Are you curious about a 3-month delay? I explained it in my first income report.
May 2021 was a very long and eventful month on all fronts, from business to family. The month was jam-packed, so I don’t even know where to start.
The book sales weren’t stellar, but ROI on my ads improved significantly. So, despite selling a relatively small amount, I actually earned more royalties than in April and significantly more than in March.
I continued to train my VA. It was a struggle. I remember spending two full hours at the beginning of the month to rewrite a procedure she prepared. That was so frustrating; she was supposed to save me time, not consume it.
But with her help, I managed to publish 25+ articles on Medium. I earned $21 on Medium. Which was more than I made from books outside Amazon. On the other hand, my workload on Medium was much bigger, so those two income streams aren’t very comparable.
My eldest sister visited us and spent almost three weeks with us. That was unnerving for my wife, who likes 1-day guests the most. 😉
My eldest son had high school exams at the beginning of the month. My daughter had primary school exams in the middle of the month. I kept preparing her for the math exam, and she even scored 83% on a mock test once! Quite a progress from the 16% she received in March at school. Two months of consistent practice made miracles.
She checked the answers after the real exam and claimed she will get above 50%. The official results will be available at the beginning of July.
On the 20th of May, I and my wife drove 100 miles and stayed at the hotel for the night. The next morning, we had the vaccination with Johnson & Johnson vaccine scheduled. I worked very little on the day we went there. It was like a 1-day vacation for me. In the evening, we went for a long walk along the banks of a majestic river, Narew. [photo]
The next day, right after getting the vaccine we drove back home, and we arrived around 11 am. I felt quite normal till the evening. Then, I got a fever. I gulped a couple of pills, sweated like crazy during the night, and I was almost back to normal on Saturday morning. I felt a bit shaky the whole day, but I already was OK on Sunday.
We purposefully took the 1-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine so we could travel abroad in a few weeks. My parents were coming to Poland from Ireland, and we arranged that my mom would stay with the kids and we would go somewhere on the Mediterranean Sea.
The Remarkable Power of Consistency
In the middle of the month, I decided to publish the new book at my 8th anniversary as an author – on the 26th of May, 2021. I didn’t really feel like pulling my weight with this project, but we managed to meet the deadline. I say “we” because Anthony Smits did most of the work formatting the book. And I couldn’t make it without my cover designer, Łukasz Szczubidło.
And “managed” is a generous term. I hit the “publish” button after midnight, but technically, it was still 26th of May in the States. 😛
Then, we discovered one huge problem with images in the Kindle version and a problem with the cover for the paperback version. I remember sitting in front of the TV on Saturday, 29th of May and frantically messaging both Anthony and Łukasz. But I had the final version ready on Monday (the last day of May), and that’s when I notified my subscribers about the new release.
The whole project wasn’t the model of doing things in a timely fashion not only because I was half-lazy about it. I had other things to attend (more about it in a minute). The huge problem was that Anthony got his COVID vaccine three weeks earlier and he got the chronic fatigue in the process. In his words: “I did nothing but sleep for the two weeks!”
The Abundance Shock
On the 13th of May, I got a call from the HR department of Philip Morris Poland. They wanted me to do a webinar for their employees in June. We exchanged a couple of emails, I wrote an offer for them, and then we set the date – it all took some of my time.
On 20th of May, I got an email from Scribd. They wanted to do an audio course based on my online articles about habits. I jumped on the call with their representative, and I saw no reason to decline the offer. But I had to pay my dues in time – to review a contract, to sign and send it, issue an invoice, and so on.
My customer contacted me and inquired about ads for his wife’s book. I got the access to her KDP account, looked around, created the AMS account and editor access for me, and finally replied to my customer with my recommendations. One of them was to rewrite the book’s description.
Why “The Abundance Shock?” I didn’t chase any of those opportunities. They didn’t materialize from the thin air – my friend working in Philip Morris sent the info about me to the HR department at the beginning of a pandemic, a year ago! I had a relationship with my customer. I have been consistently posting stuff online for years. Then, all the three opportunities emerged in the span of two weeks.
I figured out writing a book description will take me about two hours. I said to my customer that if he wants ME to write it, it’s $200. He just said “OK.” And I wanted to deter him from this idea because I don’t like writing book descriptions. I guess, I need to quote $400 the next time.
This is the magic of consistency and author-ity (being an author). I left a lot of footprints in the last eight years, thus I was offered $1,000 without even trying to get those deals. People came to me and politely asked if I can shut up and take their money!
The 8th Author Anniversary
On the 26th of May 2013, I published my first book – “A Personal Mission Statement: Your Road Map to Happiness.” Me being me, I couldn’t resist to crunch some numbers. I published 16 books of mine (including “The Remarkable…”, one bundle which included my whole first series (How to Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day), two stories books with co-written with Jeannie Ingraham (she did most of the work), and a public domain work – the quotes from The Science of Getting Rich.
I sold over 80,000 copies of my books. My books were translated into German, Spanish, and Chinese. I sold the rights to Trickle Down Mindset to a Korean publisher, and I don’t even know if it was published there. I turned five of my books into audiobooks.
In that eight years, I wrote over 2.5 million words, published 275 blog posts, 1,600+ answers on Quora, 230 answers on Quora in Polish, 400+ articles on Medium and all over the Internet. Those 2.5 million words include also my 300,000-word novel which I have been writing on Sundays just for fun and to keep my writing streak alive.
Since 23rd of September, 2013 I missed only two days of writing – one on the trip to Prague with my wife, the other during my mastermind retreat in Nashville.
Auto Ads Experiment
My friend gave me $500 to experiment with my ads. I dedicated half of this fund to a couple of automatic ads for The Art of Persistence. I turned off all the other ads for this book. I lost about $9 on the whole deal. I sold more copies with several ads, than with my full set of 134 ads running.
The results surprised me. When the fund ran out in the middle of May, I decided to create auto ads for my all books. And I turned off all the long tail ads I had. I used slightly less bold bidding than during the experiment. I didn’t want to just break even, but to generate some profit.
Twenty days later, I could tell it wasn’t the best idea. The Art of Persistence may, or may not, sell as many copies in a month as before the experiment. My overall sales dropped and ROI tanked.
Lesson: If you don’t know how to target the keywords well, or if you do know, but don’t have time for it, the long tail keyword method [link to RB] is still superior to normal book advertising on Amazon. It’s so much easier to generate profit with common words, even if you confuse the Amazon’s algorithm and sell fewer copies.
Free Books Experiment
I continued to advertise six permafree of my customer. In May, we generated over 2,600 downloads with the $760 budget. I got him on the call at the end of the month, and we examined the results case by case. We decided to change the approach and to promote only the three books which performed best.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t really pinpoint the impact of all those free downloads (over 8,000 since we started) on his business. So, I gave him homework to compare subscription rates and traffic to his websites before and after turning his books into permafree.
I got a few new customers in May, but none of them was a big hit. In fact, I don’t even think I broke even with them.
I think May was the first month we managed to examine all the search terms of our customers and turned them into new campaigns.
The crazy volume of workload and the number of projects I juggled in May caused me to drop the ball I’m least inclined to tackle – customer service. Prospects and customers had been waiting for weeks for a reply to their emails, and this situation got only worse in June.
The May 2021 Income Report Breakdown
Amazon royalties: €1,501.54 ($1,816.86)
Coach.me fees: $192.96
Audiobooks royalties: $25.1
D2D royalties: $47.44
PWIW personal coaching: $575
AMS service remuneration: $2,451.13
$23.37, BirdSend fee
$1,252.331 Amazon ads
$1009.2, RAs’ remuneration (RAs = Real Assistants; my team)
$30, SiteLock fee
$49.55, royalties split with co-author
$500, ISI mastermind
$250.77, Bluehost hosting
$73.2, book promotions
$100, an obligatory monthly fee for LLC
$92, my accountant’s monthly fee
Net Result: $2,004.31