Are you curious about a one-year delay? I explained it in my first income report.
If anything, March was even more insignificant than February.
I kept to my disciplines, I kept writing every day, I kept trying to market my books in better ways.
During that month, I was editing Slicing the Hype. I managed to make it to the point where I could send it to my friend, Anthony Smits, so he could translate it from my pidgin into English. I immediately started working on another book, the first volume of Six Simple Steps to Success.
Besides those editing tasks, I was also preparing The Art of Persistence for a launch, going through a couple revisions with my editor. In addition to the work on the manuscript, I was taking care of other details. I consulted my list and they helped me to pick the title for the book. I offered the advance reading copy to fellow authors. I asked them for help during the launch if they liked the book. I’m sure I also hustled about minor details like keyword research, but I haven’t noted it in my journal.
At the beginning of the month, I uploaded the last two paperbacks of my old books on Create Space. It wasn’t a priority for me, the sales were meager and I hadn’t any feasible way to collect payments from Create Space anyway. At the end of the month I uploaded also the paperback version of The Art of Persistence.
I came up with a new idea for a lead magnet hoping to increase my opt-ins. I decided to offer my readers a choice. They could pick one of 4 books from my How to Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day series and get it for free. That was another wasted marketing effort. The rate of opt-ins didn’t change one iota.
I also organized a couple of Countdown Deals for Master Your Time and From Shy to Hi. I bought a few ads on book promo sites for each. The results were far from stunning. I lost money on From Shy to Hi promos; I might get back my investment for the other book.
This was my tipping point with regard to KDP Select program. None of its tools worked very well for me. Organizing a Countdown Deal is a hassle. The window for promotion is only 45 days in the whole 90-day period. Coordination and ads purchases took time and mental energy I didn’t have to spare. When KU came later this year, I was ready to quit Amazon’s program for good. The forced exclusivity wasn’t worth very much to me.
I finished writing the 4th volume in Six Simple Steps to Success at the end of the month and started outlining the next one. As usual I wrote also a bunch of blog posts and email broadcasts. I also wrote a small contribution to Martin Meadow’s book Grit.
Thirty days after the launch of Trickle Down Mindset, its sales started to decline at a rapid pace. During the month of March, I sold only 185 copies. The second-best selling book that month was my book about creating a personal mission statement, but it is short and priced low, so I didn’t make much money on that one. Its elevated sales were the result of Buck Books promo a month before.
My only fixed cost at that time was Aweber subscription and hosting for my blog, so I didn’t care that much. I think that was, and still is, my problem. With my steady salary from a day job, I equated the sporadic income from book sales with unpredictability and chaos. As a result, I haven’t been doing my best to maximize that revenue. Fire and forget is not a very good strategy when it comes to book sales.
Speaking of a day job, it was sapping my strength. A few night shifts and emergencies were an additional burden to my schedule and my sanity.
The Income Report Breakdown
Amazon royalties: €548.74
Buck Books affiliate payment: $69.5
Archangel Ink royalties share: $1465.39
Return of deposit: $1.000
I know, different currencies, it’s a bit complicated, but that’s normal in self-publishing. I got Amazon payments from January in euros and payment from Archangel Ink for the 4th quarter of 2014, plus return of my deposit which was part of our publishing deal.
$16.5, Bknights promo on Fiverr
$10.5, proofreading services Fiverr
$10, promo of Trickle Down Mindset on Awesome Gang
$120, promo on Freeboksy
$40, a couple of promos on eReaderGirl
$20, social media promo service from jameshmayfield.com
$24.95, unidentified promo from my cost tracking Excel
$48, Aweber fees
$809.97 The Art of Persistence’s production by Archangel Ink (cover, edition, proofreading, formatting, paperback)
$755 Trickle Down Mindset’s production by Archangel Ink
The bulk of expenses for that month was the production cost of The Art of Persistence. Archangel Ink charged me for editing, proofreading, cover design, paperback version, formatting… Ha, I started appreciating our publishing deal from 2014, when they all did all that at their expense for a modest 30% share of royalties.
They also deducted $755 from my deposit for the work done on Trickle Down Mindset in January. It didn’t hurt that much. I parted with that money in July 2014, so I came to terms with not having it. Besides it was good investment, both in the terms of the publishing contract’s impact on my writing career, and in reference to Trickle Down Mindset, which earned me over $2,500 in the first year of its life.