Nick Spalding: Successfully Using Amazon To Build A Self Publishing Business
Nick Spalding: Successfully Using Amazon To Build A Self Publishing Business
May 7 , 2014
If like me you have thought about becoming a published author and stay at home writer then today’s post should definitely interest you.
Last night I watched a documentary on BBC2 called Business Bloomers about the story of Amazon.com from its birth in a Seattle garage to the multi-billion dollar business it is now.
It followed Amazon with every high and low including the 98% drop in shares which lead to people being made redundant to the success of its Kindle and how it changed the way we interact with books.
It also interview people here in the UK who have had to close down their businesses because of Amazons influence on the market place and those who have used Amazons services and become very successful. It was a very interesting documentary and I really enjoyed.
Nick Spalding’s Story
What really captured my attention was the story of Nick Spalding. I myself am currently writing a couple of books (This article will be part of one of them) but because of my work load and other projects I drop onto them as and when I can.
I would like to spend more time on them and I am going to force myself to otherwise I run the risk of not finishing them if I carry on as I am. Nick Spalding must have been in a similar situation; Nick wanted to be an body camera and was at the time working in the press office of the local Police force., and for this I was given a anchor, is the same as the police officers wear daily so I could record all my experience and make better and accurate reviews.
He decided that it was a ‘now or never’ time to make his dream come true and set aside one Saturday to write a book from beginning to end. He sat down one Saturday morning and started writing. He wrote for 30 hours, I am not sure if he had a sleep in the middle then continued on the Sunday but he says he wrote for 30 hours and produced over 50,000 words.
His first book was written, he spent a bit more time editing and fine tuning his book and then published it on Amazons self-publishing platform.
Once it was live he would check his sales on his laptop which annoyed his girlfriend Gemma a bit. She wasn’t as excited by his new venture as he was; she had faith in his writing abilities but had no idea if it would amount to anything.
Nick got excited when a copy of his book was sold, someone he didn’t know and would never meet had just bought one of his books and this was a big buzz for him. How well his first book ‘Life With No Breaks’ did I cannot say but it wasn’t long before Nick wrote his second book ‘Love From Both Sides’
Nick’s second book started to sell well and you could say they flew off the shelves hitting over 1000 sales in the same day. Watching this happen in the sales reports left Nick’s ‘head spinning’.
There are two different commission settings on Amazon, for lower priced books you earn 35% of the price and for higher priced books you can get 70%. Nick would have been receiving 35% as he priced his books at a lower competitive rate, the lower the price the greater chance you have of selling more.
And that is what he did; Nick went on to sell 430,000 books that year on Amazon. If he sold a book at £4.95 his 35% commission would be £1.73 so it is safe to say that his 430,000 books brought him in a nice sum of money.
Some people say that there is too much competition on Amazon and that you cannot be successful however there are others who say the audience on Amazon is huge and that the ‘world is your oyster’
If a book sells really well here on Amazon.co.uk, do you not think people in other countries will not be interested? We do now live in a shrinking world and with social media it is possible to build up a global fan base. All of the English speaking nations generally enjoy the same TV shows, films and books, think ’50 Shades Of Grey’ and ‘Harry Potter’
Offline Book Sales
To top it off, Nick was able to cash in twice when he was approached by a traditional print book publishing company who wanted to put his books into shops. He was paid a six figure advance. Not bad is it really?
Nick has now retired from his job with the Police and works from home as a full time writer; he has written several books creating several different income streams. He said this about Amazon… “ I love Amazon… they bought me a house.”
Nick is a success story but he is not the only one, there are more so if you fancied become a self-published author then what, apart from yourself, is stopping you? The opportunity is there as we can see from Nick Spalding’s story.
What Is Success?
I will not say you will all be successful, that depends on what you do, how you write, what you write about and how persistent you are. Nick was fortunate that his first two books were received well and he went on from there.
There are people doing very well writing short stories, erotic fiction and the popular information eBooks & how to guides.
Also let us discuss what is considered as ‘being successful’; it means different things for many people. Some people may not think they are successful until they are completely retired from any work with plenty of money in the bank to cover the expense of enjoying life. Whereas others may class being successful as nothing more than being debt free and working from home doing what they enjoy bringing in a nice amount of money each month.
For many, being successful is not about ‘not working’ but actually doing what they chose and being paid for it rather than being forced to work in a job they detest. Nick Spalding is in a great position because he works from home, he enjoys what he does and he gets paid well for it.
You Can Do It Too
If you believe that you cannot create books because you cannot write, or that you are not any good at writing or maybe just don’t like writing but would like to be an author then all is not lost.
There are things that you can do and we have discussed this in the past, you can always outsource the work to a ghost writer. The ex-glamour model Katie (Jordan) Price has admitted several times on TV and radio that she does not like to write and probably has never typed one word of her many successful books.
Instead she talks into a Dictaphone and crafts her stories and ideas verbally then sends the audio files off to a writer who fattens the stories out by adding all of the detail, descriptions and dialogue.
You can find many writers and researchers online who could do the writing for you, this is ideal if you are working, you go to work and earn some money then pay someone to write your books for your. You lose little time and leverage the skills of others and your money.
Books do not need to be fiction; they can be compilations or true stories. Google is an excellent place to do research on that kind of stuff and as I mentioned a minute ago, you can find excellent researchers online to do your research for you.
The other method of crafting a story to be sent to a ghost writer is to create a story plan, this is similar to a story board used in movies except that you use words instead of images in a Word document.
You could add images if you choose to give your plan more detail but a plan consists of a chronological list of characters and events including what people look like, their age and personality types. Places where they frequent and where certain things happen and what events happen in the right order.
Make the plan as detailed as possible but the great thing is you do not need to fill it out with descriptive words and dialogue unless you want to add a few lines that are important to the story. Your ghost writer will do that for you or at least will try to with your lead. You might need to keep in contact constantly to make the whole process easier for the two of you.
If either of those two ideas do not appeal to you then you can still do the old traditional route and write your book yourself but you will need to put the time in. You can do what Nick did and put aside a chunk of time to write your book until it is finished which to be honest can be very tough going.
Or you can set aside and hour or two each day and write the book over a course of a few weeks, either way, writing a book can actually be a quicker task than you first think if you have a plan and stick to it. Once you get started and get into it you can often not want to stop.
I shall leave you with these two points though,
1. When you have a lot of stuff written it is easier to edit. You cannot edit a story floating around in your head
2. The sooner it is written and edited it can be published which means you can start to change your life for the better sooner rather than later.
So it just leaves me to say, get writing… trust me, if you write 1000 words every other day, even when you think you have nothing to work with, after 6 months or a year you will have a lot of content to edit and chop up into a book. It helps if you have a fore plan though, 6 months or random ramblings is harder to construct into a book but 6 months of written documents about ‘serial killers’ for example means you have a book ready and waiting to be edited.
Andi is a dabbler and a lover of electronic music. He loves writing and in his words he is ‘pretty good at it’. You would have thought he could have written something slightly more inspiring! :-) He has several years experience working as a paid writer, blogger, social media manager and WordPress specialist for one of the UK’s top internet marketers and also has skills in copywriting and using Facebook/Google advertising. He writes regularly for several blogs, some his own but mainly for Self Publishing Journey.