2017 Publishing Recap

It feels far too futuristic to be writing 2018 in my journal, but it is what it is!

2017 has come to a close, all too quickly. Where did that year even go? I have no idea. 2016 and 2017 have blurred together in my mind. I need to make 2018 different!

As is usual for me at this time of year, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and pouring over my numbers and stats for the year.

Positives:
– 2017 was my best sales year ever. I sold 802 books, which was twice as many as the previous best year (2013 with 401). That surprised me because I didn’t actually have any new releases, and it was mostly my two oldest books doing the heavy lifting.
– I wrote 155,215 words of fiction. Less than I aimed for, but better than other years.
– My income is trending (mostly) upwards;
2013: $545.04
2014: $114.28
2015: $456.80
2016: $703.55
2017: $1260.14

Negatives:
– I didn’t publish a single book. I still only have 4 books out, under two pen names. I was planning to grow that a lot more last year. Disappointed in myself that I haven’t.
– I didn’t write enough. Some months were good, others were abysmal.

I was exclusive with Amazon for all four books in 2017. One of my pen names has been pretty quiet over there the past six months or so, so I’m going to take those two books out once their current Kindle Select term is up (you need to enrol for 90 days at a time) and try them wide with Apple, Kobo and other retailers. Not sure if they’ll do much there either, but only one way to find out!

Looking forward: 

I have a new book coming out in a week. I quietly put it up for pre-order, mostly to give myself a kick in the pants and actually get it done. Haven’t told anyone at all about it yet, but have managed to get 8 pre-orders. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but that’s 8 strangers who have decided to buy my book based purely on the cover and blurb! Fingers crossed the launch goes well, but even if it doesn’t I will keep my head down and keep working. The more books I have out there, the more money I make and the closer I get to reaching my goals. Plus, writing is fun ūüėÄ

I’m on school holidays for the next month, and I’m planning to write the sequel before school goes back.

Tally ho!

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That time when I had lots of money in my bank account

I had this boyfriend for a few years while I was at uni. We’ll call him Vlad (yeah, he was Russian). Vlad was pretty obsessed with having money and making money. He loved the stock market, and I watched from the sidelines while he lost all his money in 2007 when a stock he’d invested heavily in crashed. I shook my head and kept on working at my retail and customer service jobs, piling away whatever little amounts I could save.

In 2008, we got lucky. Vlad was not the kind of guy to give up. He wanted to be rich and successful and was not going to let any setback hold him back. He started experimenting with day trading, and longing and shorting the ASX (amongst other things), and soon started turning a tidy profit. My shaking head had turned to open-mouthed shock.

For whatever reason, Vlad wanted me to get involved too, even though I’d not expressed much interest nor desire in finance or trading at the time and tended to glaze over and tune out when he would ramble on about trading and the markets and trends and whatever else. Perhaps he thought it would be romantic to trade together. I don’t know.

I soon got hooked though. I was very risk-averse and kept my trades much lower than his. Before I knew it though, we were soon dealing with amounts of money that would have made my head spin a few months previously. I was pretty strict with my trading limits, and withdrew the money whenever I had over whatever the current limit I’d set myself.

I had already planned to quit my job at the insurance company I was working at to go backpacking around Europe in 2009. My original plan included working in a London pub (or something) for half the trip, to help fund my travels and cover living costs, but with the trading, I soon realised I wouldn’t have to work. I had more than enough money squirrelled away to support me on my travels.

2008 was a crazy year on the financial markets, as you probably remember. People were losing a lot of money, but some people were making a lot of money. I was one of the lucky ones who was making money. Not every day was easy though. One nail-biting day, I was down $20,000. Vlad was down much more. We got lucky, and the market rebounded and I think I got out of that trade with a few thousand dollars.

All up, I made a bit over $100,000 in profit over about seven months. It seemed like a crazy amount of money to a 23 year old fresh out of university. I paid more in taxes that financial year than I’d ever even EARNED in any other year previously. Vlad made a bit over half a million dollars.

Vlad and I went our separate ways once I headed overseas. We still remained friends, but I decided the 100k was enough for me, and I didn’t want the stress of trading while I was travelling around Europe. Losing all the money I’d made would have sucked while I’d been at home, but I still had a job at the time and could pay my rent and buy my food if everything went south. Losing all my money while I was backpacking around Europe and unemployed didn’t seem nearly so fun.

I remember the final trade I was involved in. Vlad still had access to my trading account, and I was somewhere in Germany. I got a message about a trade going through. I got a bit annoyed. I’d told him I didn’t want to do it anymore, but he’d done it anyway. I ended up getting out of the trade ‘early’ and made a nice tidy $10,000 profit it on it (thanks, Vlad!). Vlad thought it might go higher (or was it lower? No idea anymore!) and stuck with it, telling me I’d given up on even more profits.

Poor Vlad. He was wrong on that one. He ended up losing the whole lot again. Half a million dollars. Hadn’t quite grasped the concept of giving up while you’re ahead…

My money lasted me a few more years. It saw me go all around Europe, move to Canada, and not stress about getting a job for a few years while I ‘figured out what I wanted to do’. I didn’t quite figure it out, but I guess that’s a story for another post.

If I’d been a bit smarter, or older, I would have invested some of my money instead of just living off it and spending it all. Of course it ran out eventually, and I had to rejoin the normal world of employment and only 3 weeks holiday per year again.

That sucked. I soon realised that wasn’t the life I wanted. But yeah.

That sweet, sweet taste of financial freedom made me rather jaded with the whole working 9-5, 40 weeks a year lifestyle. I loved having the freedom to do what I wanted, when I wanted, where I wanted.

I want to live that life again.

The current state of my life

First post, woo! Welcome, welcome.

My name is Bec, and I’m a writer. I’m also intensely interested in personal finance and my long-term aim is to achieve financial independence, preferably through my writing.

This blog is a way to track my progress, thoughts, setbacks, and whatever else floats my boat.

I’ve had a taste of financial freedom in the past (I’ll post about that another time), and I want to get back there. Not having to worry about money sure feels good!

Current situation:
Age: 32
Marital status: Engaged, living together.
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Job: Part-time CRT (Casual Relief Teacher), part-time author.
My income: Varies. I make AUD$300/day from the CRT work. I usually work 2-4 days/week as a CRT, while schools in session. My author income also varies from month to month depending on sales. At present, it’s only bringing in around US$60-180/month. This is an area I am aiming to grow. Last financial year my taxable income was about $25,000. Not counting any publishing income, I’m on track to make $30k+ this financial year from CRT work. Publishing money is a bonus at the moment.
Partner’s income: He makes around $80,000 a year working in warehousing for a major international food company.

My finances are pretty sad at the moment.

Debts:

  • $2500 that I owe my mother.
  • $1500 I ‘owe’ my partner (the cash is going in the joint savings account, but, still…)
  • $4616 I owe on a credit card (0% interest until June)

Total debt: $8616 + $25,730 HECS debt (this is not a priority to pay off at present Рpayments get automatically taken out of our pay once we earn over the repayment threshold Рcurrently somewhere around the $58k/year mark)

My partner is smart and has no debt (yet). He also has no degree (yet) so this situation may change if he ends up going back to uni once his Aus Citizenship comes through (he’ll be able to get a HECS loan).

Assets:

  • Superannuation¬†$10,300 (this is pretty low for my age, but I worked 4 years in Canada and was paying into the Canadian Pension Plan during that time, instead of my super…). My partner has about $18,000 in his Super account (only been living/working in Aus for 4 years).
  • My personal savings $500 – depressingly low at the moment, and something I need to rectify in the coming year! Fiance is doing much better on the savings front…
  • Partner’s savings ~ $40,000

 

Goals: 
Within the next 12 months:

  • Pay off all my debts (apart from HECS).
  • Not go any further into debt!
  • Make twice as much money in 2018 as I did in 2017.
  • Have $10,000+ in savings by the end of the year.
  • Publish 6 more books.

Within next 3 years: 

  • Make a living from my fiction. CRT only if I want to, not because I need to.
  • Have over $100,000 in savings between the two of us.
  • Get married.

Within next 5 years: 

  • Buy a house?
  • Pop out a kid?
  • Be earning enough from my fiction to support us both.

Some of it feels very far away at the moment, but that’s where I want to be. Come along for the ride?