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March 2022 Income Report

April 28 2022 – 09:10pm

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

March’s income was $9,449, down from February’s $10,637. Profits were $6,859, down from February’s $7,759.

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More records (ho hum)

I’ve been dedicating good portion of recent reports to detailing the records I’ve been breaking. I’ll try not to belabor them this month.

So I’ll try to make it short. New records this month are:

It’s been great to report these gains in recent months, after three years of flatlining. But I’m personally getting tired of going through them in detail, so surely you’re getting tired of it, too. The point of these income reports has always been to improve my own thinking, so I don’t have anything to gain writing paragraphs for each of these.

Streaks, I guess

There’s definitely some long streaks in here, but I’m not going to figure out what those are. Primarily because – and this is part of the reason I don’t want to belabor my records – I don’t want to get attached to the streaks. Fuck the streak.

I want to grow my book sales, and sometimes I have to spend money to do that. Sometimes I have to forego revenue or profits one month in the hopes of increasing revenue or profits in the future, or just because I want to do something fun that costs money. And if I’m attached to my streaks, that’s bad, because then I’m making decisions for the wrong reason.

It’s like when I meditated sixty hours in sixty days, then I kept going. I got to day eighty-nine, then I purposely missed a day. Why? Because if I’m attached to some streak, that kind of goes against the idea of meditation.

Now, it’s easier to miss a day of meditation than it is to deliberately break a streak of growth in some twelve-month total or average, so I’m not going to do that on purpose. Just want to de-emphasize it a bit.

Twelve-month ROI record/streak

One record and streak that I didn’t mention before that I’m actually excited about is twelve-month self-published book ROI. I’ve averaged 173% return on ad spend in my book sales over the past twelve months. So for each dollar I spend on advertising, I sell $2.73 in books.

I hadn’t noticed that this ROI has grown every month for the past eight months, going upward from 90%. It’s just nice to see that I’m making significantly more than I’m spending.

Not that it matters, because fuck the streak.

However, this graph of my average self-published book profits is just cool to look at. See?

My ad in…Times Square!

Speaking of things I want to do for fun that cost money, I recently advertised Mind Management, Not Time Management in Times Square!

Cool, right!? Shout-out to my friend, Robbie Abed, who originally gave me this idea, when he did it for one of his client’s books.

A successful media stunt…

Advertising a book in Times Square isn’t a high-ROI activity, especially when you consider this ad was up for a mere fifteen seconds at a time. But, I figured out to get some extra mileage out of it.

I loved the idea of having this book advertised in Times Square. Something about a self-published book up in the most not-self-published kind of place in the world. It’s old-media clout, hacked by new media. Plus, a mind management (not time management) book, in the place where people are the most pressed for time. A place with the word “time” in the name, no less! The whole idea just made me giggle.

I’ve thought a lot about media over the past couple years, as I’ve written several summaries for what I think are the best media studies books. I also recently wrote a summary of Trust Me, I’m Lying, where Ryan Holiday shares some underhanded but creative media manipulation tactics.

…with some help from Tim Ferriss

With a little brainstorming, I realized Tim Ferriss would be the perfect target for my Times Square ad. On his podcast, he asks his guests what message they would put on a billboard for a lot of people to see.

I realized my answer would be Mind Management, Not Time Management. So, I made a version of the ad where I emphasized just the title of the book, a message I figured would also resonate with Tim. Then, I tweeted it, with a carefully-crafted @mention of Tim.

.@tferriss asks podcast guests what message they would put on a giant billboard.

I put my message in Times Square. pic.twitter.com/Cebd1TO3Vu

— ? David Kadavy (@kadavy) April 6, 2022

And, lo and behold, Tim Ferriss retweeted it to his 1.8 million followers!

I doubt I’ll ever achieve the “top performer” status by which Tim chooses his podcast guests, but I’ve always wanted to answer that question. Now I have!

It actually kind of worked out that the ad came through washed out. I had originally tried to run it without my book at the bottom, as I figured the more it looked like an ad, the less likely he’d retweet it. But, that version of the ad was rejected for “poor design” (in other words, lack of clarity). So, I put a tiny book at the bottom, and you can barely see it.

Other wins

I also wrote about this stunt on Medium, where it did pretty well, and shared it as a book marketing idea in some places frequented by authors – who, it happens, tend to be interested in my books.

The day the ad was going to run, I sent an email to my subscribers in the NYC area, promising a free book to anyone who took a picture of the ad. Unfortunately, none were successful. But, based upon that email, I got invited to speak for the New York Public Library, which will be promoted to their email list of one million people. So, I have to credit that opportunity to my Times Square ad, too!

What does it cost to advertise in Times Square?

Most people think it costs a ton to advertise in Times Square. But you can do it for as little as $20. All told, between my tests, and hiring a photographer from Craigslist, I spent about $500 on this stunt (which will be reported next month).

I doubt anyone in Times Square noticed the ad, but the best reason to advertise in Times Square is to have a picture of your ad in Times Square. (Videos are even better, because that’s much harder to fake.)

If you want to try advertising in Times Square – or other billboards around the U.S. – you can do that at Blip Billboards. You’ll get $25 free credit if you use my referral link.

Future stunts?

This was a lot of fun, and I still have some other ideas for advertising in Times Square. One thing I’ve considered is sourcing selfies with the book from my readers, and putting them in the ad. That way, they could be in the ad, too! (And maybe they’d share it with their friends and followers 😉

I think this was my first successful “pseudo-event”. It doesn’t come naturally for me to think of things like this, but I hope to get more practice.

25,000 copies sold of The Heart to Start!

The Heart to Start has now sold over 25,000 copies! I’ve been so focused on the Mind Management, Not Time Management sales, I hardly noticed.

As of the end of March, I had sold 24,893 copies. But I can see that this month, I’ve already sold 146 copies on Kindle, alone. So, that puts it over the 25,000 mark!

Mind Management, Not Time Management approaching 15,000

Mind Management, Not Time Management is getting very close to the 15,000-copy mark. As of the end of March, I’ve sold 14,372 copies. I wish I had one of these graphs for HTS.

If you remember from a previous report, I’ve made a prediction that I’m 70% confident I can cross the 15,000 mark by the end of May. I got a huge boost in March when MMT was a $2.49 Kindle Deal. I sold 1,700 copies! (And made $4,755 in revenue.)

The price is back up to $9.99, so sales have slowed. I’ve sold about 350 copies this month, between Kindle and Amazon paperback. But, I am on-pace to cross the 15,000-copy threshold in May.

BookBub Featured Deal coming up?

After the Kindle Monthly Deal for MMT ended, I submitted it for a BookBub Featured Deal. It was accepted, but they told me they could only do it internationally, because it had “historically been priced at $2.49.”

According to BookBub’s requirements, a deal has to be at least a 50% discount to be eligible. Other than the Kindle Monthly Deal, the only other time MMT has been priced below $3.99 (the point at which it would qualify for a $1.99 deal), was way back last July – during its BookBub Featured Deal!

Apparently BookBub has some other, unpublished requirements, about the amount of time that needs to elapse wherein a book is at least double its deal price. I declined to do an international deal, because that would require me to drop my U.S. royalty rate to 35%, which would cost me even more money, in foregone royalties.

They said I could apply again in early May, and that’s what I’ll do. Hopefully it will be accepted. I fear that its good Amazon rank, leftover from the Monthly Deal, may have been a factor in them accepting it, and the book won’t be ranked as high by the time I apply again. Fingers crossed.

PDF version now available!

I’ve received an email or two requesting a PDF version of Mind Management, Not Time Management. I didn’t have a PDF version available, mostly because Bookfunnel’s support of PDFs is a bit limited. I’m okay with releasing DRM-free books, but that Bookfunnel watermarks customers books with their email addresses at least gives me peace of mind.

Bookfunnel doesn’t add a watermark to PDFs, so I wasn’t comfortable selling a PDF version of the book. Payhip can add a watermark to PDFs, but then that requires two product pages for the same book: One from which an epub is delivered by Bookfunnel, and another from which a PDF is delivered from Payhip.

Additionally, I have to admit I’m lacking in compassion for the PDF crowd. I don’t understand why anyone would prefer the PDF format. It’s an awful reading experience and an even worse note-taking experience. But, I’m probably missing something.

Even when I was aware of Payhip’s PDF capabilities, given the low volume of customers who buy direct, I didn’t feel it was worth it to add this extra complexity of yet another product page. But, I decided to finally release a PDF version for two reasons:

One, I want to promote direct sales more than I do. I want to have a bias towards growing my direct sales that is at least somewhat irrational, given their actual volume.

Two, now that MMT has been out a couple years, I think all the typos are fixed, so that makes the extra “cost” of having yet another place to update the book less severe.

If you’re a PDF person, buy the PDF version of MMT here. Use the code MMTPDF for 40% off – expires a week from now.

Design for Hackers book revenue

I received one of my twice-yearly royalty payments for Design for Hackers this month. I got paid $589 this month. The past couple payments over the past year were $648 and $760. Seems like a slight downward trend, but not bad for a technology book almost eleven years old.

In Phoenix for Creator Economy Expo

I’m in Phoenix the first week of May for the Creator Economy Expo. It looked like a cool event, I visit family in Phoenix a few times a year anyway, and I miss conferences! It’s a nice break to not have to prepare a speech, as I’m not a speaker at this event, but I miss the free travel, conference tickets, and hotel rooms!

My primary motivation is to learn a bit about potential business models with NFTs or creator tokens. I already have some ideas for something I’d like to do with a creator token, but I don’t want to release one for no good reason. Just waiting for the space to develop more, but in the meantime, I’m learning.

ActiveCampaign commissions picking up

ActiveCampaign commissions have been low the past few months. I was always getting paid around $1,000 each month, and occasionally getting paid $2,000 or $3,000, but the past few months have been more like $500, and this month, $342.

But, you’ll see in next month’s report another payment of more than $3,000, and I’ve seen a couple large accounts come in that may keep me back on a steadier $1,000-a-month level. Here’s what my earnings look like over the years.

I don’t know how that happened, as my ActiveCampaign review is getting kind of old. But if you’ve signed up through my affiliate link, thank you! It costs you nothing extra, and is a nice revenue padding for leaner months.

Income

Book Sales

Design for Hackers (all formats) $589
Mind Management, Not Time Management Kindle $2,339
Mind Management, Not Time Management Paperback (Amazon) $813
Mind Management, Not Time Management (non-Amazon) $556
Mind Management, Not Time Management Audiobook $1,048
Digital Zettelkasten Kindle $835
Digital Zettelkasten Wide (non-Kindle) $207
Digital Zettelkasten Audiobook $76
The Heart to Start Kindle $682
The Heart to Start Paperback (Amazon) $360
The Heart to Start “Wide” (non-Amazon) $164
The Heart to Start Audiobook $48
How to Write a Book Kindle $114
How to Write a Book Paperback $264
How to Write a Book “Wide” (non-Amazon) $13
How to Write a Book Audiobook $13
How to Write a Book Spanish (all) $7
Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain (all) $18
Ten Passive Income Ideas $10
Total Book Sales $8,157

Digital Products

D4H Video $0
Total Digital Products $0

Affiliates / Advertising

Active Campaign $342
Alliance of Independent Authors $32
Amazon $152
SendOwl $5
Total Affiliates $531

Love Your Work Podcast

Patreon $232
Total LYW Podcast $232

Services

Clarity $64
Coaching $450
Medium $14
Total Services $529
GROSS INCOME $9,449

Expenses

General

Accounting $438
Outside Contractors $0
Podcast Editing / Publishing $123
Quickbooks $45
Stock photos $24
Total General $630

Advertising

Amazon $1,001
BookBub $67
Influencer Marketing $450
Product Samples $55
Helium 10 $39
Total Advertising $1,612

Hosting

ActiveCampaign $135
Bookfunnel $15
Drafts $2
Dropbox $10
Fathom Analtyics $14
Libsyn $7
Namecheap $40
SendOwl $9
Ulysses $7
WP Engine $96
Zapier $14
Total Hosting $349
TOTAL EXPENSES $2,590
NET PROFIT $6,859

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This post is filed under Income Reports.