Chores First, Marketing Second, and Then…

Chores First

They aren’t really chores. Writing isn’t a chore for me, but a freedom of expression.

Okay, all bullshit aside, sometimes it is a chore. But not in this case.

Pre-planning me, I need to feel like I have at least 6-12 months of short stories in the can and ready. So I’ve been working on those.

As you may recall, these short stories are for my email subscribers only. I am rolling out one of these short stories each month. So far I have written Forward Reach (January), 99 Problems (February), Reek of Bone (March), and I’m currently working on Incident in Philly (April).

All of these little stories provide back stories on the fiction books – from the War’s End series, Gliese, and the upcoming Chronicles of Liv Rowan series.

Marketing Second

I’ve seen my page reads flatline in the past week and that has me concerned. I wasn’t making a lot of money with Kindle Unlimited page reads, but it was at least some money.

As is my way, I went through the typical “What am I doing? This writing thing isn’t working, I’m a failure!” This happens with regularity. That said, it happens less often than it used to. I imagine that most people deal with a fear of failure and on a regular basis. Imagine if we didn’t. Imagine if we weren’t shackled by fear, insecurities, and even a healthy dose of self-loathing.

I’ve spent far too much time in that realm and I have no intention of returning.

I bought a book on Amazon – Mastering Amazon Ads, it arrived today and I’ve already read the first three chapters and created my initial ads which are currently pending review. I heard about it on The Creative Penn’s podcast and thought “I must have this book!” You can find the specific episode here.

Every time I think I’ve got it together and understand all of the ins and outs of being a creative entrepreneur, I’m smacked on the nose and reminded that I still have a way to go.

As for the Rest

As soon as I can possibly get through this learning curve, I want to return to writing. I’m battling a cold and a calendar full of appointments, but I hope that the dam breaks this weekend and I can refocus on writing.

I’ll wrap up  Incident in Philly and get ready for NYC Midnight’s Short Story Challenge to start on the 26th. There’s always plenty to do around here!

1/10 of the Way There

This past November, I began marketing my books in earnest.

And I saw results. Not earth-shattering, quit-your-job-because-you-are-an-official-writer-now results, but still. Results.

So for the entire year of 2017, I earned $2.32.

And so far this year, I expect that I will be paid $114.77 for November’s earnings in late January and $180.59 for December’s earnings in late February.

And I have to say, that is rather exciting!

Right now, I earn around $1,800 per month cleaning houses. I could make more, but I limit myself to one cleaning per day, and that is quite enough for this aging body, let me tell you!

The BIG GOAL is to replace my monthly income of cleaning houses with a monthly income from writing books. So, according to December’s earnings, I’m 1/10 of the way there.

I broke it down the other day and figured that my earnings in December had increased over November by 156%. And that if I could sustain that amount of increase, I would be able to say “Mission Accomplished” by July of this year. But instead, recognizing that the rate of growth I might hope for is not necessarily the one that I will see, my monthly earnings goals for this year are as follows:

$315 for January earnings

$450 for February earnings

$585 for March earnings

$720 for April earnings

$855 for May earnings

$990 for June earnings

$1,125 for July earnings

$1,260 for August earnings

$1,395 for September earnings

$1,530 for October earnings

$1,665 for November earnings

$1,800 for December earnings

Is it possible?

Could it happen sooner?

All Into a Special Savings Account

When my first payment of the year comes in from Amazon, I’ll open a new savings account. I’ll call it my FFCH (Freedom From Cleaning Houses) account!

I’m planning on putting every penny I earn this year into this special savings account. I figure that, before I can stop cleaning houses, I need at least three months worth of income ($5,400) AND at least $1,350 (3/4 of my current cleaning income) monthly earnings coming in from writing. That would give me a full year of savings to tap on a monthly basis if needed to make up any shortfall.

So that’s the goal. It’s on the board so it has to be real!

REALLY Big Goals

Obviously, $1,800 per month is not my ultimate goal. I would love to make more and I think I can, by doing the following:

  • Continue to produce content that readers will enjoy by:
    • Publishing a new book this year
    • Monthly short stories for my email subscribers only
  • Broaden my readership by:
    • increasing my email subscriber list through marketing and word-of-mouth
    • submitting short fiction to sci-fi magazine markets
    • participating in one or more short story contests
    • increasing my book distribution to other markets
    • marketing my writing through social media
  • Dialing down on marketing that works
    • giveaways and special price promotions
    • social media posts
    • getting my work promoted through book bloggers, radio interviews, et cetera
    • educating myself through podcasts and reading

I’ll be updating you on my progress as the months go by.

Kudos Go to The Creative Penn

I’ve been listening a lot to The Creative Penn podcast and it has made a serious difference in my outlook on many aspects of my writing business. It still feels strange to say that, writing business, when you consider how little income I will collect for all of 2017, but still. Keep in mind that I didn’t consider myself an author until after my second book.

In any case, if you are jonesing to make your writing pay, you really need to check out The Creative Penn website and start listening to her podcast. You can also follow her on Twitter. My only trouble now is in how to get all of the things I have learned in the past four weeks into some kind of action plan that doesn’t blow my circuits.

An example from the newly formatted Gliese 581: The Departure

New Interiors!

A recent blog post by Joanna Penn on formatting sent me on yet another mission to upgrade what I’ve already got out there. I realized, upon clicking on some of the links, that I could do a lot better with my interior formatting. The professional covers pull them in, but I want my readers to have an eyeful when they get inside of the book as well.

This led me to check out Book Design Templates, ooh and ahh over the look of them and decide to get my crap together and make my own version. If only because I’m dollars poor and time-rich.

A chapter from Schicksal Turnpike, which I placed as an excerpt at the end of Gliese: The Departure. Schicksal will hopefully be available in mid-March 2018

Another way to look at it was this. I spent TWO DECADES in offices – creating templates, and working closely with Word and other word-processing software. Sure I could pay $89 for a template, or I could spend a little bit of time to create my own.

I dabbled with finding the perfect “chapter art” as I am calling the designs within. Adding lines, breaking up the chapter number, the title, and even increasing the size (and changing the font) of the first letter of the text.

A chapter in Gliese 581: The Departure

I’m very excited about the new look!

The newly formatted War’s End: The Storm

Each book will have its own unique chapter art. I may even do some Zentangle mandala and use that.

Take a Step Back

I realized this morning that I’m burning the candle at both ends and need to focus on one thing at a time. So, first things first, get ALL of my books I have written whipped into shape, inside and out.

Then, and only then, will I resume my writing projects.

I just desperately need to get this housekeeping work of formatting and engineering the best look possible out of my books before I jump into any more projects.

I’ve also determined, based on sales data for nearly two months, that I need to branch out to other host sites for my non-fiction books, and possibly for Gliese 581: The Departure. Right now, I’ve committed myself to Amazon only by agreeing to the KDP program, which demands exclusivity. For War’s End: The Storm and War’s End: A Brave New World, this might make sense. But for my other books? I’m not selling ANY of my non-fiction books.

So Step 1 is get my formatting done. Step 2 is branch out to other ebook and print sellers. This also means another learning curve and days spent understanding the different online bookstore and even (hopefully) finally learning how to put together all of the different versions of epub, .mobi, kobo, nook, et cetera.

Build It and They Will Come

Back in 2005 when I started my housecleaning biz, I struggled with getting my name out there. With no budget for advertising, I had to somehow market my business without spending a ton of money.

And thank goodness for Craig’s List! The site was relatively new at that time, and I got a ton of business by just having a smart, and simple, ad in place. I stopped advertising on Craig’s List a couple of years ago. Honestly, all I need to do these days is to post occasionally on Facebook if I am in need of more clients. More often than not, they find me.

Today was one of the latter – a potential client who had met me while on a garden tour (Our garden The Deadly Nightshade was on the tour three years ago, folks!) and asked if I had any openings. I did, and I’ll meet with her next Saturday and probably start cleaning her house in January.

It was a reminder that, if I build it, if I keep working at this day in and day out, that the wave will continue to build and I will begin to see a steady income from my writing.

It might be slow-going, but it is already building and that’s an exciting thing to see.

Join My Subscriber List – Read Exclusive Material for Free

If you haven’t signed up for my free monthly newsletter, do it now!

One email per month, plus subscriber-only access to short stories that fill in the details of the vast Kapalaran Universe that exists in my mind. The Gliese, War’s End and upcoming Chronicles of Liv Rowan series are intrinsically connected to one another and you will get to see them firsthand.

Here is what my subscribers get in each monthly email:

  • The link and password to the FREE short story of the month (companion pieces to my already existing fictional works)
  • Updates on any upcoming free book promotion and discounted ebook deals
  • A summary of all of my blog posts (I post in four different blogs on a variety of cool subjects) for the month
  • An organizing “tip of the month” (remember, I wrote this GREAT organizing book)
  • Updates on any upcoming classes I’m teaching
  • Updates on book projects

I will never sell/share your email address, there is no cost or upsell, and you can safely unsubscribe at any time.

Click here to sign up!

Countdown to Schicksal Turnpike

I’ve Turned Up the Heat

I’m experimenting a little here with heat, folks. Mainly, seeing if it gets me motivated. I think it will.

Schicksal Turnpike is nearly complete. I’m adding a few more details, but it is around 90% complete.

A couple of months ago, I sent out the beta version to my readers. There were issues, and I’m taking those issues and working on them, adding the details that had been missing.

And knowing me, I could keep doing this until the end of time, dithering about and continuing to polish, edit, adjust. However, if I do something drastic, like upload it to Amazon as a pre-order, now I’ve turned up the heat.

My feet are dancing to get the last of the edits done. March 19th, 2018 will be the official release date. And while three months might seem like all the time in the world, I have a feeling it will go faster than I can even imagine.

Why a Pre-Order?

I’ve been listening to The Creative Penn podcast whenever I clean a house (my current day job). And I’ve been picking up a plethora of excellent advice on marketing my writing. One of the suggestions I took to heart was to make your work available for pre-order. It means that you can generate interest for your book, even get sales (you won’t get the income until the release date), and improve your rankings. You can also accumulate reviews from your beta readers before the release date.

I can also still make edits and upload the completed manuscript before the release date. This just lights a fire under my butt to get it done, and done right, while marketing the book at the same time.

Short Stories and Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine

Recently a blog post by a new favorite author caught my eye. Meg Elison, the author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife and The Book of Etta, wrote in her blog that one of her stories will be featured in the latest edition of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine.

First off, I LOVED reading this magazine back in the 80s. And I had no idea it still existed. Color me clueless! My dad had a subscription to it, and also to Analog. I can remember that I was not allowed to read the magazines until he had finished with them. I was home first from school, however, and so I often got to page through it, and often read it cover to cover before he got home from work.

I have subscribed to a year’s worth of issues and can’t wait for my first issue to arrive. It will be a fusion of enjoyable reading and research. Because now that I know it still exists, I’m determined to write something fabulous and get it published in the magazine. What a blast from my youthful obsessions that would be!

Yesterday I was listening to Joanna Penn’s latest podcast of The Creative Penn, and she profiled Douglas Smith, a Canadian short story writer and they discussed how writing short stories can improve your writing skills.

I learned a lot from that podcast, and I will be following some of his advice. Recently, I committed to writing a short story each month, but I hope to increase that to two stories per month – one will be for my subscribers and free for them on this website with password access (see below for details) and the second will be for possible submission.

Mr. Smith gave some invaluable information about who to submit to and even pointed out that foreign language markets should be a destination for my work as well – and that you can sell the stories first rights in English and then do it again for a foreign language. Mind blown! He’s written a book that details some of these tactics, along with a good education in negotiating the best rights possible and I have it on order – Playing the Short Game. Yet another book to add to my reading list!

Now I need to add “work on those snippets and produce some short stories” to my to-do list!

Income Report

After bringing in a total of $2.32 in 2017 in writing royalties, I woke up in early November and thought, “Damn it, I’ve written FIVE books, why are they not selling?”

Short answer? Lack of marketing. So a lot has changed since then and by the end of November, I was excited to see a total of $114.77 in ebook sales and Kindle page reads.

This month has already exceeded that amount. Yesterday afternoon I noted that I was 77 cents short of matching the amount I had earned for all of November. Today, when I woke up, I had exceeded that. Earnings are now past the $120 mark.

Is this where I want to be? Of course not. I’ll need to be earning 20 times that to stop working at my cleaning biz, and that would just be for starters. I want to make a living at this.

And if you haven’t figured me out by now, I’ll let you in on one particular aspect of my nature, I’m a stubborn and rather determined person. I WILL make this happen!

Join My Subscriber List – Read Exclusive Material for Free

If you haven’t signed up for my free monthly newsletter, do it now!

One email per month, plus subscriber-only access to short stories that fill in the details of the vast Kapalaran Universe that exists in my mind. The Gliese, War’s End and upcoming Chronicles of Liv Rowan series are intrinsically connected to one another and you will get to see them firsthand.

Here is what my subscribers get in each monthly email:

  • The link and password to the FREE short story of the month (companion pieces to my already existing fictional works)
  • Updates on any upcoming free book promotion and discounted ebook deals
  • A summary of all of my blog posts (I post in four different blogs on a variety of cool subjects) for the month
  • An organizing “tip of the month” (remember, I wrote this GREAT organizing book)
  • Updates on any upcoming classes I’m teaching
  • Updates on book projects

I will never sell/share your email address, there is no cost or upsell, and you can safely unsubscribe at any time.

Click here to sign up!

 

 

99 Cents Today and Tomorrow ONLY

On Sale Today for Just 99 Cents

War’s End: A Brave New World – the sequel to War’s End: The Storm picks up directly after Jess’s return to Warsend and follows her struggles to find peace (and peace of mind) in the ruins of her beloved hometown. There will be love, heartache, and more in the years to come.

The long-awaited sequel to War’s End: The Storm – Jess has returned to her hometown, Warsend. 

There she and her family will rebuild their lives and learn lessons about love, and loss, and the strength of perseverance. 

Miles away, Chris longs for family, for children, and dreams of the home he lost. 

The danger is not over. Jess must face her greatest fear and overcome the nightmares that have plagued her for the past decade.

Just 99 cents today and tomorrow, so get it while you can!

Join My Subscriber List – Read Exclusive Material for Free

And tick tock, just two weeks more until the release of my monthly short story series. If you haven’t signed up for my free monthly newsletter, do it now!

One email per month, plus subscriber-only access to short stories that fill in the details of the vast Kapalaran Universe that exists in my mind. The Gliese, War’s End and upcoming Chronicles of Liv Rowan series are intrinsically connected to one another and you will get to see them firsthand.

Here is what my subscribers get with their monthly email:

  • The link and password to the FREE short story of the month (companion pieces to my already existing fictional works)
  • Updates on any upcoming free book promotion and discounted ebook deals
  • A summary of all of my blog posts (I post in four different blogs on a variety of cool subjects) for the month
  • An organizing “tip of the month” (remember, I wrote this GREAT organizing book)
  • Updates on any upcoming classes I’m teaching
  • Updates on book projects

I will never sell/share your email address, there is no cost or upsell, and you can safely unsubscribe at any time.

Click here to sign up!

Where Am I Going (and how do I get there)?

First off, I apologize for being so quiet as of late. I would love to say I’ve been writing, but the reality is that I’ve been marketing, studying about marketing, and trying to narrow my focus for better efficiency. Here is the latest…

New Pricing

A couple of weeks ago, we went to a small party and I met some new folks. Having just come from my interview earlier that day, I was talking about Gliese, and that led to one guy looking my books up on Amazon. “Why do you price your books so cheap?” He asked me after thumbing through them.

I gave him a non-answer, but the truth is, I’ve been floundering. What is the best price point for sales? 99 cents? $1.99? $2.99? $3.99? Or more?

One camp will tell you – “the cheaper it is priced the more sales you will have” and another camp will tell you “if you price it too low, you are sending a message that your books aren’t worth reading.”

And I’m stuck between the two thinking, “Just damned well read them, okay?”

In any case, I found an interesting article by Publisher’s Weekly that discussed this very problem. And things seem to be changing, as things do, in that particular part of self-publishing

  • $1.99 to $3.99 is the sweet spot for most sales
  • Free books don’t work as much as they used to
  • Pre-orders are the new thing
  • Non-fiction garners higher prices
  • Series are great but only if each book is at over 50k words (not a problem for me!)
  • Readers prefer longer books (also not a problem!) of 100k or more words

In line with this, I’ve raised my ebook prices on my fiction from $2.99 to $3.99 for all fiction books except War’s End: A Brave New World (it won’t let me until the 99 cent promo is complete on 12/15 & 12/16). And I have raised my non-fiction from $2.99 to $5.99 each.

I’ve also reduced my offering of free book promos to just one book for one day every other month. I’ve come up with this schedule of promos:

And after that, I will evaluate how all of my books are selling and adjust accordingly.

Earnings for the Month

I’m on track for “exceeding $150” for the month. My first goal back in November had been to just make $1 per day on my writing. That has obviously been outstripped when you consider I closed out the month at nearly $115.

My goal for December was to earn $150 for the month, and that is also going extremely well. At just one-third of the month completed, I’m currently at just over $66 in earnings! If I keep going at this rate, I’ll come close to $200 in earnings by the end of the month.

This is quite exciting for me.

Where Is This Blog (and my others) Going?

And finally we get to the big question – where is this blog, and my other blogs, going?

I started each with a specific purpose, but they have evolved over time…

  • The Deadly Nightshade – I began as a way to chronicle my gardening and DIY adventures. That morphed into promoting my classes and educating others as I broadened my class offerings. However, I’m no longer teaching many classes (a handful of them in the year) and I’m embarrassed to admit that the past two years have been a bust on growing crops of any kind. I have a feeling that as the writing speeds up, the posts here will slow down – there is only so much I can focus on at one time, and that means cutting out areas that aren’t necessarily furthering my goals of writing full-time for a living.
  • The Learning Advocate – This began as a homeschool advocacy and parenting blog, but it has mainly focused on the kiddo, so it isn’t seeing a lot of traffic, or many posts now that she is in public school. I plan on updating soon, because there is a post I have in mind, but my prognosis for this blog is that the posts will be few and far between. This may change as we edge into 2018 and things change around here yet again (more on that at a later time, when our new reality actually hits) so I’m not ruling out writing more on the blog until I’ve had a chance to see how the next six months change our lives.
  • The Cottages – This started out, and remains, a website and blog dedicated to a business purpose – that of promoting our future Airbnb properties. The blog is only updated when there is progress. I’ve got one post to make, but nothing much to say or do on the site until spring or mid-summer at the earliest.
  • My author website – This blog itself. I have shared promotional info, but also my struggle to learn marketing, to deal with the ups and downs of self-publishing, and more.

I think that is where my biggest question presents itself, what future do I see for my author blog in particular? Do I use it only for peddling my writing? Do I use it to update like-minded writers? Do I use it to simply share a slice of me? The answer is, I’m not sure. So for now, I’ll keep writing weekly (or so) blog posts here in this blog, one or two blog posts per month in The Deadly Nightshade and The Learning Advocate, and as events occur in The Cottages.

Hopefully this will keep my focus on where it needs to be – generating more content and spreading the word of my existing content to others.

Subscribers Rewarded

I’ll say this clearly – I’m NOT SELLING YOU ANYTHING. I’m only asking you to let me give you something free to read.

What do I mean by that?

It’s simple. If you add yourself to my subscriber email list, you will ONE email per month. Inside of it will be my newsletter that will provide the following:

  • The link and password to the FREE short story of the month (companion pieces to my already existing fictional works)
  • Updates on any upcoming free book promotion and discounted ebook deals
  • A summary of all of my blog posts (I post in four different blogs on a variety of cool subjects) for the month
  • An organizing “tip of the month” (remember, I wrote this GREAT organizing book)
  • Updates on any upcoming classes I’m teaching
  • Updates on book projects

I promise to NEVER share or sell your email address and you can unsubscribe safely and easily at any time.

Big Day Today!

I woke up this morning to learn that the last day of November was my most profitable (in Kindle Unlimited page reads) yet. And I also made over $6 since midnight while I was still snoozing.

That’s super cool, folks. I look forward to doing the work to make that number grow and grow.

Dishing Sci-Fi on the Radio!

I’m excited to announce that I will be on the radio today talking with Gina Kauffman, the host of KCUR’s Central Standard to talk about writing sci-fi.

If you are a wannabe sci-fi writer, a reader, or just think sci-fi is cool, then tune in!

Tune in between 10 and 11 a.m. to 89.3 FM here in the Kansas City area or go to their website and click on Listen Live to hear it in real time. I should be appearing during the Arts segment of the show, between 10:25 and 10:40 a.m.

Update: Here is the link to the show. My segment starts about 15 minutes in…

Every Dollar Counts

At the beginning of this month, I made a teeny tiny goal – I wanted to earn $1 per day on my writing. I made that goal and then proceeded to nearly quadruple it. Here is a snapshot of my earnings for November.

And while it isn’t enough to retire from my “day job” of running a cleaning business, it is enough to inspire me to greater heights.

Get Your Free Copy TODAY (12/1) and TOMORROW (12/2) Only!

My first fiction book, War’s End: The Storm is available for FREE download today and tomorrow on Amazon.

In the day after tomorrow, after the socioeconomic collapse of the United States, one young girl fights for survival. Violently ripped from her family, abused and now pregnant, Jess must somehow survive while fleeing those who pursue her. Jess must come to peace with the life growing inside her as she struggles to return home.

Reviewers have said…

“A great story. This felt like it was written by the hand of someone who actually was there. The book moved me from tears to hope. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.”

“This story is different. To me, it is unforgettable (although I would like to forget some of the parts portrayed). It is a heartbreaking, but uplifting story of a group of young children who are thrust into a very grown up and scary World, and how they deal with the grief and savagery around them. It is also about love, and finding family where you least expect.”

“This very compelling book follows Jess, a young girl whose parents did not prepare. They are killed and she is left to fend for herself. What follows is a great deal of pain and sadness. Be prepared to cry—I did. But in the end, Jess and her rag-tag collection of young fellow survivors live on to become an example for all of the strength of the human spirit facing adversity. It is a bit tough sledding during the darkest part, but inspirational in the end. Bravo!”

Download it today!

Subscribers Rewarded

I’ll say this clearly – I’m NOT SELLING YOU ANYTHING. I’m only asking you to let me give you something free to read.

What do I mean by that?

It’s simple. If you add yourself to my subscriber email list, you will ONE email per month. Inside of it will be my newsletter that will provide the following:

  • The link and password to the FREE short story of the month (companion pieces to my already existing fictional works)
  • Updates on any upcoming free book promotion and discounted ebook deals
  • A summary of all of my blog posts (I post in four different blogs on a variety of cool subjects) for the month
  • An organizing “tip of the month” (remember, I wrote this GREAT organizing book)
  • Updates on any upcoming classes I’m teaching
  • Updates on book projects

I promise to NEVER share or sell your email address and you can unsubscribe safely and easily at any time.

Have a fabulous day, folks!

Bigger Goals (and small ones)

Blame it on Jack Canfield…I certainly am!

In my internet travels – down one wormhole and out another, I found myself signed up for another marketing webinar Tuesday evening.

I must say, I’m not a fan of webinars, but at least they saved the sales pitch for AFTER the tips/advice (such as they were).

I don’t think I’ll be springing forward with $497 for their seminars, but it did get me to thinking…

NYC Midnight – Once More, With Feeling

This actually occurred earlier in the day. NYC Midnight announced their Short Story Challenge for 2018 and I took advantage of the early bird price of $45.

The first round will begin January 26th.

You can find out more info about the contest here.

I participated in the contest once before and then convinced myself that “I can’t write with such arbitrary rules and time frames.” Which was bullshit and self-sabotaging, to be perfectly honest.

So I’m going to give it another go.

Project List – Less Daunting Than You Might Think

On Tuesday morning, I was mentally kicking myself over my obsessive checking of KU page reads and stats. Which was then followed by obsessive posting on Facebook book promo groups in order to continue to push my books.

This has led to a zero sum game when it comes to new writing and I went to my two cleanings for the day and mulled over the mess, trying to find a balance.

That resulted in two steps.

  1. Move marketing to the evenings ONLY. This is the time when my brain is shutting down and not creating new content. I’m a morning person, so evenings are great for basic non-thinking, copy and paste blurbs to a crap ton of FB promo groups.
  2. List out my projects, assess what they each need, estimate how long that will take, prioritize the list, and set dates for getting each project done.

What can I say, I’m a goal-oriented.

So here is what I came up with…

 

Priority Name Current Status? What Does It Need? Estimated Time to Completion? Date Uploaded & Available
1 Get Organized, Stay Organized 95% – In revision and edits Import this into Scrivener?
Fix Picture Organization section
Add more images?
Finish Financial Organization section
Streamline end of book info to match all of the others
1 week 11/28/2017
2 The War On Drugs: An Old Wives Tale 95% – In revision and edits Correct info on hemp and varietals
Add call to action and review of where we stand
(don’t spend a lot of time on this, it isn’t going to be a huge bestseller – fix it, publish it and move on)
1 week 12/5/2017
3 The Hired Gun 25% done, possibly a little more The outline is there, I know where I’m going, I just need to write it. 1 month to write, 1 month to edit 2/15/2018
4 Schicksal Turnpike 80% done Either needs to be shelved until CLR comes out, or at least two more chapters added to explain this other world. 2 weeks to write, 2 weeks to edit 3/15/2018
5 CLR – The Chronicles of Liv Rowan 30% done This needs a lot of work as well. It sounds girlish, I need to tighten the prose, dial in on the outline, and add detail. 6 months to write, 1-3 months to edit 1/1/2019
6 Quit Your Job, Change Your Life 75% done Not much more 2-3 weeks left of writing (if that) and a month to edit 3/15/2019
7 Start Your Own Housecleaning Biz 25% done? Plenty 1 month to write, 1 month to edit 6/1/2019
8 Gliese 581: Zarmina’s World Barely begun A hell of a lot Months – at least six, maybe more 1/1/2020
9 I Bought a House for $25 20% done This needs a lot of work. For one, neither project is done. This goes on the back shelf. Unimportant right now 6/1/2020
10 When God Laughs In progress A hell of a lot Months, possibly years

I obviously have plenty to keep me busy. This list is subject to change, but for now its a start.

$50 a Day is Nice, But…

If I had one takeaway from the Jack Canfield webinar, besides being unwilling to spend $497 on their proposed training class, it was that I’m setting my sights too low.

Fifty dollars a day is a low goal. And yes, I am aware that my daily income from writing is FAR below that right now, but I can’t look at that and be satisfied. So, instead, I looked at the big number – the one that keeps us not just getting by, but flourishing.

And that number is higher still. My new goal is to make $350 per day EVERY DAY on my writing.

“If I can make that,” I told my husband, “you wouldn’t have to work.”

He nodded thoughtfully.

“So, shall we go watch an episode of the Punisher on Netflix?” I went on to ask.

He shook his head. “No, honey, I really think you need to get on that earning $350 a day thing.”

lol…

One dollar at a time, folks, one dollar at a time.

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I write about everything from gardening to community, education, the writing process, DIY, and more. I maintain four blogs, write fiction and non-fiction books, and I am a community educator.

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You Have to Start Somewhere, Right?!

Stats for the Month

My original goal of $30 per month was blown out of the water and to date I’ve sold 7 ebooks and earned over $43 in ebook sales and Kindle Unlimited page reads.

This is awesome!

What is fascinating is that War’s End: The Storm has been the big performer – both in ebook sales and page reads. And it has obviously kept plenty of interest, because I’ve seen the sequel War’s End: A Brave New World also popping up in the page reads.

The downside to this is that I’ve been marketing for at least one hour a day every day since I got out of Facebook jail for posting 75 places in less than half an hour. Oops, my bad!

In any case, it’s a lot of copying and pasting, over and over. And that isn’t paying off that much in comparison, so I’m definitely looking out for other marketing ideas. As I try them, I will blog about them.

You Have to Start Somewhere

I can just see you now, shaking your head. Because making $2, or $3, or even $5 per day after marketing my ass off, doesn’t seem like a lot. Not to mention giving Gliese 581: The Departure away (over 1,100 of them!) and for what? A couple of reviews so far?

All of this work, all of this time, and with little if any compensation.

But you have to start somewhere. I’m learning a lot about marketing and promotion. I’m learning about timing, strategy, and more. I still have a long way to go.

But that’s okay. It’s worth doing.

Back to Writing

Somehow I need to readjust and find my balance. If I spend all of my most productive time marketing my books instead of writing, I’m wasting my energy on very little return.

I’ll admit it, it’s tough. First thing I think of as I sit down to my computer in the morning is, “I wonder what my page reads are at the end of the day yesterday and so far today?” So I check them, and if I see a low number I think, “I need to market more!” and if I see a high number I think, “I need to market more!”

And then I spend MORE time marketing and zero time writing. See the pattern here?

This morning I told myself, “I won’t look at the numbers, I won’t!” But of course I did, and then spent the next hour marketing on Facebook, pasting my blurbs into dozens of pages, curating my Excel spreadsheet that tracks over 360 different FB groups, and generally using up what could be my most creative time with chasing after pennies.

There has to be a balance somewhere and I need to find it.

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I write about everything from gardening to community, education, the writing process, DIY, and more. I maintain four blogs, write fiction and non-fiction books, and I am a community educator.

Click here to join the email list and receive ONE monthly newsletter that will provide you will all of the links to my blogs, updates on my writing projects as well as book promotions and special pricing.

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Look Ma! It’s Working!

I have approximately 48 hours left in Facebook jail to go. As the hours and days of my six day sentence have ticked by I’ve spent much of that time writing in my blogs, reading about marketing tips and tricks, crafting tweets on Twitter, and obsessively (oh yes, OBSESSIVELY) checking my stats on Kindle Unlimited.

I have to say that, for me, Kindle Unlimited appears to be the way to go. To be able to offer your book for sale through KU, you have to check that box for KDP Select and agree to not market your book elsewhere.*

*Don’t try to be sneaky and get around it, they WILL find out and then ban you from selling on Amazon.

Every morning (and sometimes multiple times during the day) I have been checking the reports section. It looks like this:

The top graph is actual ebooks delivered. See the blue lines? Those indicate free books. I gave away over 1,400 in five days, so that massive number dominates and you can’t actually see the ebooks sold in the days since. I only sold four, but that has netted me $7.87 in royalties.

Let’s talk about that little number for a moment. I am charging $2.99 for the ebook and getting a 70% royalty for it from Amazon due to exclusivity. If I published through a traditional publisher, the most I would get on any paperback sale would be around 90 cents to one dollar. Instead, I’m getting twice that.

The second graph is Kindle Unlimited page reads. Readers sign up and pay $9.99 per month to be able to read “all you can eat” of the thousands of books in the KU section. Amazon pays authors $.00488 per page read, so my Gliese book is approximately 310 pages long or $1.51 once it is read cover to cover.

Write a shitty book that no one finishes? You will make little or no money. I say little or no because I believe that the reader has to make it to at least the 25th page before Amazon will begin crediting the pages read so far. So if you write an unbelievably shitty book and 90% of folks make it to page ten and quit, you get ZERO for those folks and only get paid for that last ten percent. And did those folks like it? Will they write a nice review? Or even finish it?

In any case, you get my point.

And being that I’m obsessive, especially about money and where it is going and how much is coming in, I created this little chart in Excel that I can update daily…

You will notice that folks started reading the book through the KU program on Day 2 of my free giveaway for Gliese 581: The Departure. I ran the free book giveaway from 11/1 through 11/5. On 11/6 through 11/9 I was promoting both Gliese and War’s End: The Storm. On the 10th, early in the morning, is when I managed to land myself in Facebook jail by posting 70 links to  War’s End: The Storm in a rather quick manner (just under an hour).

Now the sequel to  War’s End: The Storm – War’s End: A Brave New World has not been marketed at all – and yet is has page views. Here is a view of just that book…

So, $2.03 in page reads. Income grown organically by writing a book that someone found compelling enough to read the sequel to immediately after finishing the first.

All in all, my tiny little simple goal of making $1 per day for this month looks like it will be exceeded if things keep going the way they are. I have two more days left to serve before I can return to marketing my books through the promo groups on Facebook.

Two more days to craft at least four different book blurbs for each of my books. Two more days to Tweet away and plan my next promo days. And possibly, if I can fit it in, actually write during that time as well.

As I reach the halfway point in the month, my goals for November are:

  • Reach and exceed an average income of $1 per day on my writing
  • Build my Twitter, Facebook page, author website and newsletter audience
  • Market daily
  • Write daily

What are yours?!

Email Newsletter

I write about everything from gardening to community, education, the writing process, DIY, and more. I maintain four blogs, write fiction and non-fiction books, and I am a community educator.

Click here to join the email list and receive ONE monthly newsletter that will provide you will all of the links to my blogs, updates on my writing projects as well as book promotions and special pricing.

Your email will NEVER be sold or shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.