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November 2023 Income Report

December 29 2023 – 03:57pm

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November’s revenue was $5,157, up from October’s $4,874. Profits were $3,143, down from October’s $3,935.

Unexceptional revenue and profits

The unexceptional revenue and profits continue. The days when I had a year-long streak of records are a distant memory. In some ways, I should expect this: I haven’t been advertising much, I’ve kept the price of the MMT Kindle edition pretty high, and it’s been a long time since I shipped something new.

Not getting paid for my day-to-day

The bulk of my day-to-day work lately has been without compensation. Every day, I’m getting up and writing some words for my next book, Finish What Matters. I’ve been working on it in some form about three years – since the launch of MMT. It’s been my nearly singular focus the past few months.

That’s where most my time and energy has been going lately, and I haven’t earned a cent directly from it. I have to remind myself once in a while that I’ve earned nearly $140,000 from Mind Management, Not Time Management in the three years since it’s release. If I’m lucky, the work I’m putting in today will lead to similar earnings in future years. Additionally, having a completed trilogy could have power law effects on the sales of the books within.

Why I’m not shipping regularly

To focus on this book, I’ve also cut out many creative activities I did previously, such as the bi-weekly podcast episodes/articles, and almost all social media activity. The main motivation for cutting these out has been that in my equation for “making for what making makes me,” the ROI isn’t there at this moment.

I’ve workshopped most the main ideas I want to talk about in Finish What Matters, and the value of answering what questions I can answer by sharing more of my process work publicly isn’t higher than the level of distraction and second-guessing that comes along with staying on a shipping schedule and sharing and receiving public feedback on my ideas.

Dovetailing with this is that the stage I’m at in writing doesn’t lend itself to public feedback. My current questions are shifting from ones of structure to ones of just doing the work. Shipping smaller units such as articles or social media posts doesn’t help with the former and is downright detrimental to the latter.

It’s a strange feeling to not be shipping on a regular basis, and to be mostly unengaged with social media. Absent from my life is the steady stream of dopamine hits I once received from these two activities. When I was shipping regularly, there was always a deadline pulling me along, and there was always that exciting feeling of putting an idea into the world. When I was doing social media regularly, there was always that exciting feeling of watching the feedback roll in.

Filling the dopamine void

What’s strange about that feeling is, within the void once occupied by the dopamine hits, is numbness. At moments I’m convinced I’m making a huge mistake, letting my audience go cold and letting myself be forgotten. At other moments I feel confident in my hunch that by channeling the energy I would use for steady shipping into writing this book, my ultimate payoff will be higher. That those who will eagerly pay money to read my next book and those waiting for my next article or social media post are mostly different people. Or, that once I release a new book, it won’t be hard to regain social media attention and sell it. After all, I’ll have a ton of good ideas to share in condensed form.

Another feeling I have is one of urgency to get this done, so I can do the next thing. At times I have to actively suppress the ideas that come to me for other projects. At other times I invite myself to engage with those ideas, concluding that suppressing ideas sometimes uses up more of my “juice” than jotting them down.

There’s a method to the madness of opening up a void of numbness, sometimes through brute force. It’s that by sitting within that numbness, I get feelings of excitement and engagement that are purely directed at the book (e.g. “The Pump”, as mentioned in HTS). Much of the time I still feel like the mouse drowning in cream, but once in a while I get a feeling of tension – a feeling of pushing up against something solid – from the areas of cream that are closer than the others to becoming butter.

The end is in sight?

Those moments are becoming more frequent lately. I’ve got a good-enough structure and have thrown enough drafts in the fire that the past couple weeks I’ve been able to live by the rule that helped me bring MMT home in the midst of a life thrown into chaos: Spend the first moments of the day generating a modest number of well-written words (then relish in having made some progress).

On the last year of working on MMT, that was 250 words, sometimes in as little as fifteen minutes. I’m trying to attack this one a little more aggressively, hoping for about 500, even if it takes a couple hours.

Like a JPEG being downloaded by a dial-up modem, I can see the book in low-fidelity. If I were a linear person, I could probably write a whole outline. But I’m always looking for that feeling of discovering something just a little out of reach of my immediate conscious awareness. So, I switch back and forth between assembling something like an outline, and trying to lay down words that make sense.

That gives me a familiar feeling: I’ve reached the point that, when I’m trying to write about, say, an apple, I’m not trying to tell you about the color and texture and taste of the apple all at once, as I did early on in the project. Instead, I’m telling you about the color of the apple, and in the moment a thought about the texture comes, I say to myself, “Ah! Now is not the time to tell about that. That will go in the section about texture.”

Which is to say, I think it’s now mostly about putting down the words. So that’s what I’m doing.

And in the meantime, revenues are down.

Direct sales high (relatively)

While revenues are down overall, revenue from direct sales are creeping upward. I had some of the highest revenue from direct sales in a long time: $386. The last time I made more than that was in June 2020, when I brought in $1,780, for the Preview Edition of MMT.

$100 of that was from the sales I made at the RAVE event in Las Vegas. You’ll also see $50 in Event Fees, to account for the fee for the table. I also had to pay $8.38 in sales tax at the end of the event, which I’m simply not accounting for.

How to account for direct sales?

I haven’t yet perfected my accounting practices around direct sales. The portion of this revenue that comes from my Shopify store includes shipping, taxes, and apparently – checking the Shopify Analytics dashboard – even includes prices before discounts.

My Shopify Analytics show $251.81 in Gross sales, and $177.92 in Total sales.

Additionally, the print books I sell have to be printed, which has significant costs. However, BookVault doesn’t have any way to export a report yet. This is bonkers to me, but they tell me it’s a likely future feature, and that they can compile reports if requested via email. I’m waiting for one I requested a few days ago.

To get an idea how much I’m profiting from direct sales, I could just look at my “Book Printing” expense, but again there are problems with that. This line-item is reported on a cash basis, and BookVault doesn’t just charge my card when they print and ship a book – I have to “top up” my account with a credit.

So I’m currently always trying to straddle the line between the cognitive overhead of having to pay attention to orders coming through my Shopify store to make sure my account has enough credit, and not putting so much money in the account I throw my reporting out of whack.

I suppose I could establish some process by which I top up my account every month, then by looking at my balance and additional top-ups at the end of the month I determine my true BookVault costs. But even then, there’s the issue that much of those expenses – perhaps even the bulk of them – are actually for shipping.

Counting revenue before discounts seems crazy. I’d like to avoid that. But I also don’t want to ignore shipping, as I may incur shipping costs that aren’t recouped, due to shipping promotions.

On the other hand, shipping revenue and costs can throw my revenue reports for individual books out-of-whack. My first instinct was to count the shipping revenue as part of my revenue for an individual book. But then what happens when one customer orders multiple books? I painstakingly divide the revenue amongst the books?

Seems the logical thing to do would be to count Total sales for the book, with only printing for the expenses. But again that’s complicated because the lack of BookVault reporting. Perhaps I should fudge the expenses in individual reports based upon an “average” printing cost for said book, multiplied by number of copies sold for that month.

Anyway, an ongoing pickle on which I will hopefully gain clarity.

Black Friday deal results

I opened up my Blog 2 Bling and Motivational Judo courses for the first time all year. Along with the D4H courses, I brought in $1,173 in course sales. I also offered a coupon for the Shopify store, which boosted direct sales.

Even with a Black Friday deal, I made only $158 on D4H courses. This makes me question whether I should bother offering those courses anymore at all. It’s of course hard to justify oneself shutting down something you’ve worked hard at that you still feel is of worthy quality, but the bigger question is about how much of my email marketing resources are being used up by D4H. There are currently about 3,300 contacts on the D4H list that are not on the RSS feed list, nor any of the creative productivity lists.

I currently have more than 21,300 active contacts on my ActiveCampaign account. So I’m getting a little closer to that 25,000 mark where I’d have to upgrade my account. I don’t know if I need to shut down the D4H list, including the free email course, but since I don’t offer much more after that, perhaps I could alert subscribers that I’m deactivating their emails, and if they want to hear from me further, they should subscribe to Love Mondays.

As I think about courses, I also think about a potential Digital Zettelkasten course. I’ve had at least one person request such a course, and if I could wave a magic wand I would definitely make it so. In the meantime, I’m taking notes on what I might like to say in such a course, as I go through my everyday practices of working with my notes.

I’d actually probably call the course something like Applied Zettelkasten or Real-World Zettelkasten, with the goal of showing students how I use my Zettelkasten in the real world, to make progress on my articles and books. Part of what they’d see is that my Zettelkasten is only a shadow of the platonic ideal. It’s often a bit disorganized and falls into disrepair as I’m working on a big project – as I am now.

It would certainly be a boost in revenue, but so many ideas, so little time.

Quickbooks price drop

Quickbooks raised their prices, so I downgraded my account. The yearly fee now averages out to $27 instead of $49. I don’t think I’m missing out on a lot of features, especially since I’ve gotten some training to do my own books. Accounting and accounting software is such a nuisance. It’s a rent-seeking profession of the highest order and I wish it would all go away.


Book Sales

Mind Management, Not Time Management Kindle $454
Mind Management, Not Time Management Paperback (Amazon) $761
Mind Management, Not Time Management (non-Amazon) $346
Mind Management, Not Time Management Audiobook $290
100-Word Writing Habit $27
Digital Zettelkasten Kindle $312
Digital Zettelkasten Wide (non-Kindle) $190
Digital Zettelkasten Audiobook $36
The Heart to Start Kindle $74
The Heart to Start Paperback (Amazon) $24
The Heart to Start “Wide” (non-Amazon) $42
The Heart to Start Audiobook $22
How to Write a Book Kindle $32
How to Write a Book Paperback $36
How to Write a Book “Wide” (non-Amazon) $28
How to Write a Book Audiobook $7
How to Write a Book Spanish (all) $8
Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain (all) $0
Ten Passive Income Ideas $1
Total Book Sales $2,689

Digital Products

Blog 2 BLING! $777
Explosive Email Course $20
Motivational Judo $218
D4H Video $79
White Hot Course $79
Total Digital Products $1,173

Affiliates / Advertising

Active Campaign $1,045
Alliance of Independent Authors $36
Amazon $56
SendOwl $5
Total Affiliates $1,142

Reader Support

Patreon $153
Total Reader Support $153


Clarity $0
Medium $0
Total Services $0



Accounting $328
Book Printing $58
Outside Contractors $0
Quickbooks $27
Total General $412


Amazon $27
BookBub $117
Event Fees $50
Facebook $0
Influencer Marketing $1,000
Product Samples $0
Total Advertising $1,193


ActiveCampaign $135
Bookfunnel $15
Drafts $2
Dropbox $10
Fathom Analtyics $14
Libsyn $5
Namecheap $31
Obsidian Publish $10
SendOwl $9
Shopify $5
Teachable $59
Ulysses $3
WP Engine $96
Zapier $14
Total Hosting $408

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This post is filed under Income Reports.