Can you get rich on a 99 cent story?


Can you even feed yourself on 99 cents a story?

Now 50 cent seems to have figured it out. If you read my previous post where I strongly suggested my Triberr reach of 26 mil plus each send me 25 cents, then I might be on to something too, huh?

What is rich, do you know? Do you think basketball player LeBron James is rich? If he’s rich then what does that make the guy who signs his paycheck?

Is it all relative? What is your number? They say a million dollars isn’t what it used to be; who would still like to have a million dollars?

I will bet that would buy you some new friends.

What’s your point?

What? Like I have to have one? Last time I checked this was still my post; well, me and WordPress and since it’s free they can probably pull the plug any time I suppose.

While I am still waiting for that BFO (blinding flash of the obvious) on who and what I want to be when I grow up, I’m just trying to be a sponge and absorb and learn what I can along the way.

As long as I am willing to learn then I should able to keep growing…of course now I’m growing out instead of up these days, but who wants to grow up anyway, right?

What I’m getting at is, if none of you are going to let me ride your coattails to fame and fortune then apparently I am going to have to figure it out myself. Being the ‘just show up’ guy, Houston, we have a problem.

Talent abounds

Be patient, I’m getting there.

When Adam Toporek and I met Dino Dogan in Orlando, we talked about many things social. One of the things Dino suggested, more to Adam than to me, was writing and posting 99 cents e-books.

This weekend as I was reading a reply from Mr Extremely Average Brian Meeks, he was contemplating publishing a short story he had shared with me. Don’t tell him, but I changed the title and already published it under my name……….:).

He was going to go the 99 cent route too.

As the ‘just show up’ guy, maybe it’s a sign; just let it be known all who have offered suggestions on my journey it has been appreciated even if I haven’t implemented any some of them.

I can do that too

Trust me, I will not be the early adopter on anything. I’m curious, but it’s just not in my nature to be leading the charge most of the time.

Therefore, I’m thinking this 99 cent gig can certainly allow low risk practicing in my quest to decide which fork in the road I want to take; even if my mother ends up being the only one purchasing a story.

Business or personal? What floats your boat?

I know many in here are much more prolific writers than I, so talk to me, who is actively doing this and what kind of results have you seen?

Are you driving a Bentley yet?

Pamela Fagan Hutchins, what say you?

Is it even worth the effort or should I just blog?

The main reason I’m considering this certainly isn’t for the money, but to be more disciplined in my writing efforts and give it a purpose.

Whadda ya think, can you get rich on 99 cents a story?


60 thoughts on “Can you get rich on a 99 cent story?

  1. 100M would be nice. I could realize a few interesting ideas with that kind of dough. But I’ll take 30M as a down payment for a dream.

    None of which guarantees any or all of our delusions about happiness, security, friendship, love, health, respect, freedom, and/or dignity. Not that I know what 100M feels like in my pocket, but I do know what 1M tastes like. [shrug]

    As you suggest, Bill, the problem with the 99 cent story is not the 99 cents. It’s how many people buy it. Or how many people don’t buy it. There’s the rub.

    If you have a reach of 20 million and you’re getting 100 retweets, a forecast for 10 sales is going to be optimistic. Of course, we’re talking about one tweet. It’s only too bad that Triberr doesn’t do automated Facebook posts.

    So the pressure is on you to get that retweet rate up. Because that retweet rate is a critical indicator of the direct marketing potential of your channel. But if you can figure out how to exponentially increase action on your call to action with just an hour per day of your time, me and you can make millions selling the secret.

    P.S. When are you going to get comment luv? 😛

    • Hell Stan, 3 sales would be optimistic……and that’s the truth. Actually, I would be using it more to drive me to serious writing which I have talked about but really haven’t followed through on.

      I need some CommentLuv, but I also need a self-hosted site too. Maybe one of the days when I grow up I can be just like you……

      BTW – my day job is rocking right now so I’m content to ride the crest of that wave for the time being; I still have time to figure all this other stuff out later I suppose.

  2. Who wants $1 million? If you didn’t already get any takers then…I do! I do! I’m not sure if you can really get rich off a couple of 99 cent books but I can tell you what it WILL do for you. Having a bunch of smaller books like that really focused in on a certain topic could possibly get people to see you as an expert in your field. If they think you know what you’re talking about, they may check out what else you do/sell that resonates with them. Then they may up the ante by purchasing your services or larger products.

  3. Hi Bill,
    I suppose to that if you a large enough audience and sells hundreds of thousands of 99 cent ebooks, you could become quite wealthy, but my guess is that if you have that kind of audience, you’re going to see that your product is worth much more and wouldn’t settle at selling it for 99 cents. After all, why not rake in more? Just my 2 cents…. 98 to go! 🙂

    • Hey Keisha, good to see you. Yes, if you are that good you will be making a lot more. But what if you are a one-hit wonder; would that be considered successful? Hmmmm………

      Raking in money; I would like to actually rake up some money. How about you?

    • I hear ya bro; I’m still not doing too bad on paper, but that paper isn’t greenbacks in my wallet. Apparently I have to die or retire for someone to get at this money……..:).

  4. Hi Bill

    Did you get any quarters yet? If you do the math, I don’t think 1 book will be able to sell over a million copies, you know Amazon will want their cut first. So maybe you ought to look at creating 500 books now that might be feasible for your million dollars. Besides after the first 50 books, you will probably have a good following of folks that love what you write.

    I think you need to get busy on Book # 1…darn maybe I need to get busy on Book # 1.

    Have a great week and happy writing!


    • Brilliant………get busy on Book # 1………if my end goal was to publish a short story and get it in Amazon, that would be an accomplishment and the reason I mention it is because it might be what I need to get the ball rolling. I am working on it……

      Good to see you.

  5. Hi Bill

    Did you get any quarters yet? If you do the math, I don’t think 1 book will be able to sell over a million copies, you know Amazon will want their cut first. So maybe you ought to look at creating 500 books now that might be feasible for your million dollars. Besides after the first 50 books, you will probably have a good following of folks that love what you write.

    I think you need to get busy on Book # 1…darn maybe I need to get busy on Book # 1.

    Have a great week and happy writing!


  6. Hi Bill,

    …Well, if your small stories lead to big ideas that motivate your tribe, anything can happen on social web 8)

    However, it may be easier to just go to all of to all of the hole-in-one tournaments around the globe and make it $50K at a time?

    It’s definitely too late to marry into wealth; you’re too old and past your prime 😮

    Maybe you could write a series of books on ideas on how to make a million bucks .99 cents at a time?

    Tough decisions, but you need to make a decision and get down the road soon before time runs out!


    • And I haven’t found a single Dorman with any money so that rich uncle inheritance is probably out of the picture as well; maybe I should start trying the lottery. Maybe when I’m reincarnated I will make it into the lucky sperm pool like a Rockefeller or Kennedy or something like that, huh? Oh wait, maybe they weren’t so lucky; be careful what you wish for…..

      Good to see you my friend, hope your week is going well.

  7. Awesome, since you’ve figured all this out, you must be buying lunch! 🙂

    It’s funny, because I was just discussing finally taking Dino’s advice and working on converting my ebook to Kindle, etc. I don’t plan to make any money on it, more looking at it as another platform to market with and a way to learn more about digital publishing. I’ve already written the book; so I might as well leverage those previous efforts as much as possible (that’s my 99cent idea).

    I’m thinking either 1.99 or 2.99? If I sell 10 of them, if will feed my Starbucks habit for a full 4 days. What else can one ask for?

    • Well, you probably noticed how I got alligator arms when the waitress was handing us the bill….man that was a long reach across the table……:).

      It was great to see you and thanks so much for lunch; I’m still thinking about those pretzels.

      So we decided on 1.99 for your first venture, right?

  8. Hi Bill, Mary is correct. If you’re going to write a 99 cent book, make sure to add into the calculation the cut from Amazon for a Kindle book or Apple for an iBook.

    That being said, there are quite a few app developers who have become millionaires many times over by selling 99 cent apps.

    But there are more app developers who aren’t millionaires.

    If you write a 99 cent book and the book rocks, you will have a much better chance of becoming a millionaire than if your book sucks, no matter how huge your reach is on Triberr. JA Konrath couldn’t get a publisher to touch his stuff (well, actually that isn’t true, they touched his stuff, requiring rewrites but then never published him) and then became a best selling author by self-publishing 99 cent books on Kindle.

    Anything that keeps you writing stuff I can read is okay in my book. Get it? My book? 😉

    • I guess part of me is afraid of being exposed…blogging is one thing, but actually having to pay attention and telling some kind of story might be a challenge. But I’ll never know if I don’t get started, right? Maybe I’ll jump out with a pseudonym first…:).

      The money part would be cool, but money doesn’t drive me. I have plenty of ‘stuff’ and yes, could always have more but I’m happy with my station in life and know I outkicked my coverage a long time ago so everything is pretty much gravy at this point.

      Good to see you ma’am; you always make me smile.

  9. @ExtremelyAvg (Brian Meeks) is going the 99¢ route? That bastard! I bought one of his books for $2.99!! (Brian, you know I’m just kidding… I’m a kidder!)

    I read something by Avinash Kaushik (great blogger, great digital marketing/analytics expert) where he published some of his early books for free, and found that quite a few people were still willing to purchase the physical copy. He was kind of flabbergasted, but it tells you something about people.

    I’m all for the 99¢ approach. I’m buying if you’re selling. (And if Brian’s selling, too.)

    • Brian will have to come up with another book however, because I stole his last one….:). That’ll teach him to let me read it first….that’s my new business model BTW.

      Sometimes what people do, like reading this blog and especially from people I had no idea were reading it, never ceases to amaze me.

      Wahoo indeed, did you let Carolyn know?

  10. Hey Bill

    I’d buy your book but I reckon you’d need to write more than one to get rich unless you can really get the marketing right!

    Maybe that’s where Triberr could help?

  11. There is no easy answer. I have 4 (soon to be 5) books on the market right now. My pricing strategies have varied over time and I’ve come to realize that it isn’t really about price. The reason a book sells is exposure and recognition. If you’re an author whose face is already well known and you plaster headlines for a 99 cent book all over, you’ll probably succeed. But like most indie authors it takes time, consistency and of course, talent to get there.

  12. Didn’t Angry Birds cross that first $10M…$0.99 at a time? Just come up with a good, frivolous, time-suck…and you got it. Definitely have more opportunities in this technology age when appealing to the end consumer.

    B2B….umm, no. I haven’t come up with a suitable $0.99 solution. If you did, some companies would still want to go out for bid and whittle you down to $0.50…plus free tech support, of course!

    • And being in commercial insurance, I certainly know what ‘bid’ means……….:).

      I’m thinking a cross between Dear Abby and Linus and charging 50 cent for advice; that should fly, right?

      Good to see you Brian, appreciate the visit.

  13. I think someone could make some good money by selling a book or produce for .99 cents. It has to be a quality product that people need and will want to share with their tribe. I’ve heard a good price point for eBooks is 99 cents -$2.99. Great thoughts.

    • Like blogging, if you can build a following and have a continual stream of good, quality material I think you can make it happen. Like you iPod, people will spend 99 cents for a song and next thing you know, you have over 1,000 songs in there.

      Thanks for your thoughts; I appreciate the visit.

  14. Don’t know. I have a friend who published a great novel but had terrible publicity and it didn’t make it to the best seller list and didn’t make her super duper rich. But it brings in money now and then and she is richer than the rest of us… so maybe yes, maybe no.

    Depends on what the story is all about and how well it is sold maybe?

    • A lot of moving parts, huh? Some stories that aren’t well written take off and masterpieces can languish in obscurity….go figure…

      My initial thrill would be just having the courage to actually publish it; then I really could hear some crickets then…:).

      Enjoyed your post at Lori’s; hope all is well.

  15. I think that everyone at least once in their life should know what it’s like to have a million dollars. Seriously, how can we even say how we’d feel until we’ve experienced it. Hey, I’m just sayin!

    It’s been recommended to me to write Amazon Kindle books because you can sell them for $2.99 and get a much larger reach. The thing is, you have to write a heck of a lot more then just one. I can see it making you a better writer and the experience alone would be cool but I don’t want to have to know that I have to sit down and write one at least once a month. just to get my name up there and then let’s not forget he promotion. I mean we do want people to buy them right!

    I say go for it Bill. Hey, you have absolutely nothing to lose and you’ll get the experience under your belt.


    • Oh, I can toot my own horn alright……….:). One a month, huh? That sounds like a challenge; maybe you start at 99 cents and then graduate to 2.99. If you had the right following and were producing good stuff it could be like music for your iPod; everybody will spend 99 cents or more for a song….or at least a lot of people.

      Book of the month club, I think I like it.

      Good to see you; I like your new Avatar.

  16. Hey Bill, here’s my 1 cent worth – to make up a dollar lol.

    To me, 99 cents screams cheap – and cheap often screams nasty! If you’ve got a good-quality product, then really, you should charge more for it I reckon – and make the item more desirable. Even at $2.99, an ebook is pretty cheap. Why not go $9.99? You may get fewer buyers, but then again, maybe not?

    My friend did an experiment recently where he charged 3 different prices for a plug-in he developed: $18, $23 and $26 (I think, from memory) – and most people went for the $26 would you believe?!

    And anyways, wouldn’t you reach your million faster if you charged more?

    Keep smiling Bill. You rock!
    Lil 😀

    • You might be onto something here….if I do a $9.99 book will I have to do it in hardcover? Can you do a $9.99 book in 5,000 words or less? So many questions…maybe I better start writing first, huh?

      One way or another I will see this through enough to get a least one book published, that is my ‘charge’ for 2013. I guess I better get started because the clock is ticking…….:).

      Good to see you, thanks so much for the visit.

  17. This is old stuff Bill. I thought of micro-payments for stories back in 2005 when the newspaper industry collapsed and my LA Times was laying off some of my favorite sports writers. The paper was 50 cents back then. Not sure the value of the ads inside. Might cost $1 without the ads.

    We forget how much advertising subsidizes us. If you got rid of ads on TV and paid just for viewing time the hourly rate would be the same as going to a movie. $5 and hour ads up really fast.

    I would pay a buck for your prose and wit. BTW when do the ads show on your blog to support your golf habit with charles?

    • Since it’s a charity event, I’m wondering if I would have to donate all the ad dollars, or at least be able to keep some beer money out of it.

      The main driving force is actually taking the time to write something publishable; we’ll see where it goes from there. For the ‘just show up’ guy it might be a daunting task indeed.

      Good to see you; nice Avatar, is that your ‘family?’

      • done two heart garlands for Valentine’s Day, a set of Valentine’s Day cards, my 2012 album, the gold and cork tin cans and now, a paint-by-numbers iepsirnd portrait of

  18. Oh sheet can I say sheet here?

    Tribrr so many of my friends and people I follow use Triberr that my feed is possibly 35-45% or more in my list of VIPs in my life. Of course the smart ones would use it. And I decided that an automated share has no value to me or authenticity. So I look to see did someone find this content and post or is it automated from a Tribe. Now I will not click or RT any Triberr posts. I feel it is cheating. It is the PED of blogging. And you might get a 50 game ban my friend if that Dr in Toledo has your name in his files.

    • Just don’t say bullsheet…..I’m on the fence with it; just by clicking ‘publish’ even on my friends accounts, is it taking away the value. IRL friends always want to know how I tweet so much; 98% of it is Triberr…..

      As I toil in obscurity it probably doesn’t matter one way or another. When I become Mr Big Time maybe I’ll dump all my Twitter followers and re-think my strategy, huh?

      I’m going to see your dreaded Spankmees play the Orioles in Spring Training; I’ll tell Joe G you said hello.

  19. certainly like your web site but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very bothersome to inform the truth however I will surely come again again.

  20. It comes down to how much value you think you have… a 99 Cent story might be worth $10 to someone who really needs to read it. My mom was going to go the 99 cent route. I said, how much do you think the whole thing is worth. Let’s just do a cent a word, how much would that be? We went over different ways to value the product based on the work she put into it. She finally understood how much of her time it took and I got her to charge $4.99. It worked. She has made several sales at that price point. Not great, but at least it is a price representative of its true value. She is making a profit ever so slowly.

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