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May 2022 Income Report
An audio version of this income report is available to Patreon backers of certain levels »
May’s income was $5,812, down from April’s $10,205. Profits were $2,394, down from April’s $6,412.
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Lowest revenue/profit in over a year
This is the lowest revenue I’ve reported in just over a year. Last May, I was just above this, at $5,834. Last April, a bit under, at $5,007. This is the lowest profit I’ve reported since February of 2021, when I netted $2,208.
Long streaks broken
I’ve said that I can’t be afraid to make decisions that break my streak of records, and I’ve done just that. Break my streak, that is. I can’t be sure whether any one or many decisions led to this.
Many streaks ended this month:
- An 11-month streak of record twelve-month income. The streak started at $72,053, and peaked last month at $109,215. This month, it’s $109,194.
- An 11-month streak of record twelve month profit. The streak started at $44,896, and peaked last month at $70,533. This month, it’s $68,697.
- An 11-month streak of twelve-month average profit. The streak started at $3,741, and peaked last month at $5,878. This month, it’s $5,725.
- An 11-month streak of twelve-month self-published book profit. The streak started at $19,814, and peaked last month at $48,023. This month, it’s $47,483.
- An 11-month streak in twelve-month average self-published book profit. The streak started at $1,651, and peaked last month at $4,002. This month, it’s $3,957.
I know such long streaks and so much growth are cause for celebration, but I have to admit it’s a little bit of a downer to have a down month. It makes me think, Oh no, I hope I don’t to go back to profiting $3,000 a month! Yet I know I’m working in Extremistan, not Mediocristan, so I can’t measure success solely on a down month.
Self-publishing revenue streak maintained
The one streak I did maintain is a 10-month streak of 12-month self-published book revenue. That streak started at $48,095, and as of this month, I’ve made a record $77,524 in revenue on self-published books in the past year.
This could be a good thing, as I emphasize my book revenue over everything else. Maybe it’s okay I broke my profit streak, as I spent more on Advertising this month. Still, the “hockey stick” graph of average book profits has reached its limit, for now.
Why this drop in revenue and profits? I have a few theories:
- MMT back at regular price. Mind Management, Not Time Management has been back at its regular price of $9.99 for more than two months now. Prior to that, it was a Kindle Deal for March, at $2.49. Prior to that, I had it priced at $3.99 for a while, to drive more sales.
- No new books in a year. It’s been a year now since I released Digital Zettelkasten, which actually marked the point at which my sales really took off. The first few months, I was making a few thousand a month from sales of that book. Those sales have slowly declined. This month, I grossed “only” $947.
- Advertising spend. I spent a bit more on Advertising this month, and some of that was for influencer campaigns that take a while to happen, and to lead to sales. In fact, some of that has bore fruit so far in June, and will show up in the next report.
- Summer. Summer coming, “after” a pandemic. Do people really want to buy and read self-help books? Sales should pick up again in the fall.
- Variance. So I had a fantastic twelve months. Sometimes you have a streak. Sometimes you don’t. Slow months are to be expected.
I did have an unusually high Accounting expense this month, as I finally paid for getting my taxes done. Low ActiveCampaign affiliate revenue isn’t a factor, as I made a solid $1,133 this month.
Overall, it’s good I had the streaks, but I don’t want to latch onto continual growth as my ultimate goal. Nonetheless, I am keeping an eye on it. I feel like I have a nice “snowball” of books in my back catalog, and I look forward to adding another book to it.
MMT BookBub Featured Deal accepted!
I just got news that Mind Management, Not Time Management has been accepted for a BookBub Featured Deal. This will be the second deal, but the first time it will have a deal in all markets at the same time.
If you recall from previous reports, MMT was accepted in April, but then disqualified for BookBub’s internal pricing rules, following the Kindle Deal. Since then, it’s been chosen merely for an international deal, which I declined. I’ve since submitted with a note that I’m only interested in a U.S. deal at the least. I was asked to re-submit a couple weeks ago, as the calendar was apparently full, so I re-submitted, and this time it happened.
I’m glad I held out for a worldwide deal. I’ve come a long way from getting rejected fourteen times in a row, when I would have taken whatever deal I could get. I didn’t compromise on the type of deal I wanted, and trusted that since BookBub’s editors had already signaled interest in the book, and they’re a business that wants money, they would eventually find room.
MMT will be $1.99 on July 24th–30th. The BookBub email will go out on the 24th, which is a Sunday. That’s actually probably a pretty good day for shooting for best-seller lists, but I attempted WSJ last time, and lost money on the deal. I think I’ll opt to maximize profits instead.
I’ve already paid the $1,339 for the deal, so that expense will show up in June’s report, with the sales impact showing up in July. I’ve already scheduled the pricing change in PublishDrive for non-Amazon retailers. I’ll also be marking down The Heart to Start and Digital Zettelkasten during this deal – to $2.99, which of course is still in Amazon’s 70% royalty plan, so will maximize profits, while giving an attractive deal to whoever buys MMT.
When will Mind Management, Not Time Management reach 20,000 copies sold?
This will help accelerate the upward trajectory of the MMT sales graph, which is currently flattening just a bit.
So, will July’s BookBub deal bring MMT over the 20,000-copy mark? As of the end of May, I’ve sold 15,610 copies. Just through Amazon, so far in June, I’ve sold 431. There’s also a Chirp deal going on for HTS which will drive more MMT audiobook sales than usual (recently averaging about 250 a month).
So, in June, I’ll easily cross into 16,000-copy territory. There’s maybe a 70% chance that will get as high as 16,500. In my previous MMT BookBub Featured Deal, I sold more than 2,700 copies, but I spent nearly $4,000 in additional advertising. However, that was a U.S.-only deal, and this one is worldwide.
So, I’m about 70% confident the MMT Featured Deal will sell at least 2,000 ebooks. I’m 40% confident it will sell 2,500, and 20% confident it will sell 3,000 or more.
The deal will be running for the final week of the month, and there’s the whole rest of the month before that to sell books. If I need to sell 3,500 books in July to cross the 20k threshold, that’s cutting it close. So, I’m 40% confident MMT will cross the 20,000-copy threshold by the end of July.
Should I count translation sales right away?
I’m not sure how I’ll count translation sales for MMT. I recently sold the Arabic rights, and that deal was for 2,000 copies, the royalties for which should be paid to me soon. (Rather than an “advance”, this deal was just a set number of copies).
Should I call those copies “sold?” I’m unlikely to get much visibility into how many of those copies get sold, unless they sell them all, in which case, they’re contractually obligated to pay me for another chunk of books. I could go with the method of calling the first pile of books sold in the event an additional pile of books are purchased. But, foreign-rights deals are notoriously flakey. In other words, even if they sell 10,000, will I ever know the difference?
After thinking aloud, it seems reasonable to add the 2,000 copies on. I’ll think about it, and of course also wait for the cash money to hit my bank account.
Mind Management, Not Time Management back in Great on Kindle
One thing that was probably holding back MMT sales was that it was out of the Great on Kindle program for a long time. Looking at my email history, it may have been removed in November.
Adventures in Kindle quality warnings
The reason was there were some quality warnings. The standards seem to be a moving target, as display technology on the various Kindle models change. This quality warning was due to the resolution of the images in the book. I had them at about 600 pixels wide, and they needed to be something like 1200, and also have some CSS code indicating what percentage of the page they should take up.
I think I had gotten confused by the quality warnings dashboard, and so didn’t notice MMT had these warnings. I had a couple initially, but they only applied to a couple images in the book. I had fixed them a long time ago, and the book was accepted into the program.
When I finally looked at the quality warnings dashboard again a few weeks ago, I saw more warnings for MMT. Seemingly randomly, a bunch of other images were selected – and other images that didn’t meet the same criteria were oddly not selected. So, I just changed all images to meet those standards. This is one of those cases where I’m grateful for my graphics and CSS skills. It was an easy fix.
The virtuous cycle that is Great on Kindle
Now, MMT is back in the program. Great on Kindle is a bit of a virtuous cycle: When people buy a book in the program (for example, yours), they get a credit – often about twenty percent – toward another book in the program. Amazon reminds customers of this credit, sometimes on the website, sometimes over email.
So, customers go looking for other books in the program. If your book is in the program there’s extra incentive to buy your book to earn the credit, and once a customer has the credit, they’re motivated to use it to buy one of your books. Amazon gives them this credit, but as far as I can tell, you earn the same (I could be wrong, but in any case, it’s still motivation to buy your book over others not in the program).
Submit a SXSW talk?
I’ve been considering submitting a talk for next year’s SXSW – around the topic of “mind management, not time management.” I’m not sure why. I don’t love public speaking, nor preparing talks, but if I were going to do one, no better place.
I definitely would like to visit Austin sometime in the next year, though during SXSW is probably the worst/most overwhelming time. Then again, it may be a good time to see lots of people I haven’t seen in a long time. I don’t know – do cool people go to SXSW anymore?
The Panel Picker is open June 28–July 24th, so I have some time to noodle on the idea. I’ve spoken there twice, and had great feedback, so I’d have a decent chance of my talk being accepted.
Thank you for having me on your podcast!
Thank you Aun Abdi for having me on the Book Talk Today podcast.
|Mind Management, Not Time Management Kindle||$1,122|
|Mind Management, Not Time Management Paperback (Amazon)||$732|
|Mind Management, Not Time Management (non-Amazon)||$145|
|Mind Management, Not Time Management Audiobook||$525|
|Digital Zettelkasten Kindle||$777|
|Digital Zettelkasten Wide (non-Kindle)||$120|
|Digital Zettelkasten Audiobook||$51|
|The Heart to Start Kindle||$227|
|The Heart to Start Paperback (Amazon)||$157|
|The Heart to Start “Wide” (non-Amazon)||$31|
|The Heart to Start Audiobook||$75|
|How to Write a Book Kindle||$60|
|How to Write a Book Paperback||$121|
|How to Write a Book “Wide” (non-Amazon)||$3|
|How to Write a Book Audiobook||$3|
|How to Write a Book Spanish (all)||$9|
|Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain (all)||$2|
|Ten Passive Income Ideas||$6|
|Total Book Sales||$4,164|
|Blog 2 BLING!||$0|
|Total Digital Products||$0|
Affiliates / Advertising
Love Your Work Podcast
|Total LYW Podcast||$222|
|Podcast Editing / Publishing||$123|