Mark Messick – 17 years old & Earning $4k Per Month From Ebooks
This week’s success story is from Mark Messick. To put in bluntly Mark is the person that I wish I was when I was 17 years of age…hard working, full of determination, earning an amazing amount of money each month etc. Through a lot of hard work, Mark has been able to become an author selling lots of ebooks on the Amazon Kindle Platform, creating a great following and earning himself a passive income on a regular basis.
Heck, he was even selling more books than Donald Trump at one point!
I think Mark is a great example to young people looking to earn money for themselves outside of the “normal” working roles of employment, proving that you if you put your mind to achieving something then hard work can almost certainly help you reach your goals.
1. Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
My name is Mark Messick. I’m 17 years-old. When I was 10 years-old I dropped out of school to pursue my passion for writing. I would work my butt off every day, oftentimes writing for 6-8 hours in one sitting. When I was 13 I published my first book. It made a grand total of $1.05 in the first month. And then progressively less each month thereafter. But I didn’t give up. I kept working my butt off every day, now pulling 6-8 hour marketing stints. For the next two years I got absolutely nowhere, and then when I was 15 things just exploded and I started making $4,000 per month. Since then I’ve been exploring all sorts of different business ideas, (Epic Productivity Ninja, Book Sales Doctor, and Daily Diets Deluxe, just to name a few) most of which failed miserably. I’m now running torchtherules.com, where I sell a totally kick-butt video course and continue to publish books about things I’ve learned in the last 7 years as a kid-author.
2. You have made a great name for yourself as a young writer and entrepreneur, what inspired you to start writing ebooks?
I’ve loved writing since the age of 10, and being a bestselling author was always my end-goal. Age was never a barrier for me. I never stopped for a second to wonder if maybe I couldn’t succeed. I always just KNEW that I would be successful eventually. It was simply meant to be. Ever since I opened my first Word Document, I can’t remember a single moment where becoming a bestselling author wasn’t on my mind. And it’s probably that blind optimism that gave me the courage to publish my work at such a young age, and eventually succeed with it.
3. How did you decide on the topics / niche for your ebooks?
My first published book was called “4016 A.D.” and it was a dystopian short story. I wrote it just for the heck of it. It was absolutely dreadful. I can’t believe I ever thought it was salable. (Don’t worry, it has since been unpublished.) But that’s how I got my start. And then after that, I jumped around a little bit. Tried out a couple of different things. I just followed my heart, and kind of did whatever I wanted. But eventually, I settled into the self-help market, because I have such a passion for self-improvement, and I simply couldn’t help but share some of the things I was learning.
4. How did you learn about the process of writing and marketing ebooks? From ideas to cover design to marketing, there is a lot to learn!
Lots of trial and error. Honestly, I wasn’t successful because of my creativity, or my intelligence, or my marketing-savvy. The ONLY reason I eventually succeeded is because I was stubborn as heck. I wasn’t willing to give up, no matter how tough it got. And eventually, I think the universe just gave up and figured “oh, what the heck. I know it’s against the rules, but who cares. I’ll let this punk kid be a bestselling author. It’s not right, but I’m tired of putting up with his stubborn optimism”. I made every mistake that a newbie author could ever possibly make, and most of my early marketing decisions were agonisingly idiotic. But luckily it doesn’t take brains or money or luck to succeed. It only takes being more stubborn than the universe. Piece of cake, right? 😉
5. Do you have a mentor?
There are a lot of books that I really like, but I’ve never actually had a single specific mentor. I just kinda figured things out on my own. Surprise surprise, right? I know I don’t seem like the kind of person that just does whatever. But oh well. (SARCASM ALERT!)
6. You seem like you are able to write on a very consistent basis, do you have a set routine that you stick to?
I wake up, eat breakfast while listening to stand-up comedy, then I complete a 30 minute morning routine that includes reciting my life action plan, meditating, writing down 10 ideas, and reading the Bible. Then I’m always always always in my chair working by 9am at the latest. At 10am I take a break and read for 30 minutes, but other than that I’m usually pretty productive throughout the rest of the day. I’m always working on one goal or another, whether it’s business, health, or school related.
7. It was great to hear you on the James Altucher podcast, how did that come about and did it help boost your ebook sales even further?
Okay, so I saw this anti-school article on TechCrunch, and I skimmed over it and saw that in the comments section everyone was just SLAMMING the author. Saying that this article was an embarrassment to the human race, and that the author should be imprisoned and all sorts of crap. So I commented and simply said “Hey, I’m 15 years-old, I haven’t been to school since the age of 10, and I’ve published 11 internationally bestselling books that have outsold Donald Trump, Dale Carnegie, Tony Robbins, Dave Ramsey, and make me at least $4,000 a month on autopilot.” And that shut everyone up. In the words of James Altucher it was a digital mic drop. Later that day he sent me a friend request on Facebook and just straight up asked me if I’d like to be on his podcast. It was pretty much the best day of my life. And yeah, it definitely helped my sales. I got 500 email subscribers the day my interview with him went live. I was blown away by the reach that this guy has.
You can listen to the podcast that Mark did with James Altucher here:
You can also read the post that James Altucher wrote about Mark here:
8. You have managed to earn a consistent income from writing, from what I have read it has been approx $ 4000 per month, is that correct? That is a really impressive passive income!
Yeah. As long as I’m working every day and continuing to write/market my books, I typically make $4,000 a month. Sometimes that dips a little bit when I take a break to work on other projects. (Such as the video course that I just launched, hint hint http://www.torchtherules.com/course
9. Have you been able to capitalise on your success through other ventures? I know you have created some websites around becoming an author and providing marketing advice etc.
Earlier this year I launched a video course for authors (http://www.booksalesdoctor.com
) and it did alright. One day I got so much traffic that the website crashed and I missed out on about $7,000 worth of sales. If that’s not a clear signal of success, I don’t know what is. #crashedwebsiteclub, haha. I’ve also done a fair amount of one-on-one coaching with other authors, and earlier this year an organization flew me halfway across the country to give a presentation at a business conference. Which was probably the coolest experience of my entire laugh. I still can’t believe that it actually happened.
10. Is there one thing in particular that you point your success to? For example, do you have a big email list etc?
Nope. The only reason I’m successful is because I’m terribly optimistic and ridiculously stubborn. That’s my only formula for success.
11. What do you know now that you wished you had known when you first started writing?
It’s crazy hard to be successful. But it is possible. If you want it bad enough, you’ll figure it out. There’s no “magic bullet” or super secret marketing technique that’ll launch you to the top. It just takes a lot of hard work and perseverance.
12.What are your plans for the future?
I want to try everything. Right now I’m trying to turn my Torch the Rules brand into a 5 figure a month business, but as soon as I achieve that (hopefully by the end of January 2017) I’m gonna move on and try all sorts of other stuff. I’m very interested in trying my hand at stand-up comedy. I’ve also been secretly working on a series of zombie comedy novellas that are so ridiculously dumb, some people might actually appreciate them. I’m also a huge movie buff, and would totally consider writing a screenplay. I also really want to start speaking at high-school assemblies and inspiring other teenagers to follow their dreams. And I’ve always wanted to run an in-person workshop or boot camp. Haha. I’ll probably keep pretty busy 😉
13. Do you believe that anybody can crack the Amazon code and become a successful writer and sell enough ebooks to earn a decent passive income?
Definitely. I have a little saying or mantra that I repeat to myself every day: Say “ I won’t” instead of “I can’t”. As soon as you say “I can’t” it becomes true. The only thing I can’t do is say “I can’t”. Obviously.
14. You are a great role model for young entrepreneurs looking to earn a living outside of the normal 9-5 role of employment, have you been asked to go into schools to give talks and guidance to students?
Not yet, but that’s definitely one of my dreams. Right now I’m working my butt off on my Torch the Rules brand, but as soon as I’m done with that I’m gonna start doing a lot of public speaking and in-person events.
15. What tips would you give our readers who are looking to start writing ebooks to earn an additional income?
Traffic + Conversion = Sales. That’s my entire business plan right there. That’s all you have to know. As long as you can find ways to send traffic to your book, and you can convince that traffic that your book is worth their time and money…then you’ll be successful. And that applies to every business on planet Earth. Traffic and conversion is all a business needs to bring in the big bucks. Just be creative and find ways to drive traffic and convert that traffic into buyers and you’ll be just fine.
Looking to write ebooks to earn yourself an additional income? Take a look at our dedicated section here.
Interested in reading Mark’s books? You can purchase his books from Amazon here: