Authority Business Traffic and Income Report #2 [AIB]

Authority Traffic and Income ReportWelcome to the second part of the Authority Internet Business Traffic and Income Report.

This is a series I started almost a year ago.

The goal?

To show what it’s like to build an authority business from the ground up. The goal of every post is to detail the specific actions I take to grow my site ( and help you learn valuable lessons along the way.

An important part of this process is doing a regular report that breaks down the traffic and income the site has generated.

Specifically, we’ll cover six major sections:

  • Successes
  • Failures
  • Traffic Results
  • Income Results
  • Total Expenditures
  • Future Strategies

Like most folks, I love it when bloggers show how much money they really make from their businesses. With the Traffic and Income Report, I hope to show what works with an Internet business and what doesn’t. Rather than just talking about different strategies, I’ll let you know if they actually help me grow my business.

A lot has happened in the last three months. Specifically, December was my best month ever for the business (we’ll get to that in a bit.)  First, I’d like to provide a quick overview of a major shift I went through during the last quarter.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]An Update to the Develop Good Habits Case Study[/title]

“This tale grew in the telling.”  — J.R.R. Tolkien.

When I originally envisioned this project, I pictured an isolated case study where I wouldn’t leverage my “personal brand” to promote the site. But I quickly realized that the only way I’d make it successful was to put my heart and soul into growing the business. That meant sacrificing other projects I meant to work on—namely writing more Kindle books about starting and running an Internet business.

The problem?

I felt the habit books would be extremely helpful to my current audience. In fact, I even received a few emails from subscribers to this blog who were angry because I wasn’t telling people when one of my habit books was for free or discounted at $0.99. Here I was writing lots of content, but by my own “rules,” I couldn’t tell anyone about it.

So I decided to email my list to see if they’d be interested in hearing about business-related habit Kindle books. By an overwhelming majority of 95 percent, subscribers said they were interested:

Question to Email Subscribers

After a lot of thinking, I’ve decided to treat Develop Good Habits like any of my other Web businesses. If I’ve created a piece of content that’s helpful to an Internet business audience, then I’ll share it.

Ultimately this means the “validity” of this case study is called into question. While I’m still using a lot of strategies (outside of Kindle) to grow my business, I can no longer say that I had no help with growing it. In other words, I have an unfair advantage most people wouldn’t have if they were starting out on their own.

All that said, I still feel there’s a lot to learn from what will be published in the months to come. Specifically, I’ll cover the principles of team building and scaling small successes into a full-blown business that doesn’t require a whole lot of day-to-day management.

There’s a lot more I could say on this topic, but I’ll leave the conversation for the comments section. If you have any questions or concerns about what I just said, feel free to respond at the end of the report.

It’s been three months since the last traffic and income report.

Let’s find out what happened.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Successes of Develop Good Habits[/title]

I’m a big fan of mastermind groups. Whenever one of these meetings starts, it’s standard practice for members to share their breakthroughs and successes. So in the spirit of this idea, let me talk about two successes I had with (DGH) in the last three months.

#1: “Doubled Down” on Kindle Books

Another thing I envisioned when I started out was building a business that generated multiple streams of income. Kindle publishing would be an important part of it, but it wouldn’t be the only part. Things changed in the last three months when I started to see the income from the habit books take off. Instead of focusing on income diversification, I decided to “double down” on my efforts and publish more books.

Doubling down is a common blackjack expression, but I think it can also apply to any business. When you notice a strategy is working really well, instead of trying to do other things, you focus 100 percent on that activity. Put succinctly:

[quote type=”medium” align=”left”] When a strategy becomes really profitable, the best thing to do is double down.  [/quote] (Tweet this!)

In the last traffic and income report, I talked a lot about creating a habits-related Udemy product and YouTube channel. Unfortunately, that never happened because I was spending all my time on the Kindle stuff, and I probably won’t take action on these ideas during the first quarter of 2014.

What did I do to “double down” on Kindle in the past three months?

Here’s a short list:

1. Wrote three more Kindle books (halfway through the next one)

2. Deleted a rough draft of another book (we’ll talk later about why this is a good thing)

3. Changed the “back matter” of my books to create a compelling call-to-action to buy another related book

4. Mapped out my Countdown Deal strategy for the months to come

5. Researched ideas for the next five books

6. Leveraged existing contacts in the personal development space (see below) to get extra promotion whenever I launched a book

7. Experimented with free book promos to drive potential customers to books going through a Countdown Deal

8 Tracked each individual link to a book to see where I’m generating the most downloads and sales

9. Mapped out an editorial process where I’ll have multiple people do developmental editing and proofreading (again, more on this later)

Doubling down can have an exponential effect on your business—especially when it comes to Kindle books. When you consistently publish new content and couple it with intelligent marketing, it’s not hard to turn a casual reader into someone who buys multiple books you’ve written. So far this strategy is working well, but only time will tell if it was the right move.

#2: Built Quality Relationships

Another strategy I talked about implementing in the last report was building networking relationships with other bloggers in the personal development niche. Although I didn’t talk to as many people as I would have liked, I feel I’ve made some quality connections.

There were a few things I did:

  1. Commented on blogs I like and shared their content via social media
  2. Became more active on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest
  3. Sent personal emails to the bloggers I like and asked how I can help them
  4. Got on Skype with a few bloggers and talked about our businesses
  5. Created an autoresponder where I ask email subscribers to reply back to me with a successful habit they’ve developed
  6. Promoted a couple of books by other authors to my list

The important thing to remember here is I didn’t promote my books or the blog. While I talked about them, I never asked for anything. Instead, I looked for ways to help other people at first. While this strategy won’t have an immediate impact on my business, I think it’ll be well worth the effort throughout 2014.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Failures of Develop Good Habits[/title]

Recognizing your failures is equally as important as talking about your successes. Actually, sometimes it’s the failures that provide the most important lessons in life. In this section, I’ll talk about two things that went wrong in the last quarter of 2013.

#1: Throwing Out a Rough Draft

My plan for the last three months was to publish four Kindle books. For awhile I was on pace to easily reach that mark, but in late November, I wasted two weeks on a book that went nowhere. While the content was okay, I couldn’t figure out a way to make it really good. So I ultimately decided to toss it out and start a new one.

I don’t know about you, but I hate losing time on projects that go nowhere. While I still think it was a smart move to toss out that book idea, it was a bit disheartening to know I wouldn’t reach my target goal of publishing four books.

#2: Lack of a Second Income Stream

As I mentioned before, “doubling down” has its disadvantages. When you choose to focus on one thing, you ignore other strategies that might be just as effective. By 2014, I planned on having a YouTube channel and a habit-related Udemy project. Neither happened. In fact, I didn’t take a single step forward on either idea—except talk a big game about how I’m going to do both.

I really like the income from Kindle publishing, but it’s scary to have all my eggs in Amazon’s basket. Who knows what will happen in 2014? Perhaps Amazon will make a change to their policy that will severely impact my income. This is something I need to remember as I build DGH.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Traffic Results of Develop Good Habits[/title]

The Web traffic to Develop Good Habits didn’t go up that much during the last quarter. Again, this goes back to my strategy of doubling down. Although I managed to publish about an article per week, I haven’t done a heck of a lot to promote the site.

My traffic generation strategy only includes the following:

  1. List building with Kindle books
  2. Email subscribers who are reading specific blog posts
  3. Search engine traffic from Google,  Bing and Yahoo
  4. Social media—specifically Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter
  5. Direct referrals from other personal development blogs

Here is a screenshot from the past three months (October 1 to December 31):

Traffic Stats - 4th Quarter 2013

(Click to Enlarge)

Here are the stats for the fourth quarter of 2013 and how they compared to the totals from the last traffic and income report:

  • 13,384 visitors (an increase of 7,207 visitors)
  • 8,753 unique visitors (an increase of 4,667 visitors)
  • 02:36 average visitor duration (a decrease of 0:13)
  • 60.89 percent bounce rate (an increase of 17.75 percent)

When looking at these numbers, you’ll see that my average traffic more than doubled from the last report, but the visitors are not as engaged and more than half leave without checking out a second article.

Now, let’s break down traffic into specific sources:

  • 7,965 direct
  • 2,656 search engine
  • 422 Amazon (browsers, not book buyers)
  • 408 Pinterest
  • 150 Google+

I’m happy to see that most of this is direct traffic. These are people who buy/download a book, join my email list and go check out my blog posts. This is a good thing because the site is being built on strategies that I control, not ones controlled by Google.

Now, a metric that’s more important (in my opinion) is the number of email subscribers. As I mentioned in the post about monetization, the Most Wanted Response (MWR) for DGH is to build an email list.

How many subscribers did I generate in this three-month span?

Here they are (broken down by their subscription path):

  • Kindle books: 604 subscribers
  • Mobile apps: 99 subscribers
  • Splash page: 97 subscribers
  • Sidebar widget: 49 subscribers
  • Total for 4th Quarter 2013: 849 subscribers
  • Previous total: 940 subscribers
  • Grand total (up to Jan. 1st): 1789 subscribers

(Read this post to learn more about email marketing and how I’m building a list.)

Overall, I’m happy with the traffic and subscriber numbers. I’m most excited about the fact that my email list doubled in the last quarter. The important thing here is most of these people are buyers, not freebie seekers. They’ve already purchased one of my books, so they’re more likely to be engaged in the content and take action whenever I have a new book to offer. Hopefully this trend will continue throughout 2014.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Income Results of Develop Good Habits[/title]

Okay, here is where the rubber meets the road. While it’s nice to talk about successes, failures and traffic, most people want to know one thing—how much money have you made?

Well, right now, my income comes from three places:

  1. Habit Kindle Books70 Healthy Habits, Wake Up Successful, Writing Habit Mastery, 10,000 Steps Blueprint, 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits and Resolutions That Stick!
  2. Amazon Associates (physical product and book recommendations on DGH)
  3. RevMob (an advertisement platform for the app Trigger Monitor)

In the last report, I mentioned that the business generated total revenue of $3,741.92 in the preceding six months. So here’s what happened in the last three months of 2013:

October 2013

  • Amazon Kindle: $2,466.51
  • Amazon Associates: $37.27
  • RevMob $9.57

November 2013

  • Amazon Kindle: $4,229.41
  • Amazon Associates: $43.70
  • RevMob $8.67

December 2013

  • Amazon Kindle: $14,918.49
  • Amazon Associates: $383.72
  • RevMob: $3.15

Income 4th Quarter 2013 (October through December): $22,100.49

Previous Income: $3,741.92

GRAND TOTAL: $25,842.81

I could pretend to be nonchalant about these numbers, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve been doing the “Snoopy Dance” since I calculated everything a few days ago. While I knew December was a good month, I didn’t think it would reach that mark.

That said, my income relies too much on Kindle publishing. I have to start thinking about what I need to do to reinvest this income and grow my business, which we’ll cover in a bit.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Total Expenditures of DGH[/title]

Every online business requires a financial investment. The trick is to know what’s worth buying and what can be skipped, so another point of this case study is to provide a financial breakdown of what I spend on DGH.

There are five categories of expenditures for Develop Good Habits:

  1. Web Development: Domain registration, hosting (with HostGator), WordPress theme (Canvas theme) and Web design tweaks
  2. Content: Blog posts, editing, Web articles, lead magnet creation and a few e-book sections
  3. Graphics: Stock photography, logo design and e-book covers
  4. Mobile Apps: Graphic design, wireframing, programming and app store submission
  5. Marketing: Press releases, Fiverr gigs, paid advertising and various experiments

Here is the financial breakdown during the three-month span:

  1. Web development: $293.00
  2. Content: $1,434.55
  3. Graphics: $561.00
  4. Mobile apps: $120
  5. Marketing: $239.00

Expenditures 4th Quarter 2013 (October through December): $2,647.55

Previous expenditures: $4,515.53


Now, compare my expenditures to my overall gross income and you’ll get the net income for Develop Good Habits:

Gross Income: $25,842.81 – Total Expenditures: $7,163.08 =

Net Income: +$18,679.73

In the last report, I talked about wanting to turn a profit on the Develop Good Habits website. Now that I’ve reached that goal, I’m looking to take the bulk of this income and reinvest it back into the business.

So let’s talk about what’s going on in the 1st quarter of 2014.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Future Strategies of Develop Good Habits[/title]

“Make hay while the sun shines.” – Classic proverb

It’s easy to look at the earnings in the last quarter and think it’ll last forever, but you can never predict what will happen in the future. Instead of spending this money, I plan on investing it back into the business. For the first quarter of 2014, that means focusing on a single strategy.

#1: Scale the Business and Hire Talent

Right now, the obvious strategy would be to keep writing more Kindle books. If something works, doesn’t it make sense to do more of it? The problem with this mindset is the whole operation depends on me. If I’m not doing all the tasks that support the Kindle business, then eventually the royalties will come to a grinding halt.

That’s why I’m focusing on building a (small) team around DGH and training them to support many of the actions required to support my day-to-day operations. I’ll still write all of the Kindle books because that’s an important part of my brand, but I’m going to start delegating the tasks that take up a lot of my time.

Ideally, I’d like to reinvest the money and find people who can:

  • Take my rough drafts of Kindle books and turn them into polished products.
  • Do the same for all of the content on both of my blogs
  • Handle the day-to-day monotonous tasks (for instance, I’m in the process of hiring a general virtual assistant, using Chris Ducker’s Virtual Staff Finder).
  • Do a second proofread of my rough book drafts after they have been reviewed by me and another editor
  • Take my existing content, break it into quality articles and post them on high-traffic forums

Honestly, I don’t need to be the one who proofreads and edits the content. There are people who are smarter and waaay more talented at it than me, so it makes sense to find these editorial/ghostwriting superstars and have them polish the content that I put together.

While this strategy won’t be cheap, I feel it can save me 15 to 20 hours per week on my business, which frees me up to focus on two key areas: writing good content and building relationships with other bloggers.

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Comments/Questions/Ideas[/title]

Well, that’s it for the second update of the Authority Internet Business Traffic and Income Report.

It has been an interesting three months, and I look forward to what will happen in the next quarter.

Now it’s your turn.

While this case study focuses on my experiences with growing an authority business, I’d love your feedback.

Post your comments in the section below.

Have a question about the case study? Want to see a specific type of content? Have feedback about what’s happened so far? Got a great idea for me?

If so, let me know your thoughts.

Take Action. Get Results.

90 thoughts on “Authority Business Traffic and Income Report #2 [AIB]”

  1. Your question series were brilliant, read all of them and will be taking a note of the major issues addressed by you. You say, you researched ideas for the next 5 books, that’s really something and its perhaps one the most difficult part of getting to decide what ebooks to write next. You are right about a second income stream, you never know what can happen. Thanks for these useful tips again. By the way, your income figures are really amazing.

    • Thanks Shalu — glad you like the questions series. I’m taking it a bit further and starting a YouTube channel pretty soon.

      Yes, the research phase is suuuuuuper important. You should know what you’re writing, why it’ll work and how you can help readers before typing even one word. So I recommend spending a lot of time trolling Amazon and seeing what other authors are doing. Find the holes in their books, the problems they don’t cover and focus on creating something that’s better.

  2. I saw Octobers Kindle income and thought “nice”. Then I looked down and Novembers and said “wow”! When I got to Decembers I spit my coffee out….lol. Very nice post to get me excited about my Kindle projects on a Monday morning. Thanks for sharing. Would you say the majority of those sales comes from your email list or organically from Amazon?

    Just a thought, I read the 9 Steps post about building an email list. I would love to see you drill down on that topic in another post specifically for Kindle. What is your call to action? How do you track it? Where do you place it? One that did not so well and how you improved it? and so on. If anyone else would like to see that, can I get an “Amen”. 😉 Thanks again for all the great info Steve. I’ll stay tuned in.

    • Hey Scott…thanks for stopping by. Glad to inspire you a bit this morning. December was great, but I’ve also been doing Kindle for 16 months now, so there is definitely a learning/sales curve. Most of my sales start through my own list…get people to buy at $0.99 and hopefully leave reviews. Then after awhile, Amazon picks up the slack and starts to promote your book all over the place (top 100, customer’s also bought, new titles, etc). The key (for me) is using every book to grow my email list which can help improve the success of every book that you publish.

      For your article idea. Are you talking about what I do inside the book to build an email list? Or what I do on the blog? Each has its own distinct strategy.

    • He, he, exactly my reaction Scott 😀
      I was clever enough to not drink a coffee 😉

      In fact when I saw October income I wondered if I could quit my job…

  3. Thanks so much Steve! I truly appreciate your openness and clarity in sharing your developmental journey for your web business. Your thoughts are helping me develop some ‘tracks to run on’ for my own journey.

    I’m staying tuned!

    • Thanks David — I’ve decided to “re-brand” my site to focus on Kindle publishing…so I’ll be posting a lot more relevant content to help you out in the future.

  4. Nice post again – thank You!
    I think it is really hard to decide letting all the things do by something else.
    You have to controll and advice and so on.. But at the end, when it works, it’s like magic 🙂
    I am a freelance-webdeveloper and all the headache-jobs are getting done by my programer in india. It’s perfect – I have more time to think about things that make money for me.
    Last year I earned about 15.000 $ with adsense on my websites I developed since february 2013 and now I am going to “Double Down” it. Working on new websites is fun, BUT when it comes to “don’t through your eggs in one basket” I am a loser.
    So all my other projects should be done as well to avoid this mistake.
    Hopefully I will write my first kindle-book 🙂
    The knowledge is there – thanks to your excellent books, Steve!

    • $15K is pretty impressive with Google Adsense, especially after all the changes we’ve seen in Google. With doubling-down, it’s not easy. When you see things working, you want to focus on that. But it’s also important to understand that one change can put you out of business. For me, the big thing is to build that email list which can offer a huge protection is something unforeseen happens.

  5. Thanks Steve! You’re results are always an inspiration.

    I thought the “spit the coffee out” visual was awesome from one of the prior comments!

    You mention how you use your free promos to drive traffic to your KCDs. I have used this strategy during a launch and it works well. Simply add a page in the front of your book announcing your new release and set it to free. That gets a lot of eyes on it and results in a nice boost for your new book.


    • Yeah, the free to $.99 KCD does work a bit. For me, the hard part is coordinating everything. 🙂 Appreciate your comment and I’ll respond to your email when I finish up a few things.

  6. Hey Steve, awesome to see the payoff coming in a big way. Now you have a bit of a snowball rolling on that hill:) I understand your concern about putting all your eggs in the Kindle basket, but at the end of the day your considerable talents have solidified your reputation as a top writer…or how about author? Today I’m celebrating Steve Scott, the author, and what better platform do we have today for authors? Kindle…

    • Thanks a bunch Tim! Actually, I owe you a lot for being the first person to proofread my Kindle books. I know you have other things going on right now, but if you ever need help with anything, just shoot me an email or a text.

    • Steve is demonstrating that it can be done.

      However, I think you’re half right in that as more and more people get in on the act it gets tougher. You have to offer readers something useful and you have to be aware of marketing.

      I think just writing say one book a year is tough – unless you’ve got something very different and interesting, have friends in the media or have super-SEO skills.

      But saying that Steve’s strategy of breaking down a niche into many, useful, low cost, medium sized ebooks is paying off. There’s very little risk for buying a one off book and I suspect most customers then buy many more – knowing what they’re getting.

    • BJ — At the risk of sounding hypey, it’s actually the BEST time to be publishing Kindle books. The wave of “get rich quick” authors has diminished. Now the people who are doing well understand that it’s a business that requires consistent effort and actually providing value to the reader. The trick (like Odtaa said) is to be consistent. You won’t be successful just by publishing one book. You need to work at it, almost on a daily basis.

  7. Hi, Steve,

    I was as excited as you (well, almost as excited) to see your revenue numbers. Congrats!

    It is so great to see someone writing great books (I have almost all of them!) and making good money.

    Keep it up!

      • I have one Kindle book, Steve. “Stress Management Decoded” is selling about 10 a month and all I’ve done so far is a press release. I have 17 reviews and now I have to get serious about marketing it and writing my next book!

        Thanks for asking!

        • Sounds like you have a solid niche… I know stress management is a problem that many have. I’m not sure the press release would be all the helpful. Really, publishing that next book will bring the biggest amount of success.

          As for your editor…$1500 seems pretty steep. I work with one who charges $0.02 per word and another that’s more of a proofreader who does it for $0.006 per word. Both are really good at what they do. I suggest going to Elance, giving a long article (like $1000) to two or three people and figure out which one is the best for a decent price.

  8. Hi Steve

    Very informative.

    Do you measure the amount of time it takes to develop a book, market etc.

    Time is my problem – Like you I’m actively cutting out some projects to focus on developing my business. I’d be interested on your thoughts on time management, productive use of time and outsourcing.

  9. Scott, that’s awesome. I love your Habbit tips and they are helping to my Online business.

    I saw your “Anti-Procrastination Habits” in the BestSellers List at Amazon.

    I’m sure that you have an even better month in Jan. Keep rocking in all the Kindle Tips.

    I had some success with my Amazon Affiliate journey. I hope I could break in Kindle Publishing business this year. Thanks!


  10. Great work, Steve, and as always, thanks for being so transparent.

    You’ve been doing the e-book thing for a while, now, so some of these titles could probably be removed from KDP Select, freeing you up to also distribute them in other markets (and on your own site, where impulse buys could become a factor *and* you’d earn more per sale).

    You mentioned being concerned about putting all your eggs in the Amazon basket… my question is, then, why are you?

    Presumably you have epub files for your entire catalog. It would only take a little time to customize the sales funnel / calls to action in each older title to emphasize other markets (or better yet, funnel people back to the sales page on your own site) and upload them to Kobo, B&N, Direct2Digital (for the Apple store) and, if you want, Smashwords.

    Worth a try? Or do you have a compelling reason to not do that, and I just missed it?

    Thanks again for sharing your process!

    • Matthew — You’re absolutely right in your suggestions. For me, it’s a matter of fully utilizing KDP Select. When you have multiple books in the marketplace, you can pretty much run Countdown Deals, free offers, plus generate borrows. All of these feed into visibility. By the time a book’s sales numbers start to dwindle, I can revive it by offering it at a discounted price. Honestly, most people have jumped ship on KDP Select, but when you use it right, you can literally manufacture your own success.

  11. I was reading this on my mobile device and had to scroll up and down twice and enlarge when I saw your Dec Kindle income. I almost spit out my green drink – a new healthy habit 😉 – when I saw those numbers. Congrats! And that we all may be doing the happy “Snoopy Dance” one day thanks to your tutorials and tips.

  12. Congrats Steve! That’s a nice income from your kindle books…really makes me think I need to start trying out the whole kindle book thing!

    It was great meeting and hanging out with you at New Media Expo as well.

    • It was nice meeting and hanging out with you as well. Sorry about fudging up the room number. 🙂

      Definitely, when you’re ready to do the Kindle thing…we can jump on Skype and go over things. Actually, it’ll be cool to add Chris G, because I like a lot of the things that he’s talking about doing.

      • Lol about the room number! I bet that was “fun” knocking on the wrong door 🙂

        Yep, you will definitely be the one I hit up if I ever get a chance to go down the Kindle road. Thanks!

        • Yeah, the lady looked pretty surprised to open the door and see six people standing outside. Hopefully we didn’t scare her.

          Definitely give me a shout if you decided to that. Till then, I’ll stay tuned to what you’re doing with the niche site stuff…wish I had time to do that as well.

  13. GREAT post. One thing that I think is really cool about you, is that you’re ALWAYS planning ahead. I mean, most people would just really “zoom in” on writing Kindle books, and produce two or three a month. (That’s probably what I would do.) But instead, you’re planning ahead to make sure that you’ll be financially safe in the future if the Kindle business takes a turn for the worse. That must have been a hard decision to make.

    Anyways, this was a great blog post, and I can’t wait to read the next one!


    • As always…thanks Mark. For the comments and the consistent reviews.

      I do try to plan ahead. Maybe it’s because I’ve had the rug pulled out from under me when Google changes their policies. I do feel that people will be reading small, content-driven books for many years to come. But you never know if it’ll still be Amazon that dominates the market. So it’s always best to assume the worst and prepare for it.

      • Smart.

        Currently all of my (online income) eggs are in Amazon’s basket, which I suppose it a bad place to be. I haven’t *quite* built up a “kindle empire” like you have, so if things took a turn for the worse I would be in a bad position.

        Just one real quick question, that’s not really related to this post.

        A couple of months ago I scheduled a free promo for a kindle publishing book that I have out there, and then totally forgot about it. (Horrible I know. I was planning on submitting it to a ton of sites and heavily promoting it but I just kind of…forgot.)

        Anyways, yesterday when I checked my stats I was surprised to see that:

        1) I had a free promo going on


        2) That it was selling pretty well. Within just two or so hours I think I had around 300 downloads.

        I’m just wondering what you think of this. I didn’t do anything to promote it, and yet people were downloading it like crazy. It was even outselling your book, Is $0.99 The New Free, which must have started a free promo recently as well. (I was shocked to see this, since I don’t have anywhere near the size of fanbase you do.)

        What do you think of this? Do you have any ideas as to what caused this massive surge in sales. (Although now it’s starting to fade off. Only 300 or so for all of today.)



        • Mark — To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure that sometimes happens. Your book could be picked up a by a major free site or it could have attached itself as a “Customer’s Also Bought.” The same thing happened for me with my 70 Healthy Habits book. No promotion whatsoever, but 11K downloads…tried it again a few months later…only 1K. I am testing things, so if I come up with an answer, I’ll post it here.

  14. Excellent info Steve on building your Kindle business, I completely understand the double down stuff, it is hard not to get excited by what is working. I am now getting some success from final adding Kindle to my own books so I am following you with interest. I have also gotten a lot out of the book you recommended Write, Publish, Repeat, excellent ideas on how to build a Kindle business.

    • Good to hear you’re taking action. Also glad you dove into WPR — that have a lot of brilliant ideas about how to structure any type of book business. Let me know how everything goes.

  15. Hey, Steve,

    This is a more general comment than specific to this (very helpful) post.

    I have several of your books, and like them a lot. There are a couple of things specific to your books—as opposed to too many self-help titles—that stand out.

    1. You’ve done it. Thus, there is meaning, heft, validity, and authority to what you say.
    2. You can write clearly and well. A huge plus, in my (recovering-English-teacher) book.
    3. You are honest and detailed (as in this post), sharing real, bonafide, helpful content that is WORTH buying.

    There’s a lot of junk out there, as we all know, but books like yours prove the value of the entire ebook revolution. Tightly targeted, very helpful, affordable, and instantly available.

    It’s a great testament, in my view, to all these things, that you are having such success. I’m not at all surprised.

    Thanks for the great work and the great books—and for sharing it.

    Jim Gibson

    • Thanks Jim…love getting comments like this. 🙂

      Though I’m still working on #2. I’m still not 100% satisfied with the grammar/structure of my books…so I’m starting to rely more on editors/writers who are better at that stuff than me.

      Again, thanks for the comment…let me know if I can help you in any way.

      • Quick question, Steve:

        My editor for my first book cost $1500. I can’t do more books with that editing price! Can you recommend a less expensive resource?


  16. Really great post Steve and very motivational. I thought I had done well with a 50% uplift in income but your results are amazing. I’m on to developing book number 9 now thanks to your work. Keep it up and thanks for sharing so much.


    • 9 books is pretty awesome…50% increase is pretty incredible as well. I’m sure you’re finding that as you publish more quality books, the success of your entire catalog improves. What market are you in?

      • Yes, I can see an increase in sales of older titles each time I release a new one. I have also built a nice list of followers who like what I do and who then buy the new titles as soon as they are launched. Great for increasing visibility in the sales rankings. Like yourself, I like to make special offers available to all these subscribers to say thank you for the continued support.

        My niche is Digital Photography and I tend to specialise in photo editing tools such as Photoshop or Nik Silver Efex Pro. It takes me longer to put the books together than with a more general topic but I have found the specialist knowledge needed keeps competitors away from this niche to some extent. And because I specialise with my books I can offer titles that are popular but not so popular as to attract attention from the traditional publishers.

        • Sounds like you’re on the right path and doing everything the way you should. I imagine digital photography can be difficult with the formatting and the way Kindle displays images. I agree that you having specialized knowledge is what keeps people coming back for more. I’m surprised traditional publishers haven’t come by, I know these type of books sell really well.

  17. Another great traffic and income report. Your Kindle sales leave me dumb-struck (and scary to think what they are combined with the Steve Scott titles)! I’m really pleased you’ll be promoting DGH more as Steve Scott because an authority site really has to have a figurehead (if it’s a single-author site) and people need to know who that guy is and what else he does – if that makes sense.

  18. Very impressive numbers but not surprised as I’ve read many of your books and can vouch for their quality. Curious to know what the driver was behind the increase in Amazon Associates income?

    • Clayton…Few things:

      1) I wrote a “Cyber Monday” article which had a big impact on sales

      2) I’m always linking to books in my emails

      3) I promote another book with an Associates link.

      It was a good month for Associates, but I don’t think it’ll stick.

  19. Wow, what can I say but ‘hats off to you Steve”. I needed a good motivating jolt, and this report did it for me. I’ve been sitting on the fence paralyzed about what to do with my next 10 weeks while I’m laid off and you answered it for me. Keep up the great work.

    • Thanks a bunch Nick! 10 weeks? I’d say you should definitely get at least one book out. That said, I’d definitely find another job because Kindle publishing is a slow process, so you probably need to support yourself as you’re building up a book catalog.

  20. Steve this is fantastic! I have read your books and they are awesome. You definitely put in a time of work and I even took your Amazon Associates tip and have an generating a small amount of income from it as well. Thank you so much for sharing this is very inspiring and encouraging!

    • Why thank you Montina! Yeah, the Associates isn’t much…but I like them because you can track your books and earn a small commission at the same time. Still trying to figure out ways to make this revenue grow. (Btw, got your FB message, will reply in a bit.)

  21. Montina Portis suggested this site.
    Both of you are doing great online work.

    Thanks both of you for your offerings.
    Ms. Hall

  22. Amazing results Steve, how are your children books doing? Are they still generating good income like the other categories?

    • Lyndsay — To be honest, the children’s books don’t do that well. I’d say $200 to $300 in a good month. It’s a failed experiment in my opinion…but it led me to the idea of building a brand through the habits stuff. So I guess it paid off in its own way.

  23. Steve,

    Fantastic content as always, and congratulations on the impressive numbers my friend!

    Just curious, do you have a blog post or any other information regarding your countdown deal strategy and how you use it for your books?

    I have a general idea of how it works, but I’m not entirely sure how to use it to get the best out of it.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks for the awesome content.

    Your friend,

    • Hey Alex — Good question. Unfortunately I don’t have a very elegant strategy for KCD. Really it helps to have a lot of product in the marketplace which can act as multiple entry points into your book funnel.

      Really I only do the following during a KCD:

      1) Mention it to my list
      2) Post it on social media — Twitter & Facebook
      3) Tried Fiverr gigs and other promotional sites, but they don’t have a decent ROI.

      I’m definitely trying to create a “refined” strategy, but that’s all I have so far. If I discover something, I’ll post it here.

  24. How do you determine a good niche on Kindle? My experience (technology and marketing) is both broad and deep, and finding the sweet spot of plenty of buyers and a little less competition is where I am at right now.

    Any suggestions?

    • Patricia — In one of my “Answered Questions” I go over how to find a good niche — I forget which one off the top of my head, so you have to do some digging. That said, both technology and marketing are DEFINITELY profitable topics. I think either will work. In my opinion, don’t worry about competition. If your books are good and visually pleasing, you’ll stand out from the hundreds of other self-published authors who cut corners.

  25. Scott – We met a couple years ago at Traffic & Conversion Summit. Regretfully, I never followed up with you after our little conversation, but happened to stumble upon your stuff in the process of building my own Kindle business.

    I must say – everything you do is stellar, and I am absolutely inspired by your prolificacy and transparency.

    I feel privileged to have met you, and I sincerely thank you for being awesome!

  26. I am so thankful I found you….Scott. Going to write my first e-book on Design. The best to you.

  27. Hello Steve,

    The amazon kindle publishing is a great way to build and market your business. Unfortunately, this method is fairly new so not many people know about it. Its great to see you able to make money through kindle product.

  28. LOVE this post. Thank you for your honesty. At the moment, I’m only making your October income, but am dreaming about your December finances!
    Just came across your e-books y’day and read one last night in one sitting – loved it (It was How to Get More Subscribers).
    I’m not sure if you’re still looking for an editor to work on your e-books but if you are, feel free to take a look at our business
    We’d be happy to help!
    Also, I’m in the process of writing my first e-book, which is about travel. Will have to download your other e-book for help with it, I think!

  29. Hey Steve,

    Just got here from your Authors page,

    Those figures are pretty amazing! Inspirational for all us guys who are trying to plug away with publishing more books.

    You’re getting a mention in a new book I have coming out soon by the way! 😉

    Keep making hay Steve!

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