In the beginning of 2014, I decided to do something rather scary… BE TRANSPARENT & HONEST. I want to be an open book, but I’m scared. WHY? Because I’m still at the beginning of my journey, and the numbers are pitiful, and the failures often and obvious.
Below are the numbers, the finances, the projects, my health, and stats from JUNE 2014. This is a snapshot of what it’s like to be a self published author. A new entrepreneur. An average guy still finding his way. It isn’t designed to scare, nor glorify, merely provide the truth of right now. For all my other Monthly Income Reports, Click Here.
Many of the links in this post are affiliate ones, directing you to the products, apps, and softwares I use to create this monthly report. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you anything or affect your privacy, just gives me a commission if you happen to buy. Please note I use(d) everything I link to, and am picky when it comes to sharing such info.
Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, I love to tap away at the keyboard and share my words with those willing to read. However, standing out from the ever growing list of book is tough, so let’s dive into my published books, the amount of copies sold, and the kind of income a crazy pen scratcher like myself earns:
At the moment all of my books are Exclusive to Amazon, although I do sell Paperback & Hardcover editions of Tick to the Tock and Beyond Parallel (sales indicated in brackets). The tools I use to gather the above info are through the AMAZON KDP DASHBOARD and BIT.LY.
Well, overall numbers are down from last month, and remain very VERY small indeed. I must be honest though, I haven’t placed much focus on my books in June. What I have focussed on is some killer planning, that not only focusses on my books, but my overall content, and how I share it with the world.
Basically, without detailing the full ins and outs (because I’ll be doing so over several Blog Posts in the coming weeks) I’ve created a Blog Post Editorial Calendar for the next 15 months, and part of this includes my book marketing/promotions. It’s coming together nicely, and in July I’ll decide exactly how to approach everything for the foreseeable future. I don’t expect overnight success, but something needs to kickstart my writing – and sitting on my hands won’t achieve shit!
Such numbers do depress the hell out of me, and as I’m hard at work on my third novel (I Unlove You) and my first big non-fiction book (The Successful Mistake), finding the balance between marketing and writing is no easy feat. There’s no point in whining though, and this is the summer I WILL kick things into gear. I WILL. I just know it 🙂
Before I move on, there was one thing I noticed: The Skype Interviewing Starter-Kit saw a few sales directly after its Free Promotion. I didn’t see these patterns with any of my Fictional titles, and although I have little faith in future Free Promos, they MAY hold some relevance for Non-Fiction titles. Who knows… but I’ll take it as a win.
No new releases this month
I continue to work on both I UNLOVE YOU and THE SUCCESSFUL MISTAKE, and I’m happy with overall progress made in June. I haven’t started writing The Successful Mistake yet (a much longer journey than I ever could imagine), but each week brings more amazing interviews, and I hope to start structuring the book in July.
As for the I Unlove You, well, I’m sorry to say it’s Kickstarter Campaign failed. I’ll be honest, I let fear get the best of me towards the end, and basically gave up. I’m not proud about this, and no matter what I should have kept marketing, messaging, and pushing until the bitter end. I could come up with excuses, but what’s the point? Fear snuck under my skin, and this IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
However, I love what the FOREVER FREE NOVEL stands for, and am determined to keep this idea alive and kicking. Like I say, much of June’s focus centred around my future approach to content, and how I communicate with kind folk like yourself. Well, The Successful Mistake & I Unlove You play a large role in this, and the Forever Free Mantra is central, too.
July should see all of this come together, and make what I do much more organised, efficient, and driven. As you can imagine, I’m super excited about this, and cannot wait to involve you in the journey. With emphasis on building relationships and creating an open and transparent adventure for all (which this Monthly Income Report a part of), I hope to see you around these parts rather a lot 🙂
Finally, no progress was made on the next Starter-Kit book, which is a damn shame. At the minute, it’s down on my list of priorities, but I do wish to start working on this in July. I have been saying this for the last seven months though, so… you know… we’ll see.
The tool I use to create all Affiliate links is SMART URL, which not only creates a handy short link, but allows me to send users from different countries to specific stores (as you can imagine, ideal for Amazon).
Several of my books enjoyed a FREE Promotion in June, using their KDP FREEE DAYS. Following on from May, I’ve learned a great deal about what does and doesn’t work – largely that the Free Amazon Run doesn’t have the same impact it once did. As such, I’m sure to alter course in the future.
All of my books have used their Amazon Free Promotions, and overall impact is slim at best. Like I say, The Skype Interviewing Starter-Kit did see a small bump in sales, but nothing to get excited about.
My short stories in particualr suffered during their Free Periods, and I shall now focus on Tick to the Tock, Beyond Parallel, and The Skype Interviewing Starter-Kit only (at least for the time being). What I will say is this: I spent zero money on these promotions, and didn’t advertise them a great deal through my own network. Interested in its organic reach, I left things to naturally play out.
Will I run a Free Promo in the future? Sure, of course! Do I expect huge success? No, I think the time where Amazon’s Free Runs resulted in mass success is over. I have other creative things to focus on, and July is the month it all comes together.
AMAZON USA (affiliate)
AMAZON UK (affiliate)
APPLE APP STORE (affiliate)
FOLLOW UP.CC (affiliate)
Nothing This Month
TOTAL PROFIT = £7.58
I use WAVE to organise and keep on top of my invoices and finances, and the above breakdown is taken from reports generated with this fine piece of FREE software. I’ve not been using it long, but so far I have no complaints.
Hmmm, not great reading, huh?
On the bright side, my outgoings remain very small, although this needs to change at some point. Like I keep saying, I’m in the process of organising my Book Marketing/Promotions for the foreseeable future, not only to organise the heck out of everything, but to kick things into gear.
A lot of this will revolve around cheap/free/creative ideas, but I also need to put some money behind at least one of my books soon (more than likely, Tick to the Tock). As you can see for yourself, these numbers are as small as they get. Slowly and surely this needs to rise, and lead to a grander campaign in the coming months. Watch. This. Space.
As for my affiliate earnings… well, although these are also small, I’m not too worried. THE RESOURCES PAGE is now live, and as I develop and implement the new Editorial Calendar, these earnings should improve month-on-month. The background work is complete, so let’s see how this develops over the next twelve months.
I’ve decided 2014 is the year I kick my speaking/workshop career into gear, and as such I’ve created four topics to build a portfolio around:
- YOUR STORY MATTERS, DAMN IT! (aimed at colleges)
- CREATE CUSTOMER LOYALTY & BANISH COMPETITORS THROUGH BRAND STORYTELLING (aimed at businesses)
- THE SECRET BEHIND THE MODERN CREATIVE, ARTIST & CHANGEMAKER (aimed at colleges)
- THE LOCAL AUTHOR WHO NEVER USED TO READ OR WRITE (aimed at primary schools)
Focus for the rest of the year is to refine these topics, gain kick-ass testimonials, and generate momentum ahead of 2015:
CREATE CUSTOMER LOYALTY & BANISH COMPETITORS
MY PERSONAL INSIGHT INTO CROWDFUNDING
THE SECRET BEHIND THE MODERN CREATIVE
ELSIE WHITELY CENTRE
THE SHAY STADIUM
THE BEHIND THE SCENES:
Behind the scenes my speaking career is building nicely. As with May, I spent June speaking to and following up with Primary Schools. The school year is coming to an end, which means it’s an awkward time to book anything. HOWEVER, it’s a great time to start the conversation ahead of next year’s budget, and signs are rather positive.
I’ve also started the same process with High Schools/Colleges, and again, the main aim is to start the conversation ahead of next year’s budget. This is where most of my focus is, although I continue to look for other networking events/conferences. I’ve also begun work on the next #HAPPENINGS EVENT, which will take place in September.
Not a great deal to show for all my hard work as of yet, but this should change come Autumn 🙂
YOUR STORY MATTERS, DAMN IT!
CREATE CUSTOMER LOYALTY & BANISH…
THE SECRET BEHIND THE MODERN…
THE LOCAL AUTHOR WHO NEVER…
TOTAL PROFIT = £0
Not much to say, as focus is around planning and starting conversations ahead of September and beyond. I have practised all of my talks now, and feel confident with larger venues and events. Overall feedback is good, so this income stream should be an interesting one to follow over the next few months.
Also, I was invited to do a talk in June (on crowdfunding), so that’s exciting. It’s beginning to click into place.
I may be a writer, but that doesn’t define my whole world. I also help businesses Discover, Create & Share their story, and I’m constantly meeting and greeting local businesses. However, the fine line of client work, networking events, and crafting your own projects is delicate indeed – and one I’m still toeing along each day:
CURRENT CLIENT PROJECTS:
PROJECT CODE NAME:
PROJECT HAN SOLO:
A collection of videos and About Page overhaul for a local community projects very close to my heart. I can’t wait to finally share this with the world
A new project with an ecommerce site, working on their Brand Story. As I write this, we’re in the final stages.
COMPLETED THIS MONTH
- No projects finished this month (except for a few internal ones)
I’VE BEEN TO
TOTAL PROFIT = £116
In one sense, June was an AMAZING month, because it included a client (which came about through my website, not a local meeting). On the other hand, it wasn’t a great month, because although I had many meetings, I’m yet to convert one into a paying project… YET being the keyword.
One major obstacle throughout June was The Tour De France, which began in Yorkshire this year. As such, a lot of things have been placed to one side until after it’s passed through, which means I’ve had to reschedules several meetings and coffees. That process begins now, and July looks to be a busy month for meetings and what not.
Above all, I’ve met great people of late, had some amazing conversations, and am positive good things sit on the horizon. Although scary, I place relationships ahead of getting the sale RIGHT NOW. As I said in May, I now have focus and drive regarding clients, something I’ve never had in the past.
I still need to go to more networking events, and I need to keep following up, cold calling, meeting and greeting, and everything else that comes with sales and marketing and general business ownership. A hectic summer awaits, but it’s one with light at the end of the tunnel.
This website is my home, and although it doesn’t generate any income per se, it does offer a detailed overview of WHO I am and WHY I can help. As such I think it’s important to breakdown all the ins and outs:
I anlyse all of my website’s data through GOOGLE ANALYTICS, which is a free piece of kit from the Google Empire. I’ve tested other software over the years, but nothing has tempted me away from this freebie yet.
POPULAR BLOG POSTS:
- 50-brands-with-amazing-brand-stories-20-11 = 867 Views
- how-to-get-your-book-on-amazon-for-free-indefinately = 321 Views
- 50-brands-with-amazing-brand-stories-40-31 = 296 Views
- the-best-brand-stories-in-the-world-2013 = 275 Views
- 50-brands-with-amazing-brand-stories-30-21 = 223 Views
NEW BLOG POSTS:
- monthly-income-report-may-2014 = 110 Views
- when-life-gives-you-lemons-take-a-six-month-road-trip-to-mexico-with-corbett-barr = 23 Views
- the-dangers-of-panic-hiring-how-to-overcome-it-with-erin-blaskie = 22 Views
- the-chase-of-intrinsic-value-why-this-is-the-only-chase-worth-chasing-with-srinivas-rao = 18 Views
- resources = 14 Views
- how-to-listen-to-your-gut-and-come-out-on-top-with-mitch-joel = 5 Views
PURPLE COFFEE PODCAST:
I gather all Podcast stats through LIBSYN (my podcast hosting) and FEEDBURNER (which breakdowns subscribers).
**The above Facebook stats consider a combined friend/follower count for the profile, and all Facebook Page likes combined**
This is a head scratcher! May’s website stats exceeded my expectations a tad, and June’s fell short in every category. It’s strange, because I’ve had quite a few new posts go live, yet at the same time, most of my focus has gone on the Editorial Calendar, and writing future Blogs Posts (which will appear in July and beyond).
The Purple Coffee Podcast is still new, and I haven’t advertised it all that much. My hope is it organically grows in the coming months, but I’m also in the process of Hacking my Social Media use, which should improve general traffic (to both the blog and podcast) soon. So, although June sawseveral new posts, most were Podcast Sessions and my new Resources Page.
The strangest thing is Google Search Traffic, which is considerably worse than May. This is something that should only go up over time, so I’m a little unsure why this has gone down. The same applies to Social Media, as I’ve done nothing different in May and June, so why these numbers differ is beyond me.
It’s all a tad strange, but I’m not worrying a great deal, because like I say, I’m implementing my new Editorial Calendar in July (Be prepared for a more consistent, reader driven, and awesome blog from here on in), and hacking how I approach Social Media. With a few other tricks up my sleeve, I’m hopeful Website Stats will BOOM over the next six months 🙂
Like this website, EMAIL doesn’t generate any income, but it does play a huge role in my journey. Overall, I try not sell via email all too much, rather use the medium to connect and share. Email is my primary tool to introduce myself to potential new clients, reach out to those I wish to interview, and talk to YOU on a regular basis. This is a snapshot of my email world:
THE MAIN NEWSLETTER:
CLICK THROUGH RATE
THE OTHER LISTS:
HOW TO BUILD AN AUTHOR HOUSE
PURPLE COFFEE PODCAST
TOTAL FOR ALL LISTS:
My email platform of choice is GETRESPONSE, which offers all the specifics I need to build my email lists. It also provides comprehensive reports which the above info is captured from. There’s many providers to choose from (and I’ve tried most of them), but these guys rock!
FOLLOW UP REMINDERS
To help stay on top of my email, there are a couple key tools I use. The first is FOLLOWUP.CC, which allows me to set reminders for key emails. The other is SIGNALS, which monitors who opens my emails, and the links they click on. Combined, these two tools are absolute superstars!
Overall email numbers for June are rather similar to May’s. My primary email list continues to increase (usually adding a new address each day), and each Newsletter results in a few people unsubscribing. Rather normal to be honest, and considering I’ve done no Guest Posts, and seen no posts go viral, all is well.
As I’ve already said, I’m planning to rejig my content, so this will hopefully lead to more subscriptions in my Fiction and Non-Fiction Mailing Lists. I’m also tinkering with the actual emails, placing greater emphasis on content, and less on sales. This, I hope, will lead to higher open and click through rates (although I’m already pleased with the current numbers).
I sent less emails and Follow Up reminders in June, mainly because I didn’t contact as many schools, local businesses, and potential interviewees for The Successful Mistake. May was a hardcore month for email, so I think June sets a more ‘normal’ standard. Overall, not a great deal to add. I continue to love Signals and FollowUp.cc, and email continues to play a large role in my daily day.
Time is a valuable entity you can never get back, and knowing how I spend my time (or as often is the case, waste it!), is a vital cog in my growth. I’m forever trying to find a balance between work, sleep, spending time with Kid Turndog, and chilling with a book in hand. The below doesn’t break down my exact timetable, but it does provide a rough overview as to how productive I am:
TOTAL HOURS LOGGED
FINAL CUT PRO
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
144 hours (-32 Hours)
13:48 hours (-3:05 Hours)
8:18 hours (-1:13 Hours)
2:28 hours (-0:10 Hours)
19:33 hours (-7:29 Hours)
3:19 hours (+7:32 Hours)
12:53 hours (-0:50 Hours)
15:10 hours (-6:10 Hours)
1:39 hours (-0:34 Hours)
0:54 hours (+3:30 Hours)
1:32 hours (+0:22 Hours)
7:18 hours (-1:47 Hours)
The app I use to capture this data is RESCUETIME, a nonintrusive app that monitors your computer’s use. You can set yourself goals, block certain sites, and bespoke it around your needs.
The overall RescueTime Grade I got this month was 79 – a 7% rise on last month’s. As you can see, I spent less time on my laptop this month, which can be seen as a good and bad thing. Considering June saw more meetings and events, I spent less time working, and more time working – if that makes sense.
A great deal more time was spent in GetResponse in June, which is due to my new Editorial Calendar and approach to content. I’ve spent the last few weeks re-working my welcome emails, placing greater emphasis on stories, and sharing tales from my own world and past. Although it means my emails are longer, I think it adds a whole new dimension to who I am 🙂
I also spent more time in Skype, and that’s because of more Successful Mistake interviews and my new client, whereas less time was spent on my website and within Apple Mail (my email client). As already said, May was a hardcore month for email. As for why I spent less time on Turndgmillionaire.com in June, I’m not too sure, to be honest.
Overall, I’m happy with the time I spend on the laptop, and my productivity levels are decent (although could be a little better). July should see more time spent in Scrivener, and for the next few months I’d like to see this number rise to around 20 hours. After all, I have a lot of writing to do 😉
HEALTH & WELL BEING:
The final piece of the jigsaw is my health and wellbeing, which is arguably more important than everything else. 2014 is the year I wish to bootstrap my routine, and ensure I stay healthy, active, and on top of the stress and vigour working for yourself brings. You can’t measure happiness, but you can track your daily day, which certainly plays a role if you ask me:
2 Hours (football)
8,873 Burned (+1,129 Burned)
61.3 Miles (+9.98 Miles)
4.5 Miles (-4.5 Miles)
5 Hours (+ 3 Hours)
2 Hours (football) (0)
The app I use to track the amount of running/walking I do is MOVE, a smartphone app that monitors what you do 24/7. I love this app, as it provides me the motivation to walk and go for a run from time to time
DAYS UNDER LIMIT
DAYS OVER LIMIT
11.09 Stone (163 lbs)
12 Stone (168 lbs) (-5)
I monitor my daily food intake with MY FITNESS PAL, which makes it super easy to track your meals, and set goals (be it lose weight, cut out gluten, etc). I also combine this with WATER BALANCE, which ensures I get enough water each day.
Didn’t Finish any books throughout June 🙁
- Thinkertoys by Michael Mikalko (52%)
- Choose Yourself by James Altucher (72%)
- This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald (60%)
Okay, let’s start with the bad news… MY READING LEVELS REMAIN SHIT-POOR!
Yes, I’ve been busy, and yes the days whoosh by. However, this isn’t good enough, and I shan’t paint it any other colour. Let’s hope July has a few more books ticked off the list, otherwise I’ll have to have a stern word with myself!
On the plus side, I’ve been an active walker of late, and actually walked over 20 miles two weeks ago. This is huge considering I don’t hike or walk for fun. Like I said last month, this accounts for general everyday walking, and it’s helping me stay active and keep my weight down. Speaking of which, I’ve lost another 5 pounds this month, so my current diet/eating habits are holding strong. I hope to get down to 11 stone soon, and once I do, focus will move to maintaing this weight.
This is why I LOVE My Fitness Pal App, because it provides a snapshot of how balanced I am. Simply put, fats are too high and protein is too low (Carbs could do with being a little lower, too). In the coming months I hope to hover around: 30% Protein 20% Fats & 50% Carbs, so let’s see how things go over the next couple of months.
Overall, I’m happy with my health and welling being at the moment, although sleep remains a difficult subject for me. I’m up and down a great deal, and have a long way to go. The fact is, I love sleep and love to sleep in. This isn’t good, because it knocks a whole chunk out of my productive day. Over time, I hope to wake up at the same hour each and every day, and get into a routine that pushes me, but not to an extent where I crave nothing but sleep.
I have no idea where this balance is, but I suppose that’s the whole point of recording such data.
TOTAL MONTHLY INCOME:
TOTAL PROFIT/LOSS = – £116.79
It sucks to lose money yet again this month, but I did expect my outgoings to be higher. May was the first month I used WAVE, and I had a few kinks to work out. I expected Computer/Internet costs to go up (my quarterly hosting invoice also came in June), although I spent far too much on Entertainment/Meetings (aka: coffee). This is a cost that can easily spiral out of control, so I need to reign this in!
As for income… well, it’s great to have a client, and with the bulk of the payment to come in July, the only way is up. No resting on my laurels though, because overall income remains small at best. As time goes on, this HAS TO GO UP AND UP AND UP.
So, not great by any means, but I’m far happier with my Overall Profit/Loss this month compared to May.
SO, THE PLAN FOR JULY:
Right, let’s end with a few mini objectives to help keep the eye on the prize throughout July:
- CONVERT A MEETING INTO A CLIENT (several meetings are set, so it’s time I covert one of them)
- COMPLETE MY EDITORIAL/CONTENT PLANS (Book Promotion Calendar, Hack Social Media & Guest Post Action Plan)
- CONTACT HIGH SCHOOLS & COLLEGES (start the conversations ahead of the new school year)
- READ MORE BOOKS! (Seriously, this has to improve!)
- WRITE I UNLOVE YOU EACH DAY (1,000 words per day – Tuesday-Friday)
Of course, there’s lots more to do, too, but these 5 things are high on the agenda. Reading and working on I Unlove You each day are both aimed at getting my writing mojo back on track. I’ve struggled of late (more future Blog Posts on this very subject), and I believe little-and-often leads me to bigger and better things.
Completing my Editorial/Content plans is also key, as this has a knock-on effect for most of the things I do. The sooner I complete the plans, the sooner I can’t start working and taking things to the next step. Overall, I’m pretty darned excited!
And there you go, folks. Another Monthly Income Report at an end. I know these reports are long, but I hope they help you in some way (if only for pure entertainment/laughing at me purposes). These Monthly Income Reports are hard to write, but I find them rather therapeutic, too. Thank you for reading, and please get in touch and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to start a convo on TWITTER or FACEBOOK.
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