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August 2021 Income Report
An audio version of this income report is available to Patreon backers of certain levels »
August’s revenues were $9,115, down from July’s $9,891. Profits were $5,459, up from July’s $2,877.
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This month isn’t record-breaking in its revenue or profit, but it was strong enough to bring record-breaking revenue and profit, averaged over the long term.
Record-breaking 12-month profit
The past few months have brought solid profits, and the passing of those months also pushed some lower-profit months further into the past. As such, the profit for the past 12 months is the most profit I’ve reported for a 12-month period.
I broke the $50,000 mark! Over the past 12 months, profits have been $50,456. Naturally, that also makes the 12-month average a record of $4,205 per month.
Both these records will likely be broken again in September’s report. One year ago, September 2020, was the point at which I had the lowest 12-month average profit, at $2,684.
Record-breaking 12-month book-sale revenue
Self-published book-sale revenues were $7,290 for August. That doesn’t break last month’s record of $8,052. But it is enough to bring us to a new record 12-month self-published book-sale revenue. Over the past 12 months, I’ve earned $48,095 revenue on self-published books.
That breaks the previous record of $45,191, set in November 2019. However, at that time, I also had the highest-ever 12-month ad spend, at $39,901, so my 12-month profit on book sales was an all-time low, at $5,298.
Record-breaking 12-month book-sale profit, too!
This time, it’s a different story. I’ve spent only $23,883 advertising my books over the past 12 months, so my 12-month profit on books is $24,212. That’s a record high!
Naturally, my average monthly profit on book sales is also at an all-time high. The new average of $2,018 breaks last month’s record of $1,699.
Book sales continue to be solid, especially with the help of my surprise hit, Digital Zettelkasten, so I’m 90% confident that record will climb once again next month.
As you can see in this graph, book sales are an increasing share of my revenues – just how I like it.
Why was there a big spike a couple years ago, only to have sales settle down again? That was from spending a ton on ads. When you look at profits, you can see this time the growth is probably more sustainable.
Spike in Mind Management, Not Time Management audiobook sales
Last month, I reported the sales of my latest BookBub Featured Deal, saying I had lost around $1,584 on the promotion – which wasn’t so bad, considering I had budgeted to lose $2,000.
One thing I didn’t consider was audiobook sales. Audiobook sales numbers are delayed a month, so it wasn’t until I was putting together this month’s report I realized the MMT audiobook made $399 on Audible/ACX, and $53 through Findaway Voices.
In previous months, it averaged only $160 on Audible/ACX, and $35 on Findaway Voices, so about $250 revenue was probably driven by the BookBub promotion. So, I really lost around $1,330 on the promotion. Not bad!
Surprise Findaway Voices audiobook revenue
In the process of looking at audiobook revenue, I discovered that I’ve been missing out on Findaway Voices audiobook revenue for quite a while.
Findaway Voices reports revenue in two places: There’s a real-time sales dashboard, and there’s the finalized royalty reports, which, like Audible/ACX, are delayed by a month.
I had been tallying up audiobook revenue using the real-time sales dashboard, but upon looking at the royalty reports, I noticed there’s quite a bit of revenue I’ve been missing. “Quite a bit” is relative. I was often seeing no audiobook sales at all. Instead, I’m finding somewhere around $50 a month in audiobook sales for MMT, HTS, or WAB. These sales got left out of past reports. I’m not going to go back and change them, but I know to include them in the future.
How much audiobook revenue comes from Findaway Voices?
Attentive readers will remember that to take my audiobooks “wide,” I had to give up earning a 40% royalty on Audible sales, and instead earn only 25% royalty. Has that been worth it?
Speaking strictly monetarily, I’d say no. Findaway has contributed only 13% of MMT audiobook revenue. However, they have contributed 46% of HTS audiobook revenue. That was helped along by a Chirp audiobook deal that brought about 75% of that revenue – and hasn’t had an apparent lasting impact on sales. (I’ve applied for an MMT Chirp audiobook deal twice, and it’s been rejected.)
So, Findaway Voices hasn’t clearly made up for the 15% royalty cut. Then again, it hasn’t been a total failure. I like to have my audiobook available in places other than just Amazon. Maybe the “wide” revenue will pick up in the future.
Digital Zettelkasten audiobook underway
Digital Zettelkasten: Principles, Methods, & Examples is contributing a big portion of my revenue: $3,012 – almost a third of my revenue! Making an audiobook is a no-brainer.
I’ve rehearsed the script and figured out how to adapt it to audio in the cases where visuals are important. Now I need to actually record the audiobook. Between keeping podcast episodes and Love Mondays emails coming, and my golf project, I haven’t had a ton of time to record – and unfortunately, this is one of those things that does, indeed, take time. I will do it, though!
Working on the third book in the Getting Art Done trilogy
The Heart to Start and Mind Management, Not Time Management are a part of a series. The series is named Getting Art Done, which long-time readers will remember was a 30-day series – a chapter a day – which I sent out via email several years back. I essentially wrote an entire book, but scrapped it. Elements of it are in both HTS and MMT.
Much of my front-burner creative energy these days is going toward thinking about the third book in that series. I want to write a book about follow-through, or finishing. The working title is Finish What Matters, Forget the Rest.
Like many creators, I’ve had a touchy relationship with follow-through. I’ve left countless projects half-finished. Many other projects have failed.
I felt bad about it for many years, but I’ve learned to have a more healthy relationship with follow-through – which actually helps me finish more projects. Much like time management is better-suited for work that follows a series of steps, or where the outcome is clear, the idea of “finishing” projects is, too.
When you don’t know what it is you’re making, or whether or not it will work, you need to have a different relationship with follow-through. Unfinished prototypes, failed projects, and scrapped iterations are an essential part of the creative process.
Sound interesting? You’re already hearing/reading some of the ideas on my podcast. As is my typical bottom-up approach, I’m workshopping ideas on Twitter, the podcast, and Love Mondays emails. I’m confident the flow of the book will become clear to me over time.
When will I finish it? I don’t know. I’m 50% confident I’ll release it sometime in 2022. If that sounds like a hypocritical approach to a book about finishing, well, you’ll need to read the book.
Looking forward to having a complete series
I’m excited to see what happens when I have a finished trilogy. I can see how each book I add to my catalogue provides opportunities for cross-promotion, and I can see how my return on ad spend climbs with each new release. Two books in a series is nice, but there’s something powerful about a trilogy. I think that’s the magic number.
I’m 70% confident a third book in the series will increase the revenues of the other two books by at least 20% each, for the first year after release. I could add a whole bunch more predictions to that, but I’ll save that energy for actually writing the book.
What after that?
The thing you should do after writing a series is probably keep banging the same drum, but if the past is any indication, I won’t do that. I’ll probably instead use what I learned writing and promoting those books to go even further toward following my curiosity. At this point, my golf project is waiting in the wings. I hope to one day use front-burner energy on it.
Thanks for having me on your podcast
Thank you to Kjell Vandevyvere at Coffee and Pens, Chris Parker at Easy Prey, and Joyce Ling at The Abundance Podcast.
Thank you also to Alex and Books for sharing Mind Management, Not Time Management on his bookstagram.
|Mind Management, Not Time Management Kindle||$1,760|
|Mind Management, Not Time Management Paperback (Amazon)||$734|
|Mind Management, Not Time Management (non-Amazon)||$88|
|Mind Management, Not Time Management Audiobook||$452|
|Digital Zettelkasten Kindle||$2,415|
|Digital Zettelkasten Wide (non-Kindle)||$636|
|The Heart to Start Kindle||$646|
|The Heart to Start Paperback (Amazon)||$141|
|The Heart to Start “Wide” (non-Amazon)||$6|
|The Heart to Start Audiobook||$72|
|How to Write a Book Kindle||$193|
|How to Write a Book Paperback||$99|
|How to Write a Book “Wide” (non-Amazon)||$3|
|How to Write a Book Audiobook||$23|
|How to Write a Book Spanish (all)||$6|
|Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain (all)||$9|
|Ten Passive Income Ideas||$9|
|Total Book Sales||$7,290|
|White Hot Course||$39|
|Total Digital Products||$39|
Affiliates / Advertising
Love Your Work Podcast
|Total LYW Podcast||$254|
|Podcast Editing / Publishing||$123|