Writing Income

There are a lot of misconceptions about writing and publishing. There is no magic money fairy waiting for me to finish a book and then shower me with dollar bills.

Oh, but how I wish there was!

I write because, well, it is imperative in my brain and heart. It says, “You must do this.” And so I do, whether I earn money or not.

In addition to my creative side, I also have a significant pragmatic streak. One that clearly directs me to “earn a living and put into place a framework for future income.”

To that end, I operate a housecleaning biz and my husband and I are proud owners of three rental properties – one of which is currently rented out, and the other two are under renovation at this time. You can learn more about that by visiting The Cottages website.

I refuse to be secretive about my successes (and failures) as a writer and entrepreneur. Keeping it secret does nothing to help others, and you are not my competitor, even if you write what I write, clean houses like I do, or are an aspiring landlord. There is room enough in the world for all of us.

I know there are those who think focusing on income is gauche and ill-mannered. Funny thing, though, they are also folks who, if they work in an office, expect to be paid. Unless you are born into money, hit it big with the lottery, or have been a phenomenal success in your life and no longer worry about those mundane things like paying bills or saving for retirement, then you, like me, want to be paid for your hard work.

There is also the artiste-like folks whose noses are so high in the air they risk tripping over their own feet. These are the folks who insist they “aren’t in it for the money for the art itself.”

Unless you are a trust fund baby, or you are okay with sucking off of others [my first husband, cough, cough] you do not get to be an artiste, folks. Your work can and should be paid for.

My work is no different. Creativity can and should have a price tag attached to it. We should be paid for our work, just like anyone else, and not be expected to give it away for free.

When you go to a concert, would you expect the band to perform for free? Does a painter give away his work? A writer shouldn’t either.

At present, I have seven books available for sale. And below you will see the details of that income, such as it is, which I plan on updating monthly. If I get busy and forget, feel free to drop me a line and remind me to update if you don’t see the figures posted.

I’m still learning. And there is a steep learning curve that seems to keep growing in height! I try to balance learning marketing while also writing, it is a delicate balance.

Also, at the time of this update in September 2019, we are days away from putting our first property up as an Airbnb (Cottage West), so that has been occupying nearly every waking moment!

August 2019 Earnings – $225.28 from Amazon, $0.00 from other sources, less $159.84 in advertising = $65.44 net profit

  • Kindle eBook sales: $69.78
  • Paperback sales: $38.58
  • KU page reads: $0.11
  • Amazon Associates earnings: $3.98
  • Audiobook sales: $112.83

Changes or things I did differently: I didn’t do anything, other than monitor and shut down any ads that were ineffective or costing me too much. My entire focus was on finishing Cottage West, our first Airbnb!

July 2019 Earnings – $339.69 from Amazon, $3.61 from other sources, less $313.71 in advertising = $28.69 net profit

  • Kindle eBook sales: $176.37
  • Paperback sales: $31.51
  • KU page reads: $5.74
  • Amazon Associates earnings: $4.76
  • Audiobook sales: $120.41

Changes or things I did differently: I was playing with ads, and trying to create a lot of ads, obviously to my detriment. Yes, I had increased book sales, but I didn’t monitor the ad performance closely enough. The sales came at a high price!

June 2019 Earnings – $455.45 from Amazon, $26.57 from other sources, less $310.79 in advertising = $171.23 net profit

  • Kindle eBook sales: $221.97
  • Paperback sales: $55.66
  • KU page reads: $22.18
  • Audiobook sales: $155.64

Changes or things I did differently: I was dabbling with ads. It’s been difficult to find the right combination of good ad copy and bid price.

May 2019 Earnings – $338.37 from Amazon, $0.00 from other sources, less $132.45 in advertising = $205.92 net profit

  • Kindle eBook sales: $60.53
  • Paperback sales: $16.20
  • KU page reads: $23.17
  • Audiobook sales: $238.47

Changes or things I did differently: This was my first full month of having all of my ebooks (four of my titles) available for sale on Audible!

April 2019 Earnings – $323.81 from Amazon, $0.00 from other sources, less $180.68 in advertising = $143.13 net profit

  • Kindle eBook sales: $79.12
  • Paperback sales: $77.16
  • KU page reads: $51.96
  • Audiobook sales: $115.57

Changes or things I did differently: The first two of my four books are now available on Audible as Audiobooks and I’m also seeing some success from Hired Gun sales that was released on 3/31/19.

March 2019 Earnings – $297.01 from Amazon, $0.00 from other sources, less $223.70 in advertising = $73.31 net profit

  • Kindle eBook sales: $85.22
  • Paperback sales: $114.63
  • KU page reads: $97.16

Changes or things I did differently: I released the Hired Gun on 3/31/19 and had five pre-orders on it. I began toying with ads, obviously with mixed results.

February 2019 Earnings – $279.75 from Amazon, $0.00 from other sources, less $145.08 in advertising = $134.67 net profit

  • Kindle eBook sales: $112.35
  • Paperback sales: $84.28
  • KU page reads: $83.12

Changes or things I did differently: I rolled out the new covers and titles of my books this month. I imagine I will start seeing a response soon. I will also begin learning more about Facebook ads and try implementing them soon.

January 2019 Earnings – $353.77 from Amazon, $0.00 from other sources, less $218.38 in advertising = $135.39 net profit

  • Kindle eBook sales – $97.93
  • Page reads – $16.99
  • Paperback sales: $238.85

Changes or things I did differently: Nothing much. I did shut down all but my ads for my organizing books until my new covers for G581 and The Storm were out. More on that in February.

December 2018 Earnings – $270.92 from Amazon, $0.00 from other sources, less $134.56 in advertising = $136.36 net profit

  • Kindle eBook sales – $166.73
  • Page reads – $3.00
  • Paperback sales: $101.19

Changes or things I did differently: The first few days of this month still had ads out of control. I fixed this and tightened everything down. I also have begun experimenting with new ads on War’s End: The Storm, Get Organized, Stay Organized, and Schicksal Turnpike that I received from my purchase at Best Page Forward. I expect to see a low income month in January since I currently have over $200 in charges accrued but not billed. Since that will happen in January, not December, it’s going to be a small month unless my new ads garner better sales of my books. Fingers crossed!

I have also returned to KDP and will be exclusive with Amazon for at least the next three months on all six of my books. I’m hoping this equates to larger numbers of page reads and income off of that.

November 2018 Earnings – $393.36 from Amazon, $0.00 from other sources, less $505.80 in advertising = -$112.44 net loss

  • Kindle eBook sales – $297.70
  • Page reads – $1.94
  • Paperback sales: $93.72

Changes or things I did differently: I got a little wild with the marketing on Amazon Advertising. Mainly I made mistakes and used a bid up feature. I nearly had heart failure when I realized I had several clicks that were at over $2 per click and no sale. Yikes! As a result, I LOST $112.44 this month.

October 2018 Earnings – $231.61 from Amazon, $3.57 from other sources, less $93.50 in advertising = $139.62 net profit

  • Kindle eBook sales – $151.44
  • Page reads – $.65
  • Paperback sales: $79.52
  • Draft2Digital sales: $3.57

Changes or things I did differently: Repeated last month’s focus and began recording Gliese 581 into audiobook format.

September 2018 Earnings – $227.27 from Amazon, $21.84 from other sources, less $161.58 in advertising = $87.53 net profit

  • Kindle eBook sales – $148.71
  • Page reads – $3.87
  • Paperback sales: $74.69

Changes or things I did differently: I continued to put out AMS ads and work at more effective ads. Book sales of my Get Organized book consist of 80-90% of all sales.

August 2018 Earnings – $173.65 from Amazon, $0.00 from other sources, less $46.32 in advertising = $127.33 net profit

  • Kindle eBook sales – $123.54
  • Page reads – $24.43
  • Paperback sales: $25.68

Changes or things I did differently: CreateSpace went away and I transitioned over to Kindle Direct Publishing. I think this slightly helped my sales and I have continued to see improvement over the months that followed.

July 2018 Earnings – $242.21 from Amazon, less $437.76 in advertising = -$195.55 net loss

  • Kindle eBook sales – $123.02
  • Page reads – $87.99
  • CreateSpace sales: $31.20 (paperback books)

Changes or things I did differently: I decided to go wide and exited out of some of my KDP Select contracts. Some were still active, so I was still seeing some page reads, as well as residual page reads from purchases from Kindle Unlimited subscribers. I signed up with Draft2Digital which would disburse my books to a host of other ebook platforms.

June 2018 Earnings – $329.56 from Amazon, less $173.53 in advertising = $156.03 net profit

  • Kindle Ebook sales – $179.43 (53 books sold)
  • Page reads – $135.37
  • CreateSpace sales: $14.76 (9 books sold)

Changes or things I did differently: A Product Display ad in AMS for Get Organized, Stay Organized turned “on” and has been appearing on folks’ Kindle screens. This has generated a greater amount of sales and page reads.

May 2018 Earnings – $134.16, less $69.13 in advertising = $65.03 net profit

  • Kindle Ebook sales – $53.05 (16 books sold)
  • Page reads – $71.27
  • CreateSpace sales: $9.84 (6 books sold)

April 2018 Earnings – $98.54, less $15.71 in advertising = $82.83 net profit

  • Kindle Ebook sales – $16.07 (6 books sold)
  • Page reads – $68.03
  • CreateSpace sales: $14.44 (8 books sold)

Changes or things I did differently: I began fine-tuning some AMS ads.

March 2018 Earnings – $58.19, less $23.69 in advertising = $34.54 net profit

  • Kindle Ebook sales – $14.02 (8 books sold)
  • Page reads – $42.49
  • CreateSpace sales: $1.68 (1 book sold)

February 2018 Earnings – $119.57, less $38.65 in advertising = $80.92 net profit

  • Kindle Ebook sales – $36.73 (12 books sold)
  • Page reads – $72.52
  • CreateSpace sales: $10.32 (5 books sold)

January 2018 Earnings – $139.91, less $1.01 in advertising = $138.90 net profit

  • Kindle Ebook sales – $45.55 (14 books sold)
  • Page reads – $77.24
  • CreateSpace sales: $17.12 (9 books sold)

December 2017 Earnings – $193.76

  • Kindle Ebook sales – $30.42 (16 books sold)
  • Page reads – $150.17
  • CreateSpace sales: $13.17 (5 books sold)

November 2017 Earnings – $114.77

  • Kindle Ebook sales – $24.05 (12 books sold)
  • Page reads – $90.72
  • CreateSpace sales: $0.00 (0 books sold)

Changes or things I did differently: Prior to November 2017, I had done zero advertising. In the last week of October 2017, I began posting on 300+ Facebook groups that serve as book promotion sites. I did this through January or mid-February 2018.

Note: Prior to November 2017, I earned approximately $3-$5 per month in total sales and page reads. I did not track those numbers or details.