Are you curious about a one-year delay? I explained it in my first income report.
August 2016 was a very busy month for me. Not only had I tackled many additional projects, I also had publishing of the next book on my hands. The amount of activities that come into play with publishing a book causes me a headache on its own. How the heck I tackled half a dozen other tasks puzzles me to no end. But my journals don’t lie 😉
The beginning of August is traditionally the time of my annual The Slight Edge report. I wrote it mostly in July and only updated a few numbers in the last moment. But it went through the usual round of proofreading by a native speaker, and I had to include the corrections. Also, formatting over 3,500-word blog post takes some time. I included plenty of links and some print screens.
And in the end, the post didn’t make much of an impact. I got a small bump of traffic and that was it.
However, in the last year, I referred to this post dozens of times in my Quora answers. Every time I talked about the power of habits and my life transformation, I linked back to the post.
I got, quite unexpectedly, two new coaching clients on Coach.me. I had one client, occasionally two, since the beginning of 2015, and I didn’t pay much attention to that platform. In the prior few months, I had asked a few of my friends to join my coaching for free so I could get testimonials from them. Getting new clients prodded me to pursue the Coach.me certification program. I took the exam in the end of August.
FB live and webinars
At that time I had been doing short FB live broadcasts, mainly about habits. They didn’t bring me much traction, but I discovered a camera doesn’t kill me. In August, AppSumo had a killer deal for their new software, WebinarNinja. It was so cheap, that even such a miser like me purchased it on the spot. And because I bought it, I felt compelled to try it.
I created my first webinar. It was a trial, I invited only a handful fans. That was a good idea. I got some feedback and discovered a few things I didn’t know about a webinar creation.
The next webinar was bigger and “live.” About 10-15 people attended. I learned how to show my talking head and slides at the same time.
I quite enjoyed these events, but I saw no immediate reward for doing them and quite a lot of immediate workload for me.
After the second webinar I stopped doing them altogether, and I quit on FB live as well.
After my initial promo, not much came out of this platform. My friend, who writes fiction, reported about a dozen new subscribers a day. I finished with 48 for the whole of August. But it still was significantly higher than 10 subscribers I got from my books, because sales were at their rock bottom.
I sold only 164 Kindle copies in August 2016. That was less than in January 2014 when I had only 4 books published! The only thing that saved the month was a bulk purchase of 35 copies of A Personal Mission Statement on CreateSpace that took place on the last day of the month.
I suspect those sales were the result of Amazon stockpiling, because despite the enormous numbers of copies sold (for me at that time), the book’s rank didn’t move one inch.
Encouraged by the business training I recently had, I hired my son to do some mundane stuff in my business. He started from re-posting my Quora answers on Medium. I gave him the access to both my Quora and Medium accounts, and he was importing my answers from Quora and formatting them on Medium. Then I was only doing a cursory review and publish of the stories on Medium. I recorded a couple of videos explaining and documenting the process.
I didn’t get much traction out of that, only something like 60 reads in the whole of August 2016. But it was just the beginning, and only 13 answers transferred from Quora. Besides, this content was ready and it involved just a minute of my time each day.
Directed by Purpose
The usual hustle accompanying the book launch took its place (and its toll on me).
I got the manuscript from my copy editor, reviewed it, prepared a beta-read version, sent it to beta readers, received their feedback, incorporated it into the manuscript, sent the manuscript for proofreading, reviewed proofreading results, corrected the manuscript once again and sent for edition.
Apart from the work on manuscript, I also worked on the bits and pieces involved in publishing on Amazon: I researched keywords and categories, brainstormed book’s benefits to include them in book description, created a survey about the title and sent it to my subscribers, gathered and analyzed their responses, decided on the title and subtitle, sketched the book description and ordered a book cover.
For once, I had a concrete vision for my book cover. I sent an inquiry to HappySelfPublishing, but they replied that a personalized cover without the use of stock photos will cost over three hundred bucks. So, I contacted my friend from the times of my card game addiction who is a pro graphic designer. We exchanged a few emails and, at the end of August, I waited for his final declaration if he will take the job and for how much.
I continued to write Quora answers and blog posts. I definitely got a new habit of publishing unedited A2A and short answers. It saved me a lot of time on sending the articles back and forth between me and a proofreader. I noticed that Quorans don’t sweat over my grammar and mistakes very much.
I had another lesson about the importance of the writing habit when we went for a short summer trip. My son and daughter were at a summer scout camp and we visited them. It was a 4-hour trip in one direction. We drove there on Friday after work and went back on Monday evening.
It took some circumnavigating around my wife’s sleep schedule to write during the weekend, but I managed it seamlessly. Well, more or less. One day I didn’t do all my habits, because I was too tired, but I wrote.
The first Slight Edge principle is “Show up,” and I cannot emphasize enough how important it is. It’s the ground upon which you lay your foundation.
Following Steve Scott’s advice, I built a habit of checking my sales every day. With their number significantly shrinking, it was a frustrating experience in August 2016.
One day I noticed on my book’s page an additional line of covers named “Sponsored items.” I wouldn’t have put much importance to it, if I hadn’t noticed my friend’s book there. I contacted Derek Doepker and asked him about his experience with Amazon ads. He was quite enthusiastic about it, and he generously shared with me some materials he had been preparing for his online course “KD Sales Machine.”
I hate learning from videos. I made an exception for Derek’s course, and it was my best business decision ever. Frankly, at that time I had no idea how great that decision was. It took me about a couple of hours to go through his materials. The system was very straightforward, and I had nothing to lose.
The only problem was that, at that time, Amazon allowed only books from their exclusive KDP Select program into their advertising program.
Hence, I took down half a dozen of my books from other stores. I had plenty on my plate because of the book launch, but I was determined to go back to this topic as soon as I published Directed by Purpose.
Derek Doepker contacted me with his idea for narrating audiobooks and then trying to promote them to his list.
We emailed back and forth for the whole month. At first, we were playing with an idea of recording The Art of Persistence, but it is one of my longest works, over 33,000 words, and that meant high cost of production. At last, I decided to produce an audio version of Know Yourself Like Your Success Depends on It, only because it was short, so the production costs were relatively low.
Overall, August 2016 was a very intensive month for me. It also hid a few seeds of future successes I had no idea about and barely hoped for.
It’s in the nature of momentum that it always bring the results.
The Income Report Breakdown
Amazon royalties: €257.72 ($288.65)
CreateSpace royalties: €53.52 ($59.94)
Draft2Digital royalties: $10.13
Coach.me fees: $32.97
Audiobooks royalties: $5.1
$36.9, View From the Top Community fee
$29, Aweber fee
$265, Business on Purpose mastermind
$32.32, royalties split with co-author
$200, proofreading of Directed by Purpose by Archangel Ink
$11, proofreading services on Fiverr
$10, Office 2013 second-hand license
$64.99, Coach.me coaching for certificate
$70, paperback covers
$45.64, my print books from CreateSpace
$60.3, my editor’s income share