May-June-July re-cap!

Oh, what a slack blogger I’ve been! Sometime last week, my newest book passed the 5000 sold figure! I was very excited. The book has done so much better than I expected and has made such a difference to me financially this year.

Instead of just swimming by with my head barely above water, and more often than not being swamped with waves, I’m actually ahead. Long-standing debts have been paid off. I’m on track to have $10,000 in the bank by the end of the year (I started the year off in the negatives). It feels good.

May and June were both good numbers, sales wise. I also taught full-time all of June, so I was bringing in $1500 (before tax) a week from that as well. July was a slightly down on the sales front, but I got my tax return back (almost $4k) which let me finally pay my Mum back in full. I owed her $2500 from when she helped me buy my car at the start of 2016. Also cleared my main credit card debt which felt soooo good. Very determined not to let that creep up ever again! Now I just have my balance transfer to clear. That’s 0% until September next year, so I’m going to chip away at that over the next year until it’s gone.

Like everyone, I like some hard numbers, so here they are:

May:

Amazon.com: $1463.31 USD
Amazon.co.uk: £76.14
Amazon.com.au: $60.34 AUD
Amazon.ca: $22.29 CAD
Day job: $2770.40 (after tax)
Copies sold: 811

June:

Amazon.com: $1512.60 USD
Amazon.co.uk: £98.05
Amazon.com.au: $125.78 AUD
Amazon.ca: $9.74 CAD
Amazon.de: €0.90
Day job: $4277.80 (after tax)
Copies sold: 865

July:

Amazon.com: $1036.42 USD
Amazon.co.uk: £89.49
Amazon.com.au: $122.84 AUD
Amazon.ca: $24.51 CAD
Amazon.de: €2.83
Day job: $1627.80 (after tax)
Tax return: $3852.10
Copies sold: 644

Thanks to the crummy Australian dollar, those American $ payments stretch a lot further here! Once it was all converted, May and June were over $2000 months, and July was about $1700. Not bad 🙂

I haven’t been focussing enough on writing new material this year. For my plan to work, I need to actually have books to sell! So that’s going to be the main focus for the rest of the year. Actually writing, and publishing two more books. I’m only 10k words into the current work in progress, so I have a lot of work ahead of me!

I’ll try to check in more often over the next few months. August’s official numbers come out next week, so I’ll definitely do another update then. August was a bit funny. US sales continued to slide, but for some reason, the UK and AU sales were the best ever – by a lot! I don’t really get it, but I’ll roll with it…

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April re-cap

In my last post, I said March was my best month ever, but April was even better!

Without further ado…

Official April sales figures: 

Sales: 211
KU Pages: 262,594
(Equivelent of 855 total sales/full reads)

Amazon.com$1620.96 USD
Amazon.co.uk£54.25
Amazon.ca$18.38 CAD
Amazon.com.au$40.01 AUD

So yeah, things are looking pretty good from the publishing point of view. That money will land in my bank accounts at the end of June. It’s small fry compared to what a lot of authors I know make, but I’m still pretty stoked that I can pay my rent and all the bills for the month out of that! And still have some leftover!

Real life job:
We got a slight raise this term going from $300/day to $305.40/day.

We had two weeks of school holidays for the first half of April, so no money there, and then I got 5 days work in the second half of April. The first week back is usually a bit slow, and then there was a public holiday in the second week back (teachers get a bit of grief if they call in sick on a day next to a public holiday, or the first day back of term), so I wasn’t overly disappointed with my 2 days/week ($549.80 after-tax) for the first two weeks. It’s ramped up a lot since then, but that’s for May’s re-cap heh.

While I mostly have decent days at work and even enjoy it at times (when I don’t have teenagers with attitude leaking out their rolling eyeballs), I do not want to do this job for more than the next 12 months. It’s a good casual job, and it gives me flexibility, but it’s just so draining and not bringing me any closer to my goals (apart from keeping a roof over my head and food in my belly which is pretty important).

The future – goals and plans: 

We’ve decided to shake things up a bit and step out of the rut that life in Melbourne has become. I am ambivalent about my job (it’s not leading anywhere, I don’t want to be a career teacher), my fiance really doesn’t like his much. He had a few days off recently and the change in his mood was very noticeable – he was just so much happier, pleasant, excited, lively and enthusiastic on the days where he didn’t have working hanging over him. Yesterday, his mood plummeted. It was hard to watch. It sucks seeing someone you love so miserable.

Our current Plan A is to move to Japan for a year on the JET Programme. I’d be an Assistant Language Teacher at a Japanese school, and he would do whatever he bloody well wants. It would utterly depend on where we ended up (you can be placed anywhere in Japan from the middle of Tokyo to a remote island that takes a 24-hour ferry ride to get anywhere! – we’re hoping for somewhere in between those extremes heh) as to what he would do, but he’d be able to get permission to work part-time. Or perhaps he’ll study. Or go to jiu-jitsu 3 times a day. I dunno. That’s all in the future! He’s been working so hard for the past 4 years, and been pretty miserable for most of it – he deserves a break.

Most ALTs seem to have a lot of downtime at work and spend a good few hours (at least) of their day desk-warming. Obviously, I would use that time for writing (and studying Japanese) and continue to grow my publishing backlist.

While it would be a step backwards for us financially… well, actually, not backwards, but it’s a step down in income. We’re making over $100k a year between us at the moment, and we’d be going down to just ~$40k. The plan is to just live on my JET income, and not touch our savings, and also to save all of my book income. I’m aiming to have that match my teaching income next year, if not outpace it. The cost of living in Japan (as long as we’re not in the middle of Tokyo) is relatively cheap, and from all accounts, we should be more than fine on just my income for the year. I know a couple who are on the program this year and they’re managing to save a good portion of her income as well. All depends on where we end up. While Tokyo would be a blast, we would prefer somewhere smaller and cheaper. Anyway. Trying not to think about it too much – we wouldn’t even find out until April 2019 if we are going or not, and not until late May 2019 WHERE we are going. Applications are due in November. Interviews in January. It’s a drawn-out process, and no guarantees that I will even be accepted. I think I have a reasonable chance, but you never know.

We both think it will be a great opportunity to reset, have an adventure and really figure out what we want to do/be. We have said we can’t just come back to Melbourne and go back to me CRTing and him working in logistics.

Trying to come up with a feasible Plan B as well if JET doesn’t pan out.

The get out of debt project: 

It’s coming along. I’m still on track to be debt free by July (well, apart from HECS). I was debt free for most of my 20s, but stupidly let myself grow a credit card debt the last couple of years, and I owe my Mum $2500. I’m paying her back $1000 at the end of this month (book money!), and then another $1000 the following month, and the final $500 when I get my tax return back. It’s gonna feel bloody fantastic when that debt monster is off my back and I can actually start saving properly again! I love seeing my money grow!

 

Offical March self-pub numbers

Woo! Amazon official reports are out! I now know exactly how much I made last month, and how much I can expect to land in my bank account at the end of next month!

*drum roll* 

BEST MONTH EVER!!!!!!

Official March sales figures: 

Sales: 215
KU Pages: 225,873
(Equivelent of 767 total sales)

Amazon.com: $1461.81 USD
Amazon.co.uk£50.43
Amazon.ca: $7.67 CAD
Amazon.com.au: $38.96 AUD

Hitting $1000+ a month has been a goal since I started this gig, and to have finally made it feels bloody fantastic!!

My newest release has been carrying most of the earning burdon. I really need to get the sequel out ASAP. I need $1000+ months to become the new norm, not the exception!

March was not great on the writing front. I ended up working for the whole month with a proper almost full-time teaching load. Lots of tests to mark, classes to prepare, and reports to write and just generally dealing with all the emotional and mental energy that teaching full-time zaps from me. My March word count was a pathetically low 4455 words.

Trying to do better for April! I really need to capitalise on the interest that the new book has generated and follow up with the sequel sooner rather than later. I’m currently re-proofreading it in preparation for the paperback release. Not sure if I’ll actually sell many/any paperbacks, but it’s nice to have the option.

So far, April is shaping up to be similar to March sales-wise, so that’s great and I’m hoping it holds steady until the end of the month!

Financially, things are looking up for us. I’m on track to be completely clear of debts (pay back my mum the money I owe her and the credit card debt) by the time I get my tax return back in July.

I was on track to be clear of debt without the book money so this little windfall will make the debt repayments go faster, and proper savings start earlier. I’m excited to be able to start saving properly again.

Term 2 for school starts on Monday. I’m aiming for at least 3 days/week. That would be perfect. After tax, I would get paid about $770 (we’re getting a pay rise, but I don’t know exactly how much yet…) each week for those 3 days work, and I’d still have 4 days a week to focus on the book side of thing. Term is 11 weeks long, so if I do get the 3 days every week that will be $8470 + the ~$4800 from the books I’ll get paid during that time and things aren’t looking too bad! Plus my tax return will most likely be around $3000, so yeah. Should be able to start the new financial year with a clean slate! It will be a good feeling!

 

Newest book: First 60 days

The new book has been out 60 days now.

It’s done much better than I was expecting.

It’s sold 1040 copies in the first 60 days.
Breakdown is 319,979 Kindle Unlimited page reads (the equivalent of 776 copies), and 264 paid sales.

It’s earned approximately $2850.
I’ve spent $276 on AMS ads.
Profit = $2574

Rank has been holding fairly steady this past month, and better than the first month.

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The reviews have largely been positive.

16 reviews on Amazon (4.3 rating)
49 ratings on Goodreads (4.24 rating)
66 sign-ups to my new release newsletter.

I have no idea how long the good times will roll. I’m not going to do any advertising other than the ongoing AMS ad until I have the second book out. Once it’s released, then I’ll do some more aggressive advertising, and even try for the holy grail of a BookBub ad.

I’ve just started school holidays, and one of my jobs over the next two weeks is to get the paperback version out. Hopefully move a few copies of those.