224: $5k a Month as a Self-Published Author – in Fiction!

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Derek Murphy is a world traveler, book cover design extraordinaire, and the author of a dozen different books, mainly in the young adult fantasy genre.

A lot of the self-publishing content and interviews on the Side Hustle Show has been related to non-fiction books, and to me, it’s a more straightforward process: help someone solve a problem.

Fiction is a bit of a different animal, and something Derek covers in detail over on his site at CreativIndie.com.

Derek started out editing books and designing book covers while completing his Masters and PhD in literature. Having an interest in reading fiction and wanting to get away from client work, Derek started writing fiction books.

When comparing fiction to non-fiction, Derek says, “there is a lot more demand, and it’s possible to make a lot more money.” His book portfolio is now bringing in $5k a month.

It’s not as competitive as you may think either. Although there are literally millions of fiction books available, when you cut through to the books that are being marketed and targeted to the right audience, Derek says it’s not that difficult.

Tune in to hear how Derek starts by finding keywords and researching what the readers want based on what’s already selling, then testing the market for demand before committing to a series of books.

He also shares the methods he used to grow an email list of more than 32,000 as well as advice on how to launch a book with an email list of zero.

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  • Why there is more money to be made writing fiction than non-fiction.
  • How to find and use keywords that will give you a competitive edge over your competitors.
  • The tools and tricks Derek uses to test for demand before writing a book.
  • How to use Amazon’s PPC service to find keywords and return a positive ROI.
  • How Derek built an email list of 8500 to launch a book from just $100 in Facebook ads.
  • How you can use half-books to generate preorders and collect more emails.
  • Ways Derek is now speeding up his writing and publishing process.
  • Derek’s #1 tip for Side Hustle Nation.


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With all of my guest's top tips and resources included.

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

2 thoughts on “224: $5k a Month as a Self-Published Author – in Fiction!”

  1. As a new upcoming writer, I have mixed feelings about this episode. While it was packed with info, there were no technical details around listing build, physical book giveways and blog posts, there was no mention of how it’s all tied together with the kindle publishing, where/how to get the freemium buyers to a list, I could go on, sorry, I’m just feeling frustrated and overwhelmed :(

  2. Thelma, you will need a landing page or website to collect emails. After that is setup, next step is to find items to give away. One of my tips is to google contest websites or giveaway websites and you can submit your contest to them. The facebook ads that he runs is also a very good idea.


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