Are you curious about a half-year delay? I explained it in my first income report.
I exported my kids to Ireland, so July 2017 was a honeymoon for me and my wife. We had some extended time without kids in the past (during those times, we also exported kids to grandparents), but this time my wife worked much less. She already gave her notice and didn’t care about performance bonuses and other such nonsense.
I came back to Poland on 1st of July, Saturday. The next weekend, we visited my wife’s family in her home town. In that town we studied together in high school, it’s where we met. My first church community was there, and I visited them at the mass. It was great to see them after 20 years. We visited also two families with whom I lived when I was in high school. That was a great time.
The next week we traveled to Bulgaria. We spent there a week. We had no idea that for the first three days, the weather was awful. Comparing to Poland, it was wonderful. We discovered what a nice Bulgarian weather was in the last three days of vacation. My wife loved everything about the trip. Sunbathing at the beach is her favorite pastime. I missed a reliable Internet connection. 😉 I had to go to the hotel’s lobby to check my sales or publish a Quora answer.
We spent the next week at home going to cinema and theatre. At the end of the month, we traveled once again to our friend in Wroclaw. We spent a night there and picked up kids from the airport the next day.
A Laptop Entrepreneur Lifestyle
All this time, as well as in Ireland a month before and in Bulgaria in July, I had my laptop with me and worked a couple of hours here and there. Usually, I woke up before my wife with enough time for a morning ritual and writing, and I found another hour somewhere in the middle of the day to exchange emails, check on my coaching clients (actually I could do that on my mobile as well), and publish my content on Quora, Medium or my blog.
I had a taste of laptop entrepreneur lifestyle. Of course, it was all possible because of paid vacations I got in my day job, but I also experienced that I could work wherever I was and my business income streams were independent of my location.
On the 1st or 2nd of July, Pete Smith and I compared costs of his ads and his sales and royalties. As soon as we figured out the profit from ads, Pete sent me the payment via PayPal. I earned my first money advertising books of another author.
The money started trickling from other sources as well. Of course, it would have sounded much more impressive if I said “the money started flooding,” but I keep things real in this blog.
I got a bounty from ACX, so this time my payment for audiobooks was also a few dozen bucks.
My client paid me for additional coaching services and I had, of course, the sources of income that had been working for over a year – royalties from Kindle, CreateSpace, D2D and fees from Coach.me.
Back to the Airport
So, I remember sitting at the airport with my mom who brought our kids from Ireland, and enumerating all those sources of income. My mom was stoked, like every mom who hears about her kid’s prosperity.
I painted a bit too optimistic picture, mostly because I didn’t know what was possible. I measured the potential of my AMS services by Dare to Matter’s success. I thought that if I could resurrect a book that was dead to the level of a hundred sales in less than a month, I could do that with most books.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t. I shared in my mastermind the success I had with Pete’s book and the potential I saw in this business. The best thing in this model was that I could do the keyword research once and use them for many authors at once.
One of my mastermind partners had a dead book too. In a few days, we started advertising his book as well. It didn’t go nearly as well as with Pete’s book.
The Truth About Profitability of AMS Ads
My friend’s book sold, in July 2017, about 15 copies. Of course, it was much more than it sold in the last several months, but his ads barely broke even. I enjoyed being paid for results, but in his case the results were meager.
At the end of July, I took my first fiction client. I was excited about this. I thought fiction would do proportionately better than nonfiction. The market for it is so much bigger. The genre, thrillers, was hot. I also knew that the books of this author were really good, I read his first one and it was well above average. His books had plenty of reviews. Everything seemed to be ideal for my service.
But it was a bummer. Oh, he had a positive ROI and made about a couple hundred bucks from my ads. However, I expected that each of his books would make as much.
Dare to Matter has remained an uncontested winner among the books I advertise. I was right about the workload; nowadays, I use a new set of keywords for 30 or 40 books of mine and “my” authors. But I was wrong about the return from investment.
Resurrecting books is not a very profitable business. Most of them sell less than a copy a day and often earn 1-digit amount in dollars. It isn’t a gold mine I imagined. It is rather a normal gold-seeking venture – you must go through a lot of mud to find a nugget.
But in July 2017, I didn’t know all of that, so I was happily chasing authors and inviting them to use my service. I managed to get another nonfiction author with a few books, and I had several more in the pipeline.
Speaking of other sources of income, I wrote a post about KDP Rocket, sharing my initial results for keyword mining for the purpose of AMS ad campaigns. I love numbers and case studies, so writing it was a pure pleasure.
And it paid off handsomely in the following months. I earned a few hundred bucks for writing something I loved. I call it win-win-win. A triple win, because everyone who purchased this awesome tool won as well. My ads that I created with KDP Rocket earned me about $1,000 so far, and I can’t even count how much they made for my clients (mostly because of the wonky and useless AMS reporting).
A Few Loose Ends
Another of my books has been featured on InstaFreebie, out of the blue. They just contacted me saying that my book has been picked for a feature on their blog. Nice. I got another 200+ email subscribers because of that. I repeat once again: if an author is not on InstaFreebie, he or she misses out big time.
One of the guys from the Community helped me to improve ‘My books’ page on this blog. If you take a look at it right now, you will notice those nice frames separating one book from the other. Such a tiny thing, but makes a difference. If you don’t believe me, compare it with ‘my books’ section at my online journal website.
In June 2017, I paid for the production of a couple of audiobooks. At the end of July, I created resource pages for those books. As convenient as the audio format is for consuming content, it’s a very bad fit for showing charts or providing links. Thus, I created one page for Master Your Time and one for From Shy to Hi.
Free Promo and Reflections on Kindle Unlimited
At the end of June, I ran probably the last free promo on Amazon for my book ever. At the beginning of July, I shared the results in the Pat’s First Kindle book group on Facebook.
99 Perseverance Success Stories was in KDP Select for the previous three months, and its performance truly sucked. I decided to pull it out of this program, but I also wanted to use KDP Select’s benefit and check if I could make it work to my advantage. I informed several peers about the promo, sent a broadcast to my list, and shared it in authors groups on FB. Not much came out of it. The book had been downloaded less than two thousand times and got a couple of new reviews.
I’m not convinced that it made much difference for the book. If the free promo ends among the #100 in the free Kindle store, it always translates into more sales afterwards.
99 Perseverance Success Stories got a new life when I pulled it out of KDP Select. I believe it had more to do with the fact that the Kindle Unlimited program’s borrows stopped to cannibalize sales. Readers had no other choice but to buy the book if they wanted to read it. So they started purchasing it.
Buck Books Promo
Encouraged by the results of the previous BB promo, I organized another one in July 2017. This time, I promoted A Personal Mission Statement: Your Road Map to Happiness, 99 Perseverance Success Stories, From Shy to Hi and Know Yourself like Your Success Depends on It.
I also made one mega-smart step by informing Steve Scott about my promo. He was nice enough to mention this promo on his email broadcast.
My numbers went through the roof.
I sold 713 copies of my books on 20th of July, 2017, over 150 copies for each book included in the promo. Audiobook and paperback sales were also positively affected.
The promo was in the middle of my Bulgarian vacations. I remember sitting in the hotel’s lobby and frantically refreshing sales reports in the KDP dashboard. It was awesome.
This promo once again proved that the best tool for selling books is an engaged email list. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your list. If you can build relationships with other authors and influencers, their list will work for you as fine as yours.
The Income Report Breakdown
Amazon royalties: €762.18 ($899.31)
CreateSpace royalties: €622.56 ($734.62)
Coach.me fees: $363.41
Draft2Digital royalties: $13.35
Audiobooks royalties: $63.48
PWIW personal coaching: $191.9
AMS service remuneration: $92.68
Affiliate commission for KD Sales Machine course: $38.5
Remuneration for an affiliate post: $100
$36.9, View From the Top Community fee
$29, Aweber fee
$20, InstaFreebie fee
$265, Business on Purpose mastermind
$27.27, royalties split with co-author
$60.3, my editor’s share in profits
$596.92, Amazon ads
$49, RA’s (RA = Real Assistant; my son 😉 ) remuneration
$101.5, Buck Books promos
$16.94; EBY and ResurrectingBooks domains
$25.6, audiobook cover for From Shy to Hi
Net Result: $1157.78