Self-publish books on Amazon and 6 figures on monetization

  • Quinn Ward published their first book in 2013 and has since released 33 more titles.
  • Ward, who has carved out a niche in gay novels, posted $100,000 in Amazon royalties last year.
  • They shared their advice for self-publishing and advice for turning books into a business.

Quinn Ward published their first novel in 2013, when they were 35, as a result of a kind audacity.

“One of my friends kept telling you to do this,” Ward told Insider. “It didn’t take me long to realize this was a good way for me to make some money.”

Ward has written 34 titles — 33 of which have been sold through Amazon’s self-publishing program — and posted more than $100,000 in Amazon royalties last year, which Insider verified with documents.

Ward, who specializes in queer novels, is now a full-time author and self-publishing consultant helping writers release their own titles. They shared their top tips for aspiring authors, including how to turn it into a full-time job.

The process of self-publishing

Ward said that when they released their first book, they chose to self-publish because they knew nothing about finding an agent. They said years later, when they were offered a book deal by a smaller publisher, they learned that the royalties were lower and that they would have no voice in book promotions.

“It was one of those things where I felt like it would be a benchmark that I made it,” they said, “but it became an incredibly degraded situation.”

Ward returned to self-publishing, but they recognized that the process is not without its challenges – Ward, for example, is responsible for finding and hiring their own editors and illustrators.

“I always rent because the books don’t just have to be professional, but too often you get bogged down in tiny details that don’t really matter when it comes to selling the book,” Ward said.

View your writing as a business

Like startup founders, authors should research the market before launching anything, Ward said.

“Research what you want to write and find out if people want it,” Ward said, adding that they look at aspects such as where audiences spend their time and which titles make bestseller lists. “If readers don’t read it, it becomes difficult to turn it into a profitable business.”

Too small a niche can make it hard to make money, while too broad a topic can make it hard to cultivate a loyal audience, Ward said. In addition, it is important to research which platform you should use. If the audience you hope to reach are Amazon users, it makes sense to publish your book on that platform rather than another self-publishing site.

Ward also said it’s important for self-publishing authors to build a relationship with readers by consistently writing in one specific genre. This way they can form a loyal audience, and thus repeat customers.

Ward advised authors to consider trying new genres to build their brand one pillar at a time. “I know my company’s gay romance pillar is strong enough to support me as I move into this next genre,” they said.

Start new goals with extra knowledge

Ward said it’s important to think about your goals as a creative entrepreneur and build your career based on where you hope to end up. They suggested finding ways to educate yourself through programs such as online courses if you see a gap in your knowledge or skills.

“Grab those free opportunities to start learning, have that long-term plan, and always keep working toward it,” Ward said, adding that it’s also important to deepen your understanding of the company’s fundamentals. “Everything has to have a reason; do it smart.”

Ward said self-publishing helped them find and accomplish additional goals, such as coaching others. They said that without the professional foundation they have built up over the years through experience and continuing education, they would not have the authority to teach others about entrepreneurial success.

“Self-publishing started out as something I did for myself,” Ward said. “Now it has become something that I teach other people to do, and I am passionate about teaching others.”

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