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 August 2015. 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:
Finally, after all those months of doing nothing, I took charge of my book marketing last month and exposed Tick to the Tock to the world. As well as a Goodreads Giveaway that saw 1,200 people enter, I promoted my second novel on BookBub UK, Ereader News, and Digital Book Today.
Resulting in over 7,000 downloads throughout the month, it’s by far the best return I’ve seen.
The book also climbed the Amazon charts to some lofty heights, particularly in the UK store where it snook into the Top 10 of the ENTIRE Free Book store. So… what does this all mean? Has anything happened after this somewhat impressive spike?
In the USA store things have gotten back to normal, hovering around the 10,ooo mark in the Free Charts. However, it was hovering around the 15,000 mark until recently, so it seems like it’s had a positive effect (although not a huge one). Things are much better in the UK store though, with the book plateauing around the 1,500 mark.
I attribute this to the BookBub UK Promo, which made up for around half of the 7,000 downloads. This is huge, and shows how effective BookBub is as a platform. For the UK only promo it was rather cheap, whereas the USA one costs a small fortune. I imagine this is worthwhile if you quickly up your price after a few days of free, but for a perma-free book… ?
I’m not sure it’s worth it.
EReader News also brought a good return, whereas Digital Book Today left a somewhat lacklustre taste in my mouth. Still, for a little over 50 quid, I’m pretty happy with what’s happened, and already have several new reviews to my name. This was the true purpose of the promotion – to not only climb the charts, but increase the number of reviews, too.
And as an added bonus, I’ve met a few awesome new readers who are now part of this journey. It’s hard to say what the true effect is at the moment, as it’s only been a few weeks. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the coming month or so, but it’s proved to me these promotions work so long as you use your money wisely and take advantage of the platforms that work.
As for the rest of the books… they received a small spike too, although nothing to get excited about. I want to keep these promotions coming, remain proactive with each of my existing titles, and have even enlisted the help of a VA to grow this. We’re in the middle of setting aims and goals, so this time next month I should know more about what lies ahead.
I’m overall buoyed by this promotion. I consider it rather successful, and hopefully marks the beginning of something special.
I continue to crank out The Successful Mistake and I Unlove You, and although I haven’t managed to do as much work as usual this month (more on why soon…), I think I’ve remained on top of both of these book projects.
I Unlove You is now with the editor, and launch plans are underway. My aim is to launch on December 1st, which means a hectic couple of months await. Seriously, it’s when the chaos hits, because not only do I have to finish the editing and ensure the book is the best it can be, but reach out to reviewers, friends, design artwork, prepare giveaways, create landing pages, upload to Amazon, and everything else that falls into the realms of a book launch.
It’s a minefield, and although I’m confident I’ll sit down on the 1st December with my third novel in hand, it’s hard to fathom how right now. It’s a crazy ride, and if you fancy being part of it and seeing exactly what goes into a Book Launch, consider signing up here.
Whereas The Successful Mistake has snook past the halfway point, and although it’s still in its first draft, I feel a genuine momentum building each week. There’s a long way to go, don’t get me wrong, but it finally feels like light’s at the end of the tunnel. It’s amazing, and I’m stoked to take this book to the next level soon.
Hopefully I’ll launch I Unlove You and be in a position to throw myself straight into The Successful Mistake’s Launch Plans.
So… I won’t have as much Fictional writing to do for a while, although plenty of edits to keep me busy. It will be a manic few weeks, and it’s nice to know I have my Non-Fiction writing to keep me sane as the marketing side of things go from crazy to intense to crazy-intense.
Remind me why I write again???
THE SUCCESSFUL MISTAKE
AMAZON USA (affiliate)
AMAZON UK (affiliate)
APPLE APP STORE (affiliate)
FOLLOW UP.CC (affiliate)
Digital Book Today
Tick to the Tock ‘Read It & Pass It On‘ Postage
TOTAL LOSS = £131.19
Although all my books are free at the moment, I did make a little money off the back of Tick to the Tock’s promotion (because apparently it isn’t free in all the stores. Go figure…). I did spend some money on this promo, although I tried to limit it to £50. It’s scary to spend money on a book that isn’t making money or more than likely won’t for a while, but I think it’s important to invest a little at this point to build that all important momentum.
I need to take things to the next level whether I feel confident to do so or not. Deep down, it feels like the right thing to do, in the same way giving away all those paperbacks of Tick to the Tock for free a few weeks ago did. That cost a small fortune in postage, and although I can’t afford it, I believe I can’t afford not to.
If that makes sense….
After all, I tried writing it, spending no money on promoting it, and hoping for the best. That didn’t work, so it’s time to try something else instead 🙂
I’ve decided 2015 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:
No speaking gigs this month
THE BEHIND THE SCENES:
I regret to say I did very little this month regarding speaking, and have come across an impasse of sorts. As other projects take preceded, this is shoved to one side (hopefully not for long).
YOUR STORY MATTERS, DAMN IT!
CREATE CUSTOMER LOYALTY & BANISH…
THE SECRET BEHIND THE MODERN…
THE LOCAL AUTHOR WHO NEVER…
TOTAL PROFIT = £0
Nothing to say here, as speaking continues to slip down my priority list. I’ll explain why I didn’t have much time for this during August below, but I more than likely won’t have time for this in the coming weeks, either.
It remains important, and certainly forms a large part of my Successful Mistake plans. But for now, I must nudge it to one side and focus on other pressing matters
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:
No Projects at the moment 🙁
COMPLETED THIS MONTH
- No Projects finished this month
I’VE BEEN TO
TOTAL PROFIT = £128
I regret to say it’s been another client-less month, and it’s starting to hurt (I won’t lie).
August was always going to be a tough month, because not only did I escape to Torquay for a few days (with Kid Turndog and my parents), but spent a few days in London with the bette half, too. I did zero work in Torquay, and although I kept on top of things in the capital, I didn’t do much.
I did have some meetings though, and came back home with a plan.
So, I continue to reach out to people, follow folk up, chase leads, and search for connections. I won’t go as far to say there’s a few irons in the immediate fire, but there’s a few opportunities that await (I both believe and hope). This is becoming a big deal though, and although my writing needs a lot of my attention right now, I must ensure I place a lot of it on client work, too.
Oh yes, there’s no rest for the wicked, but fear not for my head remains high.
On a plus side, I did begin work with a new coaching client this month. It’s not something I do a lot of, but I do enjoy it from time-to-time. It’s a great way to meet folk, share ideas, and learn about different pain points and perspectives. So yes, that was this months win.
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:
POPULAR BLOG POSTS:
- 50-brands-with-amazing-brand-stories-20-11 = 1,027 Views
- how-to-get-your-book-on-amazon-for-free-indefinately = 375 Views
- the-best-brand-stories-in-the-world-2013 = 287 Views
- 50-brands-with-amazing-brand-stories-40-31 = 243 Views
- 50-brands-with-amazing-brand-stories-10-1 = 219 Views
NEW BLOG POSTS:
- August: The Month of FREE Paperbacks = 22 Views
- Turndog’s Monthly Income Report (July 2015) = 82 Views
- Why This is One Of The Best Team Pages You’ll Ever See = 129 Views
- Is This The Best About Page Example In The World? = 110 Views
- How To Regain Your Health When Your Business Thrives: with Chris Cerrone = 7 Views
- One Vital Lesson From Kickstarter’s Interactive Storytelling = 19 Views
- How To Find Your Niche In A Chaotic World: with Greg Hickman = 13 Views
PURPLE COFFEE PODCAST:
MOST POULAR SESSION
Session 49 (40 Downloads)
Session 45 (101 Downloads)
**The above Facebook stats consider a combined friend/follower count for the profile**
Okay, I’ll level with you… I had planned to fix those spammy traffic links that have affected my data in recent months. On first look, it was an easy fix. On second look, I realised I had no idea what I was doing, so I’ve placed that task to one side. In short, I think I need to enlist the help of someone far more skilled than myself.
For that most part, traffics’s remained rather consistent. It fell slightly, but not by a huge amount. I’ve also begun to dedicate my Blog Posts to specific case studies and examples, which means I get to write about those brands I admire the most. So far I’ve loved this, because not only is it a more compelling approach to writing (far better in my opinion than a how-to post), it comes with the added benefit of said company sharing it with their audience, too.
If I play my cards right, this could be one of the better ideas I’ve had of late, and one that brings juicy new traffic my way.
Still, traffic (for the most part) remains small, which means email subscribers remain stagnant, which means growing and gaining momentum is a difficult task indeed. Of course, I’m not the only person to suffer with this problem. It’s one of the hardest things to overcome online.
There are a lot of sites. There are a lot of blog posts. I am one man, and in the same way I’m beginning to approach my books (enlisting in the help of VA’s) I think I need to do the same with my blog posts and general outreach. I don’t enjoy this type of marketing. When it comes to doing it for ME, I’m not good at it.
I can do it for others, but not for myself, so in the coming months I’ll bit-by-bit bring new people on board to help spread the Turndog love. But this means I need money, which means my book’s have to grow, and my client list, too. It’s a damn catch-22, and a difficult one to overcome (more on this at the end of this post).
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:
As above, my overall email activities remain somewhat stagnant. They’re not bad or falling, but they aren’t growing, either. And let’s face it, if you aren’t growing your list, you’re pretty much failing.
Still, my overall engagement (the amount of people getting in touch and having a conversation with me) continues to improve, and for me this is the most important thing of all. I never want to turn email into a numbers game, so as long as I keep improving how I converse with folk like you, I’m happy.
But I want to converse with more folk, which means more subscribers, which means more web traffic, and so on…
Again, that damn catch-22 rears its ugly head! Can I improve open rates and click throughs? Of course. Can I be better at providing value and staying organised with my email? Yes. Again, this feeds back into enlisting in the help of others, and in recent weeks I’ve realised how important this is.
I’m starting to lay the foundations in this regard, not just with my books, but how I approach my business overall.
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
WRITING / BLOGGING
VIDEO / DESIGN
PLANNING / STRUCTURING
OFFLINE (CLIENT WORK)
FINANCES / MISC
- FICTION = 8,166 words
- NON FICTION =2,490 words
- BLOG POSTS = 11,515 words
- GUEST POSTS = 4,760 words
- EMAILS / NEWSLETTERS = 6,650 words
TOTAL = 33,581 WORDS
As I say, I spent a few days in London this month, as well as a long weekend in Torquay. I didn’t get as much done as normal, but I also feel energised after these mini breaks. Seriously, they did me the world of good.
As such, this section looks rather poor compared to previous months, but the big caveat is how I stayed on top of my writing. I’m surprised I achieved this much, in fact. I thought I might slip way behind, but didn’t – at least not with my writing.
Anyway, it’s back to normal for September, and there’s much-much-much to do!
HEALTH & WELL BEING:
The final piece of the jigsaw is my health and wellbeing, which is arguably more important than everything else. 2015 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:
1 Hours (football)
1.5 Hours (football)
DAYS UNDER LIMIT
DAYS OVER LIMIT
11.7 Stone (161 lbs)
43,521 Net Colories
11.7 Stone (161 lbs)
43,521 Net Colories
I continue to feel up-and-down with my health, and I’m far from being at my best. My diet’s improved a little of late, and my exercise is going okay (lots of walking in London), but I continue to feel rather lacklustre and… mehhhh.
It’s hard to describe, but I’m half-cooked at the moment. Not bad. Not good. Just okay.
I did watch a documentary on sugar recently, which gave me a whole new perspective on what I put in my body. It isn’t the treats that are the problem (when I have ice cream, I know it’s full of sugar), rather all the salt and sugar and other such nastiness that goes in everything else – bread, sauces, you name it…
If you’re intrigued about your body and diet (and want to freak yourself out), it’s worth a watch. A true eye opener, and very interesting.
And it proved to me what I crave… a lifestyle that feed me and drives me.
It isn’t the food or the body or the type of exercise per se, but the how I feel and the freedom I have. Diet’s part of this, as is exercise. But it goes deeper, and as with many things in life, educating yourself, becoming conscious, and taking an interest works wonders.
Do I know what this means right now? Nope.
Am I trying to figure it out? Yes.
More on this soon, no doubt in the next few monthly reports.
TOTAL MONTHLY INCOME:
TOTAL LOSS = – £419.98
Another tough and down month in terms of money, but I expected it in part.
It’s amazing what a few days away does, and those extra distractions. I was never going to get a whole lot done, so it’s a case of taking it on the chin and moving on.
Still, I’m somewhat proud of myself, because I spent money on trying to make things happen with my book. I spending money on a VA to make things happen with too. I plan to spend more money on more VAs, and although it terrifies me, I feel like it’s an absolute must. I cannot grow on my own, and in the long term, and that all important big picture, what’s a little debt?
What do a few down months prove?
However, I need to make a few things happen in September. I need to hustle and bustle and once again turn a profit. It’s a tough old game, but I remind myself as often as I can… I choose to do this. This is freedom. This is MY life!
SO, THE PLAN FOR SEPTEMBER:
Right, let’s end with a few mini objectives to help keep the eye on the prize throughout June:
- COMPLETE DRAFT 4 OF I UNLOVE YOU – AND SEND TO BETA READERS
- START WORKING WITH A NEW CLIENT
- WRITE & FINISH STAGE 5 OF THE SUCCESSFUL MISTAKE
- COMPLETE I UNLOVE YOU’S LAUNCH PLAN & STRATEGY
- GET ORGANISED WITH MY NEW VA IN PREPARATION FOR OCTOBER’S NEW PARTNERSHIP
And so we move on to September’s plan, and what a big month it is for I Unlove You. Not only do I need to complete the copy-edits by the end of the month and send the book to Beta Readers, but I must also take launch plans to a somewhat organised level.
Whether I start implementing these plans before October remains to be seen, but I must be ready to start October in style if I’m to launch this book by December 1st. Lots to do, and it all begins with a solid plan and a hefty to-do list.
I also wish to continue The Successful Mistake snowball and crank out another stage. It’s amazing to think, but there isn’t much left to write for the first draft. Of course, there’s a long way to go, but it all begins with draft number one. If I continue this pace, I think I can finish it by the end of October.
And as well as the above plan, I must also begin organising and structuring the bigger picture ideas that’s begun to surface of late. Working with Kirsty (my new VA) has opened my eyes. I want to involve more people, not just with my books, but everything I do.
I wish to take more off my plate and place it with someone who can do a better job than me (at marketing, editing, promoting, etc...). I want to focus on writing and strategising and making a difference with my clients. I can’t do this if I try to do everything, and although I’ve known this for a long time, I think I’m just starting to truly realise it.
And finally, I’ve set myself three 2015 Goals (This Post explains all), which EVERYTHING I do over the next twelve months works towards. These are what they are, and this is what I’ve done to stride closer towards these this month:
- IN NOVEMBER, GO ABROAD WITH KID TURNDOG FOR THE FIRST TIME & WEIGH 11 STONE THE DAY OF OUR FLIGHT = I took a step backwards because it was another month of no money, and November also edges rather close. I really want to make this happen, but time is running out
- BUY & SHARE A COFFEE WITH 25 PEOPLE WHO APPEAR IN THE SUCCESSFUL MISTAKE = I shared coffee with Dean Philips and Arnold du Toit during my London trip, so I made some headway with this. It’s the first time I’ve met Dean in person, and my first proper catch up with Arnold in ages. It felt good to share some coffee 🙂
- REACH 100,000 PEOPLE THROUGH MY STORIES & WORDS = I don’t feel like I made any progress this month, but didn’t take a backward step, either. Steady all-in-all, which is okay, but far from great.
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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