As you may already know, I love experimenting with side hustles. Over the last 20 years or so they’ve earned me around $750,000. When I look back at my life it feels more than a little scary to think how bad my life could be if I hadn’t bothered.
Maybe not as bad as I sometimes imagine though. I gave up my day job many years ago in order to move abroad and semi-retire. It’s my side hustles that enabled me to do that.
If I hadn’t had those side hustles, I’d probably still be working, so life wouldn’t have been so bad after all. But I would have missed out on all those years of traveling.
Amazon Kindle Experiment
As one of my side hustle experiments, I decided to write a book for Amazon Kindle. At the time, I was eating a diet that included around 50% raw food. As raw food was very popular at the time, I decided that my book would be an introduction to raw food for beginners.
I didn’t know what to expect, so just wrote it and hoped for the best. Maybe not the best strategy, but that’s the way I work at times.
The book had around ten chapters and was written in just 5 days. I spend another day or two tidying it up and getting a cover designed. The cover was nothing special. It cost $5 from fiverr.com.
I published the book a few days before the end of the year and offered it for free for the first few days. I’d read that this would help sales later. I’m not sure if this strategy still works or not.
When I searched Amazon Kindle for keywords related to raw foods, my book showed up on page one. Sometimes it was showing as the top entry. Sales always increased on those days.
Health-related books, products, and courses always sell well in January, so my timing was perfect. I was still amazed when I saw that the book was getting sales every day. I was elated.
By the end of January, the book had sold around 140 copies and made me a profit of around $500.
It was at this point that I started wondering how much money I could make from publishing books on Kindle. I’d written one book in a week and made $500. What if I wrote one book a month for the next year?
Maybe I could earn $6,000 a month
I thought I could potentially make $6,000 a month. It sounded too easy. But the first book was a success, so why shouldn’t I be able to write other successful books?
I wrote my second book. This was also about raw food. Surely I’d make good sales just based on my first book. People would buy one, like it, then buy another.
The second book also took me around a week to write and get published.
I looked forward to more sales. The book didn’t sell many copies at all though. I think I made $50 in the first month. Meanwhile, sales of the first book also dropped. I think it earned $300 in month two.
But all books wouldn’t sell well. Even making $50 per book per month would add up over time.
From bad to worse
Books 3 and 4 were also health-related. They sold even fewer copies.
I then decided to try different niches. I wrote about travel, veganism, visas, and side hustles. All were pretty much disasters as far as sales were concerned.
I wasn’t going to be earning $6,000 a month after all. I wasn’t even going to be earning $500. Nor $100. After two years, all 8 books were earning a grand total of $10-20 a month.
I decided to quit this experiment. Looking back, I should have cut my losses much sooner.
I sold the books to a contact of mine who had a business running multiple websites. He wasn’t interested in the books, only the content. The books were broken down into numerous blog posts and spread across different websites.
The books are no more.
How much did I make? I earned around $4,500 from Amazon and another $300 from selling the whole lot.
That meant that each book earned an average of $600. That doesn’t sound too bad. But around 95% of the money was earned from the first book. The other 7 probably earned around $240. That’s around $35.
I earned $1.63 an hour writing books 2 through 8
Those 7 books took around 7 weeks to write. Assuming 3 hours a day, that’s 147 hours of work.
That means I was paid $1.63 an hour. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Across the 8 books, I earned almost $30 an hour. Not bad, but not great either.
Will I write any more books for Kindle?
The answer is a resounding NO.