In February 2016, I published my first business book, Will It Fly? How to test your next business idea so you don't waste your time and money. I had previously published my first book, a treatise called Let Go. Will it fly was very successful and I hope it creates a foundation for what can be achieved with super fans, my next book, which will be released on August 13th. In this blog post, I want to share all the numbers behind this success with a detailed income. Will It Fly? since the start of the book.
The return of the income report
It's been three years and four months since Will It Fly? came out. Today I'm going to share all of the numbers we've tracked during that time, including e-book sales, paperback sales, audio book sales, and audio book bounty sales. (I'll explain what that is in a moment.) I will also provide details of overseas royalties and revenue generated beyond the book when emails are collected and people are led to a related course.
For those of you who have been around for a while, this post may resemble some of my older income reports. In the first nine years of Smart Passive Income, I have created a detailed monthly income report for all of my companies, all of my products and all of their earnings. But at some point so many pieces were involved that I couldn't go into one more detail. I felt that the income reports were less helpful.
So I stopped doing it. However, I think that this type of report is still of potential value. So I decided to occasionally run income reports based on specific products or campaigns. This way I can go deeper to understand how this product or campaign has developed and establish some useful takeaways.
After all of that, let's get into the Will It Fly? Numbers! These numbers are all correct at the end of May 2019.
The bread and the butter: will it fly? E-book and paperback sales
We start selling e-books that came from almost 20,000 units. They were mostly sold for $ 6.99 each (because I offered limited-time discounts through Amazon from time to time) and generated $ 32,893.93. Although more e-book units than paperback books were sold (as you will see shortly), we made more money with the paperback due to license fees. With an average of $ 7 per e-book, we got 70 percent and Amazon 30 percent.
Speaking of paperback, we sold 13,556 units at a retail price of $ 16.95. However, Amazon likes to fool around with price points. Because of this, we have not always earned $ 16.95 royalties for each unit sold. Amazon automatically changes the price using algorithms to optimize it for sales. For example, will it fly? is currently sold for $ 11.25. Depending on how Amazon rates it, the license fee changes every time.
Paperback sales were $ 62,495.48. There were also cases when I spoke at conferences and the organizers bought several copies for their participants. There were also great fans who wanted to help me with bulk orders of the book. These numbers, which were not included in key paperback sales because they were processed directly through CreateSpace, were approximately $ 3,500.
Paperback and ebook sales totaled approximately $ 100,000. Not too shabby!
Then we have Kindle Unlimited license fees. Authors who publish to Amazon through KDP also earn a 70 percent license fee for books between $ 2.00 and $ 9.99, and a 35 percent license fee for books that cost more or less. Kindle Unlimited entitles you to royalty from Kindle Unlimited and the lending library. That means you get a share from a global license fund depending on the size of the fund per month and how much of your book people actually read. How long has it been flying? was released, I made about $ 4,000 from these royalties.
Really take off: who will fly it? Audiobook
With the audiobook we sold 19,389 units. It gets really interesting here. We definitely sold more copies of Kindle and paperback, but with the audiobook I get a bigger share of every sale – around $ 5 per sale. As a result, I did about the same thing with audiobook sales as I did with Kindle and paperback sales: $ 96,945. This is pretty amazing and shows you the power to offer an audiobook. I am particularly grateful that I have kept the rights to my audiobooks and will continue to do so in the future, also with my next book, Superfans.
You can make a lot more money with the audiobook than with other book formats. Therefore, many people have asked themselves why I give away the audio book version of Superfans free of charge before the start. That's right: If you pre-order Superfans before August 13th and submit your receipt to yoursuperfans.com, you will receive the audiobook for free.
Yes, we are giving away the audiobook before the launch, which means we may lose money on it. But for me it is more important to offer a lot of value and to give people an incentive to pre-order the book. Honestly, that will also help me get as many sales as possible on the launch day and maybe even put superfans on another bestseller list. Will it fly became the Wall Street Journal bestseller after a week, which was particularly surprising as a self-published book. Superfans is also published itself, and although the bestseller list is not my main goal for the book – helping people – I would be pretty excited if Superfans became a bestseller too.
Pat Flynn, bounty hunter
Now let's talk about bounty units. What are bounty units? If you have a book about Audible and you can convince someone to buy an Audible subscription and they make your book the first book, you will receive a $ 50 bounty. It is particularly nice that Audible gives a person their first credit for free when they subscribe. If you use this free credit on your book, you will receive $ 50 if you continue your subscription.
I was able to sell 490 bounty units at $ 50 each, which is $ 24,500. Together with $ 96,000, total sales of audiobooks were $ 121,455. Total e-book sales (if you include Kindle Unlimited license fees) were $ 36,981.81, which is far less than audio book sales. So when it comes to digital audio versus digital printing, there is an almost fourfold return option if you give priority to the audiobook.
Break through the 50K unit barrier
This means that the total book profit from the self-published book with $ 52,166 units sold was $ 224,432.29. We sold 50,000 pieces, which is really cool. Total unit profit was approximately $ 4.30 for both audio, digital and paperback. A quarter of a million dollars is not bad, especially considering that license fees for traditionally published books are sometimes not that high! On average, these license fees are in the four-, maybe five-digit range. But we definitely made a lot more money out of self-publishing with the book, which was amazing.
That is, will it fly? was not just a self-published book. Yes, history has more to offer. . .
Will it fly over the ocean? Yes!
Then there are total license fees from foreign rights. That's right, will it fly? is international! I worked with an agent who helped me sell the book to traditional publishers across the ocean in several different countries, including Korea, Vietnam, Romania, Taiwan, and Poland, for a total of $ 19,600 in advances. Here are some pictures of the cover of the book as it was published in some of these places.
Since these versions were published by traditional publishers, I had no say in the design of the book cover or the like. I just sold the book to them and they made it possible. But it was really cool and enjoyable to see how the book was expanded beyond the United States with the various fantastic cover designs.
Especially in Poland I noticed that a lot of people are really good at Will It Fly? React. They talk about the book with hashtags and tag me on Twitter and Instagram.
Serve and sell beyond the book
In total, the book itself generated $ 244,032.29. Book sales, however, are just a group of transactions related to the book. There are other ways to make money from a book and serve your audience. As any good business owner knows, a book can be treated as the first step in a process to generate more sales and ultimately help more people, which can help generate even more sales.
Beyond the book, there are a few interesting notes to share. First, I created a free companion course that I linked in the book. Will it fly? With the Companion course, I was able to collect email addresses to keep in touch with my readers on a regular basis. The nice thing about this accompanying course is that it is free of charge, but very valuable for the reader. The course is an obvious next step for someone who has read the book and wants access to more tools and resources. The course was created with Teachable and the compilation took about a day and a half. It's not meant to help people alone, but when combined with the book, it definitely offers added value.
At this point, 26,680 people have signed up for Will It Fly? Accompanying course. This means that more than half of the people reading the book have agreed to share their email addresses with me.
This is a huge deal. Let me repeat that:
More than half of the people who read my book gave me their email address
(This number doesn't include people who bought the book abroad because I can't track these numbers. Overall, it's probably less than 50 percent, but very close to 50.)
One of the main reasons for creating a course or another way to collect email addresses is that Amazon (or another retailer) doesn't give you your readers' email addresses. In particular, I used this list to get reviews for the book. We are currently approaching 800 reviews on Amazon, which is amazing and more than some other popular books by more famous authors. Thank you to everyone who posted a review. What if you've read Will It Fly? and have not yet given a rating. I would like to know what you think of it.
Will it fly Took me to one of my favorite courses
Collecting email addresses also helped generate additional sales from another course I created. This course, Smart From Scratch, was created at the request of many Will It Fly? Readers who said they wanted to go deeper.
I initially opened Smart From Scratch for $ 147 for beta testers, and it's currently available for $ 249.
A total of 1,684 students enrolled in Smart From Scratch, generating $ 215,308.71. It was amazing to see how the book became the first step that caused so many people to go deeper and gain access to step-by-step tutorials, specific examples, and support and accountability during community and office hours.
Will it fly Recipe for book success: answer the burning questions
The total amount of revenue directly and indirectly from Will It Fly ?, the self-publication of the book, overseas sales, and the sale of the Smart From Scratch course was $ 459,341. I am very happy with it and it was really great to go back in time and see how this book developed.
I hope you find this inspiring when you build your platform because the platform I created is definitely why this book has been so successful. Will it fly wasn’t a viral hit like Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning, which addresses some of the fears and problems that people encounter when starting a business or changing their lives, and that has really improved. But will it fly? was still a huge success and I'm very happy with the way it was done.
This brings me to the reason why I think this book has been so successful, and it is because it answered some of the most burning questions my audience has asked. The content of the book was based on the responses to a survey I conducted in 2014, combined with a series of conversations and questions on social media among my viewers about what they needed help for. And they told me exactly what they needed help for. They didn't know where to start. They didn't know how to choose a niche. They didn't know how to do market research. They were afraid of losing money and wasting time. Therefore: will it fly? How to test your next business idea so you don't waste your time and money.
Every book is an opportunity to serve more people
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who wants Will It Fly? Have supported. This book is proof that you can serve and sell at the same time. And a book is a great way to do this because you can combine it with other options and offers, such as: Your email list, courses, coaching programs, and other products you can offer to better serve your audience.
This book, along with everything that happened afterwards, like the companion course and Smart From Scratch, was another SPI experiment that helped me learn and grow. I am very grateful for that, especially the fact that the audience made it the success it is. I hope for a similar success, if not more, with super fans, not only in terms of sales and earnings, but also how this can help people.
I know from experience that building super fans and creating amazing experiences for your fans is the best way to make your business future-proof. It's not the secret secret of business success. I think any company, regardless of size, can benefit from creating super fans. Even if you are just starting out, it helps you learn these things from the start to stand out. It will help you overcome or avoid many of the currently available technological and competitive challenges.
If you think your company can benefit from creating your own army of superfans, superfans is for you. You can get the audiobook version of Superfans for free by pre-ordering the book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, then going to yoursuperfans.com and sending us your receipt.
So Team Flynn, you are incredible. Thank you for supporting Will It Fly? and everything else I do. I hope this post has opened your eyes and helped you to see all the possibilities that you have with a self-published book. Get a copy of Superfans now and have a nice day!
Addendum: the numbers for Will It Fly?
* Published in February 2016 | Figures as of May 31, 2019 correct
- Ebook sales: 19,221 units ($ 6.99 each) = $ 32,893.93
- Paperback sales: 13,556 units ($ 16.95 each) = $ 62,495.48 (~ $ 4.61 per book fee)
- Unlimited Kindle license fees: $ 4,087.88
- Audiobook sales: 19,389 units ($ 5 profit per sale) = $ 96,945
- Bounty units: $ 490 ($ 50 each) = $ 24,500
- Total sales of audio books: $ 24,500 + $ 96,945 = $ 121,455
- Total sales of e-books: $ 32,893.93 + $ 4,087.88 = $ 36,981.81
- Total sales with paperbacks: $ 62,495.48
- Total Bulk Paperback Sales (from conferences and others): $ 3,500.00
- Total book revenue (self-published): $ 224,432.29
- Total units sold: 52.166
- Total earnings per unit: ~ $ 4.30
License fees from foreign rights
- Korea: $ 10,000
- Vietnam: $ 1,200
- Romania: $ 1,000
- Taiwan: $ 5,600
- Poland: $ 1,800
- Total foreign license fees: $ 19,600
- Total: $ 244,032.29
Beyond the book
- Emails collected through Will It Fly? Accompanying course: 26,680 enrolled in Teachable (51 percent conversion rate!)
- Smart from scratch (Will it fly? Leads to Smart from scratch. Note: Not everyone in SFS has read Will It Fly ?, but it teaches the same material in more detail with step-by-step examples and accountability, community and office hours): 1,684 enrolled students, 215,308.71 USD earnings
- Total: $ 459,341.00