Are you curious about a one-year delay? I explained it in my first income report.

Thirteenth Income Report April 2014
On the 1st of April, I celebrated another small victory. I summarized March’s sales and well over 800 copies sold, including more than 300 copies other than “Master Your Time.”


At the beginning of the month, I did a small experiment on Twitter. I sent a Tweet full of hashtags, encouraging to borrow “Master Your Time” through AmazonPrime. It made a difference. Within 2 days, I got 1/3 of March’s borrows. I hardly controlled the urge of spamming my Twitter feed with #amazonprime ads 😉

And it was good I managed to resist this temptation. It appeared that Amazon Prime members are flawed by the freebie seeker mindset. Within a few days, I got three negative reviews. They were non-substantial, just complaints that they didn’t get a free magical solution to their time management problems. I got also three positive reviews, but in that pace, the overall ranking would have decreased very quickly so I abandoned the experiment.


Amazon Prime members feel entitled to free content according to their refined taste.
They also are top notch reviewers who are much more inclined to write a review than a common Amazon customer.
And #amazonprime tag does miracles on Twitter.

Bits and pieces

I finished writing my book about overcoming shyness and spent some time preparing for its launch: researching Amazon categories and keywords, refining the book description, and reaching out to bloggers for help with the launch.

One day, I discovered that this blog was at the top of Google results for the phrase: “expand beyond yourself.” Cool feeling.

In April, I produced a lot of content for my blog, proofread it all, and I also started to outsource proofreading of my content on Lift

I also took care of my subscribers. I added the final message to my 100 quotes sequence and it was one of my brightest ideas. I ask them to comment on the sign-up page if they found the quotes useful, motivating, or engaging. Now I have more than a dozen testimonials from my subscribers and great social proof for every reader who signs up for the list.


I also wrote them an epistle explaining my change in approach toward reviews. I just hate (which is not too strong of a word) plastic reviews which Amazon is so full of. I’m frustrated when I read such reviews; anybody could have written it, even without reading the book; it’s meaningless. That’s why I used to actively discourage my readers from giving me a review immediately after they read my book. I asked them a to leave a review only once they begin seeing results.

And I simply didn’t get reviews at all―I mean, real reviews, done by “doers.” No matter what, I couldn’t stop my friends from giving me the reviews, so each of my first four books got a few reviews from them.

To add insult to the injury, the launch of “Master Your Time in 10 Minutes a Day” proved that the number of reviews is more important on Amazon than quality. At the time, I was involved in the publishers group on Facebook and there I posted info about my free promo. The typical interaction among the authors in the group is to swap reviews. They assumed I wanted their opinion; however, they didn’t read the conclusion of my book or they didn’t care much about it.

The aftermath was I received a dozen reviews in a short amount of time; however, most of the reviews were “plastic” ones: “Great book! Great content! Great reading! Great entertainment!”

But in the end, it didn’t matter and my book skyrocketed in the bestsellers ranks anyway.

Achieving bestseller status, the book was found in the hands of many more readers than my prior publications. More people received the means to gain control over their time and their destiny.

That event convinced me that I need to change my strategy regarding reviews. I write to influence the lives of my readers, but I can’t influence them if they don’t become my readers first 😉

Reviews seem to be a great shortcut to transform Amazon browsers into readers, so I started to actively encourage readers to leave one, even right after reading my book.


At the beginning of March, I informed Amazon that ”The Fitness Expert Next Door” was free on other platforms. On the 9th of April, they finally transferred the book to the free store. At first, about 50 copies were downloaded daily. I noticed that the competition among free books is less intense in the free store and I changed one category to Personal Transformation in self-help. This category in the paid store is hard to conquer by a lonely indie author. The #1 book is below the #1000k rank and book #20 didn’t reach #10k. But with 40-50 downloads, my book would easily stay on the first page of this category’s free section.

My reasoning was confirmed and the downloads increased to 100+ a day. I didn’t advertised it at all and in some days, it was downloaded more than during the advertised free promos I had done in the past. I assume only 20% of readers read the free books, but it still meant my book got the attention of 20 readers a day, which was about 5 times more than when the book cost $1.


I sacrificed about $15 in monthly royalties to get 16 additional readers a day. A bargain. Thanks to this trick, my whole catalogue of books was exposed to more eyes. The ”Fitness Expert Next Door” stayed free till September 2014. It collected several reviews during that period.

The important thing is to avoid putting something of poor quality as the free entry point to your books’ catalouge. This book is valuable. Once my publisher took it over and start selling it for $3, a few copies have been sold a day.

More bits and pieces

At the end of April, I finally decrypted the Scrivener converting mechanism. Before the month’s end, I published the new version of my personal mission statement book, finally with an active TOC compatible with Kindle.

This month, I also worked on a German version of “Master Your Time.” “Work” is a bit of an exaggeration. I received the translated manuscript and sent it to my sister who lives in Germany. She proofread it and I sent it back to my publisher in Germany. It was published on the 26th of April.

So, quite a lot has been happening in April. But not all was bright and sweet. Book sales dwindled significantly. “Master Your Time” was hit especially hard, losing about 30% of March’s sales. Other books were losing much less―from 3 to 11 percent. Still, I sold almost 700 books in April. In January, less than 200 had sold.

The Income Report Breakdown

Income: €49.61 (about $68.46; royalties for February’s boom arrived at the beginning of May)

Cost: $19, Aweber services
Domain: $18
Proofreading: $15
”From Shy to Hi” edition: $310
”Learn to Read with Great Speed” edition (Fiverr): $15

Net result: -$308.54

Previous Income Report: March 2014 || Next Income Report: May 2014

Thirteenth Income Report – April 2014

4 thoughts on “Thirteenth Income Report – April 2014

  • May 6, 2015 at 2:34 am

    Hey Michal! Thank you for this post! You have confirmed my thoughts about boosting my reviews to get a better ranking on Amazon. But hopefully, real reviews. I feel the same way about raving reviews that do not seem to say anything but even do bad on the book because they obviously sound plastic. Your post was very timely – I was even thinking of building a facebook page for self-help authors for “peer review”. Following the idea of how research studies are reviewed by peer academics, we should also have this. Let me know what you think of this. 🙂

    • May 6, 2015 at 7:29 am

      The idea itself is nice… but as far as I know academics are paid for their peer reviews (it’s a part of their job).
      The challenge will be to keep people motivated to donate their time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *