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Increase eBook Sales Exponentially By Mass Syndication With Smashwords

Smashwords Today I want to talk about one way you can easily increase your eBook sales exponentially through a platform called Smashwords.

eBooks are a great way to take your knowledge and expertise and turn it into an income stream.

They are great for generating some nice passive and residual income online without having to own your own website or blog.

I have written a significant amount about this potential income stream. You can read my full series on eBooks here.

In addition, I also wrote about one specific way to give your eBook sales a tremendous boost on the Amazon Kindle platform. You can read that article here.

Recently I have been playing around with Smashwords and waited to write this post after having tested it out for at least a month.

Smashwords is an eBook syndication or distribution platform similar to Amazon Kindle or the Barnes and Noble online book store. The difference is that in addition to selling your eBook on their own site, they syndicate or distribute your eBook for sale to several other major platforms as well.

All you have to do is manage your eBooks from your dashboard within Smashwords, making it a true one stop shop.

Here are the eBook platforms that Smashwords makes your eBooks available for sale on:

  • Amazon
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Sony
  • Kobo
  • Apple
  • Diesel
  • Page Foundry
  • Baker-Taylor

Some of these platforms DO NOT accept individual submissions if you were to submit your eBook to them. They only accept eBooks exclusively through Smashwords, which is a big testament to this platform and the wonderful things they are up to. I really think this organization has a chance to revolutionize the entire eBook publishing industry.

Here is another benefit. Smashwords has arranged special negotiations with some of these eBook publication and distribution platforms so that the royalties you receive are larger if you publish your eBook through Smashwords than the royalties you would have received if your eBook sold through the individual eBook platform. It is amazing how they are able to do this.

This verbiage is straight from the Smashwords website:

If you do distribute directly to any of these retailers, consider consolidating your distribution under the Smashwords umbrella.  The fees we take are very low, and with Smashwords you gain the time-saving convenience of centrally managing all your ebook distribution from a single Dashboard.  In some cases, you’ll even earn more going through us.  Of course, this is your choice and we appreciate your continued business, however you choose to work with us.

Yes, wow…

How Does Smashwords Work?

Just like any other eBook publishing platform. You take your eBook word file and you upload it. Once you do, Smashwords converts your eBooks into several formats so that it is compatible with all the eBook readers out there.

I simply took my eBook word document files that I already had and went through the upload process. Once your eBook has been uploaded and converted, you go to your Dashboard and assign it an ISBN number for free and make it available for sale.

There are two levels of review involved.

When you first submit your eBook file, Smashwords will accept it and immediately make it available for sale on its distribution platform. But the real benefit of using Smashwords is their access to all the other eBook distribution networks. You want your eBook to become available for sale on all those avenues.

In order to do this, Smashwords requires you to format your eBook word document file in a very specific way. So specific that it can be painstaking if you are new to it. They do provide step by step instructions on formatting on their website, but I swear it is a super long, mind numbing document that just tired me out few paragraphs into it.

Alternatively, Smashwords will provide you, upon request, reasonably priced freelancers who will do the conversion for you, as well as freelancers who will design your cover page for you. They have specific requirements regarding book covers as well.

I outsourced both the formatting and the design of the cover page. If you’d like a referral for the formatting piece, feel free to email me and I will send you my guy’s info.

For the book cover I just use Elance. You can also use Elance for the eBook formatting.

eBook Pricing on Smashwords

There is an option where you can have your readers determine the price of your eBooks. Very neat. Normally however publishers set a price just like on any other platform. All Smashwords asks of you is to make sure your prices at Smashwords are the same as at other retailers.

Similar to other eBook publishing platforms, you can also run discounts and promotions of sorts as well.

How Much Will You Earn in Royalties?

The following verbiage is straight from Smashwords:

Royalty Rate Specifics:

Apple, Baker & Taylor (Blio), Barnes & Noble, Sony and Diesel:  60% of the list price for prices $.99 and up. For Apple sales originating in their U.K., German and French iBookstores, you receive 60% of the list price minus the VAT tax, which they include in your list price.

Baker & Taylor (Axis360 library platform): 45% of the list price.  Library patrons are able to check out only one copy at a time.  The books are wrapped in DRM so they time out after a specific period of time.  The library can purchase multiple copies if they decide demand warrants multiple simultaneous checkouts.  Otherwise, the library purchases a single copy and allows only once copy at a time to be lent out.  If a library patron wishes to obtain a book that’s already checked out, the patron is given the option to purchase a copy.

Kobo:  60% list for prices between $.99 and $12.99.  For prices over $12.99, your earnings share is 38%.  The 60% earnings share applies only to US and Canadian dollar-denominated sales.  Elsewhere, the 38% rate applies.

How Well Does Smashwords Work?

I wasn’t exaggerating when I typed the title of this post. My sales have increased significantly by publishing my eBooks on Smashwords. Why? Exposure. It’s simply a numbers game.

Whereas in the past my eBooks were only published on three platforms, they are not published on several more, more than double, and it hasn’t cost me anything except for the cost of eBook formatting and cover design, which you can do on your own if you choose to.

What is not to love about an organization like Smashwords? I encourage you to spend some time on their website. They are truly doing some amazing things in the eBook industry, and it feels like selfless service to the independent publisher community.

Thank you Smashwords for doing what you are doing.

So Have you heard about Smashwords? Have you, or someone you know tried it? I want to hear your thoughts about it?

One Excellent Way to Successfully Market an Ebook on Amazon Kindle

Today I want to talk about one specific method to market an ebook on Amazon Kindle with extra ordinary results. I have known about this method for some time now but wanted to try it out first on several ebooks I own to see how well it works before writing about it – I promise I wasn’t holding out.

This method is extremely effective because it works tremendously well and also efficient because it does not require much time investment on your part at all. 5 minutes if I were to guess?

The 20+ niche sites I own have a relevant ebook that I sell on those websites. These ebooks are also available online on Amazon Kindle and other ebook selling platforms.

So if you already have an ebook on Amazon Kinle, you can take advantage of this strategy today. If you don’t, I recommend submitting your ebook to Kindle because you may be missing out on gobs of traffic and potential sales.

The Amzon Kindle publishing platform is called Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP. When you are a published author on Amazon Kindle, you are given the option to join a program called KDP select. Amazon didn’t have this program in the past, but ever since they have launched it my ebook sales have increased 800%. You read that right.

How to Specifically Market an Ebook on Amazon Kindle

How did I do this? The KDP select program allows you to run a promotion where you give away your ebooks for free. Who doesn’t want free stuff? This is a great way to magnetize traffic toward your ebook listing on Amazon.

The beauty of this strategy is that those who download or “purchase your ebook for free” will have the ebook show on their personal selection list. In addition, since Amazon counts each download as a purchase, your ebook will show on the purchase list of the buyer who downloaded your ebook.

How does this help you? If you’ve browsed various products on Amazon, you have probably seen a message indicating something like this: “People who bought X also bought Y”.  Reads familiar?

So if your ebook was downloaded 1,000 times, it now has that many more chances of showing as having been purchased, therefore others are going to start seeing it all over Amazon. Not to mention that this strategy also works in terms of gathering reviews and ratings for your ebooks, which improves their overall rank on Amazon.

Great strategy? You bet. Let’s look at how to implement it.

Enrolling in KDP and Running a Free Promotion

The first step of the process is to join the KDP select program. In your dashboard, your default menu looks like this:

Amazon Kindle KDP Enroll

Each row represents an ebook listing. To enroll that ebook, simply click the “Enroll” link to the far right.

Once enrolled in the program, click the box next to the ebook you want to apply this strategy to and click on the drop down menu on the top titled Actions.

Amazon Kindle KDP Enroll Promotion

Scroll down to the Manage promotions option and you will see the following pop up.

This is where you enter the “promotion”.

Amazon Kindle KDP Enroll Free Promotion

The content in this section explains the promotion. Your enrollment in the KDP program (which is really a revenue share program based on which you get paid by Amazon each time a reader borrows your book from the digital library) is good for 90 days, upon which you can elect to renew.

Every 90 days, you are allowed to give away your book for 5 days. This is the promotion part of it. For some books, I started giving away 1 free day’s worth for every 15 days, and for others I ran a free promotion for 5 straight days. Both approaches worked well. At the end of the promotion period, I had several thousand more downloads than I am typically used to seeing each month.

The amazing thing is that the very next month my actual (paid) ebook sales were up 8 folds. I couldn’t believe it and had to stare at my dashboard for a little while until I digested the facts. The strategy works as it helps you reach more eyes and as a result potentially more sales. It’s been great for my business, and I hope you can use this strategy TODAY and start to benefit yours as well.

I’d love to hear back from you so please come back and let us know how this strategy works out for you.

And if you are interested in profiting from your own ebook publishing business but don’t have an ebook yet, I think you will find my 25,000+ word series on publishing and profiting from an ebook helpful.

Lucrative Ways to Make Money Online Without Owning a Website or Blog

Many people are interested in making money online in their spare time, or leveraging the Internet to establish long term passive and residual income streams. However, most of the material on the Internet appears to focus on starting a website or blog as a means to achieve those objectives.

While creating your own website or blog is certainly a lucrative means to achieving those goals, not everyone is capable or has the interest in going through the process of creating a web property. The good news is that there are ways to make money online without owning a website or blog.  I will discuss three of those ways in this article.

Generating Passive Income through Article Writing

Writing articles and monetizing them is one of the quickest and easiest way to generate passive income online. I do not mean writing articles for others in exchange for a payment.  Although you can certainly engage in that, doing so would not be establishing a passive income stream, rather merely a job in which you exchange your time and services for money.

What I am a bigger advocate off however is to write keyword focused articles and monetizing them by submitting them to online services such as Infobarrel.  Here is how this works.  You pick a keyword or a phrase that gets a healthy search demand (number of searches people are conducting for the selected word) as well as a healthy advertising payout (the amount merchants are paying search engines to make their businesses visible anytime web surfers search for the target keyword). I will get to how you do that in a bit.

One you have picked the keyword to write on, write an article of 500 – 1,000 words and submit it to Infobarrel.  Infobarrel will then review and publish the article on their website.  Each time an Internet user searches for the keyword you wrote the article about, and if the Infobarrel article shows up on the search listings (I will write about how to maximize the chances of getting your article to appear), providing that the Internet user clicks to read the article, Infobarrel will pay you 75% of all advertising revenue it receives.

Infobarrel gets paid by advertisers because it displays ads on its articles, including yours which you submitted.  It then shares with you a portion of the ad revenue.  This concept is called ad-sharing.

WARNING: Never visit your own live articles to view or click on ads as this would be a violation of Infobarrel’s terms and conditions.

Keyword Research

Let’s revisit step one of the process which is to research a keyword that has a healthy search demand and that pays a decent amount for advertisement.  I typically go for keywords that get at least 1,000 searches per month, have a competition of less than 100,000 (other articles and websites that target the same keyword) and pay at least $1.50 per ad click. How do you even start finding such keywords?

There is a long and hard way to do it, which I will not cover here. Instead I will discuss the easiest, best and most accurate way to go about this process.  There is a keyword research tool out there called Market Samurai, one which I have been using for years very effectively.  This is a web based tool that is easy and intuitive to use.  Beginners need not worry because Market Samurai has a library of short written and video tutorials that walk you through the process step by step.

You simply type in any keyword on a topic you feel like writing on and Market Samurai will scour the Internet for related keywords that fit the search demand and ad payout criteria that you set.  You can modify these criteria any which way you want. Personally I like keywords with at least 1,000 searches monthly, less than 100,000 competitors and $1.50 per click in ad pay-out.

Don’t let keyword research intimidate and stop you from establishing the easiest and quickest passive income stream online.  I recommend at least having a look at Market Samurai and assessing what it can do for you. Keyword research is not difficult at all.  In fact I am personally addicted to it because Market Samurai makes the process so much fun.

Article Optimization Tips

Now that you know how the process works and how to select a profitable keyword to write on, I want to share with you a few optimization tips that will give your article the best chance of outranking other articles on the same topic.  This is important because the higher your article ranks on search engine search listings, the more chance that an Internet surfer will click on it to read further.

First, make sure that the keyword of your choice is included in the title of your article, preferably to start your article off.  Second, ensure that your keyword appears within the first 90 characters of your article, this would typically be within the first sentence or two. Third, sprinkle your keyword within the body of your article enough times so that your keyword density is 1-2%. Keyword density refers to the number of times your keyword appears as a percentage of the entire article.  So if your article is 1,000 words and your keyword is in it 10 times, you have a keyword density of 1% (10 divided by 1,000).

Two additional tips: If you have subheadings to break up your article in smaller topical chunks, include your keyword in at least one sub heading. And finally, come up with some other keywords using Market Samurai that are relevant to your main selected keyword.  Try to sprinkle these in your article as well.

Following these guidelines will ensure you have an article that is “search engine optimized”, which essentially means it has the best possibility to outrank other articles written on the same topic.

If you select a keyword that is more competitive but pays really well, you can engage in some advanced Internet marketing strategies, specifically back link building, to ensure that you article outranks your competition, maximizing your long term earning potential from it.

Concluding Thoughts on Earning Passive Income from Article Writing

So how much passive income can you generate online through this method? There is no limit. The more you write the more you make. Many writers on Infobarrel and earning a full time living.

Others are writing part time while maintaining their full time jobs while earning more from Infobarrel than they do from their employer.  Personally, from only 10 articles, I earn anywhere from $90-$120 per month. The beauty is that this amount comes in automatically without me having  to work for it.

You take a few minutes upfront to research an appropriate keyword, write on it, submit it and then you are done. Your article now has the potential to rake in cash as long as the Internet exists and as long as Infobarrel has your article in its database.  This is why I believe this is the easiest and most turnkey way to make passive income online.

Generating Passive Income through Writing and Self Publishing E-books

Excited yet? This one will blow your mind away. With the advent of several reputable and effective self publishing platforms, anyone can author and self publish a book online free of charge. I have repeatedly mentioned on this blog that it is genuinely my belief that everyone has at least one good book in them. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

There is something you know that others may find helpful / valuable. This can be anything related to your profession, passion, hobbies, interests and real life experience. Read how I was able to monetize a real life experience through an eBook here.

Writing an eBook is not at all difficult. Open up any word processor like Microsoft Word and start typing. When done, put together a table of contents and simply convert your document to PDF.  The new Microsoft Office has this feature enabled under the “Save As” option. Alternatively, you can download PDF conversion programs such as PDF995 for free.

Once you have your eBook, get a nice eBook cover image designed by freelance designers using services such as Elance. It shouldn’t cost you more than $10-15 bucks. Once you have everything, you are ready to submit your eBook. Three of the biggest and most reputable eBook platforms online are the following:

  • Amazon Kindle
  • Google Books
  • Barnes and Noble Nook

You can create an account with each of these platforms for free. Once created, you can submit an unlimited number of eBooks over time and benefit from the passive income they generate as more readers are migrating toward reading eBooks thanks to portable and mobile tablet computers and smart phones.

I now have over 20 eBooks online, some selling as low as $9.99 while some selling as high as $179.  The pricing process is a bit experimental, but as you can imagine predicated on the topic of your choice as well as the audience you are catering to.

What Topic to Write an EBook On?

When deciding on a topic to write on, I recommend jotting down topics that fit your knowledge base, personal and professional experience, hobby or interest.  You can also look at sites like and learn what essay topics are the most popular.  Once you have a few ideas down, search existing book stores for books on similar topics.

Seeing competition is good because it validates the need for the topic.  Better yet, seeing other books on similar topics doing well and receiving several reviews is a sign that you are targeting an active market.  Reading reviews of other books also gives insight into what other readers feel, some of their questions and concerns about the topic. This will allow you to create a better product than your competition.

In addition to researching existing book stores online and offline, visit blogs and forums in your selected field / topic and scour for what readers are looking for.  Readers often express their needs and frustrations on blogs and forums.

Finally, leverage the Market Samurai program discussed above to determine what kind of search queries web surfers are typing in search engines. For example, if you find that the query “how to grow bamboo” receives 20,000 monthly searches and only has 64,000 competitors online (a good number), you may consider writing a book on the topic if you have any experience or interest in it.  You can read more about how to determine what eBook topic to write on here.

There are other ancillary benefits of publishing eBooks. An eBook can establish you as an expert in your chosen field or industry. An eBook can lead to bigger and better opportunities for you, such as television interviews and speaking engagements, or it can help you land your dream job by showing commitment to your profession. It may also be a way to break into a whole new career or field of profession.

If you have your own website or blog, or someday decide to create one, presenting your eBook on it will instantly give you more credibility and not to mention an opportunity for more direct sales.

Like I said, anyone can write and self publish an eBook today for free. We all know something that someone else can benefit from. I have spent a considerable amount of time preparing a full, comprehensive series on researching, writing and successfully selling eBooks.

You can start reading the full series here.

Make Money Doing Online Surveys

Doing paid surveys online is another relatively easy way to make money online, however unlike writing articles for Infobarrel and self publishing eBooks, this method of making money online is not passive or residual because you are paid per survey completed.

There is a way to earn passive income from paid surveys if you refer other survey takers, but unless you have a website or blog that you can leverage, the referral business can get tiring real quick.  Many paid survey takers refer others by posting their affiliate links on discussion forums and online bulletin boards such as FaceBook discussion groups and Twitter feeds.

Earlier in the article, I mentioned that the easiest way to generate passive income online is by writing and submitting articles to Infobarrel. But note that I mentioned “passive”.  This is an important point because there is no easier way to “make” money online than completing paid surveys.  You sign up with a survey site, you take surveys and you get paid for it. It is really that simple.

Two of the best paid survey sites in my experience are Vindale and CashCrate.  You can view a full list of my top survey sites here.  You can also read my article on how to make money online with paid surveys for a more comprehensive discussion on this topic.

Concluding Thoughts

All three methods discussed to make money online without owning a website or blog can be outsourced to freelancers and virtual assistants. For example, I have leveraged one of my virtual assistant’s knowledge on kitchen design to have her write an eBook which I successfully sell online today. Similarly, I have had freelance technical writers write several articles for me, and other freelance designers create eBook covers.

The point is, once you know how the process works, you can outsource several or all tasks and act in a capacity of a project manager.  Read my article on how I leverage virtual assistants to generate more money online and at the same time make my life much simpler and easier.

I hope you found this article helpful as it clears some of the misnomers commonly found on the Internet with regard to making money online.  While owning your own website or blog is definitely advantageous, there are several ways to make money online without owning your own blog or website. Three relatively easy and lucrative methods are discussed above.

Readers: What are some other lucrative ways to make money online without owning a website or blog? Which methods do you prefer the most and why? What are some of your questions and concerns with regard to generating income online?

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