‘A totally digital, 3-step system, that’s ridiculously easy' pitches Karla Marie to anyone who wants to quit their 9-to-5 to become an eBook publisher. She says it's the easiest way to make money online. Karla teaches aspiring publishers how to successfully launch profitable eBooks. The process is completely outsourced and you don't need to write a book. No website and no inventory.
Fiction Profits Academy (FPA) is an online educational platform that teaches how to make money through self-publishing on Kindle. Amazon's royalties to Kindle direct publishers are worth $520 million yearly. It's a growing market as readers shift from print to digital. But, learning this simple system isn't cheap. It costs $1,995. The price includes weekly group coaching and a private online community. Inside the program, students learn
The basics of eBook writing,
how to use the cover creator tool,
how to add blurbs to hook readers and,
how to build a mailing list.
But, before we dig deeper into the course and business model, let's talk about the creator. Karla Marie Blocka is a six-figure Kindle self-publisher from Penticton, British Columbia, Canada. Karla graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Alberta in 1999. As a publishing ‘expert’, I expected a literature-related education. But she appears to have none. She's probably self-taught. Karla uses the usual guru strategy. She gives a free webinar, hooks her attendees into enrolling, and sends follow-up emails to those who don’t. Karla claims to work with hundreds of students across 6 continents. And as per her ads, some of them are already making millions.
Fiction Profits Academy and the Kindle Direct Publishing Business Model
Fiction Profits Academy seems to have a good online reputation overall. It’s a Trustpilot-verified company with a 4.8-star rating out of 1,384 reviews given. Pretty impressive. But digging through the one-star reviews, I found a few ones that raise some red flags. Chad Petty said he was pushed to sign up for a $10K boot camp. Another commenter, Omar Hernandez, calls the course a scam. He accuses the team of hacking his email to delete exchanges between him and an FPA representative. Omar also reported bad customer service when no one responded to his clarifications and refund request. David Cleveland also rated one star and said the course is not worth its hefty price. He paid an extra $9K but didn't get personal training and coaching.
FPA’s sales page is very clickbait-y. Trustpilot commenters warn of upsells disguised as boot camps that cost $10K more. Another issue I see with FPA is its sketchy refund policy. The conditions are almost unattainable. To be eligible, you need to complete the first 8 modules, create a lead magnet, attend at least 1 coaching call, publish an eBook, and try to make the business work for a year. If you stick to this policy, it will take over a year to get a refund. And that's if they approve the request.
Is it really that easy to make 6 figures by self-publishing eBooks on Amazon? Achieving 6 figures is not impossible, but it’s difficult. Amazon’s 2020 financial report shows that self-publishing authors made more than $300 million in 2019. 1,000 eBook publishers made at least $100K. There are over 1 million authors. This means only 0.01% made it to 6 figures.
Kindle Direct Publishing is not get-rich-quick, and it’s not passive. Average first-timers make less than $1,000. Although it’s free to publish an eBook on Amazon, creating one can be costly. The average rate of an eBook ghostwriter is $30 to $200 per hour. Project-based writers usually charge from $1,500 and can cost as much as $42,000. But once the eBook is published, you'll start making royalties on each sale. Cheaper books up to $2.98 give a 35% royalty while eBooks that range from $2.99 to $9.99 give 70%.
Karla probably wasn’t lying when she said some of her students were making 6 figures. They might really be making a lucrative income through this business model. However, it's risky and costly. I wouldn't recommend it to beginners. Aside from paying $1995 for the FPA workshop, you’ll need at least $1,500 to pay a freelance writer for an eBook that may (or may not) be profitable. Most readers buy books from authors they already know. If you're a new publisher, you'll also need to spend on marketing to get your book out there.