Are you curious about a 3-month delay? I explained it in my first income report.
In August 2020 I was very busy with growing my book advertising business, Resurrecting Books. Frankly, I was not able to ever work so hard on it.
Which doesn’t mean I worked some crazy Elon Musk’s hours. I put up my time-tracking sheets from August and checked that I worked for about 5 hours a day, 30 hours a week. And it includes ALL the work I did: writing, posting, email broadcasts, attending my mastermind calls, and so on. I worked on Resurrecting Books maybe 15 hours a week.
The goal was to get a dozen new customers that month. Umm, I cannot confirm or deny we reached that goal. We certainly got a whole bunch of new prospects and accepted a dozen (or more?), but I don’t think we were able to start the ads for the whole twelve.
Of course, some of them were profit-split customers, so we couldn’t earn a dime before summarizing the first month.
Anyway, as far as my goal-setting goes, I call that experience a success. The idea was to get significantly more customers and we did. I owe it mostly to my new onboarding specialist Nicole.
In most cases, all I needed to do was to guide her to do the application since she handled everything. From reviewing prospects’ book pages to extracting a PayPal email address from them, Nicole onboarded new customers and handed them to us when they were ready for starting ads. Wonderful!
My team was tested in battle when it comes to creating thousands of new ads in a timely fashion, which came in very handy when new markets opened at the end of the month.
Canada and Australia
Those two markets opened to Amazon ads for authors in the last week of August. The immediate effect of this was… a small catastrophe. Recently, about half of Resurrecting Books revenue came from the Canadian market.
I was lucky enough to create an Advantage account in Canada when it was available for everybody, about a year before ads could be generated from those accounts.
When finally, at the beginning of 2019, I could create Sponsored Product ads in Canada, almost no one else had an advertising account there. I had the whole market for myself and my customers. It was like discovering El Dorado. There were times when my book royalties’ Canadian market almost matched those from the US market.
So, the small catastrophe was caused by the immediate influx of competition. The average cost per click jumped overnight. Sales declined overnight. Oh, the profit margins were still positive, but the profit shrunk. And it meant a lot of work for my team.
Luckily, it happened in the last week of August, the end of the month is always less busy for me. I notified my customers and asked them to open their own Canadian (and Australian) advertising accounts. We created ads for them and we did it in an ordered fashion. Because of the limit of the number of ads under one account, we usually put all of each customers’ book into one campaign. We had little idea what was working and whatnot. I didn’t care much anyway because the ads were still extremely profitable (about 400% ROI).
Opening the Canadian market was a blessing in disguise. There is always a seed of good in events turning bad.
You see while running their ads under my Advantage account, I needed to pay for their clicks. I spent a few thousand dollars each month out of my pocket and then needed to calculate those per client, so they could reimburse the cost. What is more, I paid 23% more for clicks because of the Polish VAT tax. So, transferring ads to my customers’ accounts not only improved my cash flow but also decreased their cost. Well, because the competition bumped the average cost per click, it was about neutral for my customers.
Podfest Global Summit
In the middle of August, I spoke at the self-publishing micro-conference on the Podfest Global Summit. The idea was to increase Resurrecting Books brand awareness by talking about Amazon ads.
Thanks to the organizer’s help I created a solid presentation. It consumed a few hours from my schedule.
The gig itself went pretty well, although I just couldn’t shut up and talked for too long. I filled my time and had no chance to answer any questions from the audience.
25 minutes is not enough to teach about Amazon ads, not mentioning the whole book preparation and book launch processes. I counted on some interactions after the conference, but nothing happened. So, it was more an educational experience for me, than a business-building event.
We continued having called on Mondays. Usually, I had Nicole, my onboarding specialist, on the call, my sister Joanna, who does a lot of assistance and management tasks, my eldest son, who does an amazing variety of all kinds of tasks for me. Sometimes, we had my dad, who mainly cranks out the ads.
Thanks to them the whole business started to feel more like a business. Everybody could see that others were depending on their work and just get a feel of how robust and complicated the whole service got. We became more of a network than me being the main hub and a point of contact for everyone.
I got a couple of high-profile customers: a guy referred by Dave Chesson himself and a lady who trains a lot of nonfiction authors. I wanted to do a great job for them and provide compelling results… but I couldn’t. My method is nothing extraordinary and it works, when Amazon’s whims allow. The guy didn’t see many results. The lady sold a dozen copies of her book, minimally better than without the ads.
My friend Alex, who runs a similar service, offered to employ his automatic processes to optimize the campaigns of a few customers of mine. I happily agreed. Around the 20th of August, he created the first campaigns. I also got about 29,000 new keywords to test which he mined from my customers’ existing ads.
I continued #connectingThursdays: every Thursday I encouraged guys in my mastermind’s FB group to network. Nothing concrete came out of it, but I had about a dozen calls with my mastermind buddies. I haven’t been in contact with most of them since the retreat in October 2019.
I had a couple of accountability calls with Marc Reklau. It was great to be around this guy for a couple of hours. Marc is so inspiring but in the-matter-of-fact fashion. Apart from our tasks and goals, we spoke about self-publishing, translations, ad performance, goal-setting, writing things down, and dozen other topics. Those calls quickly became highlights of my month.
Pausing on My Day Job
I took three out of four Wednesdays off and worked only for six hours a week. I didn’t take the last Wednesday off only because I had an on-call duty. Seriously, this one week felt much harder than the three. Freeing those 4 hours a week in one day couldn’t make a difference, but it did.
My day job became more of a distraction than a source of income. Being able to forget about it and focus on my business three days a week is good for my focus.
I have plenty of days off available, so I’ll probably continue this practice till the end of this year.
The August 2020 Income Report Breakdown
Amazon royalties: €2,430.65 ($1,728.87)
Coach.me fees: $122.33
Audiobooks royalties: $45.51
D2D royalties: $0
PWIW personal coaching: $335.45
AMS service remuneration: $4,761.67
$23.37, BirdSend fee
$1,470.28 Amazon ads
$500, ISI mastermind
$848.2, RAs’ remuneration (RAs = Real Assistants; my team)
$30, SiteLock fee
$85.56, royalties split with co-author
$202.56, Advanced Amazon ads service
$95.09, an obligatory monthly fee for LLC
$92, my accountant’s monthly fee
Net Result: $3,996.81