Don’t you just hate it when your book is almost written and then Mark Cuban sends you an email that wrecks your whole plan? Um, yeah, that actually happened last month. But before I tell that story…
I quit my job on January 1 to become a full-time “author-preneur”. I’m sharing out my results each month to keep me accountable and to share my lessons learned along the way.
For March (month #3), I made $3,324.90 from books and $7,500 from one speaking gig. Full breakdown at the end of this post.
Disclaimer: I’m under-reporting my income slightly
Now that the Amazon KU money is allocated I can report on my March income. Quick disclaimer: I’m actually UNDER reporting my income in these posts. The money I make outside the US is negligible and it’s easier for me to just do the math on the US data. Also, I’ve started getting a few speaking gigs from speaker bureaus; these have nothing to do with my books, so I’m not reporting them either.
I’m still not writing enough…
While my monthly income is fine, I continue to be disappointed in how this year is going; I’m moving too damn slow. A full fourth of the year is over, and I haven’t launched a new book; my butt hasn’t been in the writer’s chair as often as it should be.
The big thing I did accomplish is I spent a full day in the video studio recording videos for an e-learning course. Those videos are still in post-production, and the next step will be to create an online course out of them. This will be a back end offering to my business book. I’ll keep reporting out on results of this experiment in future months. Although I do consider myself an “author”, authors are basically selling ideas and information (or entertainment). The same people that might want to buy your book, might also want to buy more expensive training.
My lonely little novel is still an epic failure.
My focus is on non-fiction but if you’ve been following my journey you know I wrote a Minecraft novel for my 10-year old son (it’s called The CobraSquad Virus). I thought if I uploaded it to Amazon with a decent cover it would get SOME sales. And it’s literally been zero for months.
Just for kicks I tried the Nick Stephenson tactic of using Amazon predictive search to uncover niche search terms, and I loaded up my keywords on good finds. The thinking is, if I can’t compete against the other million Minecraft novels out there–which already have reviews and sales–I can get a few stray readers by targeting long-tail terms. So I did all that and nada. Still didn’t get a single sale.
Next I put that little novel on KDP select free for five days. Got 345 downloads and one new review. And then back to zero sales. It’s hilarious!
Anyway, next month I’ll report out that I finally got a cover and launched the 2nd novel in that series. Someday I’ll get around to making the first novel permafree and see if that helps. Again, fiction not something I’m really thinking much about yet. Until then, if you want to give me a mercy buy you can find it here.
Mark Cuban and SO close on my next book.
The book I’m working on now is about time and productivity. And in January I thought I’d just bang out a 20,000 word book with some unique bonuses, launch and move on to the next one. But then I made the fatal mistake of falling in love with my own work.
I’ve never been one to just churn out short titles in hot categories–smoothies, abs, getting out of debt, etc.–but I’m prone to doing too much research and writing just too many damn words. And this book is no different. I did tons of research on time and stress and added more and more content. I came up with a better way to open each chapter and rewrote all the chapter starts. I already have 30,000 words and it isn’t even done.
IMPORTANT: If I wanted to maximize my income, I would just release several books in the category, following the advice of Steve Scott. A small book on using your calendar, a small book reviewing all the time apps, a small book on procrastination, etc. But it’s just not me. I want one big epic book containing all I know on the subject, and I want it to rank at the top for search terms. And then I want to move on to another book. Again, it’s just me; not the best money strategy.
Anyway, for this book I had the idea that the more people who are quoted in my book, the more people there would be to promote it. So I had the idea to get time management tips from entrepreneurs. So I hired a VA to research contact info for the 800+ entrepreneurs who have been interviewed on the podcast Entrepreneurs on Fire, and I emailed them asking for their tip. But I ALSO decided to be aspirational and I emailed a bunch of billionaires, millionaires, Shark Tank hosts, and others asking for their time management advice.
Most people ignored my email; some people responded saying I was a spammy jerk. But 61 minutes after I guessed Mark Cuban’s email address, he emailed me back from his private email account with a 9-word piece of time management advice for entrepreneurs.
I sat there reading the email over and over. And then I ran upstairs and bragged to my three kids that Mark Cuban is my BFF.
For better or worse, Cuban’s email derailed me. My mind started racing…wow, I bet I can get a lot of press with the teaser, “What is Mark Cuban’s time management advice?”…if I got through to Cuban, who else can I get a response from Branson, Gates, Buffet? Maybe this isn’t just another book, maybe this is a BIG book for me to launch with a ton of back end offerings...
And that’s basically where I’m at. I’m compiling dozens and dozens of interviews with super successful people on time management advice, polishing chapters, doing some original research. Haven’t even started working on the epic marketing stuff yet. Oh, and I got my second billionaire to respond just this morning.
The income break down – $10,824.90
Total revenue was $10,824.90 which is fine, but most of it comes again from a speaking gig, NOT my passive author royalties.
I did one keynote speech for an association meeting in Massachusetts for $7,500. They found me by searching for my topic area in Amazon, looking for author/speakers. The check below is for 50% deposit, you get handed the final 50% when your speech is done.
The digital versus print breakdown:
- Print (createspace) = $2,816.39 from 824 units
- Kindle ebooks = $508.51 from 172 sales and 91 KU’s
None of these sales were “back of the room”. All took place online from unknown buyers. Last month there was a lot of surprise that my print outsold my “e-“. Remember, my authorpreneur strategy is to write books on business topics. It means individuals buy them, but also companies will buy them for their employees, in print.
I hope you’ll introduce yourself and let me know what you’re working on via email at kevin at kevinkruse.com. Hit me with your questions, too!
Oh and if you didn’t read my blog posts from March, check out How To Write 4,000 Words An Hour and Take Off Your Pants: Outline Your Books For Faster Better Writing.