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June 2022 Income Report

July 26 2022 – 06:14pm

An audio version of this income report is available to Patreon backers of certain levels »

June’s income was $9,112, up from May’s $5,812. Profits were $3,607, up from May’s $2,394.

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This was a solid-revenue month – about average over the past year. Profits, however, were considerably below the average of $5,321. I’m not worried, however. I attribute much of this low profit to some expenses that will cause growth in future months.

Continued self-published book revenue streak

This month did keep up a streak of records for 12-month self-published book revenue. I mis-reported this streak last month as a twelve-month streak – I somehow missed that there was a one-month break in the streak in October of 2021.

The streak is actually seven months. It started in November at $51,600, and over the past twelve months, I’ve made $77,922 in revenue from self-published books.

Lots of book-advertising expenses

There are a lot of Advertising expenses being reported in this month that won’t have an impact until future months. I paid $1,339 to BookBub in June, for a BookBub deal that is underway in late July (as I write this). I paid $375 for a Kirkus review, due in late August. I also paid $149 for BookLife’s PW Select package, which primarily consists of an ad in the print edition of Publisher’s Weekly – debuting this week.

That’s $1,863 in Advertising that doesn’t impact June’s numbers. So if that were taken out of the expenses this month, it’d be an average-profit month.

Trying some old-school promotion

Speaking of Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly, these are a couple promotional experiments that are kind of old-school. I lucked out with The Heart to Start, in that it got a free review in Publisher’s Weekly, simply through submitting through BookLife.

I don’t know precisely the impact that PW coverage had on HTS’s sales, but it is an authoritative quote to have, which may have helped it be accepted for a BookBub Featured Deal (it was rejected eleven times, then after four times including the PW review, it was finally accepted). I know the PW review prompted at least one librarian to stock the book.

BookLife’s “PW Select” for a Publisher’s Weekly ad

I wasn’t so lucky with Mind Management, Not Time Management to get a free PW review. But I continue to receive strong signals that the book is well-received, and has even more potential. So, I figured I’d give it the boost it deserves, and put it in front of the PW audience. So, I spent $149, which includes a number of things, but the main feature is a bit of an ad in the July 25th issue of Publisher’s Weekly.

booklife pw select publishers weekly ad in contextdetail of booklife pw select publishers weekly ad

Rolling the dice with a Kirkus review

Kirkus reviews carry a lot of weight in old-school publishing circles, such as libraries, but the general consensus amongst self-published authors is that it’s a waste to spend $375. Many report getting vague or even harshly-negative reviews. $375 can buy you some editing help, a better cover design, or more-targeted Amazon ads, most people reason.

However, the actual quality of self-published books is of course all over the board, and I’m receiving signals that MMT is high-quality. It’s true there are better ways to spend $375 early in the life of a book, but once it’s been proven, I posit it may be worth it. I’m curious to see how it goes, and I have $375 to spend. I at the very least hope I can get a coherent quote of at-least-lukewarm valence to include on the Amazon page, with a “—Kirkus” behind it. That’s if I’m fortunate enough to get a positive review.

Mind Management, Not Time Management only $1.99 in a BookBub Featured Deal

Mind Management, Not Time Management is currently in a BookBub Featured Deal, selling for only $1.99 on Amazon Kindle and (almost) everywhere else. The deal went out on Sunday, July 24th, and I plan to keep the price low through the 30th.

Warning: Never trust PublishDrive’s Price Promotions!

About a couple hundred dollars worth of my BookBub promotional fee went to waste, because PublishDrive’s Price Promotions once again failed. They successfully changed the prices of several wide stores, but did not change the prices of the Apple Books version. (I manually changed the pricing on Amazon, to which I publish directly.)

The last promotion I did began on a Wednesday. I scheduled my price to change on a Sunday, but because of a PublishDrive bug, the price didn’t change until Monday.

This time, my promotion was on Sunday. I scheduled my price to change on Friday, but as I write this on Monday, the Apple Books price still hasn’t been changed (as of Tuesday afternoon, it’s finally changed!). I’ve given up on PublishDrive’s nearly non-existent support, and have manually changed the price of the book, so am hoping those changes will go through so I can do some more promotion.

PublishDrive is fine for saving time to make your books available on all platforms, and their reporting is much better than Draft2Digital’s, but if it’s important, do not trust PublishDrive. I should have learned this by now, after they acted as if a bunch of Kobo sales never happened, and had the pricing scheduling bug I mentioned earlier. Their promotion scheduling feature is there to check a box and attract you as a customer, at best. They do not appear to care whether this feature works.

The very idea of being able to schedule a pricing promotion is to be able to “set it and forget it.” I naively assumed that’s what I could do, and because I was busy with other things, I didn’t check my price on Friday when PD’s support may have been available (not likely), or I at least could have manually changed the pricing. Yes, I should have known better by now, but PublishDrive still dropped the ball in a big way.

How to prevent future deals from being ruined by PublishDrive

In the future, I will:

I asked the 20 Books to 50k Facebook community what they do, and was surprised to learn that many authors change their prices as long as weeks before their BookBub Featured Deal. You don’t always have that much time after being accepted, but at least one author said that since Amazon rankings are based upon longer lengths of time than they used to be, this can increase your maximum ranking when your deal hits.

Leave PublishDrive?

I considered pulling MMT entirely from PublishDrive, but I already have a base of reviews and ratings I’ve built up over two years, and I would lose those if I changed to direct. I will, however, publish my next major book directly to Apple Books.

Like I say, PublishDrive is fine to save a lot of time, but you can’t take them seriously for supporting you on the timing of pricing promotions. They have never shown any remorse to me for failing to follow through on their promises.

I worry this will be their downfall, which would mean my books would have to be republished, and I’d lose many reviews in the process. But, I don’t plan to take action now. I’ll just hope that doesn’t happen and deal with it if it does.

One thing I should have learned by now is nearly every vendor will make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes will be as egregious as this one. Identify possible weak points in your plans, and double and triple check.

How much will I lose due to PublishDrive’s negligence?

So, how much money am I losing due to PublishDrive’s negligence? Between my wasted portion of BookBub fee and forgone revenues from not having Apple Books included in the promotional email, I estimate around $500.

Apple Books revenue made up 17% of my revenue for my last MMT deal. 17% of the $1,339 fee I paid to BookBub comes to $277. In my last MMT deal, I made $360 in revenue from Apple Books. If I assume my Apple Books revenue will be 80% lower from not being included in the email, that’s another $288 in forgone revenue. Probably not enough to call a lawyer, but enough to tell you do not trust PublishDrive when it really matters. In the meantime, PublishDrive is aware that their mistake caused these losses. I’m still waiting to hear back on whether they’ll do anything to make up for it.

What about my predictions for this promo?

So, with no Apple Books promo in the BookBub email, how will this affect the predictions I’ve made about the performance of the promotion? This failure to get an Apple Books promotion is a bit of a Black Swan, but that’s part of why you make predictions according to percent-confidence.

My most conservative prediction was seventy-percent confidence I’d sell 2,000 ebook copies throughout the promotion.

At the time of this writing, on Monday afternoon, I’ve sold 1,012 copies. I sold 769 copies on the day of the deal. In the previous promotion (where I spent a lot on supplemental ads), I sold 1,287 copies, though I had sent an email promotion the previous day.

Including Monday, there are six days left in the promotion. After the last promotion, I sold about 75% of the books in the six days after the promotion as I had sold the day of the BookBub email. If I extrapolated that, I’d sell 576 more copies in the six days after the BookBub email, bringing me to a total of 1,345 books. Way short of the 2,000 mark.

Some factors that will probably bring that number higher: When the Apple Books price finally changes, I’ll hopefully get a boost in sales. When I send out an email to my list, I’ll hopefully get a boost in sales. So, maybe we’re looking at around 1,600 copies. Still way short, and I’m not sure getting Apple Books included would even have been enough to cross that 2,000 mark.

So, I’m going to add a prediction of 30% confidence that I’ll cross the 2,000-copy mark (down from 70%). Furthermore, I’m now only 10% confident I’ll cross 2,500 (down from 40%), and 3% confident I’ll cross 3,000 (down from 20%).

My predictions for 20,000 copies?

What about the prediction that I’ll cross the 20,000 copies sold mark for MMT by the end of July? I’ve predicted 40% confidence for achieving this. (If you’re the person who marked this prediction correct, please change that to “Unknown”. I didn’t realize by making it public others could mark it so, and you probably did it by mistake).

As of the end of June, I had sold 16,372 copies. So far in July, I think I’ve sold about 1,600 copies, with only a few days left. So unless I get a positive Black Swan that causes a couple thousand more copies to sell this week, I will not cross that threshold. Since someone already marked the prediction as correct, I can’t record another one on PredictionBook, but I now give it a 3% chance. In fact, it may take two or three more months before I cross 20,000 copies.

David Perell Interview coming soon

For the first time in two years, I’ve interviewed someone for my podcast! I’m really impressed with the work of David Perell, and so wanted to learn more about him. Fortunately, he agreed to be on the show.

I spent a couple months preparing, including going through his massive list of links he shares on his newsletter. We finally had our conversation last week. The raw interview is already up for some Patreon backers.

This will be the first-ever interview released as a video on my YouTube channel. Look out for it sometime in…September, I think.

Does this mean I’ll be doing lots more interviews for the podcast? No. I hand-picked David, took my time in researching him, and am taking my time editing the conversation. This, along with the video format, is an experiment. Only under extraordinary circumstances would interviews become a regular thing again.

There’s maybe one other person I want to interview, but that’s it for now. I’ll continue to ignore pitches. I don’t have the bandwidth to acknowledge them.

High accounting expense

Aside from the extra advertising expense, another expense bringing my profits down this month are Accounting expenses. I paid $1,099 for Accounting in June. I thought the high expenses had passed from tax season last month, but I was wrong. Now I think they really have.

Alliance for Independent Authors income

I was surprised to see how much I earned from referrals to Alliance of Independent Authors this month. I made $279, probably mostly from my IngramSpark promo code page. If not, and you’ve signed up through my affiliate link from reading about them in these income reports, thank you! The membership is worth it for the IngramSpark discount alone.

No SXSW talk

I mulled it over, and I’m not going to submit a talk for SXSW this year. It sounds like fun, but not fun enough, and enough of a hassle to cancel out that fun. It would’ve been a good marketing opportunity, but there’s more to life than that.

Free 15-minute Calendly chats

Following the lead of Nir Eyal, I’m experimenting with a small block of free 15-minute chats you can book through my Calendly. This is a tiny experiment – I’ve opened four slots. I quietly put the link on my about page a few days ago, and so far, no takers one taker. If you’re interested, book a call now! You can ask me/talk with me about anything. If the spots are all full by the time you read this, remember, you can still book calls with me on Clarity, and Superpeer.

Thank you for having me on your podcasts!

Thank you for having me on your podcasts! Thank you to Ben Henley-Smith at Cord.co’s Best Work podcast.

Income

Book Sales

Mind Management, Not Time Management Kindle $972
Mind Management, Not Time Management Paperback (Amazon) $2,568
Mind Management, Not Time Management (non-Amazon) $568
Mind Management, Not Time Management Audiobook $436
Digital Zettelkasten Kindle $798
Digital Zettelkasten Wide (non-Kindle) $109
Digital Zettelkasten Audiobook $107
The Heart to Start Kindle $227
The Heart to Start Paperback (Amazon) $175
The Heart to Start “Wide” (non-Amazon) $52
The Heart to Start Audiobook $126
How to Write a Book Kindle $83
How to Write a Book Paperback $89
How to Write a Book “Wide” (non-Amazon) $6
How to Write a Book Audiobook $17
How to Write a Book Spanish (all) $7
Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain (all) $4
Ten Passive Income Ideas $6
Total Book Sales $6,348

Digital Products

White Hot Course $39
Total Digital Products $39

Affiliates / Advertising

Active Campaign $2,068
Amazon $58
Alliance of Independent Authors $279
Hostgator $100
Total Affiliates $2,505

Love Your Work Podcast

Patreon $220
Total LYW Podcast $220

Services

Clarity $0
Medium $0
Total Services $0
GROSS INCOME $9,112

Expenses

General

Accounting $1,099
Outside Contractors $0
Podcast Editing / Publishing $123
Quickbooks $45
Total General $1,267

Advertising

Amazon $2,041
BookBub $1,339
Publisher’s Weekly $149
Kirkus $375
Influencer Marketing $0
Product Samples $0
Total Advertising $3,904

Hosting

ActiveCampaign $135
Bookfunnel $15
Drafts $2
Dropbox $10
Fathom Analtyics $14
Libsyn $7
Namecheap $0
SendOwl $9
Typeform $26
Ulysses $7
WP Engine $96
Zapier $14
Total Hosting $335
TOTAL EXPENSES $5,505
NET PROFIT $3,607

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This post is filed under Income Reports.