zaterdag 27 september 2014

IM Cartel Review - Part 2

It's been almost 3 months since I became a member, so I thought it was time for part 2 of my IM Cartel review. Particularly because it's been opened up for the general public again and I'm sure lots of people interested in making this investment like to know whether it's a good investment or not.

Without a doubt, the number one question you have is "Is it making money?". I can tell you right now, it is. We haven't been paid yet, though, due to Amazon's 2 month delay in payments. We should receive our first payment, in our PayPal account next month.

I say "we", because I'm referring to the cartel I'm a member of. If I remember there are 3 (could be 4) cartels active at the moment.

Publishing in my cartel started on July 27, so far 16 books have been published. I bought one of our books because I was curious about the quality. All the books average at around 40 pages and are well written. I'd say for the price point they're selling at, you're getting good quality and negative reviews shouldn't be a concern.

Unfortunately, I can't disclose how much money my cartel has made, I don't want to break any TOS. I can tell you it's not that much. I did join with low expectations for the first half year, though. Other members expected more and appear to be somewhat disappointed.

I think there are several reasons for the lower ROI:

  • Sales have been lagging for my cartel. Not sure why, but it might be the limited amount of topics. All our books are in the fitness and cookbook categories. Which are popular, but have a lot of competition. There are a lot of books in the other cartels that I personally find more interesting. Anyway, I think publishing in other categories as well might help a little.
  • Our books have only received a handful of reviews, especially compared to the other cartels. I think this is hurting our sales more than the fact that they're all in the same categories. I'll come back to this later.

  • This is a brand new business start-up. Yes, Ben Shaffer, is very experienced in publishing Kindle books, but setting up this new type of publishing company is bound to take some time before it picks up momentum.

The reviews issue

When Ben changed the rules from every member writing 2 reviews a month (or was it a week?) for other cartel books to getting a team of reviewers I was happy. The review team would turn this investment into a truly passive income stream. Which is what I wanted.

Unfortunately, he's only now getting around to gathering a team of reviewers. Now I know these things take time. You have to find good reviewers at a good price, set up rules to make sure you don't break Amazon's TOS, make sure everything's organized efficiently.

I'm disappointed this team wasn't ready when the first books were being published, more reviews on our books would've increased the sales, but I don't blame Ben. Every new business encounters unforeseen problems early on that require immediate action and Ben is handling them very well.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, every cartel has it's own facebook group. I'm not very active there (that's a bit of an understatement). When I do check the group for updates from Ben, I've noticed that some members are actively buying and promoting our books and encouraging/pushing other members to do the same. Not happy with that development (the pushing part, not the promoting part).

If you want to buy books from your cartel, and/or buy books from other cartels to write reviews, that's fine. But it's not part of your IM Cartel contract. Ben is the one responsible for making this business a success, you've done your part by investing your hard earned money.

So if you decide to become a member and people in your cartel should start egging you on to do more, don't let them guilt trip you. If you want to help, by all means do, but you don't have to.

Reports and stuff

At first I was afraid that there would be a lack of communication about the sales and books being published, mostly due to the rather empty looking member page. As more books were being published and sales started to roll in, this information became available on the member page as well.

Total income and sales are reported below the list of books.

A list of the books that were published in the other cartels is also available, along with a FAQ.

Ben is very active on facebook, keeping the members up to date on the latest books and new developments. And he does appreciate input, if you have any.

One of the new development is the website for the publishing company:

It showcases all the books for all the cartels that have been published so far. Each book will contain a link to this website, referring the reader to other books on the same or a related topic. What's really neat, is that they will also include links to books that haven't been published yet (Ben's team know in advance which books will be published when). These links will encourage the readers to subscribe to a list to be notified when the book is available.


IM Cartel is living up to my expectations. I should point out that I'm very conservative when it comes to investments, so I didn't have my hopes up to see even the conservative revenue Ben wrote about in his sales letter (check it here).

There were a few hiccups along the way, which were dealt with in a satisfactory manner. Ben implemented a few things, like the website, which I hadn't expected or thought about really, that will help pick up momentum.

All in all I'm confident I made the right decision with this hands-off investment. The updates look promising for the future. Once the review team is up and running (any day now), and more and more books are being published, the revenue will increase month, after month, after month.