In April my income was $14,964 from books and speaking, and I was able to vacation in Napa, attend a Brendon Burchard conference in Santa Clara, worked in a homeless shelter for a day, saw almost all of my kids’ concerts and games, and of course had no commute and usually dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. Don’t you just hate me?! 🙂
I quit my job on January 1 to become a full-time “author-preneur”.
I’m sharing my results each month to keep me accountable
and so you can learn from my mistakes.
Last month I told you about Mark Cuban returning my cold email message 61 minutes after I sent it, and since then I’ve had 6 other billionaires return my emails, including Dustin Moskovitz who is one of Zuck’s Facebook co-founders.
Conrad Deas asked me to share my email template—how I’m getting responses from billionaires and others—and I promise I’ll write that up very soon! But for now, on to my income report…
April Highlights (Month #4):
- Revenue = $14,964 (full breakdown at the end of this post); YTD = $55,527
- Launched my second kids novel, The CobraSquad Hideout
- Now have over 40,000 words for my next non-fiction book
- Did a keynote speech for a public utility company
Have done no marketing of old books.
A question I keep getting is what am I doing to market my books and speaking services. Right now, nothing. This isn’t ideal, it’s just that I’ve been focused on other things. So I haven’t been running ads, or doing BookBub, or contacting speaker bureaus or any of that.
I’ve noticed a steady decline of my Kindle revenue since last year, and my overall book revenue declined month over month. I think to keep your royalties growing, you really do need to keep on “tickling the ‘Zon” with keywords, category changes, promotions, ads, whatever. But for my own situation, I’d rather spend time getting the next book out.
I’m grabbing emails NOW for my NEXT book.
My biggest marketing priority is collecting new email addresses NOW that I will use once I launch my next book (on time management). Seems like most people release their book and then figure out how to build an audience for it. They wonder why launch numbers are bad and they don’t get any reviews.
My approach is to write a chapter of my book, and then to take modified sections and release them as blog posts. At the end of each of these blog posts, I do a call to action to take the Time Management Style Quiz. (I’ve written before about the power of online quizzes to generate opt-ins.)
Eventually, when I have an entire book done, I’ll have over a thousand emails of people who have expressed a fairly strong interest in the topic.
Developed back-end online course.
My plan to take over the world (or at least make a great living as an author-preneur!) is to develop online training to complement each non-fiction, along with live keynote speeches or workshops. Thus, every book sale will possibly lead to an upsell down the road.
My primary riches-in-niches is in the area of “employee engagement” and I’m almost finished with e-learning to support my book Employee Engagement 2.0. Finishing up some marketing material right now and will launch it to my “tribe” soon. I don’t actually expect to make a lot of money from this—the topic is too narrow—but developing multiple streams of income will eventually lead to a river of it. This is the first time I’m using the KajabiNext platform. It’s dead simple to use, but we’ll see how it works when people start to take the actual training.
I launched my second Minecraft-based novel, and still no sales.
While non-fiction is what I’m focused on, I enjoy writing fiction and promised my 10-year old son I’d do a trilogy for him and his friends. Book one was, The CobraSquad Virus, and book two is called The CobraSquad Hideout.
The quality of my storytelling advanced quite a bit with my second novel, which I feel great about. Better adherence to classic hero’s journey story structure. Consistent use of deep point of view. Mixed up the dialogue stems a lot better, too.
I used http://yocladesigns.com/ for the book covers. I paid $150 for both print and Kindle versions of the cover which included original illustrations.
One lesson I learned is that for a series, you have to stick with the same designer for consistency, but you are at their mercy. I had to wait several MONTHS before the designer would take my project. I had actually finished the novel much earlier in the year. Since my fiction is all just for fun right now it wasn’t a big deal, but if I had been planning a timed release it would have messed everything up. In the future I’d probably get all covers for a series done at once, or gotten some other assurances from the cover designer that I’d be a priority given repeat customer.
While nobody bought book one in my series, hundreds of people DID download it during free days. I was hoping some of them would come back to buy book #2. Yeah, not so much.
If you want to give me a pity buy and review—or a “tip” for putting together these income reports—I hope you’ll consider buying a copy of The CobraSquad Virus (free on Kindle Unlimited!) and leaving an honest review.
Yes, my time management book is behind schedule. Oh the irony!
Well, I’m over 43,000 words into the manuscript and have one chapter left to write. BUT, I’m also still collecting interview quotes which I will then include at the very end of the production process. Why do I like to include a lot of material from outside experts?
- Readers will benefit from multiple points of view.
- It increases the word count without me having to write the words!
- If I can land an interview with a famous person (e.g., Mark Cuban) it may help me to get publicity when I launch the book.
- If I can land interviews with people who have their own e-mail lists and social media followings, they may promote my book when I launch.
So far I’ve been able to connect with 6 billionaires, over a dozen Olympians, and hundreds of entrepreneurs.
I’ll put out a post and video with how I’m getting people to respond very soon.
One keynote speech = $12,500.
In April I did one 60-minute speech and got a fee of $12,500 from a Midwestern public utility company. I also got two workshop gigs from the same company, but those will happen in the summer and I’ll “book” that revenue after I do them.
Speaking gigs come from my books on Amazon. Big companies are always doing book clubs, training programs, and executive meetings and retreats. So it starts with someone in HR or an assistant to the CEO thinking, “Next month, our book club should read a book on [YOUR TOPIC]. Let’s jump on Amazon and find a book we can buy for all our executives…”
- Corporate book clubs want quick reads…nothing too dense or heavy. Traditional books tend to have higher page counts to justify higher prices; indie books tend to be shorter.
- Corporate buyers are conscious of costs. If they find three books that all look equally good related to customer service (for example), and they are priced $22.95, $14.95 and $9.95…they’ll pick the one for ten bucks.
And then later, when the CEO says, “Get a guest speaker to kick off our summer leadership retreat…” Often the staff will think back to the books they’ve read earlier in the year and reach out to those authors.
The income break down: $14,964
While the total revenue number looks good, at $14,964, only $2,464 is from books (down from $3,325 last month) and $12,500 is from one speaking gig. By the end of the year, book royalty revenue needs to climb way up with the release of more books, and better volume.
Total book revenue was $2,464.46 and 959 total units sold. I’m basically pushing three non-fiction titles so I’ve dropped to $821 per book, per month—far below the $1,000 per book, per month that I’m used to. The digital versus print breakdown:
- Print (Createspace) = $2,065.46 from 773 units
- Kindle ebooks = $399.00 from 186 total unit
None of these sales were “back of the room” from events. All took place online from unknown buyers.
So what do you think? Got a question? Want to say “good job!” or “you stink!” Send me an email at kevin at kevinkruse dot com. I rarely read FB PMs so email is preferred.
Oh and if you didn’t read my blog post from April, check out “Have An Idea For A Book But No Clue How To Start”.