June 2018 Income Report

July 10 2018 – 06:48pm

June’s revenues were $4,282.10, up from May’s $2,302.81. Profits were $3,030.73, up from May’s $1,324.23.

After the worst month in reporting history last month, we’re in solid revenue territory again. Some of this is the nature of the mostly cash-based accounting method that I use for these reports. Some things that happened in May are showing up in June. Also some things showing up in June are representative of multiple months worth of activity.

Revenue coming in where it counts

What I definitely like about June’s numbers is that I’m seeing some healthy revenue happening in categories where I’d most like to see revenue growing: Book royalties, and podcasting.

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If you’ve been following me along, you know that I’m trying to crack the code on making it as a creator without relying too much on the online-course model that is so popular amongst “info marketers.” I want the things I create to be a source of revenue, not just a marketing ploy to push people down a funnel wherein 0.2% of people buy some $997 course.

Heart to Start sales promo boosts book royalties

So, I’m happy to see that revenues from book royalties were well above $1,000, even without one of my bi-annual payouts from Design for Hackers sales. My three self-published books brought in $1,196.64. We’re also seeing the first revenues from my new STEEM book. Audiobook proceeds from that book are also happening, but I believe they’ll be reflected in July’s income report.

Much of this higher book royalty income is thanks to a 99-cent pricing promotion I did of The Heart to Start toward the end of the month.

You may recall from May’s report that I was in a pricing-promotion quandary: I can’t apply for a Bookbub promo until my price is stable for 90 days. I also can’t be sure that I’ll even be accepted for such a promo. In the process of writing last month’s income report, I came up with the idea of running promos for just long enough that I can be eligible to apply for a Bookbub promo that happens in the New Year, which would be a good season in which to promote a book about starting something new.

So, I did run a 99-cent promo, spending $25 to list my book on Bargainbooksy. That promotion in itself was a disappointment. I told nobody about the pricing promotion on the first day, and sold 13 books. The day that the Bargainbooksy promo came out, I sold 30 books. If that promo was responsible for the 17 extra books, that would mean that I made $5.95 on my $25 investment. Not a good way to stay in business.

Then I did something I hadn’t planned on doing at all. I sent my pricing promotion to my email lists. I had figured there wasn’t much point in sending the promotion to my list. After all, I had given away 3,000 copies of The Heart to Start when the book launched back in December. Obviously, everyone who was interested in my book had either gotten it then, or they had already bought it. Right?

Wrong. Very wrong. First, I sent the promotion to 2,400 people on my Getting Art Done list. I saw a spike in sales almost immediately, so I then sent it to the remaining 18,000 people were were only on my D4H list. Throughout the remainder of my Monday–through-Friday promotion, I sold another 669 copies of The Heart to Start on Amazon, and saw a spike in sales on iBooks, Google Play, and everywhere else as well.

Book sales Bargain Booksy vs email list

My pricing promotion really took off after I promoted it to my own email lists.

I supplemented my promotion with Bookbub ads, and the Amazon AMS ads I always have running.

Surprise Amazon rankings

I was very surprised by the rankings that HTS achieved, and that I achieved as an author. At first it seemed like the Kindlepreneur Amazon Sales Rank Calculator was off. I was selling a lot of books, but wasn’t ranked nearly as highly as the calculator said that I should be ranked.

But after a few days of selling around 200 books a day, I started to see the ranking that I would expect. The Heart to Start made it to #521 on all of Amazon, and was #1 in a whole slew of categories.

521 overall Amazon ranking

At that point, The Heart to Start was #1 in the Creativity and Genius category, above books by giants in the genre: Susan Cain, Elizabeth Gilbert, Julia Cameron, and Steven Pressfield.

Number one ranking in Creativity and Genius

The funnest part was the author rankings. I ranked as highly as the #15 author in the Business and Money category. But being ranked #44 was more fun. That meant I was ranked just below a couple of my favorite authors – Malcolm Gladwell and Tim Ferriss.

Ranked as a top author with Malcolm Gladwell and Tim Ferriss

Notice that my STEEM book is not listed in my catalog in these rankings. It turns out Amazon hadn’t yet correctly bound it to my author page – something I assumed they would do automatically. I didn’t discover that this was the problem until after the rankings spike. I imagine I may have ranked even higher if the STEEM book had been included.

Amazon’s ranking algorithm now slower

Why did it take so long for the rankings to change? Apparently Amazon has started ranking books according to sales over a series of days. That way you can’t game the system by having a ton of sales within an hour of each other. (This is how Design for Hackers made it to #18 overall on launch day).

I know #521 sounds way less impressive than #18, but because of a number of factors, I’m almost just excited about achieving that ranking. One reason is that the Kindle Store is way more competitive. Another reason is that I hadn’t even planned on making a run for a high ranking. The third reason is that Amazon’s ranking algorithm is much more sophisticated now.

The other thing I’m very proud of is the Amazon reviews of HTS. There are definitely people reading this book who have never heard of me or my work, yet the five-star reviews keep coming in. I’m really thrilled that it’s resonating with people.

But they aren’t all five-star reviews. I actually got my first one-star review recently. I think it goes down in history as the most confusing one-star review ever. One-star rankings can quickly affect your average, so I’d be far less amused if the book didn’t have plenty of five-star rankings to balance it out.

The most confusing one-star review ever?

The most confusing one-star review ever?

Ripple effects of the pricing promotion

As you can imagine, this promotion is having ripple effects. The Heart to Start is still on a promotional price at $2.99, but I made six times the royalties by that mere tripling of sticker price. My sales have been much higher than usual in the days following the promotion.

HTS post promotion sales

The Heart to Start is still selling well now that the price has changed from 99 cents to a still-promotional $2.99.

I also saw a slight increase in sales of my other books during and after this sales spike.

How to Write a Book Sales

How to Write a Book has also enjoyed increased sales after the HTS pricing promotion.

Solid month of Love Your Work revenues

I’m also happy to see $1,208.35 coming in for my creative entrepreneur podcast, Love Your Work. Some of that does represent a payment for a three-month sponsorship, and apparently two Patreon payments fell in June, too, so this total number is higher than reality.

Patreon goal reached

Love Your Work production expenses are now fully-supported by Patreon backers!

Still, the Patreon backing passed the goal of $260. This is the point at which all of the hosting and publishing assistance that I hire becomes fully listener-supported! That’s huge!

Drop in Spotify streams caused an under-delivery of podcast ad impressions

One downer was that I ended up under-delivering impressions to one of my sponsors. My Spotify streams have dropped since they opened up their platform to everyone.

Spotify streams drop

Spotify streams have dropped sharply in 2018. They recently opened up to all podcasts.

That indicates to me that the streams I had previously weren’t that loyal nor engaged. So, I think I have higher-quality “downloads,” but the downside is that now I have to run a “make-good” spot for the sponsor to whom I under-delivered impressions. I’m hopeful that some of this effect is seasonal – people spend less time listening to podcasts in the summer.

Affiliate revenues coming in

I mentioned in May’s report that I was going to start seeing some more affiliate revenue coming in this month, and that’s reflected in this report. Along with old standbys like ActiveCampaign, Amazon, and Treehouse, I’m seeing an uptick referrals to WP Engine, Hostgator, and even Match.com.

I have affiliate revenue to thank for much of the creative freedom that has gotten me where I am, so I’m revisiting that, making new articles, and enhancing the SEO on existing articles.

No big online-course promos = low online-course revenues

Revenue was pretty low for digital courses, but that’s okay because I didn’t run any big promotions for them.

Coming up: Podcast appearances, and temporary exile

Part of the uptick I’m seeing in sales coming into July is thanks to a podcast appearance on The Creative Penn, which is a hugely popular show with indie authors. My appearance is being received very well by Joanna’s audience and it especially boosted sales of the STEEM book.

As I write this, I’m anticipating an appearance on Jeff Goins’s The Portfolio Life. I’m hoping it will have a similar effect on book sales, and I imagine there will be some overlap between Jeff and Joanna’s audiences that will cause more people to take note of my work.

If you’ve followed my Colombian visa drama, you know that I have to watch the days I spend in Colombia so I can comfortably re-attempt to apply for a visa after my recent rejection. So, I’m taking a two-week exile in Cusco, Peru soon. I’ll visit Machu Picchu while I’m at it. It will be a nice adventure, but it’s an unplanned interruption that I imagine will aversely affect how much work I’m able to get done.

Income

June’s revenues were $4,282.10, up from May’s $2,302.81. Profits were $3,030.73, up from May’s $1,324.23.

Book Sales

The Heart to Start Kindle $493.84
The Heart to Start Paperback (Amazon) $98.88
The Heart to Start “Wide” (non-Amazon) $196.00
The Heart to Start Audiobook $57.20
How to Write a Book Kindle $114.70
How to Write a Book Paperback $113.22
How to Write a Book Audible $13.92
Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain Kindle $100.12
Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain Paperback $8.76
Total Book Sales $1,196.64

Digital Products

Summer of Design $15.00
D4H Video $178.00
Blog 2 BLING! (Beta) $94.00
Total Digital Products $287.00

Affiliates / Advertising

Active Campaign $523.76
Amazon $114.14
ConvertKit $17.40
Freshbooks $5.00
Hostgator $200.00
Match.com $131.18
SendOwl $3.00
Treehouse $162.80
WP Engine $400.00
Total Affiliates $1,557.28

Love Your Work podcast

Patreon $408.35
Sponsors $800.00
Total LYW Podcast $1,208.35

Writing

Medium $32.83
Total Writing $32.83
GROSS INCOME $4,282.10

Expenses

General

Accounting $250.00
Coworking Space $78.80
Outside Contractors $36.99
Podcast Editing / Publishing $134.00
Software $66.20
Total General $565.99

Advertising

Amazon AMS $470.03
Bargain Booksy $25.00
BookBub $101.16
Facebook $37.03
Total Advertising $633.22

Hosting

Genius Link $10.00
WP Engine $14.00
Namecheap $28.16
SendOwl $24.00
Total Hosting $52.16
TOTAL EXPENSES $1,251.37
NET PROFIT $3,030.73

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This post is filed under Income Reports.