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April 2024 Income Report

May 30 2024 – 12:00pm

To listen to an audio version of this report, join the Patreon »

April’s revenue was $6,653, up from March’s $4,990. Profits were $4,524, up from March’s $1,667.

This month’s revenue and profit were both above-average relative to the prior twelve months. My average revenue for the previous twelve months has been $6,187. My average profit has been $3,693.

The major anomaly this month was my ActiveCampaign revenue, which was very high, at about $2,500, a level which isn’t repeated super often. Maybe two or three times per year.

Without that anomaly, revenue and profits would have been well below average. Indeed, profits from book sales were only $2,147, well below the average over the past twelve months of $2,720.

But, my ROI on ad spend was back up to a respectable 131%, which is much better than previous months, when it was 44% and 70%. It’s still below the average of 161% for the past twelve months, and much of that improved ROI is probably left over from higher ad spend in previous months. But the impressive thing is $350 of that ad spend wasn’t even used to directly advertise books, but rather to grow my email list through Meta ads.

How to Sell a Book Preview Edition program underway

A couple of projects have manifested seemingly out of nowhere, and will hopefully help prop up my revenue while I work on Finish What Matters. One of those is How to Sell a Book.

I began writing a blog post about everything I’ve learned selling 100,000 self-published books. Now that I’m nearly 25,000 words in, it appears I’m almost done writing an entire new book!

I’ve reached the point where I’m confident enough I’ll finish this book soon that I can start selling a Preview Edition. A Preview Edition lets eager readers get early access to the valuable information I’m sharing in this book, and ask questions and provide feedback that will shape the First Edition of the book. A Preview Edition also gives me an injection of cash, and validates the idea while making a commitment to readers, which provides valuable motivational fuel.

I ran a Preview Edition for Mind Management, Not Time Management, and it gave me a motivating $4,000 “advance,” and valuable feedback on the book. Fortunately, I wrote a blog post outlining exactly how I did it, because I’ve referred to it heavily in setting up this Preview Edition program. However, now that I have a Shopify Store set up, I’m using Shopify to process the orders. That’ll save a little money avoiding Payhip transaction fees.

Buy the Preview Edition!

Parts 1 and 2 of the How to Write a Book Preview Edition are available immediately to those who buy on this hidden product page. I’ve outlined on the page the schedule on which I will deliver subsequent parts of the book.

Once the Preview Edition is complete, I’ll probably sell the book direct, exclusively through my store, before eventually releasing to Amazon and other places. I’m excited to try out this new release strategy.

Stopping 55% wholesale discount Ingram experiment (or not)

I’m stopping my experiment in offering some of my books on IngramSpark at a 55% wholesale discount. I offered 100-Word Writing Habit at this rate for a couple months, and the Hardback of MMT for a month. I noticed an uptick in HWH sales during this experiment, but I’m not sure that wasn’t due to my advertising it heavily on Meta in the meantime. I did see an uptick in MMT hardback sales during my monthlong experiment. In March, I sold three copies in the U.S., for total royalties of $25.26. In April, I sold fourteen, for royalties of $53.66.

Actually, reviewing those numbers, I feel like I should reconsider. It takes at least a week for a price change to be established in Ingram’s system, so my month-long experiment was probably actually just a couple or few weeks. But, I’ve also had a couple returns of The Heart to Start the last couple months, each taking nearly $15 out of my earnings. I hate the idea of having dozens or even more books returned. That could really hurt, financially.

How IngramSpark retailer returns work

When a book is returned to IngramSpark, you get back whatever the current wholesale price is for the book. But you don’t get back what you’ve been charged for printing the book. Here’s how that breaks down for a copy of MMT in hardback:

This also assumes the bookseller hasn’t paid shipping costs, and they probably have. How much you lose when a book is returned will depend upon the return policy you choose:

If you choose “Yes – Destroy,” the book is returned to IS and destroyed. You lose the wholesale amount, but have paid the print charge. So if an MMT hardback is returned, I lose $11.35.

If you choose “Yes – Deliver,” the book is returned to your address, and you can sell it. You lose the wholesale amount, have paid the print charge, and also pay a $3-per-book shipping and handling fee for addresses in the U.S. So at that point, I would have paid $14.35 to get the book to my warehouse. My storage and handling fees for my warehouse are $4, so I would have paid $18.35 per book by the time it’s sold. I sell MMT on my store for $28, so I’d end up making about $9.65 per returned book if I’m able to sell it directly, without a discount.

Based upon this exercise of analyzing these numbers, I just set up my warehouse as a return address, and set MMT back to a 55% wholesale discount, with a “Yes – Deliver” return policy.

I’m still going to see what happens with HWH set to a minimum 40% wholesale discount. The IS print quality for that book is nowhere near as high as BookVault’s. The difference between IS and BV for the MMT hardback is negligible.

Cutting PII and MMS short reads out of reports

As of this income report, I’m no longer reporting income for the short reads, Ten Passive Income Ideas and Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain. Both these sell some copies, but neither makes much and aren’t a core focus. Since the point of these income reports is to improve my decision-making, and knowing the income of these doesn’t affect my decisions, and adds an extra line-item to my report, I’m just going to leave them out. There are already other short reads the income of which I don’t include in these reports, such as In Defense of Papyrus, and, occasionally, one of my book summaries that, despite being offered for free, somehow make small amounts of money sometimes.

Love Mondays crosses 10,000 subscribers!

My Love Mondays newsletter went out to over 10,000 subscribers, for the first time!

At the close of last year, I had 8,720 active subscribers, and said I was 70% confident I could cross 10,000 in the course of this year, barring any major cleaning of inactive subscribers.

At this moment, I have 10,413 subscribers, which means the list has grown 20.26% this year, which outpaces last year’s total growth of 17.6%.

This growth is not coming at the expense of opens, either. Both the first two emails with more than 10,000 subscribers had open rates of 23.1%, not including “Apple Privacy Opens.” (With those opens, my open rate was over 38%.) Contrast that to the final ten emails of 2023, which had an average open rate of 22.1%.

Driving much of this growth has been my efforts in getting paid leads through Meta ads. I’m also experimenting with X ads. I’ve worked on welcome sequences for these paid leads, which warms them up and prunes out any unengaged leads.

Improving and growing the newsletter was a main focus the first quarter of this year, and I’m seeing the fruits of that. I love my new RSS-driven setup, and by not having to make space to write two articles a month for the podcast, I have more energy to really put thought into the content and subject lines of the newsletter.

If you have not yet, please share Love Mondays with your friends and followers! turns 20!

May 31st, 2024 will mark twenty years since the first blog post on I feel proud to have stuck around that long. I remember in the early days of working on the blog, thinking it might be an asset that would grow, like buying a plot of land in a developing city.

I think it is just that, and on the land I have developed a beautiful garden I love to sit in. When I started this blog, I was unhappily living in Nebraska, with virtually no connections that could help me get out. This blog helped me get a job in Silicon Valley and it now helps make it possible for me to live in South America. It’s served as a testing bed for ideas, leading to my first book deal, working with an app that sold to Google, and my most-successful book thus far.

I feel as if I should commemorate the day in some way, but maybe it’s just as appropriate that it’s just another day. That, after all is how this blog has brought me everything I value in my professional life, and much of what I value in my personal: Not necessarily big events, just one post after another, most turning out to be nothing and altogether adding up to something.

How to Write a Book giveaway by Readwise

To celebrate selling 100,000 self-published books, I gave away How to Write a Book on X. The Readwise team said they’d love to include it in their newsletter. It had gone well when they had announced a giveaway of Digital Zettelkasten, so I agreed.

The giveaway brought a nice spike in sales on my Shopify store, which will be reflected in next week’s report.

On the Patreon: How I use Todoist

I’ve added several bonus videos to the Patreon over the past months. My latest shows how I use Todoist to stay on top of things, using GTD and Mind Management principles. See how I use mental, temporal, and physical contexts to winnow down my task list to stay focused and energetic.

If you want to check out this or any of the other recent bonus videos, join the Patreon.


Book Sales

Mind Management, Not Time Management Kindle $457
Mind Management, Not Time Management Paperback (Amazon) $1,227
Mind Management, Not Time Management (non-Amazon) $212
Mind Management, Not Time Management Audiobook $633
100-Word Writing Habit $431
Digital Zettelkasten Kindle $336
Digital Zettelkasten Wide (non-Kindle) $164
Digital Zettelkasten Audiobook $46
The Heart to Start Kindle $93
The Heart to Start Paperback (Amazon) $49
The Heart to Start “Wide” (non-Amazon) -$10
The Heart to Start Audiobook $43
How to Write a Book Kindle $22
How to Write a Book Paperback $14
How to Write a Book “Wide” (non-Amazon) $67
How to Write a Book Audiobook $5
How to Write a Book Spanish (all) $0
Total Book Sales $3,788

Digital Products

Summer of Design $0
Total Digital Products $0

Affiliates / Advertising

Active Campaign $2,567
Alliance of Independent Authors $0
Amazon $21
Google AdSense $129
SendOwl $5
Total Affiliates $2,722

Reader Support

Patreon $143
Total Reader Support $143


Clarity $0
Medium $0
Total Services $0



Accounting $0
Book Printing $47
Outside Contractors $0
Quickbooks $27
Total General $74


Amazon $1,072
BookBub $0
Google $5
Meta $565
Influencer Marketing $0
Product Samples $0
Total Advertising $1,641


ActiveCampaign $135
Bookfunnel $15
Drafts $2
Dropbox $10
Fathom Analtyics $14
Libsyn $5
Namecheap $48
Obsidian Publish $10
SendOwl $9
Shopify $44
Twitter (X) $8
Ulysses $3
WP Engine $96
Zapier $14
Total Hosting $413

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This post is filed under Income Reports.