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February 2023 Income Report
February’s income was $7,973, down from January’s $11,973. Profits were $4,514, down from January’s $7,898.
End of a fifteen-month streak of record self-published income
This month is below-average in both income and profit. In fact, a very long streak was broken this month: For fifteen months, my twelve-month book income rose. As of this month, I’ve made $86,546 over the past twelve months from book sales. As of last month, I had made $89,601.
This steak began in November 2021, when I had earned $51,600 from self-published books in the previous twelve months. What caused this streak? It’s impossible to know, of course, but in November 2021, Mind Management, Not Time Management had been out for one year, and Digital Zettelkasten, which debuted about six months previous, had been a surprise hit.
Here’s how that streaks look in the context of the past five years of book sales.
Lower MMT revenue, due to higher price
Digital Zettelkasten sales have slowed over time, but Mind Management, Not Time Management sales continue to climb. However, this month, MMT sales were down. The book averaged $4,795 in monthly revenue throughout 2022, with $2,826 in profit. This month, it made only $4,300, with $2,355 profit.
That might not seem like a huge difference, but it is, in terms of copies sold. MMT sold 1,280 copies per month on-average in 2022. This month, it sold “only” 925.
Why is that? Well, I think it’s because I marked the ebook price up to $9.99. Since the BookBub Featured Deal in July, when it was $1.99, the highest price it’s had has been $4.99, with smatterings of $3.99 and $2.99. While I wish higher prices meant more overall profit, that unfortunately doesn’t seem to be the case.
MMT BookBub Featured Deal!
The $9.99 price the past month was partly in preparation to apply for a BookBub Featured Deal. I did receive a Kindle Deal nomination in February that indicated that the book may be chosen for a deal to take place in April. But as of March 9th, I still hadn’t received a confirmation email for such a deal – historically I have been notified 3–4 weeks in advance for .com deals.
So I had a quandary: If I kept waiting for a Kindle Deal confirmation, I couldn’t revive my sales. Yet if I did a BookBub Featured Deal, I feared I would either receive a confirmation before I had a chance to change my price – thus triggering a deeper quandary of figuring out how to either choose or reconcile the terms between the two – or that Amazon would stop considering the book for Kindle Deal. Additionally, if I did wait for and receive a Kindle Deal, I knew from previous experience BookBub wouldn’t consider the book for a deal until it had again been at a higher price for at least a month.
My Kindle Deal vs. BookBub quandary
In retrospect, I don’t think I chose the smartest path, which would have been to wait until Amazon either chose or didn’t choose the book by April 1st. If they did choose the book for a deal, I could have raised the price for a while, then applied for a BookBub Featured Deal. If they didn’t, I could have simply applied for a deal.
I just got impatient, and wanted to do some kind of deal in the first quarter, aka, self-help season. Additionally, I have a bad taste in my mouth from the Kindle “Big Deal”, which was anything but, for HTS. (Though, the time that MMT was chosen for a Kindle Monthly Deal was a great experience – albeit one that delayed my next BookBub Featured Deal).
Lo and behold, BookBub did choose MMT for a Featured Deal on the first try! BookBub will be promoting MMT at $1.99 from March 31st through April 4th. They’ve put the book in a different category this time. It’s normally in the Advice and How-To category, sent to about one million people, for $1,339. This time, it will be in the Business category, sent to about 450,000 people, for $649. (I don’t recall there being a Business category before, but I may be wrong.)
I’ve already marked MMT at $1.99 on Apple Books and other stores, using PublishDrive. Amazon has matched the price, but I’ll change it manually in time for the deal, for good measure. I marked the book down immediately after accepting the deal, as I didn’t want to repeat the bad experience from last time, when PublishDrive failed to change the price on Apple Books.
My quandary becomes a pickle
After paying for my BookBub Featured Deal, and marking my book down to $1.99, on March 27th, I finally got a “confirmation” email for a Kindle Deal. Amazon chose MMT for a Kindle Monthly Deal, to be marked down to $4.99 from April 1–30th on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. Of course, this conflicts with my BookBub deal, which runs through the 4th.
And thus my quandary became a pickle. I could ask BookBub to reschedule my deal, but only four days before the deal, it was unlikely they could, and their policy states they can’t guarantee refunds within seven days of a deal. Even if they did agree to reschedule my deal, chances are it would be delayed quite a bit, as my book was already at $1.99, and would soon be $4.99. Based on my prior experiences, some time would need to pass with it at $9.99, and I wouldn’t be guaranteed a slot far into the future anyway.
So, I called KDP customer support and explained my situation, suggesting they reschedule my deal. The support representative told me a team in charge of Kindle Deals would follow up with me within a few business days – which, as of yet hasn’t happened.
Why did I do this to myself?
It does give me major FOMO to miss out on a $4.99 Kindle Monthly Deal. It costs nothing, and that price point could be very profitable. It does make me regret not being more patient and at least waiting until the end of the month to see if I got a deal confirmation.
But, when I made the decision, I did tell myself, “Well, let’s see what happens.” Sometimes it helps to let something you fear happen, so you can find out it isn’t so bad after all. Maybe a $4.99 deal wouldn’t have performed great? Maybe Amazon will reschedule the deal? In any case, will MMT be chosen for future Kindle Deals? I believe so.
Mind Management, Not Time Management, only $1.99!
So, Mind Management, Not Time Management is only $1.99 on Amazon and everywhere else. I don’t plan to promote this much, directly, to my own audience, so this is your one reminder to go get it!
BookBub Featured Deal Predictions
In the past two MMT Featured Deals, I sold:
- 2,715 copies, in a 9-day span, spending $3,902 on supplemental ads
- 1,692 copies, in a 7-day span, spending $341 on supplemental ads
Since these previous deals went to one-million subscribers, and this is only going to 450k, I’m predicting 70% confidence of selling 500–900 copies during my official five-day BookBub Featured Deal period (provided I spend less than $800 in supplemental ads). (I’m actually budgeting about $500 for supplemental ads.)
Running some quick numbers on that, that’s about $700 revenue, from $1,149–$1,449 total spend. Sounds like a raw deal! But, the hope is to make up for it in sales at higher prices after the deal.
100-Word Writing Habit in-stock!
The 100-Word Writing Habit short read is finally regularly in-stock. I had previously announced it to people who had taken my 100-Word Writing Habit email course, and general subscribers to my creativity emails (including Love Mondays), but I finally announced it here on this blog, which also goes out, via email, to over 12,000 subscribers.
Despite the problems I had getting it in-stock and at the right price on Amazon, I’ve sold 375 copies. I had predicted before launch 70% confidence I’d sell 400–800 copies by the end of April. So it looks likely I’ll break through the bottom of that range.
I only hope I can break through the top of that range, and be “wrong.” In this month’s report, I earned $574 from HWH sales. When I add that to the $78 I made in January’s report, there’s still a ways to go to recoup the roughly $2,800 design expenses.
Introducing “Coffee w/ Kadavy” (Patreon exclusive)
As reported in my 2022 review, Patreon support has been dwindling over the years. Revenue categorized as “Podcast” – which consists entirely of Patreon revenue dropped from $3,566 in 2021, to $2,670 in 2022 – 25%!
Trying to deliver more for Patreon supporters
I thought about whether I should give up on Patreon. After all, I’m making healthy revenue from books now. But even though it’s not a lot of revenue, it’s still some of my favorite revenue. It feels great that people willingly “vote with their dollars” to buy me a coffee – or several – each month. Even if it’s not a lot of revenue, it also helps keep me afloat in-between books. I’d really be hurting if MMT wasn’t doing so well, and I don’t want to be in a rush that prevents the next book being as good as it can be.
When I honestly asked myself what my Patreon supporters got, I had to admit it wasn’t a lot, compared to the Patreons of other creators I support: I thank them on the show, they get early-access to episodes, and at some levels they get access to masterclasses, audio versions of these income reports, and their names announced in the credits.
Create something more that helps me grow, too
This realization intersected with some other desires and pressures I’ve felt creatively. One, I’d like to do more talking off-the-cuff. I like scripting out every word of my podcast essays to pack them with knowledge and insights, but I started to feel an urge to speak casually. Two, I’d like to reduce the amount of typing I need to do each month. I’m writing a book, two extensive podcast essays/articles each month, Love Mondays newsletters each week, tweets, TikTok scripts, and then these income reports get very long sometimes!
Some elements of income reports are better left said
The purpose of these income reports has always been to improve my thinking. They have and continue to serve that purpose. But with practice, I’m now able to make better decisions without writing down every word as I think. So, some of that extra typing turns out to be for the entertainment of readers – readers who are already getting a ton of the best work I can do, for free.
So, I realized I could create something of value for Patreon supporters, that I would enjoy creating and that would help me grow creatively, while also doing a bit less typing each month.
I call it Coffee w/ Kadavy. Think of it as like having a conversation with me, over coffee – that cup of coffee, you, as a Patreon supporter, are buying me each month. In a typical episode of CWK, I’ll talk about:
- Projects I’m working on, and my thought process in making decisions in them.
- Improvisational sneak previews of podcast episodes/articles I’m working on.
- A book I’m reading, probably that I’ve mentioned in Love Mondays, but more in-depth.
- A cool tool, gadget, or resource, probably also that I’ve mentioned in Love Mondays, but more in-depth.
So far, I’ve recorded two episodes, each about thirty minutes, which you can listen to right now by supporting me on Patreon.
In episode 1, I talk about:
- Why I’m removing thousands of Twitter followers.
- Podcast episodes I’m working on: “Why Predict” and “The Mechanics of Media”
- A book I’m reading (one I love but that Love Mondays subscribers weren’t into)
- A great purchase I wish I had known about when I was braving Chicago winters.
In episode 2, I talk about:
- What healthy thing I’m drinking that isn’t coffee
- My struggles finishing a book about finishing
- Podcast episodes I’m working on: “The Four Sources of Shiny Object Syndrome” and “Working Out a Tweet”
- Highlights from a book I love that will reveal to you the metaphors all around you, hiding in plain sight
- An update on removing thousands of Twitter followers, and why I’m not sure it’s working
- A great purchase that will save your butt if your Zoom calls are worth anything.
Again, you can listen to both new episodes of Coffee w/ Kadavy by supporting me on Patreon. You’ll get your own custom RSS feed where you’ll be delivered Coffee w/ Kadavy, along with early releases of Love Your Work episodes.
5-episode experiment, but so far, very good!
Mentally, I’ve committed to doing at least five of these CWK episodes, before deciding to do more. But after doing two, I can say that it has gone very well, and I’ve gotten positive feedback from listeners. I think I can keep coming up with interesting things to talk about, that production won’t be a slog, and that supporters will enjoy the episodes.
I continue to brainstorm other ways I can bring more value to Patreon supporters while supporting and not getting in the way of the work that makes them want to support me in the first place. If you have any ideas, let me know!
For the next CWK: Email-list growing efforts
I’m thinking of more ways to grow my email list – not just with new subscribers, but with existing ones. More than 8,000 of you who are getting this income report via email are not subscribed to my weekly Love Mondays newsletter, and that needs to change!
I’ll save more talk about how I’m thinking about growing my email list for the next episode of Coffee w/ Kadavy, including what I did to grow the LM list 3.4% in a few days, and finally break the 8,000-subscriber barrier. If you want to hear about it, support me on Patreon.
Thank you for having me on your podcasts
Thank you for having me on your podcasts. Thank you to Rachel Roth at The Rachel Roth Show. As always, you can find all interviews of me at kadavy.net/interviews.
|Mind Management, Not Time Management Kindle||$852|
|Mind Management, Not Time Management Paperback (Amazon)||$1,658|
|Mind Management, Not Time Management (non-Amazon)||$744|
|Mind Management, Not Time Management Audiobook||$1,046|
|100-Word Writing Habit||$575|
|Digital Zettelkasten Kindle||$496|
|Digital Zettelkasten Wide (non-Kindle)||$325|
|Digital Zettelkasten Audiobook||$61|
|The Heart to Start Kindle||$174|
|The Heart to Start Paperback (Amazon)||$44|
|The Heart to Start “Wide” (non-Amazon)||$115|
|The Heart to Start Audiobook||$28|
|How to Write a Book Kindle||$59|
|How to Write a Book Paperback||$172|
|How to Write a Book “Wide” (non-Amazon)||$13|
|How to Write a Book Audiobook||$9|
|How to Write a Book Spanish (all)||$0|
|Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain (all)||$0|
|Ten Passive Income Ideas||$2|
|Total Book Sales||$6,374|
|Summer of Design||$0|
|Total Digital Products||$0|
Affiliates / Advertising
|Alliance of Independent Authors||$997|
Love Your Work Podcast
|Total LYW Podcast||$195|
|Podcast Editing / Publishing||$123|
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