Why 20 Books to 50K Writers Fail

There is a new model of writers out there, and they are known as 20to50 writers. The problem is, most trying this technic will fail. Here is how to get past those fail points.

What is 20 Books to 50k?

The model is the dream of Michael Anderle, who made $10,000 in 90 days writing several books in a short period. He hypothesized that he could expand the idea to making $50,000 in a year, a game-changing income for most people.

The idea is rapid publication of a series of novels, approximately once a month, to capture the attention of avid readers. It worked, gaining attention from hundreds of writers asking how he increased his income as an author. The idea gained momentum when he opened a Facebook page and has grown from a few hundred to over 50,000 members in a few years.

How it Works

Like the NaNoWriMo contest runs every November, a writer needs to write a novel or novella every month. Once the first draft of the first book is created, the author publishes the work and runs advertisements on Facebook, targeting readers who enjoy reading the genre of the book. Once they read the work, the reader looks for the next in the series. If the next novel is not ready for publication within two months, the reader would lose interest and not continue with the series.

Once three or more books are published, the author starts giving away the digital copy of the first book in the series, which will contain a link to the second book. The second book also includes a link to the third book and so on. The technic allows the author to concentrate advertising efforts on the first book, which then advertises the second—a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When the series completes, usually around five to six books, the author starts a new series, pointing the reader to the first book. Each series will point to the other series, fulfilling the advertising circle.


Many authors report incomes ranging in the $100,000 mark, pushing their books high in the Amazon rankings, while others report dismal results. The majority of writers making a solid living from following the process are failing. Out of the 50,000 Facebook members of the group, less than 200 see high gains. Most fall short of their advertising costs.

One author reported earnings of $1.2MM over five years and expressed their advertising costs eating up 75% of those dollars (2016 income of just under $14,000 with advertising at $10,000, while 2020 revenue $395,000 with advertising at $180,000).

Remember, advertisers demand payment within 30 days, while revenue is paid out after 90. This can put a lot of financial strain on any author. Advertisers like Facebook and KDP eat away at your profit margin quickly, and you will need to keep an eye on what works. Personally, I’m not a fan of Facebook ads. They always run to full budget, while KDP will not.

Reader Killers

The biggest issue is the rapid release of books can kill your reader base due to the following:

  • Story Continuity
  • Spelling Errors
  • Grammatical Errors
  • Conver Continuity

I’ve tried reading many books that follow this rapid-release scheme, only to be disappointed in their quality. With a 30 day timeline, most have issues with spelling, grammar, and continuity. No one can release a book after the first draft and have it perfect. In fact, if you release your first draft, the reviews will point out many issues. This could be a game killer for an author, and many future readers. Who wants to read a book where you see multiple typoes and grammatical errors on every page? As a reader, I stop reading after the first few pages when I encounter such. As an editor, my mind reels after finding issues. As a publisher, I wonder what the thoughts of the author were when they released such.

You should never release your first draft to the public. It takes multiple passes of a book to make it worthy of publication. And once you have it to the point that you’re happy with it, a good editor will find what is not working and what needs to be fixed.

Two years ago, I sat in a presentation of the 20 books to 50K run by an author. They admitted to releasing work that they only did one draft of and used Grammarly to edit. I was appalled. With all the work an author does to make their manuscript publishable, this author shared the idea that it no longer mattered. Such is the wrong mindset. You should only publish work that is worth reading – meaning it is smooth, coherent, and edited to perfection (or as close as possible). This author admitted to having not only typoes but grammatical errors throughout the work. Her response was, “I watch the reviews and edit the work to resolve anything pointed out.” They are basically asking the reader to edit the work.

My Thoughts

While the 20 Books to $50,000 works for a handful of writers, I would never do it myself. I believe the reader deserves more than a shoddy reading experience. We need to demand more from the author community. The only way to do such is to give feedback that, as a reader, we demand more than crap to read. Think of it this way, would you buy a house that a builder built without a floor plan that made sense, and they told you, “Let me know what issues you have, and we’ll build a better house for the next buyer.” Of course not. You would demand they fix the house immediately and let people know never to buy from that builder.

As a reader, I’m appalled that this happens in today’s world, but not surprised. Society is turning into a “Want Now” instead of a “Want Better.” We need to change that and become a society based on perfection, not that’s sufficient for the time being.

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