How Tom Made Over $6,000 Passively in 2014 from One Book

This is a guest post by Tom Morkes.  This month I am featuring articles to inspire you to write your own book, because a book is an excellent tool for building relationships at scale.


Sometimes there is such as thing as a good accident.

Last year, I did something mostly by accident that led to over $6,000 in completely “hands-free” passive income.

I had created a book the prior year, during 2013, that I pretty much did not touch in 2014.

Nevertheless, take a look at the results:


morkes graph

Income generated from a single book

The graph above is a snapshot of The Complete Guide to Pay What You Want Pricing since my launch in November of 2013 through today. If you remove 2013 and 2015 numbers, I made over $6,000 from the book in 2014 alone.


I’ll show you:

See the graph and the numbers above? They all refer to a particular phase of my book launch and promotional efforts. Here’s what happened:

#1. Book launch. This was the first month of pre-orders and the launch of the book itself. I made about $1,000 at the launch of my book. Not bad but not great – certainly not enough to retire on. Although for a first time effort (for a concerted book launch), I was pretty happy.

#2. Book promotion. For the next 3 months I promoted the book on my blog and began guest posting about the topic on other sites. This didn’t do too bad for me as you can see, generating another $1,000 in cashflow, but guest posting and promotion is a LOT of work, and as you’ll see, doesn’t really drive sales if you stop…

Here are a few examples of guest posts:

Is Pay What You Want Pricing for You? ( blog)

Pay What You Want Pricing – the Ultimate Sales Strategy ( blog)

The Essential Guide to Pay What You Want Pricing ( blog)

#3. The dry spell. During this time I stopped promoting my book. As you can see, I made about $0 during this month of time. However, behind the scenes, I was working on something that would change everything for me: I decided to turn my book into a free 7 day crash course.

#4. The automated book sales funnel. Since I launched the crash course, I’ve been able to add over 1,000 people to my email list as well as generate $6,000+ in sales. This is completely passive – I haven’t touched this automated sales funnel nor put any effort into promotion whatsoever (except for the one-off podcast that asks me about PWYW pricing).

Why these numbers matter

  1. Passive income is possible, but it takes putting in the right amount of effort up front and in the right way.
  2. You can make money from your writing. I don’t believe in being a starving artist – neither should you.
  3. Unconventional practices work. I don’t use fixed prices nor do I use Amazon. Instead, I let my readers choose what they’ll pay for my books – whatever is fair to them. The results speak for themselves.

How to apply this to your book

Step 1. Write your book

Pretty self-explanatory…

Step 2. Create your book sales page

If you’re using Amazon, this would be the Amazon sales page. Or if you’re using a platform like Gumroad, you can just as easily use their sales pages…although I prefer to create my own sales pages so I can have more creative freedom in terms of design and layout.

Here’s an example of The Complete Guide to Pay What You Want Pricing sales page.

Step 3. Develop your free email series

Create a series of emails on your book topic by pulling content from your book and re-engineering it for email. This means summarizing major points and reducing total text (people don’t want to read a novel in their inbox).

Organize the points you’ve re-engineered based on a logical sequence. So for the Pay What You Want Crash Course, I lead people through a logical progression, starting with proof that it works (case study), followed by WHY it works, HOW it works, and then ways to implement it (strategies).

I also throw in bonus templates so people can start putting this knowledge into action right away (highly actionable is always good).

Step 4. Add these emails to an autoresponder program

Put these emails into an autoresponder program. I use Mailchimp (about $20 / month to start), but you can also use Convertkit (created by my friend Nathan Barry, someone who has had similar success with such automated book sales funnels), Aweber (see John’s tutorial on how to set up an email list with Aweber in under 20 minutes here), Infusionsoft, or Drip.

Step 5. Create your signup page

A signup page is a place where people can signup to get access to your email series.

I use NewRainmaker which is an all-in-one web hosting and content management platform created by the incredible people at Although, at $1,000 per year this is a bit pricey.

So for something less expensive, I recommend LeadPages (affiliate link), where you can get a simple website or splash pages setup in minutes (starting around $30 / month.

Step 6. Send people to your signup page for your free email course

I did about 10+ guest posts to spread the word about PWYW pricing, each one linking back to my free course on PWYW pricing. These guest posts are on predominant websites that drive a lot of consistent traffic my way.

I don’t like to waste time creating content for websites that don’t have engaged users (hint: look at comments on a website to determine engagement).

I’ve also done dozens of interviews on the subject, as well as written some content for my own blog.

Step 7. Sit back and let the passive income roll in

Note: if passive income DOESN’T roll in, it’s most likely an issue with your (1) sales page (does this sales page make me want to buy?), (2) email course (are you creating engaging content that makes readers want more?), (3) traffic (are you getting the right people to your site?). Every month you should make tweaks until you’re making consistent cashflow from your automated sales funnel.

Free Template, Video Training and eCourse

If you’re interested in seeing the exact template I use for my own automated book sales funnel, you can grab your copy here:

The Automated Book Sales Funnel Template [free]

As a bonus, you’ll automatically be registered for my free live workshop on book launch strategies (only people who register get access to the live event or the recording afterward).

Finally, while it’s great to put books sales on autopilot, it helps to have a massively popular book to begin with.

This means you need to launch your book the right way.

So if you’re interested in launching your book to bestseller, checkout my new free eCourse:

Launch Your Book to Bestseller in 7 Days (free 7 day ecourse).

This is the exact process I’ve used to launch multiple bestselling books including: Dan Norris’ The 7 Day Startup (20,000+ downloads and still selling about 40 – 60 copies per day, more than 6 months after launch) and David Nihill’s Do You Talk Funny (still #1 bestseller in Amazon in the highly competitive Public Speaking category).

Your Turn

Now that you’ve had a peak behind the curtain of what makes many of my books run on autopilot, what do you think?

Are you going to use this for your next (or current) book?

Why or why not? Share below!


Tom Morkes is a West Point grad, Iraq War veteran, and founder of Insurgent Publishing. He helps authors launch their books to bestseller. You can learn how in his free 7 day ecourse: Launch Your Book to Bestseller in 7 Days.


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