How The Minimalists Makes Money
If you’ve read Josh & Ryan’s blog before you’ll know they talk about how to live a meaningful life. Unlike most blogs the quality of their writing is at a professional writer level…and well, they are professional writers (Joshua at least is).
Thanks to their focus on pumping out high quality posts – I mean essays – they have attracted a huge audience. Over 100,000 unique visitors a month in fact.
How have they monetized this traffic?
Well, I think they have 7 ebooks for sale – half about minimalism/life and half fiction works.
Plus they launched a membership site for people wanting to write better (although I fear a lot of this is live teaching and coaching by Joshua…not passive).
Plus they’ve co-launched a digital publishing company, Assymetrical, to help other people do what they have successfully done. But I’m not too in love with their service side businesses, since they’re far from passive ventures.
What I do love and want to talk about here is their collection of ebooks.
If you’re writing a blog and struggling to come up with an ebook idea, you should follow the lead of The Minimalists. Their first ebook (or two) were basically just nicely formatted and edited blog post compilations.
I bought them for a buck or two, because it’s much easier to learn/read in a structured manner via an ebook. And hey, these guys priced this sort of compilation product correctly – just a couple bucks.
Soon after they started to get more serious.
Their Life, Meaningful Life ebook was a fantastic 6-part book, which they created and sold through Amazon mainly. Interestingly, they never really promoted direct ejunkie/PDF sales. I always remember having to click on their link to Amazon (may be wrong about that).
Maybe they were excited about the effect a bestselling book on Amazon could have for them; ie the more you sell on Amazon the more people who see your book (and also buy it) and the more you sell the more authority you have (hello bestselling author tag).
ie they may have sacrificed short-term profits from direct selling (with ejunkie you would keep 97% of profits as opposed to Amazon’s 70% they give you), in return for long-term success. All speculation.
I will say their products are low priced, around $10, which makes them suitable for the Amazon route (if you sell on Amazon and price under $10 you get to keep a much larger % of the sales). If by comparison you were selling a $47 ebook, I would definitely direct sell it.
Their books are also suitable for Amazon in terms of content; ie less technical, more life and fiction.
If you go down the Amazon route with your ebook idea, you should also follow their pricing strategy. In the first week of most of their launches they priced super low, often $0.99. This brought in heaps of sales and glowing reviews. Who doesn’t love a good product for one buck!
After week one – and 100+ five star reviews on Amazon – the book has climbed up the bestseller list and displays 5 star average rating. Welcome to the self-perpetuating nature of a runaway hit on Amazon. So even raising it to $4.99, you can get a lot of sales since the book has climbed off the back of early cheap pricing.
One more idea of Josh’s that I think rocks for any of you considering boarding the Amazon passive income train, is to make your ebook exclusive to Kindle. People will still be able to read it on their computers, phones etc, without actually owning a Kindle, thanks to the Kindle App.
And what Amazon gives you in return is the ability to give away as many free copies as you want for a limited time. As Josh said when he guest posted on Think Traffic about his fiction piece Falling While Sitting, thisopened up a whole new audience to him who had previously never heard of him; 21,000 people in fact downloaded his book for free during the few days it was available for $0.
Talk about Amazon working as a phenomenal lead generation tool!! Selling products in the future just got a helluva lot easier.