Amazon Kindle Unlimited Data Analysis. Update

After my previous post (which disappeared in cyber space) 10 days ago about the KU analysis, I decided to post an update.

What do we see in this chart?

As expected, the downwards spiral in sales and KU/KOLL units seems to stabilize and the short-term graphs seem to pick up again. Let’s see if that trends continues (which will happen if the short-term graphs crosses the long-term graphs).

Now what may we expect from the KU commission for the month of August?

As we can see in the chart, the KU units moved steep upwards right after the introduction, but then boiled down to a level that seems to stabilize. The level on which it stabilizes is about half of its peak. But KU was only started mid July. This means that mathematically speaking, because the average volume is only half of the peak, but the period is twice as long, the total KU units in August should be somewhere around two times the amount of July.

On a couple of units close, that’s confirmed by my own data.My total KU units for August are twice of those from July.

Now the total fund that was set aside for KU/KOLL in July was $2.785.000 . The fund that has been reserved for August is $2.000.000. Which is just   7,7% more then in August.

So if all these suppositions get confirmed within 10 days or so, it means that either we  or Amazon will have a problem, because the fund only grew with 7.7% but the volume has doubled. I will spare you the math, but this would mean that if the fund doesn’t get topped up, the KU/KOLL commission will be …. $0.65 cts.

I cannot imagine that Amazon will slam it down to that level, because a lot of authors would abandon the ship.

Second scenario: Amazon tops up the fund with such an amount that the commission will be 1.80 like last month. How much do they have to put in? $3.536.000  … (which makes the total $5.536.000)

Yep, that’s a lot.

And than there are of course all the scenarios in the middle. Let’s hope that Amazon realizes that they cannot do without their authors, and that they are playing this for the long-term, even if they have to put in some extra dollars at the start.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed and keep it on $1.80 like last month.

Bets are open.

 

Keep writing!

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How to Select Keywords for Your eBook on Amazon

How to make money with ebooks orange 270x409How do buyers find your book when it is published? Sure, if you have a mailing list of 50.000 subscribers that helps. But most of the readers of this book will not have such a list.

You’re also going to announce it through all kinds of other media (free websites, YouTube, etc.). And that helps. I will handle all that further on in this book.

But the majority of people will get to your book by landing on Amazon. Then, they fall into the hands of an enormous marketing giant, who excels into marketing all the stuff that they have for sale. Not that you don’t have to do anything anymore and sit back. But having the marketing bulldozer of Amazon working for you will really make the difference.

So back to the initial question: How do buyers find your book? Smashwords has published an interesting study on their blog which you can find here

I won’t go into all the details but let me resume the main results of this marketing study and what works best to sell your book(s):

  1. Word-of mouth. This accounts for about 30%. That’s everything which includes: recommendations from friends, online communities and other people that a potential buyer will trust. Problem for you as a starting writer is: How do you get word-of-mouth if you have no visibility yet?
    The same holds for the number two in this list…
  2. Author brand. 18% of buyers go and look for their favorite authors. It is clear that you don’t become a recognized author overnight. This takes a lot of time and effort and probably 6 months to a year to get anywhere on the scale of ‘favorite authors’ (if ever).
  3. Random browsing. This overlaps for a good part with the previous 2 points and therefore can climb up to about 80%! That’s anything from “I just go onto the book store and I browse the categories”, “I just browse free books sites”, ”I look for books to review” etc.In short, those buyers didn’t have a specific idea what they were going to buy when they went online. “It just happened”.And this is a category where even the starting author can benefit from, because it has not so much to do with your sales or your history as an author.

Random browsing can be subdivided in:

• Someone might just browse through the categories. For example, someone who is looking for ‘classic cars’ would have to browse through:

Kindle eBooks -> Nonfiction -> Professional & Technical -> Automotive -> Classic Cars.

And every time that he clicks on one of these categories, a number of book covers will be displayed on his screen on the right. Which may catch his eye… So do the counting with me: Above I have mentioned 5 categories and their subcategories. On every click he will see something like 10 titles. That’s 50 titles in total.

And if he doesn’t browse immediately to the right sub category, he will first go through a couple of other categories and sub categories before he gets into the right one. So you can add easily another 50 titles. That’s 100 titles. And yours may be one of them…

• Someone types in a couple of words because he is looking for a topic but without having a specific title or author in mind. Something like ‘classic cars’ or ‘horror stories’. And this is where your title/subtitle AND your keywords come into play.

The last point brings us to the importance of keywords. Amongst all the things that you have (or may) fill out when you submit your book, one of the most important fields is the one with your keywords.

You may fill in maximum 7 keywords for your book. Here are some things you should consider when selecting your 7 keywords:

• Use all 7 of them. The more you use, the bigger the chance that your book will show up in a specific query.

• A keyword can actually consist of several words. So it doesn’t have to be a list of just 7 words, separated by a comma.

• Use keywords that describe as much as possible what your book is about. Make a list of at least 20 keywords when you start writing your book. From time to time, throw a glimpse on it and remove some. Until you have the 7 best left.

• Use the predictive search feature from Amazon. This works exactly the same way as in Google. I have written a 148 page book “Find GOLDEN Keywords with FREE Software. Dig up GOLDEN Nuggets with Google Keyword Planner”. You can find it here. This explains you in detail how to find good keywords for your articles, website and other writings. So why not use it for your book?

But let me explain with a short example how this works and how you can take advantage of this predictive search. Suppose I’m now an author of a book about classic cars. How and where to find them, how to restore them, how to maintain them etc. And I have come up with the keywords:

• Classic car repair

• Old-timers

• Car repair

Now I’m going to put those words to the test with Amazon’s predictive search. In the search bar on the top, I type in the word classic (don’t hit ENTER). Now I see:

keywords amazon1

Hmm, nothing with cars. I now add a space after the word classic. I get:

keywords amazon2

Again. No cars :( Notice that the words that are shown by Amazon are actual words that have been typed in by real visitors. (You see the first 10 results). Apparently there are not a lot (if any) visitors searching for “classic car repair”.

I repeat the same exercise for the second keyword “old-timers” (or oldtimers” or “old timers”). Again, nothing pops up.

The third keyword “car repair”.

keywords amazon3

Good. Here we have something. And indeed ‘car repair’ is typed in frequently by visitors. So I select the keyword ‘car repair’ from the list. I now look at the left which categories come up.

keywords amazon4

And I see in which categories this keyword is used. This is valuable information. I keep my keyword ‘car repair’ and I make a note of the categories (just right click and bookmark them to a bookmark list). I also skip quickly through the titles. The first 15 titles are books about general maintenance on any car. Nothing specific to classic cars.

On N° 16 I see the first book that is a bit on the same topic as my book:

keywords amazon5

I click on it to see how it ranks:

Rank 350.000+. Published June 2013. 2 reviews. All this indicates that this is not really a high selling book. Actually, it may have sold only a few copies. Conclusion: my ‘car repair’ keyword is maybe not as good as I thought. Normal, because I haven’t used classic in my query.

I hope the process is clear. Find keywords that people are indeed searching for.

What’s the difference if I would have typed in straight ‘car repair’ followed by ENTER? I would have seen the same results, but I wouldn’t have known that this is a keyword that visitors are actually searching for.

• You can do the same thing with your keywords in Google. Use the predictive search capability of Google to see what people are actually looking for. For more details about Google keywords, see my full book on the subject. This will also explain how to do this with Google Keyword Planner.

• Use one of the keywords that Amazon suggests to be listed in a specific category. Huh? What’s that? Yes, Amazon publishes a list of keywords for all major categories and subcategories specifying that if you want your book to appear in category XYZ, you should include the keyword(s) ABC in your submission form.

Very nice of them isn’t it? And it cannot get any easier than that. Here is the full listing from Amazon.

Categories with Keyword Requirements

Note that this listing is mainly useful for fiction books.

• Go to the category where you want to list your book. Now look through the competing books on the same subject. Take one and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Now you see the categories where this book is attached to. Either through its title OR its keywords.

Make a note of these categories. Now you can use one of these categories as a category for your own book OR you can use certain terms as a keyword. For example: I have selected two categories for my book. Now I see a competing book that is listed in the category

Business & Money > Skills > Business Writing

which is not one of the categories that I have selected for my book. Now I could decide to use ‘Business Writing’ as a keyword.

Check it out with the Amazon predictive search if it is a good keyword.
When you have your keywords, check with the free Google planner tool the search volume on Google.

Want to now more about marketing your eBook? Get my 158 page book “How to Make Money with eBooks“.

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My Podcast Interview by Paul Kemp

Last month , Mai 2014, I did a podcast interview with Paul Kemp from The Entrepreneur Dad Podcast. In that interview, I explain how I got into this online marketing world, my Ebay adventure as powerseller in 2004 , how I ended up in France and my current eBook business.

Click here to listen to this interview if you want to learn more about online opportunities and making money online.

Timo

 

17 Great Ways to Make Money with Online Surveys

There are numerous sites that you can use to earn money by filling out online surveys. Here is a list of 17 sites, that are trusted and reliable.

1. www.cashcrate.com : On this site, you can earn a bit of cash in lots of different ways. Try new products, filling out research surveys, shopping, referrals, socializing, and playing games. Payouts vary from a couple of cents to 1000$, depending on your time and efforts. The most well-known way of making money with Cashgate is by participating in free offers. These offers are supported by advertisers and let you earn free cash by requesting information from a variety of products and services. For more details check out their complete guide on http://www.cashcrate.com/make-money-online

2. www.gifthulk.com . Their slogan is “They say nothing is free. We disagree”. And indeed, you can sign up for free and start earning money with several online activities. Complete surveys, search, play games . Here you earn ‘Hulk Coins’. Use the GiftHulk search engine and you earn a fixed amount for searching. Invite your friends and you will also get paid on these referrals. You can also earn by writing a blog post or even making your YouTube video !

3. Dollar survey. www.dollarsurveys.net . Take a quick survey and earn $1 via PayPal. You can take several surveys every day. Paid already out over 2 million dollars in rewards.

4. Myview : www.myview.com . Sign up and fill in surveys about

  • Never-before-seen movie trailers
  • New tools and solutions for IT Professionals
  • Cutting edge tools and solutions for IT pros
  • The latest fashion trends
  • New video games
  • Health topics
  • Business issues, large and small
  • And much, much more

In return, you earn valuable rewards that you can spend all over the web.

5. I-say : www.i-say.com . Sign up for a free account. You can win cash, gift cards and donations.

6. Paid surveys at home. This is one of the better sites. Fast payouts  . You can earn anywhere from $5 till $75 for a survey. Fast payout.

7. Clear voice surveys : www.clearvoicesurveys.com . Get paid to take real surveys from market research companies.

8. Get Cash for Surveys : For those who want to make money fast with online surveys. If you are serious about online surveys then you should checkout this one.

9. Ipoll : www.ipoll.com . Get paid to tell what you think about their products. $5 sign up bonus. You can take these surveys anywhere because they work also on mobile. Thus you can earn some cash when sitting in your office or on the beach.

10. Ipsos panel : www.iap-interactive.com . Your (free) account will be credited with points as soon as you complete a survey. Points can be exchanged for vouchers & gift cards.

11. SurveysPaid . Here on this site you can specify how much you want to earn per survey. According to their site you can make $500 per week and more. Definitely worth to take a look at.

12. MySurvey. www.mysurvey.com Discover the Power of Your Opinion and get rewards for free money, gift cards, cash coupons and vouchers! Have fun and get paid for doing surveys

13. Survey Spot : www.surveyspot.com Lots of fun surveys with a minimum cash payout amount of just $5.

14. GlobalTestMarket : www.globaltestmarket.com . One of the bigger survey sites. This site sends lots of survey invites. But you may only qualify for them 20-30% of them. You can cash out as soon as your account reaches $50.

15. SurveySavvy . www.surveysavvy.com . You can get paid for online surveys and if you bring in friends. You can also install the SavvyConnect software that includes you in behavioral market research while you browse the internet. You can earn $500 if you win the Superstar contest entry.

16. PineCone Research : www.pineconeresearch.com Surveys typically take 15-20 minutes . You can earn up to $3 for a survey.

17. Opinion Outpost : www.opinionoutpost.com : Take online surveys about electronics, medicine, politics, sports, advertisements, appliances or even what you eat for breakfast. You can earn points and redeem them for cash and other great rewards. Every quarter a winner will receive $10.000 !

 

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How to get an 80% conversion rate?

80 percent conversion rateAs most people who are managing a website and who are into internet marketing, I’m also subscribed to a couple of newsletters. Lately I got some mails from someone who claimed an 80% conversion rate.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I get a 10% conversion rate on a sales page, I’m pretty satisfied. So when I saw these messages  I thought by myself: “Timo, You haven’t understood anything about how to sell your stuff”.

I took a double whiskey, a couple of tranquilizers and went to bed. Disgusted.

The next day my curiosity was still killing me. I mean, how come that other guys are converting 7 or 8 times more than me and all the other poor marketers?

What is his secret? So I have to admit : Yes, I looked on his pages.

Now, before I’m going to reveal the secret, maybe I first should recall here what a CTR (Click-Through-Rate) and CR (Conversion Rate) are..

Click Trough Rate (CTR)

When a website , with an advertisement , is put up in front of a website user, we call that an ‘impression’. So when 100 people get onto that page, 100 people will see the ad and you have 100 impressions.

Now, unless you have something really EXCEPTIONAL to offer, like ‘Do you want me to wire $1.000.000 into your bank account’ (and not even sure that that would work  ), only a certain percentage of the people that have seen the ad, will actually click on it.

Notice that when I say ‘have seen the ad’, actually means, ‘the webpage+ad was shown to the user’ (1 impression). But there is no real proof that the user indeed SAW the ad.

When you put up a page with 30 ads, maybe 1 or 2 will attract the user’s eye in the next 2 or 3 seconds. If not, it is “click back” or “close window”. All ads have been displayed and counted as 1 impression (each).

So if on 100 impressions, 10 people click on the ad, the Click Through Rate (CTR) is 10/100 = 10%.

In more general

This percentage is of course highly dependent on the type of ad or link, the image, the offer and if your user is part of the market you are targeting.

In general, a CTR between 2% and 10% is considered rather good.

Conversion rate

Let’s do this with an example. You have a sales page on which you explain a product with a big “Buy Now” button on the screen. Your objective is, that people who see this page, will actually click on the buy button and finalize the whole buying cycle.

Hence the desired ACTION on this sales page is : “user clicks on ‘buy now’ and buys”. You have now “converted” a viewer into a real buying and paying customer. Not everyone who sees your sales page will actually also click on the buy button.

If , out of 100 persons who are shown your sales page, 2 click on the buy button and actually buy, you have converted 2 out of 100, or 2% . Your CR for that page is 2%.

More general:

Here also, it depends a lot what link you are showing, where, how big, the offer, the promise etc.etc. The better your offer ‘converts’, the higher this percentage.

Now let’s combine the two together. Assume you have 10.000 people per month coming onto your page A where you show a link to an offer . Something like “Check out this amazing offer”. So this link is shown (or ‘impressed’) , 10.000 times per month. Let’s assume that 5% (CTR) clicks on that link.

That makes  5% * 10.000= 500 , will be directed to the next page, where you show all the details about your offer with a “Buy Now” button.

Let’s assume that out of these 500 persons, 2% (CR) clicks on this button and actually BUY your product (or an affiliate product).

This makes : 2% * 500 = 10 sales.

So on 10.000 visitors per month , you make 10 sales. To make the calculation even simpler you can do it as follows :

Sales = CTR x CR x N°_of_visitors.

In the above example :

Sales = (5% x 2%) x 10.000 = (0,05 x 0,02) x 10.000= 0,001 x 10000=10

It is important to understand the functioning of this formula. Your sales are determined by 3 factors :

-The number of visitors to your site
-The CTR on a page
-The CR for your offer

Suppose that you want to double your sales. What can you do ?

  1. Double the traffic to your site
  2. Double your CTR
  3. Double your CR

I think it may be clear that it is probably MUCH easier to work on your CTR and/or CR then trying to double the traffic. Because getting a better CTR or CR is just a matter of continuously tweaking your site and see what happens with your CTR and CR.

Ok, now that we have established exactly what CTR and CR are, let’s see how we can obtain a CR of 80%….

80 percent conversion rate

 

 

 

 

Is making money online a profession?

dollarWhen I started out with my research about online opportunities , I very quickly stumbled on the acronym MMO. Which stands for “make money online”. I still think that this is a strange acronym and I don’t really know what it means and what it covers. Let’s try to analyze this a bit further.

When you encounter someone in the real world, and you ask him what he’s doing for a living , normally you will get something like :”I’m a salesman, or waitress, or lawyer or dentist”. Or whatever. I have NEVER encountered someone that answered “I’m making money offline”.

To resume : when you ask someone what he’s doing for a living (assuming that he’s not out of a job), they will tell you their profession. And then it is obvious, that by exercising that profession they get some financial compensation for that. Sounds logic, no?

Now, let’s get to the online businesses. And there we also have to differentiate a couple of categories. When you would ask Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) what he is doing for a living, do you think he would answer “I’m making money online”? No, surely not.

He probably would answer something like “I created an online business where people all around the world can order goods and services. And I’m spending most of my time managing that company”. Or something along those lines.

The same would hold if you would ask the CEO of Apple, Ebay or whatever large retail site. None of these people will have on their business card “MMO-er”.  They have a real business sometimes only through one or more internet sites. But their profession is not making money. Their profession is sales of services and goods that people want, and they get a financial compensation for that.

So, let’s take another category. Affiliate marketing. I will write extensively in future posts about this and how this all works, but for the moment, let’s try to summarize it in a couple of sentences.

An affiliate marketer is someone who acts as a salesman. Very similar to a salesman for an insurance company for example. He gets in his car in the morning, visits his leads and tries to sell them an insurance. If he makes the sale, his boss, the insurance company, pays him a commission. The same applies for business on the internet.

Someone has something to sell. A book, a piece of software, a car or whatever. And he uses “online salesmen” to find customers for his product. The online sales man (which is called in this online world an affiliate marketer) , gets up in the morning and starts hunting for customers.

Using other strategies and tools, but with the same objective. Finding customers that might be interested in the products that he is selling for someone else. This is one of the activities how I make a living.

So, part of my profession is : online salesman. If I make a sale, I get a financial compensation for that. Sounds pretty straightforward no? Nothing to do with “make money online”. At least I don’t present myself as someone who has that as a profession.

What else do we have. Well, there is a whole army of people who make a living on the internet by providing services : programmers, writers, graphic designers, SEO specialists, etc.etc. You could easily find hundreds of these professions, who are delivering their services through the internet. And when they deliver that service they get paid for that.

That still leaves our question “what is MMO” unanswered.

While writing this article, I was wondering if I should talk about the scam artists , spammers and other strange folks that you come across on the internet. Who sell all kinds of funny stuff. Products or services that solve your problem instantly.

They’ll sell you systems that can make you 10.000$ a day. Instantly! Yes, these products do exist. At least, people are trying to sell them. Or, more dubious, people who sell you some treatment for an incurable disease or something.

But, to compare it to the real world : In the real world there are also scammers, bank robbers, crooks, drugs dealers and all kinds of other categories to be avoided. But these aren’t professions. At least, I don’t qualify them as such. So why should I bother about the online equivalent.

So what is MMO? And what are these people doing? The only thing that comes a bit close is people that are selling a system “how to make money online”. That’s about it. But is that a profession??

As far as I’m concerned, I’m an online salesman, book writer and blogger. And if I succeed in selling some of these products I get paid for that.

To resume, I have no short definition of what MMO is and who is doing it by doing what. If you have a short , nice clean definition of what MMO is, in let’s say a sentence of 10 words, please leave a comment. We all might learn something about what this “MMO-thing” is…

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Are you prepared to pay for your education in making money online?

DSC04749Hello, welcome to my blog.  But wait, why did you get here in the first place? Did someone told you about my website? That’s not possible, because it isn’t even online. (Did I configure that “under construction” WP plugin correctly?) . Well, anyway now that you’re here, let me tell you my story…..

A while ago, my last boss decided that he didn’t need my services anymore. Ok, fine. Everything has a beginning and an end. Even a corporate career.  And although I’m a little bit older than the average Justin Bieber fan, I was still far from retirement. Also, my bank account didn’t allow me to take a one way trip to the Bahama’s and sit on the beach , zipping pina coladas  for the rest of my life.

In short, I had to figure out what the next move would be in my life, because I still had my rent and other bills to pay for. So, what to do?

This situation may sound familiar to some of you. So let’s see what my options were:

  • Go hunt for another job. Now some people prefer this option because it gives “job security”. But does it? Let’s face it. When you have a 9 to 5 job, whatever the company and whatever level, your future still depends heavily on how this company will perform as a whole.They may be taken over, or they may completely mess up with a product launch, or whatever. In short, your job, and its associated “security” depends heavily on the performance of the pyramid that is above you. They make a mistake and your whole division, section ,group or even country may be whipped of the map with one signature of the CEO.

    So it’s not your performance, or your deliverables or whatever you are supposed to do that is put into question. It’s just… well, bad luck. So if you think about it, if you pick up a job, the “security” of keeping it depends heavily on other people above you. Sounds pretty scary doesn’t it? But that’s the reality.

  • Another option could have been to startup my own brick and mortar business. Now for those of you that have done (or tried) this option, it’s not a secret that in most of the cases this takes a considerable investment. In time AND in money. One call to my bank manager was enough to realize that this option was a non-go for me.
  • Another option would be to setup a business online. A couple of years ago, I ran an Ebay business with reasonable success, so why not do it again? The only problem with that business was that I was spending a lot of time with the handling of the goods. Finding the products, making the listings and shipping and handling. It was a LOT of work, but at least I was my own boss.  But it didn’t scale. I’ll write more about this in a future post.

In short, I wanted to setup a business online, but without the physical handling and shipping of products. So one day I sat down, and I typed into Google “make money online”. Result : 2.010.000.000 pages!!  That is over 2 BILLION pages. Wow! That would keep me busy for the next decade to read all of that. And apparently I’m not the only one who is interested in the subject :)

So I started reading and reading and reading. And I ordered a couple of books  Maybe  40 or 50. About internet marketing, blogging, ebooks etc.  And I discovered a whole new world. The world of internet marketing . With its bloggers, its spammers, its forums, books, scams and what have you. Some of it was good, some of it was average and some really bad. A world with a complete new vocabulary for me. About keywords, SEO, Google analytics, article submitters, backlinks and all the rest of it.

Now this took me time and money. But that’s normal if you start a new venture in life. A couple of years ago , I was a day trader. And I approached it in the same way : I bought about 50 books on the subject and studied for about 6 months. Started paper trading (=trading with virtual money).

And when I had mastered a reasonable level, I started trading for real. Now, that changes a lot!! Trading a million dollars virtual money is a piece of cake. Trading with 100 REAL dollars is a completely different thing. Now you suddenly have to master all kinds of emotions that you don’t have with paper trading.

In short, it’s called greed and fear. The greed to earn more when you have a winner, and the fear to lose a lot when you’re sitting on a loser. And I started off with a couple of losses. Normal. It’s called learning money. Now this site is not about investing or trading, so I will end this short story here.

The point that I was trying to make is : When you are going to start an online business, you are going to pay “learning money”. Either in time or in real money.

Are you prepared for that? Ok. Great ! That’s a good starting point.  Note that if you choose this road, you have to stick with it for a couple of years. So really think seriously about it. There is no short way to success. If there is, leave a comment below, and I will write about it next time.

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