Book Sales Automation

Book Marketing Secret #10 is the holy grail of book marketing. It is the ultimate ideal outcome of all author and publisher efforts and the result of mastery of all previous book marketing secrets. It also shows a core element of the beauty of book publishing. It is the chance for creating a stream of passive income.

A stream of passive income created from an “book sales automation system” that lives and breathes on its own, a stream that makes your book publishing venture profitable.

That means I am not talking about selling 50 copies, for instance, that bring $4 USD royalties/book a month, resulting in a revenue of $200 USD. No. What I am talking about is the type of passive income that stays in your pocket at the end of the month. Profit.

Revenue/royalties from book sales, minus advertising and other costs, resulting in pure profit from your book ventures. That’s the kind of income that has made selected publishers and top authors truly wealthy over the last decades.

Due to increased competition, achieving market success has certainly become more difficult over the last 10 years. But passive income from books is still a very achievable goal and a reality for many authors, publishers, and publishing businesses in the market.

I just recently talked again to owners of a Kindle publishing business, who were able to scale up their business from 0 to more than 300 books (which they fully control), bringing in a revenue of more than $25,000 USD per month, all built in less than 2 years.

Pretty amazing.

Is their business profitable?

Yes, it is.

These founders are ambitious and they have far bigger goals. That’s why they invest heavily in new titles, education, and advertising. So they might not generate a big profit at the end of a month yet; but if they stopped investing and publishing today, they would already have built a very solid passive income business, all made from books.

To fully understand different ways of how book sales automation can work, you need to understand your “book sales system” first.

Below, find my visualization of the “book sales automation system” for this book, Book Marketing Secrets. It is based on the 3-step model “Attraction – Conversion – Retention.”

Attraction involves steps to attract customers.

Conversion refers to the process of making them a customer, requiring that they are in touch with your sales page. And retention is all about keeping and growing revenue from existing customers.

The model is simple, beautiful, and effective. You can also draw it out quickly (once you have the data) and make your “ book sales automation system” understandable quite easily.

As I created the model before I launched, the cited numbers, such as the cost for acquiring a reader and the expected conversion rates, are my estimates and plan to launch with. I am planning on updating the numbers in a revised future edition.

Let’s take a look at my model below :

“Automated book sales system” – Book: Book Marketing Secrets” © Albert Griesmayr, 2019

Traffic should primarily come from:

  • YouTube video series + paid YT advertising
  • Facebook video series + paid FB advertising
  • Amazon ads + Amazon organic search

Conversion [rates & sales pages]:

  • There is one sales page on Amazon and one sales page on my website
  • I am willing to spend up to $5 for each new reader who purchases the book (to break even)

Retention [upsell products]:

  • Readers should sign up on my webpage (50% of my readers), because of my thank you gift
  • As long as they are on my list, I can make them aware of my other (upsell) products, such as my online program, the Scribando service, and other books.

So in a nutshell, that’s my plan and visualization of my book marketing system.

I will launch the book to 10K readers [Book Marketing Secret #5], and have the goal of getting 200 new readers at break even [$1,000 revenue] at $1,000 expense. To make this calculation work, I calculate with $5 in revenue ($3 revenue + $1 lifetime value + $1 organic sales increase), as below that point paid advertising gets increasingly difficult, even for a very targeted product.

On the other hand, when looking at the lifetime value of my audience, I estimate a new reader to be worth much more than $5, so I am totally fine with my calculation of spending $5 for each new reader, without any loss and with acquiring new readers basically for free.

When you combine that with the fact that you can scale up such a system, it quickly gets very powerful for authors and publishers who are able to make such a system work.

You can also see that this book is not a passive income machine for me. My main goal is to share my knowledge at an affordable price (because that’s my passion) and most importantly to acquire new customers basically for free.

These will hopefully, ultimately, spend more later, as my business is 100% focused on making them more successful with their books. I truly hope that you will be one of those customers that I can convince to stay longer and do more business with me along the line.

So, summed up, Book Marketing Secrets is primarily a marketing tool for me. But let’s go back to you and your “automated book sales system.” I invite you to get a pen and paper and to draw your own current (or intended) version of your book sales system.

Draw Your Own Book Sales System | Exercise
Take pen and paper and draw your own book sales system with the help of “Attraction, Conversion, Retention” and the visual example of the “BMS book sales system” displayed in this book.

Start with the channels your readers are coming from, and put concrete numbers if you have them (if not, your homework is to get those numbers). Afterwards, look at your point of sale(s).

What can be done there to improve your conversion rates?

And as a final step, look at your retention. What are you doing to keep in touch with your readers (eg. email signup), to keep them engaged (eg. built-in virality elements), to drive them to your other products (eg. other books)? Make a list of things to improve in this area.

The ideal scenario is that you are able to optimize your system to a level where it keeps itself running. A system in which you put $1 USD in, and $2 USD emerges at the end of the day.

Ideally, a system that is scalable with paid advertising. Once you have achieved this level, you have achieved true mastery. With mastery, you can bring it to a level where you can live on your books and writing, the dream of every writer, but which so few of us achieve in the end.

I hope that my calculation also reminded you once more why it is so important to have upsell products. If you have only one book on the market and you generate a royalty of around three or four dollars, then it gets almost impossible to achieve a positive return on advertising spent with the book alone. That’s why most successful authors and publishers have lines of products such as book series, and related products on top of that.

Your tolerable cost of acquisition of a new customer changes dramatically with just one more product down the line. Imagine you are selling an online course for the price of $37 on top of your non-fiction book. Suddenly you are able to spend up to $10 for a new client. Without the upsell product, you can spend only $3.

And don’t forget that you do not always need to create your own products. You can also act as an affiliate and earn commissions for products that are already on the market. Summed up, your calculations change dramatically with upsell products and also decide if you are able to compete in the market with paid advertising at all.

I highly recommend that you dive deep into your own book sales system. Invest time and resources to make that work and to achieve the point of mastery, which frees you to spend more time on writing and creating and all the things you truly love.

Never forget Book Marketing Secret #10. Strive for it, make it one of your ultimate goals, in order to achieve true book marketing mastery.

Secret #10 Checkbox

Core Insights:
  • Books are fantastic products for getting passive income
  • Every author/publishers should have an understanding of their automated “book sales funnel” which covers Attraction, Conversion, and Retention


Take pen and paper.

  1. Draw your “book sales funnel.” Include numbers whenever possible.
  2. If you advertise, do you have a positive ROAS?
  3. What steps can you take to improve your level of book sales automation?
Book Marketing Secrets

Book Marketing Secrets : The 10 fundamental secrets for selling more books and creating a successful self-publishing career

"This article is based on insights from the book "Book Marketing Secrets". Get your copy on Amazon and find the insights for selling more books and creating a successful author career."
Albert Griesmayr

Albert Griesmayr

Founder & CEO of the book publishing startup Scribando & Novelify.

Previously Albert was Head of Digital at Dorotheum and consults companies and authors in digital strategy, digital marketing and book promotion.