Things I’ve Learned and Earnings for 1st Quarter 2019

As always, I’ve learned plenty in the last couple of weeks and months. I want to share that with you along with my 1st Quarter earnings for 2019. Read on…

Be Flexible

In my newsletter, I promised I would write a short story called “Take the Shot” but despite all good intentions, each time I sit down to write it, my brain slides sideways. It tells me, “Nope, not going to happen right now.”

And as I tried to push it this morning, it rebelled and began to dig its heels in. Fine, I thought, a short story HAS to be written today. So if not Take the Shot, then what?

In Scrivener, I have a file called Kapalaran Universe (Kapalaran is the Filipino word for fate) in which I keep all of my short stories. Whether the short stories are associated with War’s End, G581, the Chronicles of Liv Rowan, or Hired Gun – they are all here under one roof. And as I scanned down the list, I found Secret to Survival – a short story set in G581’s universe.

As with most of my short stories, this adds to a storyline, giving details of a character or circumstance I mention in passing.

I’m working on it today, along with adding a couple of ideas to Smoke and Steel as I flesh out Book 2 of Benton Security Services. I will continue to flesh out and outline Book 2 as I work on Glass Forest, Book 1 of the Chronicles of Liv Rowan.

Back at It – Lessons Finished or Not

I’m learning to listen to my gut. When it tells me “stop” I stop. When it tells me “go” I try to go.

I still don’t feel like I have a handle on the whole marketing thing, but I’ve made some improvements. I’m currently compiling a new list of keywords to point my Amazon ads to for Hired Gun. I think they will pay off. I’ll continue to try to weave in some learning, but I could feel the need to write rising within me. It’s something I cannot ignore.

I think that, overall, the reviews I’ve received from the Hidden Gems ARC reviewers has really served to inspire me. I’m ready to dive back in and give them book 2, but that is firmly behind Glass Forest and then G581: Zarmina’s World.

Although, who knows, things change on a dime around here. My job is simply to flow with it, and get as much writing done as possible!

First Quarter 2019

I’m still learning, still struggling to keep advertising costs low and increase sales. I still have a long way to go. Here are the numbers. A whole mess of them!

January:

Income from eBook Sales: $     97.93
Income from Paperback Sales: $     238.85
KDP Pages Read Income: $      16.99
Total eBooks Sold34
Total paperbacks sold85
Avg Daily Income of: $       11.41
Total Gross Sales: $    353.77
Advertising Costs $    218.38
Net Profit: $    135.39
% of Profits Paid to Advertising:62%
% of $2k income goal:7%

February:

Income from eBook Sales: $     112.35
Income from Paperback Sales: $         84.28
KDP Pages Read Income: $         83.12
Total eBooks Sold37
Total paperbacks sold30
Avg Daily Income of: $          9.02
Total Gross Sales: $      279.75
Advertising Costs $      222.20
Net Profit: $        57.55
% of Profits Paid to Advertising:79%
% of $2k income goal:3%

March:

Income from eBook Sales: $        85.22
Income from Paperback Sales: $      114.63
KDP Pages Read Income: $       97.16
Total eBooks Sold24
Total paperbacks sold38
Avg Daily Income of: $         9.58
Total Gross Sales: $     297.01
Marketing Costs$ 145.08
Net Profit: $     151.93
% of Profits Paid to Advertising:49%
% of $2k income goal:8%

Net Income for 1st Quarter 2019: $344.87

Total # of ebooks sold: 95

Total # of paperbacks sold: 153

Percentage of sales by book:

  • Get Organized, Stay Organized: 87%
  • The Storm: 5%
  • A Brave New World: 3%
  • G581: The Departure: 2%
  • An Old Wives Tale: .03%
  • Hired Gun: 2% (pretty good when you consider it was only for sale on the last day of the quarter)
  • Schicksal Turnpike: 0%

In other words? Writing is not a get rich quick scheme.

Keep in mind these numbers do not reflect any costs for book covers, editing costs, narrator fees for turning five of my books into audiobooks, or ads or description (blurb) writing services.

Listing those would simply put me in a very deep hole income-wise.

I am not of the opinion that art is for art’s sake. Yes, writing is my passion. And I dearly love to hear from readers (seriously, email me, it will make my day). But I keep my eyes firmly on the prize. There will be a day when all of this pays off. I believe in it deeply. It can happen and I’m looking forward to that day and working hard to make it happen.

It will get better. I know it. And you will get the chance to see it from front-row seats. I hope you are enjoying watching the journey.

Free Book Promotion

My friend Kerrie and I were having one of our semi-monthly Yapping Mommy Working Playdates the other day and, being that we are both writers, talk turned to book promotions. I realized that Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and so is Black Friday!

This got me to thinking – after all, stores aren’t the only ones who get to promote Black Friday, so I’m doing a book promotion, just one day, the day after Thanksgiving, for my book War’s End.

From 11/27 through 11/28, you can get a copy of War’s End: The Storm absolutely free!

I hope that you will share this post on Facebook and with any of your Kindle-savvy friends. I’ll try and remember to post again, right before the promotion.

Get the first book for free, read it, review it, and then check out the sequel!

Progress Is…GOOD

Progress

A week ago I decided to get cracking on the writing (and the marketing of said writing) side of things. And I have to say it has been going pretty well.

Probably the biggest take aways I have for this week are that, writing takes…writing.

Just like organizing, or working at a job, or driving a car, it takes time and energy and constant exercising of those writing muscles.

So in case I hadn’t mentioned it, my goals for my writing were to:

  • Write six blog posts per week in my three blogs/websites (The Deadly Nightshade, Homeschool Advocate and here)
  • Write daily in one of my personal journals (I have over 20 and I just randomly write in them, crazy but true).
  • Write 500-1000 words on Gliese 581 every day

Have I met all three goals every day of the week?

Nope.

Most of the time I have not. Other times, I’ve exceeded them.

Take Wednesday, for example. I set myself the goal of 1,000 words and ended up writing around 1,750. And the next day? Around 1,000 again before I packed it in for the night..

I need to keep this pace going. If I do, I’ll be done with the first draft of Gliese 581: Departure in about two weeks. Prior to this week I had been hovering at just under 41,000 words. Last night? 45,400. Hooray!

Hand Slaps

And I am definitely smarting from a sharp hand slap from Mail Chimp. Not that I didn’t have it coming, but still.

It all unfolded kind of like this…

Reading Tim Grahl’s Your First 1,000 Copies I latched onto the first goal, get a subscriber mail list.

And I cheated, I’ll admit it. While Grahl was reminding me to ask permission, and start with getting subscribers the good old-fashioned way, I decided to jumpstart the list by importing my Gmail contacts, which apparently included every person I had ever emailed for pretty much anything. That meant that I was looking at a list of about 875 subscribers, which I then whittled down to around 490 subscribers. Unwilling, willing, whatever.

I sent out the first newsletter on Sunday, 8/16. By the end of the day I had an email warning from Mail Chimp over the number of unsubscribes I had received. It threatened that if my unsubscribe rate rose, my list might be in jeopardy and my account would be suspended.

There was pretty much nothing I could do except wait it out. And last night, I received another email from Mail Chimp. At that point, they suspended the entire list, which included the 30+ folks who had voluntarily signed up on their own in the past week. [sigh]

I was allowed to send out an email through Mail Chimp requesting all folks double-opt in again. At that point, late last night, my email subscriber list had been reduced to a total of THREE subscribers by Mail Chimp.

Ouch!

So if you have gotten the email, and DO NOT want these weekly emails, then do nothing. However, if you DO want to be on the weekly list (which has giveaways to my books and other benefits) then you will need to either respond to that email or fill in the form below to subscribe…

 

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The Learning Curve…My Brain is Crying “Uncle”

I started reading Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl in order to better understand HOW to market myself and my writing more effectively.

It’s all part of the big plan…you know, the one that includes becoming a bestselling author?

I would settle for even a middle-selling author…

Or just a selling author…

Okay, well that last one’s not really fair. After all, I earn around $5 – $21 per month on my writing per month. [cue sarcasm’]. You know, enough to retire and eat bonbons by the poolside.

So I’m selling books…just not quite at the pace that I would prefer!

So I’m reading about marketing and Grahl suggests that an email distribution list is still the most effective. I like him, because he stresses that you must offer quality and NOT just be “sellsellsell.” Which I cannot and will never be. I’d starve to death if I were a saleswoman, I really would.

He suggests a regular email, sent to folks with their permission, that provides them with information and benefits them in some way.

I know I can do that. After all, I teach classes on a wide variety of subjects, I think I can manage adding tips and tricks to my emails, along with summarizing all of my blog posts, promoting my upcoming classes, and giving folks updates/excerpts on my books – all on a once a week basis.

So I envision this yesterday, sign up for Mail Chimp, and start working on a basic email distribution list while continuing to ruminate over how my first email will look. I was struggling a bit, thinking, “Well, WHO do I really have to send emails to? HOW am I going to grow this list?”

And really, this is why writing in a journal, in ADDITION to writing here in these blogs, or writing my manuscripts, is so important. This morning, as I was writing in my journal, it hit me like a brick.

Duh…I’m teaching a class tonight to 26 people. I think I can manage to get at least SOME of them to sign up for the email list. They kind of like me. I say this with certainty, since I see them showing up again and again to my classes!

Marketing is…it’s difficult for me. But you know what? I’m an auto-didact. I WILL figure this out.

Best-selling…middle-selling…selling more than I currently am…here I come.