Are you curious about a half-year delay? I explained it in my first income report.
June 2016 was incredibly significant in my life and in my business. But I had no idea about this at that time. It was also full of frenzied activity. I looked back at my journal and, once again, I was amazed how much energy I expelled.
The first significant event took place on the 1st of June. I bought from Dave Chesson a tool for mining keywords from Amazon.
I did that only because of my habit of commenting on blogs. To comment, I obviously needed to read the post. One of the latest posts on Kindlepreneur was about a new feature in Dave’s Rocket: mining keywords specifically for AMS ad campaigns.
I wish I could honestly tell you that I was so bright that I immediately grasped the great potential of the tool.
Well, I wasn’t. I dimly sensed that it might have been a game changer for me. Researching keywords on Amazon was the most absorbing part of advertising my books on Amazon.
The second part of the reason behind the purchase was that I personally knew Dave. I was sure he wouldn’t produce a botch. So I bought the KDP Rocket.
KDP Rocket’s Results
Thanks to the tool, in June 2017, I created 297 ad campaigns for my books. Those campaigns earned me $325 net within two months of their lives. I then reused those keywords for another pack of ads, and they provided additional $340 in profits in the next 2.5 months. I envision they will earn me about eighteen hundred dollars in the next year.
June’s keywords made two great sets of keywords that I used practically for every book I ever advertised for other authors. That way they earned me even MORE bucks!
And I paid for this tool a meager 97 dollars!
Oh yes, that was significant.
Buck Books Promo
On 8th of June, I ran my first Buck Books promo since the launch of Directed by Purpose in September 2016. Between those two, the only promotion I did was Black Friday – Cyber Monday promo of all of my books.
My main marketing vehicle in that period were Amazon ads. And they did a splendid job. September – June period was the best in my business ever.
Anyway, the promo went pretty well. I mobilized a few authors, and they gave me their hand (and their email lists). Each book sold over 40 copies, and I recuperated the cost of promo at the very same day – a story unheard of in the realm of promo sites. Each of my books landed below #10,000 bestseller rank in the Kindle store and at the first page of the bestseller’s categories.
It was nice, and I felt like a proper author.
Second Significant Event
On 8th of June I also did one more thing: I created the first Amazon ad campaign for someone other than me. Actually, I did that for Pete Smith and his sole book, Dare to Matter.
I had no clue how much weight this simple action carried. I just wanted to help Pete, because his awesome book was lost in Amazon’s abyss. It deserved better. And I found the thought appealing that I could be actually paid directly for the value I provide. Our deal was simple: I would have got 25% of any eventual income from sales made via my ads.
The next day, I launched another 8 campaigns for Pete.
A few days later, I got his text:
I was stoked beyond reason. It worked.
And it dawned on me: it was a great business model! I was paid by results. That meant no price tag and negotiations to my services. It also meant no cap on my income. I already advertised my 10 books. Taking 10 or 50 books of other authors would hardly increase my workload. It wasn’t like starting 10 or 50 gigs from scratch. And the earning potential was not limited.
Working with Pete, I discovered that you can write a good book, but still be clueless about marketing a book. At least Pete had some idea about copywriting. But he didn’t know the ins and outs of the Amazon platform like I did.
I was pretty excited thinking about how many great books are dead and neglected. And I could help them resurrect, find more readers, spread their message. Bring them back to life.
The First Failed Attempt
At the beginning of June, Aaron Walker contacted me and asked for help with promoting his book. Having the miraculous resurrection of Dare to Matter fresh in mind, I was eager to help. We exchanged multiple messages preparing his book for ads. View from the Top had the typical weaknesses of a book that wasn’t profiled for Amazon: the description wasn’t properly formatted and didn’t fit the online platform, editorial reviews weren’t properly highlighted and so on.
We worked for a few weeks only to discover that his publisher had NO clue how to start a profile on Amazon Marketing Services. They used some aggregator to get the book on Amazon, and they simply had no access to the tools I had.
This whole project wasted some of our time.
But the first success was firmly planted in my mind. I looked for more authors who could have used some book necromancy.
I also contacted Dave Chesson and explained my idea. He was very receptive, he gave me some great advice and asked me to get back to him when I had a landing page ready for this service, so he could send people to it.
All of those activities took me the whole month.
In the last week of June, we planned short vacations in Ireland. I drove kids to Wroclaw, where we spent a night in our friends’ home, and then I flew with kids to Ireland and my wife went back home by train.
I needed to do a car checkup before the trip. Nothing went right. I spent practically two days at the car mechanic’s site waiting for my car to be fixed. I needed to take one day off at work because of that.
I remember that, at both times, I did all of my habits there 😉 I had bonus time for reading. 😉
I took my laptop with me and wrote every day on my vacations. It wasn’t easy with all the social occasions. I didn’t work more than usual in my business, despite being off my day job.
But I didn’t work less either. I did my share of writing, publishing on Quora and Medium. I made a few calls with authors and influencers. Amazon ads had a hiccup one day, and it threw me off balance. I paused all my ads and my clients’ ads. That day, I barely did anything more than try to understand what the heck was going on.
The cooperation with my new proofreader was smooth and furious. When I realized how well we were working together, I dumped at her a few months’ worth output in my Quora answers. I just didn’t have time earlier to manage properly all the stuff I wrote, but hadn’t finished.
After a few weeks, I gave her access to my Quora account, and we worked out the code for working on my drafts. When I uploaded the draft and it was ready for proofreading, I left her a headline in the draft marking the answer for proofreading. When she finished with it, she marked it to be published.
She proofread for me 22,200 words in June.
The Last Significant Event
On 5th of June, I called my wife. She said: “I’ve sent you a message on Messenger, have you read it?”
“So, read it!”
I did read it a few minutes later. It said:
“What’s your opinion? Should I hurry up this month or wait till the next month with giving my notice?”
I was of the opinion she should quit as soon as possible. She gave her notice on 21st of June. It appeared that she had a 3-month notice period, not a 1-month like we thought. And her company didn’t agree to let her go sooner than in the contract. But the most important step had been taken. Giving the notice provided her with a degree of freedom of mind. My wife no longer cared about her day job.
And I was about to provide enough income from my business to replace her salary. Things got real.
The Income Report Breakdown
Amazon royalties: €1002.11 ($1142.99)
CreateSpace royalties: €516.93 ($589.3)
Coach.me fees: $417.68
Draft2Digital royalties: $41.06
Audiobooks royalties: $69.89
PWIW personal coaching: $143.85
Affiliate commission for KD Sales Machine course: $38.5
German translations’ royalties: $37.8
$36.9, View From the Top Community fee
$29, Aweber fee
$20, InstaFreebie fee
$265, Business on Purpose mastermind
$55.55, royalties split with co-author
$893.7, Amazon ads
$50, RA’s (RA = Real Assistant; my son 😉 ) remuneration
$50, Spanish translation of Personal Mission Statement
$5, Medium premium membership
$97, KDP Rocket
$99, Coach.me yearly fee
$601, audiobook production of From Shy to Hi
$25.6, audiobook cover for Master Your Time
Net Result: $252.33