A Guest Post by Jill Nussinow
Just last week, I made almost $100 in e-book sales with almost zero effort. The cost was a minute or two of my time to login to e-junkie.com, enter the buyers’ information and hit the Send button. The money showed up in my PayPal account like magic. Who wouldn’t love that?
I got the idea to sell a downloadable cookbook in March 2011, when I hired a designer to format my manuscript. Within a few weeks, I had something saleable but wasn’t sure how to sell it. A publisher mentionede-junkie.com. The program is so easy that I set it up myself. I installed a buy button on my website, which connects to PayPal. I sent out my email newsletter announcing that the e-book version of The New Fast Food was available at the special price of $9.95 for just 10 days, to stimulate sales.
That version had plenty of mistakes and a less-than-ideal cover, yet the first day I recovered the cost of the design work and made a profit. It felt as though I’d won a slot machine jackpot.
To add to my outreach, I picked a number of food bloggers who I thought would appreciate my e-book and offered them an affiliate program, which continues today. I offer a 25% commission on sales. Each person gets a unique code from e-junkie and can mention the e-book in ads, blog posts, email newsletters, social media and elsewhere. E-junkie tracks sales, and I pay my affiliates monthly for the previous month’s sales through PayPal’s masspay feature.
I also set up discount codes for my customers through e-junkie (and no, I do not work for them and they only charge $5 per month). If I speak at an event or on the radio and want to offer a discount, I can set up a code and announce it. People love a deal, and I can track the discount code sales to determine the effectiveness of my special offers.
All the while I incur very little cost to deliver the e-book. I have to pay a small percentage to PayPal but I don’t see a way around that.
Later, I hired a higher-quality designer who redesigned the PDF and the print version of the book. I published a print-on-demand (POD) book through Lightning Source, releasing it in paperback in November 2011.
The look and feel of the POD book cover and paper was not to my liking, though. So in the third quarter of 2012, I printed 2000 copies with Worzalla to sell at public events. Most copies of The New Fast Food, however, sell as POD through Amazon (discounted 20%) and that, too, requires no work on my part. Income, minus print costs, is direct-deposited monthly from sales three months prior.
I have two more cookbooks. The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment, first self-published in 2005, now lives on as an e-book. My latest book, Nutrition Champs, had 44 other contributors, so I set up a special affiliate program for them, hoping that they will promote it. Champs is going to Lightening Source next month to become a POD through Amazon.
Offering a PDF version of my books allows me to collect all the money on sales, to send out copies for reviews, or offer giveaways whenever I want. It’s always a win.
Now, as I mentioned, I make about $100 per week from my e-books. There is joy in receiving passive income, whether I am desk-bound or sitting on the beach in Mexico — although I much prefer the latter. And I can keep my books in print for as long as the money flows in. Wouldn’t you like to make passive income too?
Got a question or comment for Jill? Write to her in the comments.
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Jill Nussinow, aka The Veggie Queen, is a cookbook author, culinary educator, and Registered Dietician. Her latest book, Nutrition CHAMPS: The Veggie Queen’s Guide to Eating and Cooking for Optimum Health, Happiness, Energy and Vitality, is on sale for $9.95 via her website. After July 9 the price will increase to $12.95. Printed copies of the book will arrive in August.