Are you curious about a 3-month delay? I explained it in my first income report.
May 2018 started with a long holiday. The 1st and 3rd of May are free days in Poland and if you take a few days off between them, you can have a decent vacation for the price of a couple days of furlough.
I worked on 2nd of May, but the rest of the week I did what I pleased.
The first two days were busy with calculating my customers’ profits, issuing invoices for them and contacting them. This is the only kind of administrative work I like to do 😉
My German nephew (my sister married a German guy) had his First Communion on the 6th of May. We drove to my sister’s on the 3rd of May, stopping to visit our friends for a few hours. We live about 200 miles apart, so we rarely have an occasion to see each other.
We spent more than three full days with our family. It was nice to reconnect with my sister and have my parents around for a few days.
On Friday, the day after our arrival, I had a maximum effort day. Everyone was busy with preparations, I went upstairs to our room and worked on my business for about 8 hours. I knocked out half of my to-do list, reviewed a lot of materials from my proofreader and finally cleaned my email inbox.
On Saturday I took my sons and father and we visited a park at the Polish-German border. So, the first week of May was a good time to recharge my batteries.
Working on My Website
My marketing coach helped me out with creating a new version of Resurrecting Books homepage. I needed a much better design. We spent about a couple hours on the phone. The underlying assumption was that a new website would allow me to get leads on autopilot and lessen my workload with reviewing prospects’ book pages. I would also offer additional service this time for money 😉
I also got busy contacting my customers and asking them for testimonials.
One of my customers got frustrated with the slow pace I was setting new ads. It was because of the time-consuming process of getting and testing new keywords.
I also wanted to get more keywords and ads, but I had too much on my head. A day job, coaching practice and so on. I gave only the fraction of attention to harvesting the keywords.
So we struck a deal. I instructed him on my process revealing how I harvest keywords and test them. It took us a couple hours on a Skype call. I also gave him my whole keywords database and my Excel sheet that was checking the uniqueness of new keywords.
In exchange, he agreed to deliver 100,000 new keywords for me.
Writing and Publishing
I kept writing at a speed of 600 words per day. Mostly, I wrote Quora answers. In May I finally tackled the backlog of Quora answers. All of them were proofread and I successively published them on Quora.
James Clear has a great article on the value of consistent creative work. It’s much easier to write the one article that will get traction when you write one every day than trying to chisel one piece to perfection.
To my surprise, one of my answers on the topic of lifestyle choices and cancer was heavily promoted by Quora. It was sent to over one million subscribers, got over 200,000 views and 1,100 upvotes. Traffic to my blog has doubled.
I had also good results with Medium in May. I published 10 articles and half of them got over 1,000 reads.
Day Job Troubles
On the 20th of May, I went back from a church and put away my phone while changing clothes afterwards. I silenced the phone for the mass.
I sat in the day room and played a card game with my sons. I was about to go for a walk with my daughter when I noticed my phone. I had 5 unanswered calls. And I was on the on-call duty. Heck!
The next day I got slammed by my supervisor. Not as much for 1-hour delay in tackling the call from a client, more for the general slacking and just-get-by attitude I emanated at work in the last few months. My supervisor was so angry with me that she even threatened to fire me on the spot if I ever again cross the line.
I well deserved all the verbal spanking I got. I was half-ashamed of my performance and half-happy that my job is going to end soon. My wife, however, was scared by the prospect of depending only on my book royalties and coaching income.
So, for the rest of the month, I gave my day job more attention. I could have given the notice, we could afford that financially, but my wife insisted I should not burn my bridges yet.
Time will tell if staying there was a wise decision. One thing is sure, recommitting to my corporate gig took its toll on me. I had less energy for my own ventures and I was internally dismayed that I give my time and energy to something I got so little fulfillment from.
The whole train of events gave me an incentive to assess my hourly net worth. It appeared that I’m earning 20 to 50% less in my day job versus my businesses. It had a bitter-sweet taste as I was stuck in my day job for at least a few more months.
I spent most of my spare hours in May on reloading my ads. I painstakingly downloaded all the history of all of my ads and processed them book by book. Till the end of May, I created new ads from that data for three of my books.
That was in the US where data collection is a tiresome, painful and slow process. I needed to visit each ad, manually download the data, put them together in one file, remove all inefficient keywords, group by bids and impressions and divide it into new keywords set. Then I created new ads for those new sets. Even with the help of my minions, the process took about three hours per book. If I did everything on my own, it was closer to six hours.
I did the same in the UK within a few hours for all of my books. It was enough to download a single keywords report for all of my books from three months, process the file in Excel and create 36 new ads.
The results were not excellent, but better than sticking to old ads. My ads spendings and sales increased. The increase in the US didn’t justify all the work I input into reloading ads. It was definitely worth it in the UK.
Well, economically the work on US ads didn’t make sense. It made sense from the author’s standpoint. I’m interested first and foremost in getting new readers. As long as I’m not going bankrupt in the process, that is.
Reloading ads was necessary just to stay afloat. My sales were dwindling to nothing. After reloading they bounced back a bit. If I let the old ads running and didn’t put the effort, I could’ve only seen how my sales were dwindling.
I guess three factors have the main influence into this phenomenon of dying out ads.
- Competition has increased.
More and more authors are using ads to get their book featured on Amazon.
- Amazon’s love of novelty.
I saw it time after time. When I add a new bunch of keywords and launch new ads, the performance is much higher than of the old ads. The same goes for books that I advertise for the first time- I run campaigns for them with my old keywords sets and they hit incredible numbers of impressions.
- I drained out the potential.
Amazon readers saw my ads over 411 million times. Over 200 thousand readers clicked on my ads. A personal development genre is not inexhaustible. Those are serious numbers. “Everybody” had already seen my books 😉
At my nephew’s First Communion I met my cousin who is the nephew’s godfather for the first time in about 15 years. We were close as kids, we were practically raised together.
He now owns a construction business and works all over Poland. Since he got one gig in Warsaw, he promised to visit us and stay for the night.
And he did. We chatted till 1 am and the next morning I did almost zero work because we hung together until we had to go to work.
In the middle of the month, I went with my eldest son for a 3-day fantasy convention. We spent a lot of time together. We also went for the premiere of Deadpool 2.
Speaking of movies, I took my kids for Deadpool2, Infinity War, and Han Solo this month. I love the flexibility of my half-time corporate job!
To reload the ads I first needed to download the data from the past ads. The trouble was, I had over 150 ads for each of my books. It was a lot of clicking.
I mentioned “minions” before; well, my 11-year old daughter joined the team of minions. I showed her how to download ads’ data and she downloaded a few hundred ad campaigns to my hard drive. She was stoked that she could earn “big bucks” on her own.
The Income Report Breakdown
Amazon royalties: €1743.47 ($2005)
CreateSpace royalties: €1139.31 ($1310.21)
Coach.me fees: $508.66
Draft2Digital royalties: $14.02
Audiobooks royalties: $136.42
PWIW personal coaching: $295.45
AMS service remuneration: $1564.36
Affiliate marketing: $188.13
$29, Aweber fee
$20, InstaFreebie fee
$101, royalties split with co-author
$70.35, my editor’s share in profits
$1104.18, Amazon ads
$94, RAs’ (RAs = Real Assistants; my sons & a daugter 😉 ) remuneration
$250, marketing coach
$1752.75, ISI mastermind
Net Result: $2630.52