May 2019 Income Report
An audio version of this income report is available to Patreon backers of certain levels »
May’s revenues were $4,968.21, down from April’s $5,924.06. Profits were $2,812.51, down from April’s $3,330.58.
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May saw me clear up the Colombian visa issue, which I talked about in the April income report. So far in June I’ve taken a trip to the Phoenix area to visit family. Then I went to Chicago to meet up with my mastermind partner and I did a couple of in-person interviews. I’m really excited to get them out there!
I’m back in Medellín after the trip and after the past year of dealing with the visa drama. It’s a strange sensation to not have that extra stress hanging over my head. So far I’m in a more relaxed mood and I can feel better ideas bubbling to the surface.
I’m hopeful for things to come, but I have a newfound sense of perspective, and more cautious expectations.
Still trying to change The Heart to Start paperback subtitle
I may have mentioned before that I’m trying to get the subtitle of The Heart to Start changed on the paperback version. Kindle was easy – I could change the subtitle every day if I wanted to. Audible and the rest of ACX wasn’t too bad – I had to re-record some credits and send a couple of emails.
The paperback, on the other hand, is turning out to be more complicated. You can’t change your book’s subtitle within the KDP dashboard. If you want to change your title, you have to republish your book under a new ISBN. I don’t want to go through the expense of buying a new ISBN. I also don’t like the idea of splitting up any sales data that’s out there about the book into a different ISBN – though it’s possible that wouldn’t be as bad of an option as I’m making it out to be.
I contacted Bowker, who assigned my ISBN, to see if this was a rule of theirs. It is not – you can change the subtitle of your book without changing your ISBN. I also checked to see if I could change the subtitle of my book with Ingram Spark, and it was no problem.
I tried calling KDP support to see if they could make an exception and change my subtitle. Even when talking to a supervisor, they wouldn’t budge, claiming that they literally cannot change the subtitle in their system.
I probed a little further for the reason why they don’t allow this, and did get at least one explanation that made sense: Someone might have a book called SAT Preparation 2018, and then change it to SAT Preparation 2019 when the year changed. Meanwhile, a customer might return the 2018 book, meaning that someone ordering the 2019 book might get a 2018 book instead.
The weird thing is that the cover graphic that shows for my paperback on Amazon has the new subtitle on it. That seems like a poor customer experience, though certainly not as bad as getting a 2018 book when you think you’re getting a 2019 book.
I had figured that there was some good reason I hadn’t thought of for why Amazon wouldn’t let you change the subtitle on your paperback. But I assumed that the locking of the subtitle within the KDP dashboard was to prevent such cases, and that if you called them, there would be some way certain representatives would have of changing a subtitle when it’s clearly not confusing and actually improves the customer experience. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
That left me with the option of distributing through Ingram Spark. My subtitle is changed on Ingram Spark. If I changed out the paperback being distributed on Amazon, I figured then the subtitle would change to reflect that. But the Amazon representative I talked to explained that it might be otherwise. The Amazon page is dedicated to a particular ISBN, and it’s possible that metadata isn’t changing no matter what.
So when I called Ingram Spark to see if I could begin distributing through Amazon with them, I ran into a snag. They said they would need to talk to their contact at Amazon to see if the metadata would change. It’s possible that they can get the metadata to change without me needing to distribute through them. I suppose it’s also possible that, even if I do distribute through them, the metadata won’t change. I think the middle ground is that it may take six weeks for the metadata to change. The updated cover that I’m seeing on Amazon may be from Ingram Spark already updating the information. I’m confused. I don’t know for sure how all of this works, but it’s an interesting adventure trying to change a few words in your book’s metadata.
Stabilizing business, thanks to systems
I’m getting better at delegating things in the business, and creating systems to make that delegating easier. I’m starting to build up a nice library of screencasts and notes about processes within the business that make it easy to hand tasks off to any assistant, or simply to aid myself in doing certain processes with less mental effort.
The idea is to spend a lot less time in busy work, and to be able to output a steady stream of creative work, such as podcast episodes and Love Mondays newsletters. The idea is also to have a good amount of unstructured time.
The variable money value of time
I’ve been thinking lately about the variable money value of time. If creative work is divided up by mental states, and you can only spend so much time in each mental state per day or per week, that makes some blocks of time or mental states extremely valuable, while other blocks of time or mental states are less valuable.
But even while time spent in one mental state may be incredibly valuable, there may be a point of diminishing returns. There may be a point at which it doesn’t do you much good to free up more time for Generate mental state work. You’ve had as much time in that state as you can really stand.
There also may be certain mental states that aren’t very valuable, but eliminating tasks that require those mental states may be deceptively valuable because it may free up time in a valuable mental state. If you can outsource an Administrate mental task, and it’s quite expensive, it may be worth it if it helps you salvage time in the Generate mental state.
Additionally, time spend mind wandering or simply doing nothing or at least not feeling pressure to do anything in particular may be exceedingly valuable. I find that the more time I spend in this state of reverie, the higher-quality ideas I have. For example, my very first post on mind management, which I did during a week of want, led me to working with Dan Ariely, on a company that sold to Google. To this day, the idea of mind management is one of my most personally useful ideas, not to mention that it’s an idea that I often hear others say has helped them.
Goal: To be un-rushed
As I’m thinking of the variable money value of my time, I’m trying to place an emphasis on spending more time in an un-rushed, relatively relaxed and interruptible state. I still place a high value on focused and uninterrupted writing in the first couple hours of the day, but I’m trying to keep the rest of my day as loose as I comfortably can. It certainly makes me happier.
Over the past year it’s been hard to relax even if I did have the time to do it, because I had my visa issues hanging over my head all of the time, in addition to having lots of tasks to attend to to try to resolve that issue.
At some point in time, it was a status symbol to be a busy person. As described in Tim Kreider’s famous essay, Lazy: A Manifesto, I think we all know someone who runs around like a chicken with their head cut off and still doesn’t get much done, all while exuding a sense of self importance. I think we all are that person once in awhile, if we aren’t careful.
I think more and more it will be a status symbol to be un-rushed and un-busy. The type of person you can actually call on the phone without first making an appointment. I know some people who are this way, and who are still financially secure, if not wildly successful, and I find myself in awe and envy whenever I witness evidence of this fact about them.
I aspire to have more time in my days where I’m un-rushed, and where I can follow my whims in a relatively unstructured manner. Not only because it makes me happier, but because I sense that it’s ultimately more productive. But you have to know how to turn ideas into money, and you need the patience to wait for truly great ideas to come, and for the time it sometimes takes for truly great ideas to realize the investment of unstructured time it took to achieve them.
Excited about Creative Systems course
As I’m formalizing more systems, I’m documenting my thought process for the Creative Systems course I’m working on. The process of creating the course itself is making my own systems better.
The idea of Creative Systems is to show you how to turn tiny, repeatable, easily-doable actions into increasingly bigger creative works. You can synchronize smaller processes that lead to products, such that they feed one another.
For example, my reading habit produces highlights. The best highlights become tweets. The best tweets become Love Mondays emails, and blog posts, and podcast episodes. These all build together into ideas that become books or courses.
By having small repeatable processes that build up into larger products, you can set things in place that help you output more creative work with less stress, and less effort. You then have more time and energy leftover to be unstructured and have bigger ideas.
I’m still working on an outline of the course, but the information that’s coming out of the process is good. It’s helping me think more clearly about my own systems, and I think this course will help a lot of people.
The idea behind this course is to workshop some ideas that are in the book I’m working on. I want to get a course out before the book this time – you know, the “right” way to write a book.
Comped books for “advertising”
You might notice a line item under “advertising” for “comped books.” I’ve decided to have a keener eye for opportunities to help others share my work with their audiences.
So when I see someone with an audience who likes my work, I try to reach out and send them some HTS copies to give away to their audience (I picked this idea up from Stephen Pressfield’s people, who often do the same).
If you have an audience and would like some HTS copies to give away to them, drop me a line at david at kadavy dot net.
Dropping Patreon revenue
This is the first month you’re really seeing the drop in the Patreon revenue. Some of the big backers, who started backing at the same time, coincidentally stopped backing at the same time.
As far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with the show. I got a big spike in Patreon backing when I was having my Colombian visa troubles. Perhaps some of that support was temporary, and is now waining.
As such, in April, we earned $536.33 on Patreon. In May, $313.32. I’m still brainstorming, in the background, how I might put together a push to add more value to the membership and get more members.
Logo Mastery sales
You won’t see Logo Mastery sales reflected in this May report, but I had the course open for a bit of the beginning of June. I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but I booked somewhere a little shy of $2,000 in revenue, I believe.
I certainly could have sold more if I had been more aggressive, or offered something that involved more hands-on work from me, but that’s good considering how little involvement is required from me to support the course.
I also got a good feel for the Teachable platform, in preparation for offering the Creative Systems course on the same platform, which was the whole point. As I work on the Creative Systems course, I don’t feel a mental block in that area, which is good.
How to Write a Book on Kobo
You’ll see the first ever non-Amazon revenue for How to Write a Book in this month’s report. I pulled WAB from Kindle Unlimited back in March, and published directly with Kobo.
The idea at the time was to be eligible for Kobo’s marketing opportunities. But thus far, those opportunities aren’t as plentiful as I had hoped. The one promotional opportunity that I did apply for was rejected.
It does make sense to have WAB “wide,” though. The book ranks well for search terms that customers of any store would be likely to search for, it keeps me out of KU legal gray area with having similar content published for free as my blog post, How to Write a Book, and HTS is wide, so it gives readers another opportunity to discover my work.
If I had a magic wand, I would publish WAB on all non-Amazon outlets using PublishDrive right now. As I’ve said before, they have much better reporting than Draft2Digital. I think my mental block is that I can’t decide whether it’s worth the extra complexity to have WAB directly published to Kobo. Even if it’s not, I suspect figuring out how to replace that with a PublishDrive-published book would take some time and mental effort.
At least I’ve taken the first step in writing about it. That will probably seep in deeply enough to inspire eventual action.
|The Heart to Start Kindle||$875.26|
|The Heart to Start Paperback (Amazon)||$420.06|
|The Heart to Start “Wide” (non-Amazon)||$33.00|
|The Heart to Start Audiobook||$106.22|
|How to Write a Book Kindle||$317.51|
|How to Write a Book Paperback||$216.26|
|How to Write a Book “Wide” (non-Amazon)||$9.79|
|How to Write a Book Audible||$39.56|
|How to Write a Book Spanish Kindle||$2.52|
|How to Write a Book Spanish Paperback||$0.19|
|Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain Kindle||$13.93|
|Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain Paperback||$3.84|
|Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain Audible||$2.76|
|Total Book Sales||$2,040.90|
|Summer of Design||$15.00|
|Blog 2 BLING! (Beta)||$235.00|
|Total Digital Products||$399.00|
Affiliates / Advertising
|Match.com free trial||$133.46|
Love Your Work Podcast
|Total LYW Podcast||$463.32|
|Podcast Editing / Publishing||$240.00|
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