This week’s success story is an interview with Karla Blocka, the owner of Karla Marie Publishing. Karla has achieved incredible success through publishing ebooks, and the most amazing part of her story? She use’s pen names and hires ghost writers to write all of her books!
Can you imagine generating over $100,000 profits in the last year through publishing ebooks without actually writing the content? How amazing is that!
I was really intrigued to talk to Karla about her publishing business to find out more about her success, let’s get to the interview!
Can you tell us about yourself and when you got involved in Kindle Publishing?
I am a romance ebook publishing expert and coach. I spend most of my time now consulting with clients and helping them improve their self-publishing businesses. I am also a mom to a four-year-old boy and step mom to a 12-year-old girl. Needless to say, I’m busy! I started Kindle publishing over 3 years ago in October 2013.
Is it correct that you publish all your books under a pen name? Why have you chosen to do this and not publish under your own name?
Yes, all my books are published under pen names. I publish steamy romances in the Kindle Store, so for anonymity and branding purposes I’ve chosen to use pen names. The vast majority of my clients use pen names too. About 50% of my clients are men who use female pen names to publish romance books.
How many pen names have you used so far?
Probably about 15. Not all of them are active still. I tested out some niches with pen names that didn’t get the best results, so I didn’t publish more with those pen names.
What made you choose writing fiction over non-fiction?
Romance is the most lucrative category in the Kindle Store. Over 3 years I started Kindle publishing doing some non-fiction books, and I did OK with it, but I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. I read an article describing how the majority of book sales in the Kindle Store are for fiction books, and the majority of those are romance books, so I thought it would be a good genre to get into. I was right!
Do you have any particular niche / genre that you write about?
Romance all the way! Within romance I’ve published a lot of contemporary, with themes like bad boy, billionaire, and sports romance to name a few. I’ve also dabbled in some historical romance and paranormal romance too.
Do you have a mentor?
I do have a mentor. My mentor is Dan Lok, a well known serial entrepreneur in Vancouver. The amount I’ve learned from him about succeeding at business is immeasurable. Having a mentor has been key for me in learning the path to growing my business.
Is there a particular writing routine that you have? Do you try and write a certain amount of words every day?
Here’s the thing – I don’t write any of the books I publish. I hire ghostwriters to write all of the books. I do all of the niche research and orchestrate cover design, product page copy and marketing strategies, but I don’t write the books myself. This has allowed me to scale my publishing business quite fast in the past and is a key part of the process I teach my clients.
Do you have a set process to putting your books together? How much detail and planning goes into every book?
I have everything involved in publishing organized into a consistent, repeatable process. Hours of detail and planning go into each book to ensure that there is an audience for it, the cover and product page look good, the book is high quality, and it gets visible to the right target audience so that it sells.
How important is a great book cover? We all know the old saying “Never judge a book by it’s cover” but we all do!
Having an attractive cover is one of the most important factors that can make or break a book. Readers purchase books based on the cover all the time.
How do you promote your books? Do you have an email list for example?
Building an email list of readers to market to regularly is key. This is something I recommend all publishers focus on from the start of their publishing journey – build your email list of readers. I also promote through paid mailing list promos, websites promotions, and Facebook ads.
How big a role do keywords play in your writing process?
Keyword strategy is really important for getting visibility in the Kindle Store searches. I have a really specific strategy I use and teach.
Can you advise your average monthly earnings from selling ebooks?
At this point, I generally profit between $4k to $7k per month. This is completely passive income as I have a VA who manages my bookshelf and I meet with her once per week for 15 minutes to touch base. I had bigger months earlier when I was personally putting more hours per week into publishing.
I’ve made over $100K the past year from my publishing business.
How have you capitalised on your success? I have read that you are involved in coaching others to teach about writing and selling ebooks
I spend all of my time now helping other people build profitable ebook publishing businesses. I’ve worked with nearly 200 people in the past 2 years.
How much has the Kindle Unlimited programme helped your business?
Kindle Unlimited has been massive. The majority of my income comes from Kindle Unlimited. Romance readers are voracious and consume a lot, so a lot of them are KU subscribers.
How many hours per week do you typically work on your book business?
The publishing part of my business – 15 minutes when I meet my VA on a Skype call. The coaching part of my business – 40+ hours per week at this point as I’m creating lots of new content for my clients, meeting clients for coaching calls and masterminds, and answering questions through the Facebook groups I manage and through my new Youtube channel.
Do you have a team of people that you use? Do you have a virtual assistant for example?
Yes, I have a full-time VA who manages my whole publishing business.
What do you know now that you wished you had known when you first started out writing books?
Build an audience from day one!! Start getting subscribers for a mailing list as soon as you can as these are readers you can engage with and develop them into raving fans of your books.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m going to keep helping and supporting people as they develop online businesses. I’ve created a life of freedom by building an online business through publishing and I want to continue to help other people do the same. It’s really fulfilling to me when I can help other people succeed.
What tips would you give to our readers who are looking to earn an extra income from writing ebooks?
Take the first step and open a KDP account! There is a lot of information readily available on self-publishing through Youtube (be sure to check out my channel!). Do some niche research, find a profitable market, and write to it. Kindle Publishing is an amazing opportunity to make income online.
You visit Karla’s publishing website here www.karlamariepublishing.com
Looking to earn money by writing ebooks? We have a whole section dedicated here.
I am learning more and more with every success story interview that I do, but one main point sticks out during every conversation – hard work. Although Karla technically does not write her books that she releases on Amazon, she works extremely hard putting together the content, keywords, cover design etc. which is the backbone of the book, so not only does Karla work hard but she also works smart, if you can employ someone to write the content for you then why not just do that? This then gives you more time to focus on the other aspects of your business, and this way of thinking can apply to other forms of business, not just writing ebooks.
Delegating work can help you be more productive, taking on too much work can bog you down, slow you down and actually limit your growth aspects as the work can sometimes feel overwhelming when you have so much to do, why put that kind of pressure on yourself when you can have some help you by creating a team around you?
If you can afford to outsource then do so, if not, then concentrate on one job at a time. Putting too much pressure on yourself will actually stop you completing the tasks that you need to do, and if that happens then will you find yourself giving up with your money earning idea when the pressure becomes too much. Earning an extra income will be hard work, but if you think smart it is possible
Earning an extra income will be hard work, but if you think smart it is possible to achieve your dreams.