Ascent Publication
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Ascent Publication

The First Payment: Sixth Income Report — September 2013

(The naked truth about self-publishing; episode 6)

source: pixabay.com

Are you curious about a one-year delay? I explained it in my first income report.

September was a quiet time and simultaneously rich in events that deeply affected the next months.

I focused my writing on my philosophy work. As soon as I started my transformation around September 2012 and met with new ideas about wealth and abundance I felt that I needed to confront these ideas with the teachings of my Church. I felt tempted to pursue the ideas blindly, but I also felt deep inside that it may be in vain if in reality they are opposite to all I believe.

All in all, those ideas made me study the Catholic Church’s official documents. It appeared that the Church has nothing against progress and wealth per se. While studying, I decided that I needed to write a compilation of the Church’s teaching about personal development. I put myself together and started the work at the beginning of August. But I did the main bulk of that job in September. I finished the first draft about 20th, before the deadline I had set for myself.

Finishing this work gave me a peace of mind. I grounded my beliefs about success and wealth in my religious beliefs. I ditched doubts and fears. It empowered me to keep plugging.

Lesson:
You need a balance. Theoretically I wasted a few weeks on writing something which probably will never be published and will never bring me money.

Wrong! My sanity required me to fix those issues in advance, before I committed myself too deeply. It was time very well invested.

Profound events

First, I joined Lift. It was an amazing experience. I described it in detail in this post. It later opened many paths for me.

And I started my Writing Progress Spreadsheet. I did it due to my mentor’s advice.

In this writing log I track all my writing activities. I note a date, a project name and type, whether I write in Polish or English; I mark the start and stop time and word count. I also track where I write (mainly home, work and train).

(a screen from my writing log)

I decided not to count as ‘writing’ the things I wrote habitually, like my journals or daily entry in The Progress Journal (I wrote 290k words in it since September 2013). I counted only blog posts, outlines, books, guest posts, articles and business messages.

It helped me immensely with maintaining my writing habit. Joining Lift and this tracking tool combined together allowed me to write every day since 23th of September 2013 for at least 30 minutes. It increased my output by at least 10%.

After some time I had enough data to compare my speed when writing in Polish and English. I thought I write significantly faster in Polish, but the results were about the same!

On 30th of September I wrote down the first words of my time management book’s outline.

I wasn’t writing a new book to publish it on Amazon, but I didn’t abandon my publishing venture. I was in constant contact with my proofreader. We worked on the parenting book and on 12th of September I finished editing the first draft of the speed reading book and sent it to her. I also hired a developer on Fiverr to create a couple of speed reading tools for my readers.

Testing

The sales were low. I sold only 18 copies of my personal mission statement book and two copies of my fitness book. I did an experiment and changed the first book cover for the one I received from a Fiverr designer. I didn’t notice any difference in sales, so I brought back the cover I liked more.

I also changed the headline of the fitness book’s copy at the beginning of September.

It was fun to undertake this project, to not feel helpless, but with such low volume it just didn’t make the difference.

Lesson:

Higher sales volumes do not guarantee any meaningful information. Once my speed reading book sold 9 copies, whereas on average it was 2–3 copies a day. I had absolutely no idea why.

I heard the wild stories from other authors about how they didn’t know why their books took off. Stories like forgotten free promo with no marketing whatsoever which resulted in 20k+ downloads; or a new release in the same niche published under a pen name with no following, no email broadcast which broke the bestseller ranks.

I the same manner I had absolutely no clue why Master Your Time became a bestseller and stayed on the 1st time management page for 5 months.

However, it’s easy to experiment with digital publishing. It won’t take you much time and maybe you’ll get something out of it.

The lowest point

I had an eight-day long streak with no sales from 22nd to 29th of September. This was the lowest point in my publishing career ever. Exactly in this period I decided to launch my blog to make my publishing more of a business.

I took the massive action toward starting this blog and making my online presence congruent. I updated my 1$tips site and The Progress Journal blog with my bio and books, updated my bio on Amazon and wrote several blog posts to keep the ball rolling after the launch of Expand Beyond Yourself.

Quitting crossed my mind and it was immediately dismissed — what would I gain if I quit? NOTHING!

At the beginning of September I noticed that it took me 104 days to sell the first 100 copies of my books.

Lesson:

This is a part of my personal philosophy: you never know what results you could achieve if you do nothing. Sitting on your hands is the only fireproof method to achieving no effects at all.

The Income Report Breakdown

Income: 11.28 EUR.

WTF? Euros? Welcome to the international publishing world.

The explanation is simple. Amazon pays European non-UK citizens in euros. With typical American arrogance they are not very picky about local currencies: Europe? Then you are paid in euros!

For my beloved American readers I will use a 1.3 exchange rate as a rule of thumb to provide them with the amount in USD. My costs were (and mostly are) in this currency anyway, so it won’t be possible to compare profits and costs without it.

So it was roughly $14.66.

11.28 euros came into my account on 27th of September. I published the first book on 26th of May. It took me four months to earn less than the equivalent of my single overtime hour.

FOUR MONTHS!!!

Lesson:

If you are into writing just for money, it’s not likely you will persevere. Find another vocation or reason other than just money to keep writing.

Cost: $19, Aweber services

$30, developer from Fiverr.

Net result: -$34.34

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