Exactly one year ago I hit the ‘publish’ button on Amazon.

For the first time in my life I published my work. Even more incredible, I did it in a foreign language.

The book sales trickled in right away. People were paying to read my work!

It was beyond awesome.

And it was quite a struggle to get to that point.

I noted in my journal at the beginning of April 2013 “over 600 words in English is quite an accomplishment for me.” Nowadays I write at least 1000 words a day. Now, that’s what I call progress!

Why income reports?

In the 21st century publishing become so easy that any individual can do it and do it successfully. To convince you about that, I’m going to publish my income reports every month.

But I’ll do it with a one year delay. I want to make it believable so that you undestand that you can do it too. You can’t look up to me at this moment, when I have 5 books published, when I have a couple of months with royalties exceeding $1k under my belt, when I’ve already sold thousands of copies.

I think you might better relate to the guy who is full of self-doubts, who is discovering how this electronic publishing industry really works, who just hit the ‘publish’ button for the first time.

From now on, the first day of the month I’ll publish my income report from the previous year. I’ve been tracking my sales very diligently; I may not remember my feelings and struggles exactly, but the numbers concerning the given month will be exact.

I want you to learn from my successes and my mistakes. I’ll include as many lessons as possible in those reports.

So here comes my first income report:

Up to the “publish” day

I started writing this first book, A Personal Mission Statement: Your Roadmap to Happiness, on April 8th 2013. I finished the content on May 12th. Only then did I start to worry about editing, making a cover, creating a book description, deciding on the title, making an author page, preparing a marketing campaign…

Within two weeks I did all of the above and more. But that’s not the way it should be done. I almost stopped writing completely, focusing on every other aspect of book publishing. It wasn’t the best idea. Writers write. I’m the creature of habit. Because I mostly abandoned writing, it took me some time to get back on track with my second book.

But I had a very good excuse for messing things up: I had no idea what I was doing.

Not. A. Clue.

You don’t have such an excuse. I lead the way for you. You know what to expect in advance.

Lessons: Don’t postpone the majority of the work for the last possible moment. Plan and coordinate before you start writing.

While writing find the editor, cover designer and the audience interested in the subject of your book. If anything can be done ahead, like your author’s page on Amazon, do it in parallel to the writing process.

Outsourcing experiences

I had a bad experience with cover designer from Fiverr. It took me 3 versions to make the cover and it wasn’t what I envisioned initially. It was a compromise between my vision and what I could squeeze out for four bucks (Fiverr’s cut is $1).

The end result looked like this:

Personal mission statement book cover

So I paid $5, but I lost several hours to reach a very unsatisfactory point. My time is worth at least $10 per hour for my employer. That’s the market valuation of my time.

I took that route because I was very cheap at the beginning. I wanted to earn money, not to spend it.

My book was proofread by a native speaker. She did a superb job finding all my mistakes. We went through more than a few versions of the book and I have never heard a single complaint about its quality.

Lessons: The lowest priced service is not always the one which will leave the most money in your pocket. Cheap product usually boils down to the low quality.

You will spend time learning at the beginning, like outsourcing effectively. You can’t avoid that.

Ninety percent of your book’s success will be determined by the quality of your book.

– Mark Coker, “The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success”

The Income Report Breakdown

Income: Zero.


Cost: $5 for an eBook cover.

Plus I spend about every free minute working my ass off for 1.5 months.

As of the 26th of May 2013 it was all done for the sake of learning publishing and the satisfaction of being on Amazon as an author.

I could expect the first royalties at the beginning of August, if they would reach $10. In 2013 that was the way Amazon operated.


45 days of a hassle devoted to hope and dreams.

When starting out, in whatever venture, this is the minimum period of uncertainty.

(I open a bit the door to the future income reports: my uncertainty was much longer than 45 days.)


Have you any questions about Kindle publishing? Shoot them in the comment section; chances are I’ve already dealt with them.

Next Income Report: A Few Days of May 2013

My First Income Report

11 thoughts on “My First Income Report

  • May 26, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Cool to document your journey. I will definitely be dropping in from time to time to read about it and the income reports, even though I’m not into book publishing at all.

  • May 26, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Same here.
    It will be interesting to read and see — and it’ll be even more interesting to see where you are a few years from now.

    PS: you got my email.

    • May 28, 2014 at 11:28 am

      I strongly disagree with yours “even more”. It will be boring like watching the paint dry. What’s so exciting about King or Grisham as they are now? Who can relate to them? Only one to each other I suppose.

      Yeah, I’ve got this email. I was just frantically busy and haven’t replied yet.

  • May 27, 2014 at 1:00 am

    Michal, thanks for putting yourself out there with this…will be useful for a lot of us who are thinking about publishing a book but not knowing fully what to expect. Looking forward to next month’s edition!

  • May 27, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Michal I have a question for you.

    Do you have an end product in mind and think about who your audience is and where you are going to publish before you start writing?

    I’m inspired to just write things. I’m thinking I should I just write what I like to write and worry about publishing it later when I have stuff to publish.

    Do you think it makes any difference either way?

  • May 28, 2014 at 11:51 am

    I have always started with the book idea first and worried about marketing and selling it later.
    With this kind of attitude about every second of my books is moderately successful (2+ sales a day).

    As I see this issue, those who pursue trends and worry about targeting big enough audience need the instant gratification effect. If they don’t hit it first or fifth time they quit (depends on individual endurance).

    So if you are willing to write no matter what, I wouldn’t worry very much about markets sales volume. At least at the beginning. If you published 10 books and sold only 20 copies, it’s hard to ignore market feedback 😉

    Amazon, and I think the whole electronig publishing business, prefer multi-title authors. It’s easier to get traction and momentum publishing several titles one by one. So personally I encourage you to write a few books first and then worry about publishing. Or eventualy publish a single book just to learn the publishing craft.

    • May 28, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Thanks, good advice. i’ll get writing.

  • June 2, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Hi Michal,

    I agree with Eva – about putting yourself out there. I like reality!

    You definitely write like a experienced author, you work is very easy to read. Just out of curiosities how long did it take for you to write that book?

    Lastly wishing you all the best for the up and coming months 🙂


    • June 2, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      The first draft 35 days, as indicated in post. From first word to publishing – 7 weeks.


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