Sixty Eighth Income Report – November 2019 ($3,405.42)
Are you curious about a 3-month delay? I explained it in my first income report.
November 2018 overshadowed the book launch. I launched a book last in September 2016 and I got out of the routine. Everything was almost new, but not exactly. It was like skating after a few years’ break.
My cover designer provided three book cover mockups on 7th of November. I put them on Facebook and received well over one hundred votes. Almost unanimously, my friends chose the cover with white letters that was the most readable.
I contacted Archangel Ink about proofreading, but they had no free spots till January. Luckily, my editor agreed to proofread it. As good as she is, the only thing I regretted during the preparation phase was that the book was not read by another set of eyes.
When I received the manuscript back from Erica, I corrected what was to be corrected. This was the last time my work input was necessary for the book content.
I added the back cover matter (about the author, a call to join my email list and so on) and sent the manuscript to the wizard of formatting, Hynek Palatin himself.
In the week before the launch I acted as an intermediate between my cover designer and formatter. Hynek not only prepared the Kindle and paperback format, but also the cover for a paperback version. I didn’t want to put that on my cover designer because I knew he was unfamiliar with the process. Hynek could probably teach some things to the technical staff at Amazon headquarters.
When I called Hynek on Tuesday and said that I hinted to some people that the book will be published on Black Friday, he wasn’t overly happy with the timetable. He declared that maybe he will be ready for the Cyber Monday. I was fine with that as I truly only hinted the book launch.
We spent the next few days exchanging emails back and forth whenever Hynek had some questions or needed something from me.
Wrestling with the Juggernaut
I called KDP support on the 6th and exactly as I predicted, they did nothing with my issue. This time I was extremely lucky and both the first-line person and KDP team member were Americans. I spent about 30 minutes on the phone getting all the details of the account migration process.
I needed to create two new KDP accounts. Supposedly, my problem with creating new ads was caused by my account being involved with many other accounts. So I needed one account for my Resurrecting Books service that would become the editor for my customers and one account for my own books.
Which was a huge mess, of course. I had to contact all my customers and explain that they need to create one more editor. Part of them did this immediately, others waited some time, yet others removed my old account from users while creating a new one. It caused a cascade of problems with tracking their campaigns or creating new ads for them. Thank you, Amazon. :/
I created and configured the new KDP account in parallel. When the majority of my customers created the new editor user and my account was ready, I called KDP once more and requested the book migration process.
They told me it can take up to a couple of weeks. They also informed me previously that ASINs of my books will change. Misinformation seems to be one of the core values of Amazon. At least this time, the fact they were wrong worked to my advantage.
Speaking of misinformation – I got an email from Amazon about the migration process for some different guy. I ignored it, but the next day I got a hunch and checked my new account.
Sure enough, my books were sitting there. That was on the 16th of November, three months and six days since I reported the issue to the KDP support. It appeared I need to create a new AMS account also. I did that ASAP, and to my relief, I could create new ads for my books. The last obstacle for my book launch was removed. Everything clicked into place.
I created that evening template ads for each of my books and sent to my team an order for over 1,000 new ads.
There is always some good that comes out of bad. Now, I’m glad I have two separate accounts, one for myself and another for my business. I can now give the password to my business account to Virtual Assistants without the slightest risk. I have no finance operations connected to that account and VAs will get power only over my customers’ ads.
Amidst the book launch craziness I still were busy with my advertising service. I got four new customers in November 2018 with 14 books. So, my team had to not only create over 1,000 ads for my books, but also start about 150 ads for new customers, that is in the first run. Most of the books appeared to be hits and I quickly created orders for more ads for them.
I enlisted two of new customers while renewing my contacts in the self-publishing world. I asked them for help with the launch and remind them about my book marketing service. One was elated about outsourcing this activity. He neglected his marketing because he had too much on his plate.
Another played with his ads without much success. I offered to explain to him what works and what doesn’t. We spent about an hour on Zoom, I showed him how to setup an account in the UK. He asked me dozens of questions about my advertising methods and finally stated: “You know what? I want you to run my ads.”
Switching to a new KDP account give me the opportunity to fire a few customers who were unresponsive and their results didn’t justify maintaining our cooperation.
I also let go more than a few prospects. Either their books were not advertising-worthy or I wasn’t sure I can make ads work for them. I had Dave’s scolding in the back of my mind. If I focused more on this service I could make better judgements and probably turn more prospects into customers.
The Crazy Launch
On Thursday evening, one day before Black Friday, Hynek delivered all the files. I could launch the book!
I had a book description prepared. That was the only thing I had. Before I went to work, I wrote and formatted the email broadcast. On the train to work, I was busy with launching the book. I hastily put some keywords into the dashboard, chose the categories on a whim, added the description and uploaded the manuscripts and covers for both Kindle and paperback versions.
I managed to do that just before the train arrived at the final station.
In the middle of my workday, I checked on Amazon, and sure enough, the Kindle version was live. I shared this in a few groups on Facebook. Back at home, I polished the broadcast, added the link to the book and sent it away. I was exhausted; I caught a 15-minute nap. When I woke up, I already sold 15 copies or so.
The speed of the launch was breathtaking, but the most problematic thing was that this very evening a 3-day retreat of my community started. An hour after the nap I went for my church community meeting and I was back at home about 10 pm. I only put a couple more posts on Facebook.
For the next two days I was practically out of commission. I was back at home on Sunday before 2 pm, but I don’t work on Sundays. The real effort started since Cyber Monday.
This book launch fits nicely to my writing career. I’m not the type of writer who closes himself in a shed in woods for three months to write a book. Nor do I carefully orchestrate my launches.
This launch was put together in haste. I could do so many things better: contact more authors, be more active in FB groups, ask for more help, and book more promotions. But a half-assed launch is better than no launch at all. Dave Chesson was right, I didn’t need another book in my catalog. I needed more focus on my 80%. So, I’m glad it’s all behind me.
Starting on Cyber Monday, I contacted more authors and asked them for help. I warned many of them in advance.
I made sure my book description looked good (I had to fix it couple of times till it looked exactly as I wanted). I opened the ticket to KDP support and asked them to match the Kindle and paperback versions.
As soon as the book had a couple of reviews, I created the first template ads for it and sent an order to my team to create 100 more. Oh, that was on Saturday, during a lunch break at the retreat.
I managed to reserve only a couple of book promotion spots. My book had either not enough reviews or their schedule was so crowded that I couldn’t make it before the end of my 99-cent period. I waited with the Buck Books promo till I met all the requirements. It took more than a week to get 10 reviews.
I also tried BookBub ads. In the first day I spent almost $30 that converted into 23 clicks or so. I knew the convert ratio, those clicks translated to about two sales, so I paid $15 per one purchase of my book. That wasn’t a good business. During the launch I spent $45 on Amazon ads that generated 39 sales of the Kindle version and several paperback sales. That was a good business.
Martin Meadows enlightened me that BookBub ads usually spend crazy amount of cash at the beginning before they stabilize at a reasonable levels. I thought I would’ve spent $1,500 to generate 100 sales. He stated that it should be enough for a few hundred sales. Well, man lives and learns. On the other hand, I’m kind of glad I kept $1,500 in my pocket.
The whole marketing effort cost me exactly $225.63 But I get the most juice from email lists, not from paid marketing. I’ll share some details of launch’s results in the next report. Today, I only reveal that AMS ads were the best bang for my money. 14% of my sales came from AMS ads and they were almost profitable despite the 99-cent price – thanks to paperback sales.
I’m Getting Old
The launch was crazy. I was still catching up with some things after the trip to the USA and a couple of whole weekend retreats. I had some stuff to attend around our homestead.
I had a new business – Resurrecting Books – to attend to. I had a couple of shoulder rehabilitation sessions in the capitol that disrupted my schedule.
But heck! I worked only quarter-time in my day job. I launched 15 books while working full time. This should be easier!
It wasn’t. My efforts were half-hearted in a big part because I felt overwhelmed with all the activities in my life. I didn’t manage that well.
The launch of “Power up Your Self-Talk” reminded me of the previous launches. I forgot which one it was. I only remember that I had already crossed my internal deadline by a few days and got mad at myself. I worked till 4 am in the morning fixing the format of the manuscript. Then I got a couple hours of sleep and went to the work in the morning.
I’m probably getting old. That other launch was about 3-4 years ago. I looked back at the energy I could mobilize and am amazed. The least I slept during the current launch was 5 hours and I added a one-hour nap later during the day.
The Income Report Breakdown
Amazon royalties: €823.42 ($2040.38)
CreateSpace royalties: €94.66 ($30.79)
Coach.me fees: $271.24
Draft2Digital royalties: $18.32
Audiobooks royalties: $58.42
PWIW personal coaching: $629.4
AMS service remuneration: $2059.26
Affiliate marketing: $41.65
$29, Aweber fee
$58.52, royalties split with co-author
$678.66, Amazon ads
$500, ISI mastermind
$277.86, RAs’ remuneration (RAs = Real Assistants; my team)
$100, proofreading of “Power up Your Self-Talk”
Net Result: $3,405.42