Saturday, November 24, 2012

eBooks Are Awesome

Holy Cannoli.

I've released two books in my new series, in my new niche, and I've never had any ebook sell this well before. These two books have made me over $100 so far. One of them, priced at $0.99 (35% royalty), has been out for nine days and has made me $76. The second, priced at $2.99 (70% royalty), was released this morning and has already made me $46. I had my best sales day ever, making a total of $70 across 10 ebooks. $57 of that came from these two new books.

With a week to go in the month, I've already exceeded my best month on Amazon by $37. I am confident that next month will easily become my first four-figure month. There is a small chance that this month will end up being my first (I've got all these nifty numbers because I started keeping a more detailed daily sales spreadsheet halfway through this month).

I'm releasing three more books in the next three weeks, all a part of the same series. My mailing list is growing every day and I have a reliable system of promotion in place to get the initial sales I need to push my books up the Amazon ranks.

The biggest news of all is:

In pretty much any scenario that plays out at this point, I am going to be able to quit my job in February 2013 and write full-time! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Learning from Mistakes

Jaana over at Passive Income Stream Creator has hinted that I should write a post about the mistakes I've made over the past few months and what I've learned from them. I thought that was a fantastic idea, so here we are!

A little bit of backstory: The first five ebooks I wrote did very well and continue to make me money five months after their release. Instead of leaving 'well enough' alone and moving on to the next project, I instead decided to build a website to generate more sales of my ebooks, which ended up being a waste of time because i didn't do the math beforehand. Oh well, lesson learned.

After that, I juggled through several ideas and ended up releasing two more ebooks - not a lot. In between those two releases were a few more ebooks that I started, but decided not to finish after realizing that they weren't going to make me any money. The two that I did release didn't really make me any money anyway.

To date, one has sold 0 copies after being live for over a month. A lot of effort and research went into that book, and I was really disappointed. I learned a lot writing that book, though. It was a lot longer than any of my other books and required much more intense and detailed research. It was a large undertaking and I stalled on it quite a bit, but finishing it proved to me that I am capable of undertaking larger scale projects - very important for my new niche of focus.

The other book I wrote during this time sells 2-5 copies a month, which I won't turn down since it cost me absolutely zero dollars to produce and costs zero more to keep on sale. I won't turn down an extra ten bucks a month, but if I keep writing books that only sell that amount, it's going to be a long road to creating a livable passive income. That's out of the question when there are so many better options.

I hit on something right with my first books when I discovered a topic that was:

  1. Popular
  2. Selling Well
  3. Not saturated/had a gap in niche coverage
But for some reason, with my next few books I decided that I would only focus on number 3, and ended up writing books for which there was no market. Silly me!

I'm willing to write whatever sells, so I've finally gotten back on track by jumping into a flaming hot niche that meets all three criteria. I just released my first book in this new niche and it has already moved nine copies in less than 24 hours (having gone live on only two sites and with no promotion) - a good sign that I've hit all three criteria. Here's hoping. Now, to get back to the business of writing...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Net Worth: It's (still) Less than Zero (but...)

...it's way closer to 'zero' than it was the last time I checked. It now stands at $-547, up from a roughly calculated $-3,140. I attribute this huge jump mostly to more accurate calculation, but also to:
  • Getting current on my debts (+450)
  • Continuing to pay down those pesky student loans (+84)
  • Putting my first small bit of money in savings (+200)
If all goes well, I could get to 0 by the end of the year, then start actually building wealth! I'm really excited. It's a big mental shift for me. It feels good to struggle less.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Opening a Savings Account

I'm really excited because I came a step further along in my plan today. I opened a savings account and made my first deposit. I'm now current on all of my debts and have moved on to the next phase of the plan: saving up money. (for a combined 'emergency/buy a car/move to LA' fund).

I am roughly following Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover plan, but I've modified it to meet my needs and circumstances - namely, my impending move to LA. Instead of throwing all of my extra income at my debt after I fund my baby emergency fund, I'm instead going to continue saving for the many components of my moving plan. My reasoning:

  • My student loan debt (the only debt I carry) is small (less than $5,500 total)
  • The interest rates are very low on these small debts.
  • My total minimum monthly payment is currently only $84, and that's the highest it's going to get.
  • One of my three loans will be paid off in six more months.
  • I am not sure how much my income will increase. The additional $5.5k could potentially delay my move by a year.
I will compromise by continuing to implement the 'debt snowball'. Once this smallest loan is paid off, I'll reallocate the $40/month from that loan to the other two, in order to pay them off faster.

My combined fund contains the following components:
  • Emergency fund + cushion: $3,000
  • Used car: $5,000
  • Car Insurance (6 mos): $800
  • Plane ticket to parents' (to buy car and pick up belongings): $300
  • Shipping current belongings home: $200
  • Moving expenses: $1,000
  • Sublet/lease rent+deposits : $1,800
  • Total: $12,100
This is an extremely safe estimate. I anticipate receiving a little help with the car and having a temporary place to stay in LA, but I'm budgeting as if neither of those are a certainty. I also won't move until I have at least $2,000 a month in passive income.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

October Earnings Snapshot: $689.30


I wonder if this is lower than expected because I haven't reached the payment threshold for foreign currencies?