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Bob Mayer Interview – Selling 80,000 eBooks in One Month

I had the pleasure of speaking with author Bob Mayer, where we chatted about the specifics of his success in the ebook space.
We cover the following topics:

  • His experience of 20 years in traditional publishing, and why he is putting so many resources into ebooks.
  • The value of getting the rights back on nearly all of the 40 books he has published, allowing him to turn them into ebooks.
  • In January of this year, he sold 347 ebooks total (with 8 books for sale), grossing $5,000 across all platforms. In July, he sold more than 80,000 ebooks (with 32 books for sale), and had $90,000 in profit.
  • The importance of pricing: why only two of his books are priced at 99 cents, and the rest at higher prices. Nothing is above $4.99.
  • How he gets the word out about his books via blogs and forums.
  • That getting featured by pubit! increased sales from 12 copies a day to more than 400 per a day for one title. This is a book that had previously sold more than 1,000,000 copies in paperback.
  • The importance of focusing on each individual platform and format, and the incredible amount of work involved in that.
  • His view that profit sharing will be a bigger part of publishing in the future, instead of advances.
  • That every author needs to be an entrepreneur, spending at least 50% of their time on the business end of things.

You can watch the full interview by clicking the play button below:

You can find Bob in the following places:

Thanks so much to Bob for taking the time to chat!


  • Great interview Dan! Thanks Bob for being so honest and letting us in on how you’re business is going.

  • What a great, candid interview. Indies writers can learn so much from Bob’s experiences shared in this video.

  • Robin Sullivan

    Bob’s “He Who Dares Win” and my own company “Ridan Publishing” are two examples of indie presses done well. We are in complete agreement that just under $5 is a viable price for a good book and you don’t have to race to the bottom at $0.99.  I’m so happy to see another company out there making the new world of publishing work for them and their authors. Go Bob!

  • I like the idea of selling the introductory book in a series for 0.99, and then upping the price for additional books. With the challenges of the publishing industry, I think this is an interesting and rapidly changing biz space.

    • Thanks Steve. Indeed, there are a lot of ways to use pricing to help things along.

  • Brilliant advice as always, thanks Bob!

  • I publish for Vincent Zandri and he did something similar. Based on just one book he was at 50 copies a month in Jan and in March sold 100k. He made it to #3 on Amazon overall. It is amazing what we can do now with eBooks.

    • Thanks Aaron. Congrats on the sales!

  • Laura Pepper Wu

    Thanks once again for these videos Dan. An incredible insight into how people are getting it right. Congrats Bob!

  • This is absolutely fantastic advice. Plenty of wisdom in Bob’s words, along with practical, specific advice. Obviously, Bob is a very humble man.

  • This is absolutely fantastic advice. Plenty of wisdom in Bob’s words, along with practical, specific advice. Obviously, Bob is a very humble man.

  • Sero

    Would like to watch this but it’s buffering like a sleeping monkey.  Is this downloadable?

    • Sorry about that. As for right now, these aren’t downloadable.

  • Kevin Basil

    This was a great interview! It was very grounding to me as a first time indie author. There’s a lot of work to be done. Thanks a lot for the great interview.

  •  Thanks for a good interview. Bob Mayer is always wonderfully honest and straightforward. I’ve learned a lot from him; I’m working on my publishing strategy on all fronts, too, and hoping to be as successful as he is one day.

  • Great interview guys. I particularly liked Bob’s attitude on realism, business and authors – as well as the 99c leader for a series – which is certainly my approach too. Sharing numbers for sales has become part of the culture of indie because we are all “bootstrapping” it in a way. The people I meet in this space are giving, lovely people who like to encourage and share success. I don’t think it is one-upmanship – i think it is encouragement – at least it is for me. I love to hear that Bob has sold so many books.
    It’s also good to hear about Readers Rule and I’m interested in seeing how that goes – certainly new paradigms are needed around these organisations that refuse self-published authors. I see that changing or they won’t have any speakers or any people going to conferences for much longer.

    I do have a question re PubIt as I get 95% of sales on Amazon and would like PubIt to be better – but am a non-US citizen so have to go through Smashwords. I’d like to sell more there – clearly getting featured is good – but any more tips?

    Finally, I really appreciate the writer’s work ethic idea and absolutely see how hard Bob works. Luckily I think we enjoy this work – it’s not a 4 hour work week for us! Writing is hard work, but what we want to do. I am intending to ramp up the number of books I write with this 4 hours a day idea over the coming months. It is the only way to grow the backlist.
    Thanks Dan & Bob – great interview.

    PS. I am one of those people who promoted with only one book – but actually, I only wrote fiction after the encouragement of people like Bob and my platform already existed for my non-fiction. But it takes all sorts, right!

    • Thanks Joanna! I always love hearing how you are doing with your fiction – so exciting. You may want to reach out directly to Bob about the PubIt question. Much appreciated.

  • Thanks for sharing.. You are a testament to an open, transparent, sharing, win-win-win business structure and model… http://www.agreenroad.com

  • Dean Lappi

    What a fantastic interview! This is fascinating and fantastic information on the eBook phenomenon, and how to be succussful in this new medium. Kind regards!

  • Janet Oakley

    A really great interview. Well done, Dan.  Bob is a great teacher in person, but I have really appreciated his candor on e-publishing in his posts, kindle boards and twitter. I have one book out as an e-book and in book form with another getting ready for publishing this winter. As a first time author, I am marketing hard and building a reader base that is growing all the time.  I’m still querying two others, writing a new non-fiction. Generally, I’ve got my 5 year plan. Thanks.

  • Michael Wallace

    Great interview. Thanks for posting.

  • Anonymous

    Dan, this was a fabulous interview and your site is top notch.  I have been keeping my eye on what comes along from Bob Mayer and I think his approach is spot-on.  His business model is pushing the limits of what is currently available.  I have a concern that his methodology, however, may be difficult for beginning authors.  It is one thing to come to market with 32 books, it is quite another to come to market with your first and only book.  I am looking for a market innovator that is going to be able to give solid new writers a toe-hold in this business.  One of the biggest problems that I have noticed is that, like any emerging market, there is a considerable amount of chaos in the market space.  Guys with 32 to books can wade through that and have rapid impact, but newbies are going to get washed out to sea even if they have outstanding books.  The market is still looking for that device that can sift through the heap of new books and find the gems.

    Excellent interview.  I am will be watching more of your conversations.  They are outstanding.

    Best wishes,

    D. M. Kenyon


    • Good point, and Bob is the first to point out that it is a HUGE help to have a backlist with 32 books you own outright. But… Bob has a very specific attitude, work ethic and process about which he approaches things, and that is – to me – the driving factor behind his success. If Bob had one book out, I still think he would be able to find a process for success, albeit perhaps not as dramatic as he has with 32 books to work with! 
      Much appreciated.

      • Anonymous

        I develop businesses in the green-tech industry for a living and fully appreciate Bob’s work ethic and intensity.  To be perfectly honest with you, it is the only way to get a new enterprise off the ground.  I have used the same methodology with my book and things are moving forward, however, I am noticing a few unique factors in the indie publishing market that are actually similar to green-tech.  Both are emerging markets.  Both are considerable market chaos with no real clear dogma.  There are market movers, but even the big guys are vulnerable.  Sound familiar?  The prime question in green-tech is how do you identify the technologies that have a real future and will make a long term difference.  Very good technologies will be crushed by big market movers with lesser products.  This is true about books.

        What I am wondering about, on the level of creating a business model to evolve the notion, is what structure could be put in place to be able to consistently identify great books and promising authors and get them in front of the reading community.  I have to confess a bias for literary fiction that, at least in my mind, is being pushed out of market space because of market trend toward serialization and “entertainment literature”.  My concern is that for hundreds of years books brought the best ideas of our culture forward, but now are being buried in piles of romance novels and serialized mysteries.

        The question becomes: how can we transcend the “penny dreadful” digital pulp out there to  get recognition and what process could be developed to use automation to locate and promote solid books whether they are serialized or not.  I get that platforms are all the rage, but at what cost?

        – D. M. Kenyon

        • This is powerful: “Very good technologies will be crushed by big market movers with lesser products.” 

          One word that intrigues me, but does not seem like a magic bullet is: “automation,” especially when identifying something as precious as a great book.

          Thanks for all the thoughts here!

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, “automation” was not the most articulate word choice there.  What I mean is how do we capitalize on the internet opportunity, i.e. internet search, free publishing services, blogs and the like — automated processes that are much less cumbersome than sifting through paper– to find the gems? Every written word can now be presented to everyone, but we have reversed the dilemma.  Whereas some good writers may have never seen a printing press, now every writer, even some horrendously bad ones, are in digital print.  Before the diamond didn’t even make it into the slag heap.  Now we are looking for them in landfills.  We need a digital solution to locate the readable and start the funneling process that will inevitably lead to the best work being most easily recognized, but hopefully will not ignore good work that deserves some recognition.  

            Book review sources acted as a filter in the analog publishing paradigm, but there is more to sift through and we have to ask ourselves if the filtration system is fair.  In every organized market, market makers will ultimately stack the deck. That will happen in indie publishing too over time.  But can we broaden the access bandwidth to let a wider selection of writing get the critical mass it needs to be at least financially viable enough to allow those evolving writers to keep writing?

            Literary Darwinism may or may not answer this prayer.


  • I loved this interview! So awesome, thank you for sharing all your advice and wisdom with other indie authors Bob and Dan! I shared Bob’s story and a link to this interview in my new book about Kindle Success Stories: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B6FCTVG