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March 2020 Income Report
An audio version of this income report is available to Patreon backers of certain levels »
March’s revenues were $3,099, down from February’s $4,918. Profits were $1,959, down from February’s $4,056.
March was a below-average-profit month, but not too bad. A royalty payment came in for Design for Hackers, ActiveCampaign affiliate revenues were misleadingly low – due to an accounting adjustment, some extra revenue came in from increased self-publishing-coaching efforts, and The Heart to Start had it’s best “wide” month in a long time.
Medellín under lockdown
Medellín has been under a pretty strict lockdown since late March. At first it was going to be a three-day lockdown. In the middle of that three-day lockdown, they extended it to three weeks. In the middle of that three-week lockdown, they extended it two more weeks. As things stand now, the lockdown should end – for the time being – on April 27th.
The lockdown is pretty strict. We’re allowed to leave the house two days a week – according to the last number on our identity cards – and only for buying groceries or doing bank transactions. When we do leave the house, we’re required to wear a mask and gloves.
These aren’t mere suggestions – you can be fined or put in jail for breaking these rules.
So, I can’t even visit that wonderful park nearby that I so enjoy sitting in – and which was the main motivation for moving to a new location. Additionally, I can’t furnish my apartment. Fortunately, I have the essentials – a desk and chair, couch, rug, bed, hammock, and some bar stools. But it will be awhile before I have, say, a bookshelf.
With a new apartment, and Colombia on lockdown for quite awhile longer, this is as close as I can get to having a bookshelf. pic.twitter.com/QRVcz17ubB
— ? David Kadavy (@kadavy) April 16, 2020
These restrictions are much more strict than what many of my American friends are reporting. Apparently people are hanging out in parks and going for walks. I don’t like the more strict lockdown, but I believe it’s necessary. I don’t buy that you have to be within six feet of someone who is coughing or sneezing in order to get this virus. There’s evidence that it’s much more contagious than that.
Infections are starting to slow down here in Colombia. There are about 3,200 confirmed infections, in a country with about 50 million people. Of course, when the restrictions are lifted, infections will simply proliferate again. I’m sure there will be many more quarantine periods after this one.
Thriving in quarantine
However, I’m really thriving in quarantine. This is simply a more intense version of the life I’ve been living for more than a decade – and the life I’ve been living even more so the past four years.
There are no distractions – well, aside from the horrendous death toll of this pandemic.
Honestly, aside from this pandemic, this is one of the best periods of my life I can remember having for many years. Several different things that I’ve been trying to get into place for years are finally in place. I finally have a visa and a more permanent home here in Colombia – something I struggled for for years, I’m finally living with my girlfriend – a relationship I’ve built for years – not to mention the many years of fruitless dating, and I’m finally on the home stretch and even earning money from a book that I’ve been working on for a decade.
This, after my health struggles delayed my move to Colombia for years, after I struggled with visa troubles for years, after my mom unexpectedly died, after I’ve had many false starts and failures and drafts thrown in the dumpster on this book over the years.
So, it’s a little bittersweet. The world is in chaos and my life is going great for the first time in years – so long as I can avoid getting coronavirus myself. Though, I fully expect that to happen eventually.
Best “wide” month for The Heart to Start
Out of nowhere, The Heart to Start had its best “wide” month in more than a year. $114 isn’t much, but it’s more than HTS has made outside of Amazon in any single month in 2019, or 2020.
In 2018, there were many more successful wide months. $315 in December, $138 in August, $249 in July, $196 in June. However, all of those coincided with high spend on BookBub ads. I was also spending a lot on Amazon ads, which probably led to sales outside of Amazon.
I haven’t spent anything on BookBub ads for quite awhile. So, I posit this was the highest-profit “wide” month in HTS’s history. My records aren’t detailed enough to confirm, and it’s not enough money to bother confirming it.
The bulk of that revenue came from an inexplicable 15 copies sold through IngramSpark. In February, I sold 3 copies. In January, 2. I have no idea where those extra sales came from. I just hope it’s not orders from a brick-and-mortar store that ends up returning them. There are fees associated with such returns, which would put me in the hole for those sales.
Ad spend slowly ramping up
I’m continuing to slowly ramp up ad spend. However, I stopped all keyword ads for HTS, so that I can better track the success of Lockscreen ads. For all self-published books, I earned $646 in profit, which is higher than the $577 average over the past year. I spent $65 in ads, a slight increase from last month’s $48. I think that spend will be a several-fold increase for April.
Introducing Mind Management, Not Time Management (Preview Edition)
After a decade-long journey, I finally collected my first payments for my new book, Mind Management, Not Time Management.
The seed of this book came from my struggles in writing Design for Hackers, with little writing experience. I discovered that being productive in today’s creative age isn’t so much about finding the time to produce, but rather the energy.
This book has been through so many false starts and detours, I can hardly believe it’s almost done. The earliest I shared the idea publicly was in my 2012 blog post Mind Management (Not Time Management).
That blog post connected me with Dan Ariely to work on Timeful, which later sold to Google, thus putting elements of my mind management approach in Google Calendar, where those features are now used by millions.
But, you don’t need another app to be productive. True productivity begins and ends in your mind. I pored over research in behavioral science, psychology, and neuroscience. I dug into the habits and routines of hundreds of history’s great creators. I moved to Colombia to completely redesign my life and experiment with getting everything I could out of my creative energy.
I can remember making early attempts at what became this book as far back as 2014. I had a couple of draft attempts which languished. I even wrote an entire book – Getting Art Done – which I ended up trashing.
Getting Art Done had a baby, which became The Heart to Start. But the spirit of GAD lived on to become – after many, many name changes – Mind Management, Not Time Management.
Preview Edition ready!
I have six out of seven chapters drafted, beta readers have read many of those chapters, and I now have two of those chapters available as a “Preview Edition.” I’m selling it using a combination of PayHip and Bookfunnel’s “Delivery Actions,” so readers can easily get the right format for their devices.
I’m selling this Preview Edition for $20. Buyers immediately get the available chapters, and I’ll be sending out additional chapters to those buyers, as those chapters become available. Preview Edition buyers will be thanked in the acknowledgements of the book, and they also have access to Google Docs of the chapters, where they can make comments and corrections, and a “flash” Facebook group, where they can discuss the book with myself and other readers. When the Kindle edition comes out, they’ll get a copy of that, too.
I struggled to find a good model for financing the book’s development early on. It’s hard to give early readers a “deal.” But then I remembered the “deal” could simply be that they get to read the book early, and be a bigger part of the book’s development. The First Edition is due out in the fall.
The timing of this book turns out to be very, very good. Many people are working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak, and that trend won’t likely end any time soon. Many people finally have more control over their time.
The challenge they now face is not to get more out of their time, but to get more out of their minds.
For those with more control over their time, is it easier or harder to get into the right mental state to work?
— ? David Kadavy (@kadavy) April 9, 2020
I’ve essentially been experimenting with social isolation for the past decade, and I’m sharing what I’ve learned in this book!
So far, I’ve earned more than $800 on this Preview Edition. You won’t see that income in this report. I’ll of course report the number in April’s report.
By the way, buy the Preview Edition here.
Royalty payment for Design for Hackers
I got one of my twice-yearly royalty payments for Design for Hackers in March: $813, which is slightly more than September’s payment of $725. It’s not nearly as much as the $2,700 I earned last March, thanks to a foreign-language deal.
But, the $660 payment I received in September 2018 indicates an overall upward trend. Maybe new books really do help sell your old books – even in different genres. Although that September 2018 payment was a sizable drop from the $1,037 I received in March 2018.
In any case, I can’t complain about continuing to receive checks for a book deal I signed almost ten years ago. And for a technology book, no less!
Self-publishing coaching marathon!
I essentially had a self-publishing coaching marathon. For a limited time, I offered free 15-minute self-publishing calls with me over Clarity. For a short period after that, I offered calls at a discounted rate.
I did sixteen free calls, and three paid calls during this period. Damn, that’s almost twenty calls!
I really enjoyed talking to loyal readers, and I was able to help all of them. I got lots of glowing reviews for my Clarity profile, which should help encourage more organic paid call bookings.
This exercise really helped solidify the idea that I have something valuable to offer with my self-publishing experience. It’s a difficult and confusing journey at times, and everyone has a book in them.
I continue to think about how I can double down on this, and bring in another income stream. But, I’m cautious to not let such an endeavor distract me from my most important project right now: My new book.
What form might such a thing take? It could be a course, a course and a book, or more formal coaching arrangements.
The interesting thing about this is this is something that makes my somewhat-irrational dedication to self publishing more rational. Yes, I could probably sell more books with a traditional publishing deal, but by self publishing high-quality books, I gain valuable experience and street cred I can use to help other authors.
Being another trad author isn’t remarkable. Being a successful self-published author would be remarkable.
For now, the Clarity calls are serving as great customer research, and it brings in a bit of revenue, too.
I’m reporting almost $250 in Clarity income in this report. This is for calls I did before the free/discounted promotion. Thanks to the switch to accrual-based accounting for this category, that revenue is being reported sooner than it would have before.
The revenue from discounted calls in the promotion will be reported in April, the month in which they took place.
ActiveCampaign payment low
As I mentioned last month, ActiveCampaign made some adjustments to their affiliate payments. I had a misleadingly-high payment of $2,700 last month, thanks to that adjustment.
This month, I’m reporting a misleadingly-low payment of $643. This, despite earning $1,156 in referrals two months ago – which essentially is how much I would have been paid if they hadn’t made this adjustment.
Logically, my earnings should be back on track for April, with payments hovering around $2,000 – though my payments thus far in the month don’t reflect that. I’ll report next month, of course.
|Summer of Design||$12|
|Total Digital Products||$88|
Affiliates / Advertising
Love Your Work Podcast
|Total LYW Podcast||$284|
|Podcast Editing / Publishing||$254|
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