Well, I’ve never done this before. But, hey, we ran out of success stories and I’ve been very happy with the success of my new book, Query Letters That Worked! So, today, I thought I’d tell you how I made $760 in only 24 hours and more than $1900 in 48 hours.
Several months ago, determined to keep up with my new goal to write and publish three new books each year, I wrote down a list of several possible book ideas. Then, I split the ideas into two lists: books I knew would sell and books that would be FUN to write. (Hey, all work and no play makes Angela a very grumpy girl).
I knew my Emergency Divorce Handbook for Women would be finished this year, and it was. The number one book on my list of book ideas, one I knew was needed more than any other, was Query Letters That Worked: Real queried that landed $2K writing assignments. And, my third book of the year, will be out by the end of the year – I hope! (It was, by far, the most fun to put together, and has absolutely nothing to do with writing and publishing whatsoever).
Anyway, as I’ve stated before, I receive emails daily from writers wanting advice on how to write good queries, how to concoct irresistible hooks, and how to create a form query letter to send to companies looking to add to their stable of writers. And, many writers who have a very hard time getting work ask me to critique their query letters to help them determine what they’re doing wrong. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to critique query letters, though I wish I did!
So, my feeble brain came up with an idea to find successful freelancers who managed to land high-paying assignments as a result of a query letter they’d written. I researched the competition and couldn’t find one book on the market like the one I wanted to write. Sure, I found lots of books with sample query letters in them, but no collection of real query letters that worked!
My research phase had begun. I posted a notice online, stating I needed to talk to writers who had landed writing assignments worth $2K or more for a “project” I was working on (I didn’t say “book” because I didn’t want anybody to steal my idea!). Over the next two months, I was contacted by dozens of writers. After a brief description in their initial email to me, I determined if their query letter was one I might want to include in the book. I then offered to pay them for the non-exclusive right to publish their query letter in my new book. They then decided if they wanted to be included in the book or not. If they did, they sent me their query along with more details about the assignment. I then paid them on acceptance (I pay a 100% kill fee once I determine if something might work, and I never ask for writers to write on spec for me!) and pasted their information into my document. I also kept a spreadsheet of whom I’d invited to participate, if they’d sent their query in yet, when I paid them, and their email and mailing addresses (so I could mail them a free copy of the book when it came out, of course).
Each time someone sent me something, a check was cut, or any other correspondence was exchanged, I made a note to my spreadsheet. If I hadn’t, I’d have gotten pretty confused with all those emails!
After the queries were organized and formatted, and after the book was edited and published, I’d paid a total of $1900 for the queries and editing (I didn’t have any printing costs because, with Print on Demand (POD), each book is printed when it’s ordered).
Ebooks Are Still Popular and Profitable!
Here’s the success part of my story. The book only took six months to research, write, edit, and publish. My old 24-hour record for sales of a single ebook title was $700 (for the day I released How to Write, Publish and Sell Ebooks). For this book, we beat my old record in only four hours! And, in the first 48 hours, we had already made a profit, with sales exceeding the initial $1900 investment. Needless to say, we’re thrilled…because that was sales for the ebook alone! The print book didn’t go up for sale until last week!
One Downside to Multiple Books Under Your Belt
There is one downside to publishing multiple book titles. While I’m still giddy whenever a new print book of mine arrives here from the printer, the children are no longer impressed. When I puffed out my chest and proudly handed my new, glossy volume to Frank (age 11) last week, he glanced at it, sighed, and said, “Oh, another one. Good job, Mom.” He then handed it back to me and went back to his video game. Oh well…
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the highest-circulation freelance writing ezine in the world, offering new freelance jobs and paying markets every Wednesday (for free!) by email. Subscribe at: http://www.writersweekly.com
You can read more about Query Letters That Worked! Real queries that landed $2K writing assignments at: http://www.writersweekly.com/books/1409.html