PassiveIncomeForAuthors WIDE

Make Passive Income From Writing Books

How to Make it in Fiction and Nonfiction Niches

How would you like to make passive income from books? Passive income is the holy grail of many people’s financial goals, it’s the money that keeps on working for you even after you’re done with the initial work.

Passive income is often one of the best tools for people looking to become their own boss, as you can slowly build it out month after month, year after year, until you have built a thriving business and can fire your boss.

It’s also a great strategy that you can use to free up time so you can work more on what you want to do.

Books are not only a great way to build passive income, but they are almost essential in any passive income strategy. For some, the books will be the main source of income, and for others, they are one step in a multilayered machine that generates income.

In this article, I’m going to talk about how you can make passive income from both fiction and nonfiction books.

Passive Income from Fiction

passive income from fiction

A lot of authors get into the business because they have a story they want to tell.

Now, I will warn you, fiction is harder to turn into a thriving passive income stream without producing a lot of books. However, with every book you write, you are still producing a product that can continue to make you money long after you’ve written it. And if you do it right, fiction can become quite profitable for you.

When it comes to fiction, there are a few specific strategies that I would recommend using:

  1. Write in a series: standalone books do not create great sources of passive income. However, with a series, anyone who buys your first book and enjoys it has the opportunity to continue reading. Imagine if you have one book, and one person discovers it and enjoys it, you only get the royalties for that one book. But if that book is the first in a ten-book series, that person will go on to read all 10 of them. You have just increased your income from that reader by a factor of 10.
  2. Write many books: it’s almost impossible for you to make good passive income if you don’t have many books to sell. For the same reasons as writing in a series, you want to have many opportunities for new fans to find your old work, so that those books continue to make you money long after you’re done with them.
  3. Learn advertising: this is a hard pill for some authors to swallow, but the best way to get your income automated when writing fiction is to use ads. The key to any good advertisement is to experiment, experiment, experiment. Try different images, different ad copy, and constantly test to see how you can tweak your ads in a way that will perform better. This will keep your costs low and increase the chances of a profit.

Ultimately, the best tactic for making passive income from books is to never stop writing, and to learn to write fast. That might not sound very passive, but the good news is that if you continue writing, you will eventually build a huge platform, and all of that work that you have already done will continue to work for you.

It’s a great snowball approach, and steady writing is your friend.

Passive Income from Non-fiction

passive income from nonfiction

Nonfiction, on the other hand, is a little easier to set up as a passive income stream. The main reason for this is that nonfiction is only one step of your passive income process.

Generally speaking, when you write nonfiction, you also want to build up several other forms of income besides the book. Here are a few examples:

  • An online course
  • A membership site
  • A coaching program
  • Additional or exclusive material

In this case, the book serves as a discovery platform. Readers find the book, read it, and if they want to know more about that particular topic, they will continue on to buy your course, hire you as a coach, or join your membership site.

These additional options pay much better than a single book, even when far fewer people buy them. That is why the book is considered only one step of this process.

Now, you can have just your book, and if you are not putting all of the effort into creating the course or membership site, you can put that effort into writing more nonfiction books. If you write fast and research well, then this may be a viable option for you. You can use a platform like Publisher Rocket to find the best niches to write in, then do your research and write the book. Repeat this for even more chances to write bestselling books.

Using an Author Platform for Passive Income


There are a lot of tips about how to generate passive income out there. One that I particularly think is useful for authors is to develop your author platform.

This can be a website, but can also be a podcast, YouTube channel, or particularly active social media channel.

Why are platforms important?

Because they give you the opportunity to show your expertise in a given subject. If you are writing nonfiction, then this subject should, ideally, be related to the topic of your book. 

Many nonfiction authors have podcasts or YouTube channels that follow the same subject. They establish your authority in that thing, making it easier for customers to trust you enough to buy your book, join your email list, or purchase a course.

See Jonathan’s own work as a great example of how to do this.

Perhaps surprisingly, this strategy works for fiction as well.

Your fiction will often be a lot better when you take something you are passionate about and apply it to your writing. James Patterson did this with his expertise in law, essentially inventing the lawyer thriller. But he is not, by far, the only successful author who has done this.

For example, check out this website about mythology, or this YouTube channel about medieval weaponry, or this “best of” website about science fiction books, and you will find that these are great platforms to learn about these topics. 

Additionally if you write fiction related to one of these topics, you will already have the built-in audience for books related to these subjects.

That is why I highly recommend authors have at least a website, but this can also be done with a podcast or YouTube channel. You can try to build the platform up first before you write your fiction, or you can do it the other way around, or you can let them grow organically together. 

Whatever the case, this is a great way to generate interest in your fiction books, build your audience at the same time, and increase your chances of a sustainable flow of passive income.

Passive Income Doesn’t Build Itself

With all of this in mind, remember that you must write books to have passive income from books. That sounds overly simple, but you’d be surprised at the number of authors I see thinking about writing books rather than writing them.

Get started today on whatever you want to write. As you write you will learn, and as you learn you will uncover new and exciting opportunities to build your passive income.

About The Author


Dave Chesson is the creator of, a website devoted to teaching advanced book Marketing which even Amazon KDP acknowledges as one of the best by telling users to “Gain insight from Kindlepreneur on how you can optimize marketing for your books.” Having worked with such authors as Orson Scott Card, Ted Dekker, and more, his tactics help both Fiction and Nonfiction authors of all levels get their books discovered by the right readers.

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