Seventy Sixth Income Report – July 2019 ($3,379.18)
Are you curious about a 3-month delay? I explained it in my first income report.
July is a summer and vacation time in Poland. It had some repercussions for me.
My oldest sister, the one who helps me with ResurrectingBooks, visited us on the 2nd of June and stayed for almost two weeks. My wife was busy entertaining our guest. My younger son bought a new graphics card from the money he earned on creating ads and was happily buried in “Counter Strike.” If not for a sister from my church community, I would have had nobody to create new ads for me.
Only my eldest son, who quit his day job and thus felt some shortage of funds, was interested in doing some work. I taught him how to use Publisher Rocket for keyword mining on Amazon, and he diligently collected the keywords for one hour a day. He also got back to managing my social media content.
My sister’s visit was a bit of a productivity hurdle for me. Almost every evening, I watched movies with her and my wife.
I hadn’t used the Rocket for almost a year. Because I was training my son, I finally installed the new version. I also found some minor bugs and informed the support team. To my amazement, every time, I got replies to my submissions by someone with the surname Chesson.
I also suggested a couple of enhancements to a new version, Dave Chesson personally took charge of it, and they custom-built them for me. I don’t use Publisher Rocket like any sane author, who would carefully screen the results for irrelevant keywords. I use a bulk approach and process about 10,000 keywords at a time, so I’m big on avoiding repeatable tasks in the software.
After a couple of weeks, a bug was fixed and new features were implemented. Awesome!
The Big Potential Story
I got a new prospect, and we were busy improving her book description for ads. We were emailing back and forth. In one email, she mentioned an author who had some success with ads in the Spain store. She sent me a link to his interview.
As much as I hate videos, I watched the interview with curiosity. “An author” appeared to be Marc Reklau. We participated in the same book giveaway once and exchanged a couple of emails.
So, I reached out to him and asked him for a call to exchange our AMS experiences. I discovered Marc didn’t do anything special, he just dedicated more time to his keyword research and ad maintenance. He discovered my ResurrectingBooks service; he had had no idea I run ads for other authors. He was especially interested in the UK and CA markets. What is more, he had an Advantage account in Spain, so he could advertise the translation of “Master Your Time” there.
He created some ads in Spain for me, and I herded my team to create ads for him in the USA, UK, and CA. I couldn’t create new ads in Canada, but I found a workaround. I had one customer with just a couple of books that were selling only a few copies per month. I added Marc’s books to that guy’s ads. It worked!
Marc’s results in the USA weren’t especially impressive. But his sales in the UK and CA skyrocketed, and so did my sales in Spain.
BTW, there is a funny story related to our call. Before the call, I took a nap, but I set the alarm clock at the wrong hour. Instead of napping for fifteen minutes, I slept for over an hour. I ran to my computer in a panic. I was over half an hour late! Luckily, both Marc and I are full-time authors with a flexible schedule and the call took place despite the delay.
Gosh! The horror with Amazon support continued. I was first bombarded with requests for additional information and actions. Then they got silent. After a couple of weeks, I discovered in the Advantage system that they wanted me to change my browser. Heck! The problem with the account was permanent, and I checked it with four different browsers.
I did what they asked and reopened the ticket. I got an answer that advertising with Advantage is put on hold and go away!
Sheesh! I waited a few days and opened another ticket, enumerating every single piece of data they asked me for in the past. And I’ve been waiting for a solution since that time.
My Wife’s Vacations
After my sister left, my wife and daughter visited my sister, who lives in Germany, for one week. For me, it was an opportunity to work more than usual. Which I happily did. This was the week when I had the call with Marc. That day when I overslept in the afternoon, I worked almost till midnight.
Having my wife exported, I also dedicated more time to my church community. The week when Anna was away, I attended four meetings.
When my wife was in Germany, I took care of the household and noticed how terribly loud our washing machine was. We’d been overloading it without mercy for years. When my wife got back, I mentioned we needed a new washing machine. Ha! Two days later we bought it, and it arrived the next day.
I invested some time in installing it properly. The new machine is amazingly quiet. And my wife found a new zeal for doing laundry.
The new washing machine is also bigger, so Anna doesn’t need to use it as often as in the past. Oh, and of course, we bought the machine for cash. If you can’t pay in cash, you can’t afford it.
I had little idea what to do with my Q3 goals for 12WY system. I decided to take care of some open loops.
First, I took care of the content for ResurrectingBooks. I took an inventory of what I still had unfinished. I brainstormed the topics for a few more articles. I sent something to my proofreader and wrote some more. I published a couple of posts on the site.
Second, I finally used a couple of book descriptions prepared by Best Page Forward. I didn’t crunch my numbers yet, but my gut feeling says the new descriptions did their work.
I got three new solid customers in July, but my ads simply couldn’t get traction for them. It was puzzling beyond comprehension. Two of them were ideal customers – nonfiction authors with multiple books. The third prospect had only one book, but it looked very good and the description almost didn’t need refurbishing.
Yet the results in the AMS dashboard said they were all losing money, big time. I reviewed my own campaigns and some campaigns of my other clients, and I noticed that the performance in the USA had gone down across the board. Everyone had a bad month. Everyone was in red, or barely breaking even. Which meant I would not earn a dime. It was especially frustrating since the number of impressions and clicks had universally gone up for everybody. So the ads were getting more eyeballs, generating more clicks, but selling much less than usual.
I tried different things – reloading the ads for old customers, trying ads for more and more books of new customers, and the results stayed the same or got worse.
To add insult to injury, ad creation was generating additional costs. Not only would I not get paid, but I needed to pay more to my team!
The only bright point was the level of my book sales. The advertising system kept claiming I wasn’t making money on my ads, but every day my royalties exceeded the costs, and in the second half of the month $50 of profit per day was normal.
The whole situation was more frustrating than worrisome. I had been poor for over half of my life. It’s not as bad as it’s portrayed. I know we can function with a little money, and we have more than six months’ worth of expenses stacked away.
But I had no clue what was happening. That was unnerving.
In the end, I concluded that Amazon must have significantly changed their algorithm. Somehow, they could generate the same number of impressions, but they showed books to the wrong crowd and the conversion ratio dropped like a stone.
This is what I said to my new customers and advised them to pause their ads. I also invited them to the CA and UK markets, which weren’t as crowded.
One of them answered that she saw about a 30% increase in sales since I started my ads, and she did nothing else to promote her books in July. That gave me a shadow of hope, but it was also confusing. My only logical explanation had evaporated.
Well, it’s Amazon. Logic is certainly not guaranteed.
The Income Report Breakdown
Amazon royalties: € 3632.18 ($4031.72)
Coach.me fees: $119.08
Draft2Digital royalties: $32.03
Audiobooks royalties: $178.71
PWIW personal coaching: $288.11
AMS service remuneration: $1739.46
PublisherRocket affiliation program: $92.92
$69, Aweber fee
$90.55, royalties split with co-author
$2029, Amazon ads
$500, ISI mastermind
$77, Business on Purpose monthly fee
$622.7, RAs’ remuneration (RAs = Real Assistants; my team)
$30, SiteLock fee
$88.51, profit split with my editor
$95.09, an obligatory monthly fee for LLC
$70, my accountant’s monthly fee
Net Result: $3,379.18