First, for the month I wrote 107,514 words, which is 11,186 fewer words than the 118,700 I wrote in January 2014 and…well, I didn’t start tracking my word counts until the end of February 2013, so I can’t go back further than that.
Anyways, it was a productive month, and also a bit of slow one. I didn’t put out a single book this month, the first time I’ve done that since July 2013!
Oh well, maybe it’s for the best, as you’ll see in this report. But first, let’s look at the state of this blog.
What I’m interested in, however, is where my efforts are going. Take a look:
What to do?
Nothing. I’ll just keep doing it and let the chips fall where they may. Obviously I wouldn’t be doing it if people weren’t interested…or would I? After all, that’s how all blogs start, with no one reading.
Still, I’ve taken a podcasting approach once again, cutting back on written words for the site. Instead I’ve been writing more on Montana history, which produces books that sell. Stay tuned for more developments.
The Hirelings Edit
I don’t like reading my own books…it’s why I wrote them. Thankfully the more time goes by the easier this is, and I’ve gone through several of my shorter volumes this month.
How do I do that?
I print them out, changing the spacing to single to save paper and ink, and then I sit down and mark them up. Usually this consists of moving commas, adding or changing words, or even throwing in a bit or taking something out. Most changes are minor – a few words on a page. Every few chapters I might add in a paragraph or two, but that’s about it.
One thing I really “should” do is add more character descriptions, but I figure Hemingway never did, so why should I? Fill in your own damn mental image!
Perhaps that hurts me, but it can’t possibly hurt me as much as misspelled words and homophone typos. There are lots of those – more than I’d care to admit – and that’s why once a year I go through my books.
Oh, not all, but most. In the summer of 2013 I went through my China novels again, and a few months before or after I did all the Jonguria novels again. It’s a huge pain, but it’s necessary. What’s more, it makes you a better writer.
I have a lot more books to go through, and I need to get another black printer cartridge. Ah, the life of a professional writer.
I’d like to think it’s not because I’m lazy or wasting time on social media or that I can’t write anymore. No, I like to think it’s because of eBook covers.
Where the hell am I going to get a cover for a book about John Colter, a mountain man fur trapper that traipsed around Yellowstone more than 200 years ago? Who the hell has a premade of that?
No one, that’s who, and that’s why I have to get custom art, and that’s why I need to have an extra $200 to $500 each month.
- They don’t sell books;
- They embarrass me;
- They’re twice the work.
Yeah, twice the work. First I have to get the shitty cover then I’ve got to get a better cover to replace the shitty cover. It’s a super pain in the ass, and we’re not even into the hassle and heartache of the first two reasons.
It’s just a losing proposition, cutting corners, so I’m left with a quandary.
No wonder why traditionally published authors only put one book out a year – it’s expensive!
That’s how I feel, and it’s frustrating. I have to rely on premade covers or some really good artists that I can hunt down.
Bottom line is I need more money and I’m not getting it from my current business model. Let’s take a look at my finances.
My Income for January
- As you can see from the graph, freelancer.com is making up the largest portion of my income;
- Amazon Kindle Worlds is about as useful to me as an asshole on my elbow;
- Print book sales are in a position to surpass eBook sales, and that’s off just a few titles;
- One disappointing number is Smashwords, which is quarterly – boy that’s low!
All in all, I like graphs! It’s fun to look at these and figure out where you’re doing really bad…and where you can do better. It’s also good if you can compare this to something else. So I guess we’ll start this month and see how it goes.
I have been looking for other jobs, menial jobs befitting my lowly station in life, but so far I’ve come up short. This could be commensurate with the level of effort I’m putting forth, which I can tell you right now, is a lot less than I’d be putting out if my income wasn’t $1,400 a month.
The nice thing is that about $600 of that income is passive, meaning I don’t have to do much. Well, I do…but it’s things I like to do, such as posting silly blog posts, rambling about politics, or doing social media stuff. All of that gets eyes to my website and my books, and that’s where that income in that graph is coming from.
Do you think people just stumble upon my books on Amazon and say ‘hey, I’m buying that!’?
No, it doesn’t work that way, it’s called content marketing, and things I wrote on this website a year ago or longer are still working for me.
But what good are products if no one buys them? On esladventure.com I have about 250 products that people can buy. What does that get me? It gets me $8.92 in earnings this month. Could I be getting more? Perhaps – in October I did manage to pull in $51.51 on that site, and I made more than $200 off it for the year. You can read all about my 2014 income in the last monthly report, A Pretty Good December. (Here’s the post from a year ago toda…A Stellar Start to the New Year)
And perhaps we’ll stop there. Remember, there are lots of successful authors out there, and many with books selling like crazy. I’m not one of ‘em, so if you want advice on how to get to the top, might want to head to their sites.
A Look at February
Perhaps that’s because I’m ‘in’ politics, I dunno. I do know that this year I’ll promise little if anything. Here’s what you can safely expect, however:
- Around 65 blog posts, which is the monthly average;
- Several podcasts about politics and history;
- Quite a few single-day eBook sales;
- Flight 370…since I have a cover for it (Sorry Colter);
- Four mega-quality Midweek Roundup posts;
- The shortest, coldest month of the year;
- Black History Month.
- Valentine’s Day;
- Groundhog Day.
Those are the things you can expect this month from me, and the world. I hope you’ll continue to stop by, read my posts, and look at some of my books (you can buy them too).