Kindle Publishing: Interview With Michael Holtby

I thought it would be cool to do an interview with someone who is making real money by publishing on Kindle. Michael Holtby started not too long ago and now has a few good titles selling well generating daily income for him.

I reached out to him the other day and he agreed to answer some of my questions. If you want to start publishing ebooks on Kindle then maybe this interview will help you get the ball rolling.

What Made You Decide To Start Writing Ebooks For Kindle And How Did You Get Started?

Well, I’m an Immigration Attorney by day, and have always written for fun on my time off. I got the idea to try and release a Kindle book related to Immigration law. So I threw a quick book together and put it up on Kindle. I was shocked by the traffic it generated to my site and how many copies it moved. After that, I thought there could really be something to this, so I started to branch out and try other genres and niches that I had interests in.

Can you tell us about your success with Kindle? Got any screenshots?

I’ve only been seriously focusing on Kindle for about 3-4 months now. This month is the first month where I will earn as much (or more) as I do from my day job. That’s huge for me. If I can have a few more months like that, Kindle will become my full-time job! Here’s a few screenshots:


I’ve had quite a few books find a permanent place in the top 10 of their niche; one is actually at #1 and has been since its release. Some do better than others, but I’m averaging anywhere from 1 to 50 sales per day, per book (let’s hope those numbers stay steady!)

How long does it take you to write an ebook from an idea to the finished product?

It varies. It depends on if I’m writing it all myself, or if I’m outsourcing some of the content production. Then it depends on the niche, and if it’s fiction or non-fiction. I’ve cranked out some fiction short stories in half a day, from idea to uploading to Kindle. Others, it’s taken me a couple of weeks. I usually tend to drift from project to project though, so maybe if I focused on one at a time, I could knock them out quicker.

Do you promote your work after it’s been published on Kindle?

Sometimes. At the bare minimum, I’ll add the book to my website, and post a link on my Facebook page. If it’s the first book of a new pen name and I don’t already have a customer base, I’ll market it a bit more aggressively, through book giveaway sites, twitter feeds, etc. But if you enroll in KDP Select (which I advocate), Amazon does a lot of the marketing for you.

I think people would like to know about the process itself. Can you tell us about the steps you take to get your book written and finally published?

Well, usually I’ll start with a very broad idea or at least a genre. Then if I’m feeling inspired, I’ll write an outline myself and get to work. If it’s an area that I don’t know as much about, I’ll outsource the outline creation, or maybe have someone draft the shell. Then I’ll go in and clean things up, add some more of my own material, and cobble together the book that way. I rarely outsource 100% of the book creation. I like to be able to review, edit, proofread, and get down and dirty with the material, before I release it to the world.

How long are your books? Is there a specific length you are aiming for when creating one?

Length depends on the genre. I’ve got some short stories that are about 2,500 words (as a minimum) that I sell for $0.99. Then I have some information, non-fiction books that can run to 50,000 words and I’ll sell those for $9.99. So it can vary widely, depending on your genre.

How many titles do you sell currently and how long did it take you to build up your book portfolio?

Currently I have 26 books, using a variety of pen names. I started with just one immigration book, then switched to a pen name to try another genre, then another, and another. It’s been about 4 months to go from that first book to the 26th.

Would you mind sharing with us one of your titles that sold well on Kindle?

Sure! One title that’s doing well (and I honestly have no idea why) is called The Survivalist Cookbook. It was my first attempt at a recipe book, and it’s now #1 in Outdoor Cooking and #3 in Culinary Arts. The Survivalist Cookbook on Amazon I guess it just found a niche of people who were looking for that information and it had very little competition. It’s currently outselling most of my other books by many, many copies these past few weeks. I doubt it will keep that pace up, but it was a nice surprise for me!

Do you have any tips for those who want to get started with Kindle publishing?

My #1 Tip: Take Action! Start writing. We all have ideas, we all have hobbies, we all have knowledge that we can share with others. Start with something you know and love and just start getting it down on the page. It’s the only way to make progress. It’s easy to procrastinate and say, oh, I’ll start tomorrow. But my one piece of advice would be: Start Today!

Thanks Micheal for this quick interview. By the way, check out his new ebook with some more tips titled “Kindle Gold: 7 Steps To Book Success”.


6 thoughts on “Kindle Publishing: Interview With Michael Holtby

  1. Good interview. Thanks for sharing your tips Michael. I want to try writing an ebook for Kindle soon when I have some more free time. I like that Amazon pretty much sells it for you so you don’t really need to promote it.

  2. Thanks for reading! Yea, Amazon does a lot of the advertising for you, if you enroll in KDP Select. Any marketing you do by yourself after that is just an added bonus!

  3. I’ve been publishing to kindle for over a year now and I can say that it was easier to create best selling titles last year – Amazon must have done something to their algorithms to make it harder.

  4. I published a book the 1st of Jan. It didn’t sell at all, and I’m enrolled in KDP. I’m selling the book at $1.99 but when I gave it away for free one weekend, I had over 200 downloads from all of Amazon’s worldwide sites.

  5. Good be any number of things; your cover, your description, your length, your subject matter. Try tweaking one of those and see if sales change at all. It’s all a game to finding the best combination for sales!

  6. I was stunned to find someone with my own name. We are probably related! I actually bought your book on publishing Kindle books, and plan on following your advice. I have also done some immigration work – pro bono – as a psychotherapist, writing affidavits for people seeking asylum who have PTSD from being tortured. I also referred your book on tiny houses to my brother, Mat who is a carpenter and built such a house. Get in touch!

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