Actually, I wrote three.
Let me back up and explain what happened.
I've always had small businesses on the side throughout University. The most successful side business was my beginner's digital photography workshop, where I would spend a few hours on the weekends teaching people how to use their camera.
After I had run the workshop a few times, I decided to build an eBook to give away as a value-add for the workshop customers. They all seemed to appreciate the information in the book, and they used it as a sort of refresher course.
Fast forward about a year. At the beginning of April 2013, I came across a guy named Tyler Basu who claimed to have a best selling Amazon book, and I just couldn't believe it. I started researching him and his background, and decided that either A) He was lying, or B) I could write a bestseller too. I realize that my conclusion was pretty judgemental and naive, but that's the decision I came to.
Ready, Fire, Aim
So, I had to figure out how the Amazon Kindle publishing platform worked. I took the eBook I was using in my photography workshops, and added about twice the content. As usual, I decided to just see if I could get this thing published on Amazon, and figure the rest out later.
I logged onto the KDP platform, uploaded my eBook and cover page, and went to bed. I figured they would give me some feedback sometime in the next week or so and explain why it wasn't going to be published.
When I woke up the morning, I noticed a Congratulations email from Kindle Direct Publishing. I was absolutely shocked to see that my book was published! In my excitement, I thought that I would feel satisfied if the book sold five copy in the first month (not the most ambitious goal, but I had no idea how these things worked). The thinking was that when I told my family, they would each buy a copy, so my goal was to sell one more than that. In other words, convince a stranger to buy my book.
Here we are, April 30th, one month after I first published the book. How has it done?
Well, it has been downloaded over 1000 times, from Canada and the US, all the way to the UK and Japan. One thing that has surprised me from day one is how awful the Canadian sales are! I've had about four times as many books downloaded in the UK, and forty-two times as many books in the US. Sorry Canada, but I'm going to focus my efforts elsewhere.
As soon as I saw the success of the first book, I was addicted. I decided to convert another old project - a cookbook targeted at University students - into the Kindle format.
Same story this time; I added some content, uploaded it, and it got accepted right away. Once again, I designed a cover (although some designers may disagree that I did much designing) and started to watch the downloads flow in.
This time, however, something really interesting happened. When I went to look at the bestseller list, I noticed that I was ahead of one of my favourite TV personalities, Gordon Ramsay.
This was all very exciting. Once I started to get some money from these books, I decided it was time to teach myself about another platform - eLance. I took all the money I had made from the first two books, and hired a freelancer to write a third book.
I did some research on Amazon and thought there might be an opportunity in the frugal/thrifty genre. I noticed a couple of How to Coupon books that were ranked quite highly in Amazon, but they didn't have too much competition. I also noticed that I could buy howtocouponshop.com, which gets over 450,000 global monthly searches.
Within a week, my freelancer had produced a decent book for me. I went though it to edit for my personal writing style and some minor spelling mistakes, and changed a few other things around.
Instead of publishing this book through my own personal name, I decided to make a publishing company to produce any future books. I did this mostly because the coupon book doesn't really fit with my personal brand, so I wanted a bit of separation. Thus, Deep Cove Publishing was born.
Once again, I made a cover, published the book through KDP, and sat back to see what happened.
As of this writing, the coupon book is about two weeks old and has been downloaded well over 3,000 times worldwide (although the vast majority is from the US), and has received 8 positive reviews from absolute strangers.
I have a lot of work to do, but I'm excited by the opportunities that there are on the Kindle platform. Since I've only been doing this for a month, I have no idea how much staying power the books will have, but I'm hoping that I can build up a nice little perpetuity.
About a month after accidentally publishing my first Kindle bestseller, I decided that Tyler wasn't lying. He really did produce a best selling eBook, and I was right - I can do it too.
The whole process was very informative and interesting, and I would encourage you to give it a shot if you have a good idea for an eBook. Chances are good that none of us are going to get rich from it, but being able to be proud of a book you have published on Amazon while you collect royalties every month is a pretty cool thing to do, and is definitely something that most people can't say.