Monday, September 24, 2012

Showing Up

"Ninety percent of life is just showing up" - Woody Allen 

Imposing rules, quotas, and expectations on myself is counterproductive. It may not be so for everybody, but it's certainly the way I work.

The best I can do is to ask myself to show up every day and take one step in the direction I want to go. How big of a step that one step is varies from day to day, but what really matters is just showing up every day.

When I set crazy expectations for myself (e.g. 'write 25 percent of this book in one sitting'), I am less likely to show up. When I show up and take that first step, work gets done. That's better than nothing.

I have the complete power to strip away those rules and expectations I impose on myself. When I do, it's immediately easier to get back to business. That makes me feel unstoppable.

Now, if only these books would write themselves!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Under-Promising and Over-Delivering

Under-Promise. Over-Deliver. And Your Brand's Fans Will Talk (via FastCompany)

I've begun working on my new series. I made a few mistakes with the last one that i'd like to correct this time around.
  • Implement uniform formatting across all versions. Although Smashwords offers distribution to Amazon and Barnes and Noble, I submit to these two retailers separately from the others. This time around, I am not going to modify the formatting for any e-reader. My biggest specific mistake was inserting page breaks into my final drafts. This doesn't matter on an e-reader. The font is adjustable.
  • Write about a timeless topic. My first topic has a definite expiration date, and I don't anticipate it bringing me any money four years from now (then again, who knows?). This time I'm going to write about a subject that never falls in or out of style or becomes obsolete.
  • Improve the quality of my writing. Although my refund rate for my current series is average and I have been getting positive reviews, I still personally feel that I could have done a better and more thorough job and delivered my readers more content for their money. I've identified a need in this niche for an inexpensive, comprehensive book in plain English. The title itself will tell people exactly what to expect, but I will pack this book with more information than advertised.
  • Have confidence and pride in my product. This ties in with the above point. I'm much more likely to aggressively market and seek reviews and promotion for a product that I know is great.
Create great products. Exceed people's expectations. Get them talking. Get positive reviews. Boost visibility. Sell more. Right?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Product Price is Important

While out of town this weekend, I spent a lot of time thinking about this new sales page that I wrote up for my first eBook series.

This would be a great scenario to achieve:

  • 10,000 monthly visitors
  • 1 percent conversion
  • 100 extra sales/month
The problem with this scenario - in my case - is that this will only bring me an extra $200 a month the way things are currently set up.

This sales page would be a lot more worthy of the time and effort I've put in if I had a higher-priced product to pitch. Accordingly, I've bundled together the eBook series into a complete collection. I will make even more money if I sell it directly from the website, upsell it on the individual pages, spend money to set up a Clickbank or E-junkie cart, etc - and take the retailers out of the picture.

My next bundle product will sell at a much higher, affiliate-friendly price point. Lesson learned! When you're selling a more expensive product, volume and conversions don't matter as much.

I also am figuring out that there is a point at which I have to stop with this project, accept that I've put enough effort into it, and move on to the next one. Do I really want to go this far and put this much work into this project? Will it be worth it?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

August Results and September's Goal

It looks like I pulled in just under $750 in sales this month. I was actually closer to my original estimate of $800 than my revised estimate of $600 that I guessed after sales started out slow. Needless to say, I'm thrilled.

September's Plan

This month is going to be even bigger. I've got a few projects that I'm both wrapping up and starting.

  • I'm going to deploy the promotion plan for the eBook series I've already written. This primarily consists of targeted linkbuilding via blogs, forums, and social networks.
  • I'm going to begin working on my second eBook series, which will contain at least eight books. This is a large-scale project that I've designed to generate income as I continue to work on it. The final goal is to package the series together with some bonus content and release it as its own product on an independent website, then sell it via affiliates. However, versions of each eBook will be posted individually on retailer websites as they are completed, thus earning me some income as I continue working. These books will be longer and more detailed than my first books, so they'll probably take 1-2 weeks each to write instead of one day each (like the first series).
I've also decided to begin setting aside 10 percent of my passive income (starting with August's) for reinvesting in new projects. So far I've done everything myself with almost zero expenses. As my financial situation continues to improve, I fully intend to scale up and outsource work.

September's Goal

With my first eBook series now fully distributed via Smashwords and at least one new book being published sometime during the month, I think it will be easy to generate $1,000 in September. This goal is a significant milestone because it means I'm generating both four figures and a survivable income (my living expenses are very low and I split them with my boyfriend) passively. I still work about 15 hours a week as a music teacher, so my total income will be about twice that! I'm almost back to the money I was making at my most lucrative 'job' job, without the 40-hour weeks sitting at a desk, covering up my tattoos, wearing high heels, and spending hours on hold with UnitedHealth. But I will far surpass that income soon enough.