For the 35 hours or so that I spent on the project, I had a little over $100 in sales. However, the greater benefit lies in the book being able to generate $70 - $100 per month as passive income and hopefully more as I make efforts to promote it.

I will be sharing more details about the income generated form this, in my income reports but I have decided not to share the names of any of my Kindle books unless it is relevant and useful for entrepreneurs and readers of this blog.

3. Freelance Writing: If you’ve read the Million Or Nothing Challenge post, you know that the challenge requires me to start from scratch. However, as you may have realized, buying web hosting (Siteground), setting up this website, the niche site, and getting an email marketing software (Getresponse) costs money. So how did I earn that money?

The very purpose of starting this blog was to create a resource that could help anybody make money online. So I chose the simplest method I possibly could, to earn the money that I needed to start the blog. I went over to Upwork and Freelancer and created my profile, offering to take on writing projects. My profile on Upwork was not approved even after multiple attempts (it still hasn’t been approved) but I was immediately approved on freelancer and began to bid on projects right away.

I knew it was going to take time. I kept bidding on projects with very low asking prices but got no projects as I had no reviews on my profile but I kept at it. On the third day, I saw a post about a guy from India who needed to hire writers permanently to work from home. The rate he was offering was atrocious! ($3 for per 500 words)

I applied with a sample and got accepted. I looked around freelancer.com and found several people posting projects like this one. These people get projects from clients on freelancing websites and hire other writers to complete these projects at cheap rates and they keep a cut for themselves. You can find a lot of posts like this on freelancer if you take a look.

I negotiated for more money from the guy, saying the quality of my work was very good but it did not matter. What he offered me instead, were occasional “Higher Reward” articles for which I would receive $5 for 500 words.

How it works is that, I receive two or sometimes three projects every evening in my mail. These are usually 300 to 700 word articles. I complete these and send them in before midnight. I then receive the money in my Indian bank account within 2 to 3 days.

Emails Screenshot

For me, this is ideal. I cannot spend too much time bidding for projects every day, talking to clients, giving interviews etc. I dislike just the unpredictable nature of it especially when I am on such an amazing challenge.

I complete these couple of articles every evening and it takes me around an hour and thirty minutes each day. Most of these are “SEO articles” on easy topics like women’s health, hiring a lawyer etc.

My plan was that if I could make $6 per day, it would add up to $180 per month, which would be enough to pay for web hosting and other services that I needed to sign up for. However, sometimes this guy sending the articles takes Sundays off and on some days he sends just one article. Even then, I do get around 3 to 4 “Higher Reward” articles every week and I ended up making over $200 in January. I had started writing in December and made $86 in two weeks.

I am not going in to the income numbers in too much detail as I will soon be posting my January 2017 income report. I will post an income report for every month by the 15th of the next month.

I will be posting tons of actionable tips, advice and step-by-step tutorials. Make sure you don't miss out!

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The lesson here is if you are willing to put in the time and work, no matter how much you get paid, you can find your way! I got the money I needed to start this website and will continue to do these articles for about a month or so.

Some people may think it is not the best use of time, but hey, if you have a better gig, just drop me an email. 🙂 If not, the fact is, I am willing to do anything to achieve the goal I’ve set for myself. 

So this is how I “cheated” on the Million Or Nothing challenge. I started preparing for it well in advance. This is something I truly believe in.

No matter what you do in life, whether it is a huge project at work or planning for your wife’s birthday, putting in the work, well before you “absolutely need to”, is a great idea. 

"You can never be too prepared for anything." 

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Leave a comment below to let me know what you think of my progress. Before you go, if you like what I am doing here, please take a moment to share this post on Facebook. It would be of great help.

Cheers!

The Challenge

The Challenge

Imagine India, a developing country in the year 1991. The color television was all the rage and mobile phones were still unheard of.

In the province where Buddha attained enlightenment, the ancient city of Pataliputra, which had been the seat of government of Indian Empires for centuries, witnessed the birth of a little boy to a hardworking doctor and his wife.

That little baby was me! (Boy, do I love a dramatic entrance!) Now on to the challenge..

THE CHALLENGE

"Make At Least $83,333/Month In Revenue by December, 2017, Starting From Scratch & Doing It On The Side..

And here is the crazy part..

If I fail, I have to donate every penny made from this challenge, that’s left at the end of the year to charity!”


My goal is not to make $1mn by working in 2017 BUT to be able to make $1mn in passive income in 2018! (Passive Income is when you are not directly exchanging your time for money.)

In order to make $1mn in 12 months of 2018 I will need to make $83,333 per month. So I have to hit that target by Dec, 2107. Assuming I can keep up or grow that monthly revenue throughout 2018, I will make $1mn in 2018.

The goal is to build a business in 2017 that earns me $1mn in 2018!

Join The Challenge..

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Why "revenue" and why not $83,333 "profit"?
A couple of months ago, (Nov, 2016), I posted a crazy idea in a couple of my favorite Facebook groups. “Can a person make $1 million in a year, starting from scratch using online businesses that involve blogging, kindle publishing, niche sites and the like?”

Not many people called me crazy, at least not as many as I’d expected! Here is what most people meant to say, in one form or another – “You won’t know until you try!” and some also agreed that “It’s worth a shot!”

In one of my favorite groups, Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com (legendary blog by the way!) posted a comment that got me thinking. He asked if this was the amount that I needed for my desired lifestyle and if so, I should go ahead but if not, I should recalibrate.

This got me thinking about the ‘Why’ of the challenge. Why did I want to attempt this?

To understand the reason behind this adventure of mine, you need to know a little about me. So back the story!

The little one grew up to be a talented kid. He loved to read and write stories. In the beautiful hill state of Darjeeling, he completed his primary schooling and topped the class, in fact he was one of the highest scorers in the nation-wide exams. He then went on to study at one of the best schools in the country.

Okay, I’m done braggingFast forward seven years.. I’m now a software engineer, a 25 year old guy living in New Delhi, India with my own e-commerce company that does about $2 million in annual revenue.

I have a full-fledged business here and I do not really "need" to make money through this challenge. Having said that, the reason I am doing this is because I have always wanted to blog since I was a kid (not that long ago, I’m still young 🙂 .

I love the idea of a blog and a community around it and over the past year, I have realized that I would not be able to forgive myself if I never did it. And regrets are the last thing I want to have at the end of my life.

My goal is not to make $1mn from this blog but to add $1mn Worth of Value to people's lives! There are plenty of blogs about making money online and a lot of them make money ONLY by teaching others how to make money online. I want to create a resource with real and honest ways to make money online not just by teaching others how to make money online.

However, it is not easy to determine whether I have actually added $1mn worth of value or not, but if people actually pay me $1mn for my products and services, then that is the surest sign that I have done it!

This is the reason why I've set my eyes NOT on "$1mn in profit" but "$1mn in Revenue". However, the important thing to note here is that, I will be starting from scratch – absolute zero – so technically; it is all going to be profit.

Will I be making a loss?
Yes and No. Since I will start from scratch, and re-invest the money I make, if it takes making a loss to achieve my targets, for the first several months, then that is exactly what I will do.

My aim is to experience and to show the reality of doing business online - with all of its wins and losses.

However, the goal is to be profitable by the end of the year and not spend more than 40% of the income on expenses, like most popular bloggers do. Every month I will post an “Income Report” on this blog to show you how much I’ve made so far.

I’ve made the end goal pretty simple: the month I hit $83,333 will be when I will consider myself to have won the challenge.

How will I earn this crazy amount?

I am not a guru by any stretch. I have had success in the past, publishing Kindle ebooks (I’ve made up to $2000/month in the past) and I have spent years reading tons and tons of blog posts, guides and just about any content I could find, on how to make money online.

I want to show how anybody can publish Kindle ebooks and earn money from that, how anybody can create niche sites and authority websites and make money from those. And only when I feel I’m qualified enough, and that I can provide tremendous value, I want to create online courses and help people create online businesses.

By doing all of it transparently and showing every step of the way, my aim is to create a resource that I would have loved to have when I was starting out. Like I said, I’m not a guru of any sort. I will only execute what I plan, learn some good stuff along the way, and share my results with you.

Also, in all honesty, I am using the challenge as a tool to get myself to do something I’ve postponing for very long.

Why start from scratch?
The biggest reason why I am starting this blog is because I wish I had a resource like this when I was starting out. At the time, I was in school and had little money to spare. This is the reason why I want to do this starting with nothing but a laptop, an internet connection and my knowledge - which anybody can acquire.

I firmly believe that you don't need a hundred thousand to make a million. If you are willing to work you face off and learn as you go - you can do it starting from zero.

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How is this blog going to be different from a million other “make money online” blogs?

Honestly, I could think of several dozen reasons but here are the top 5:

1. More stories. I love to write fiction and also like to share stories from my own life. Though a few business-related niche bloggers do share a little of their personal lives online, for me, this blog is going to be much more personal. You can expect to find relevant stories, experiences and also my own self-development experiments.

2. A touch of India. While all my blog posts will always be meant for an international audience, I will be including an Indian perspective and also country specific-tips and workarounds for readers from India and the India sub-continent (Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal & Sri Lanka) in general. (Fun Fact: I was born in India & the only other country I’ve ever been to is Nepal.)

3. Show rather than tell. I am not a ‘guru’. I am not going to preach or even tell readers what to do. All I intend to do is experiment with a ton of stuff and share the results of my experiments on this blog. What this means is I would be ‘documenting’ rather than ‘creating’.

4. Strong sense of direction. While a lot of blogs are created for the general purpose of sharing useful information on a topic (and do a good job of it), this blog has been created with the single purpose of attempting the Million or Nothing challenge and sharing everything I learn along the way. This blog will continue to move in that specific direction for the foreseeable future and there is going to be a ton of reporting, evaluation and tweaking.

5. Self Help Experiments. I have been a master procrastinator for years now! I have put off more projects than I have attempted and the list of finished projects is very small.

On the other hand, I have been pretty successful in starting and growing my startup, in the last 18 months. I have learnt to work on a schedule. But the question persists – can I continue that momentum into a blogging project? Haven’t I procrastinated on such a project for almost 7 years now?

The answer is: I don’t know. Perhaps the attention and the accountability that this blog provides me will be enough or perhaps it won’t be.

The only thing I know for sure is that I am going to try everything possible to kill procrastination and I will share my progress and results with you.

My focus will always be to bring you as much value through this blog as possible. If you find this challenge interesting, please take a minute to help me spread the word by sharing this post in your favorite Facebook group. It would mean a lot to me.

Also, before you go, I’d love it if you can leave a comment about what you think about the challenge. Do share what new stuff are you planning for this year?

Super-Crazy Stuff Coming Soon!

Super-Crazy Stuff Coming Soon!

I am attempting to make $1 Million Dollars Online In Passive Income Starting from Scratch, Doing It All On The Side & Showing Every Step Of The Way, On My Blog!

Sounds Crazy? Wait till you read it all..

..And If I don’t hit the GOAL of $83,333/month by 31st Dec, 2017, I Have To Donate IT ALL To Charity!