Another month has flown by, and it's time for another income report. I like to share these income reports because it keep me accountable in my own business, but I also know that it can provide inspiration and openness to anyone looking to get involved in a similar business.
Perrin and I started our Authority site project several months ago; however, it's only been since November that we even started monetizing the site. You can see the first official income report from last month right here.
I also want to clarify that this income report is only for one website. This income report does not include any of my other niche websites, my software business, or any other income sources I have.
I plan on being as open as possible with the income from this one project, whether or not things goes as planned or not. However, the actual website and Kindle books associated with this site are going to be kept private.
So, with that little intro, let's jump into some of the numbers!
Traffic and Earnings Report
In December we exceeded our expectations as far as number of books sold and earnings. Despite launching a second book towards the end of January, our earnings were still lower for the month.
I'm not happy with the decline in earnings; however, that's mostly due to the fact that we actually made so much more in December than expected.
Here's a look at the total units sold and borrowed in January:
As you can see, the number of units sold was trending down during the middle of the month. However, we released a new book on January 19th, and that appears to have reversed the trend through the end of January.
Total Site Earnings for January: $1,462.46
The site earned a total of $1,462 in January. That is still a decent number, but a big drop from December earnings.
Total Kindle Earnings: $1,315.53
Our first book finally started to drop in sales, and this is the cause of the large drop in revenue. Our book was sitting at #1 best seller in a few different categories for about a month. That is no longer the case.
The sales from our first book continued to decline through most of January. When we launched our second book, we started to pull in more sales overall. However, our second book has not performed nearly as well as the first book we launch.
I'll dive into some of the reasons why our second book didn't sell as well, and plans going forward below.
Adsense Earnings: $146.93
On the bright side of things, the traffic and earnings directly on our authority site did increase. The adsense earnings for January were about double what it was in December…nice!
Here's a quick look at the traffic from January (which was also a nice increase over December):
During January, the site was averaging just over 240 sessions per day. We are still “playing” around with Google news and SEO to find a strategy that is going to take us to the next level. Getting 240 sessions a day is a good start, but we have a long way to go before I'm satisfied with the results.
I've decided to start keeping a nice spreadsheet with the stats from this site. Below you will find the relevant statistics for December and January.
This chart breaks down all the sales essentially since the inception of our Kindle books. Technically we launched our first book in Nov. 2014; however, it was towards the end of the month so I just included it as a “new” book for December. The revenue from that first book was very small for November because the book was free or 99 cents for a couple of days that month.
Check out the chart for all your stat viewing enjoyment!
Why Didn't the Second Book Perform as Well?
When we launched our second book on January 19th, we felt like we could knock it out of the park. And to be honest, during the free days, we got even MORE free downloads than our first book.
Our promotion strategies worked REALLY well, and we got tons of downloads.
Here's a quick chart to see how it went:
Our top day had 2,680 free downloads! This pushed our book into the top 100 downloaded free books on the entire Kindle store.
So, when we switched the book to 99 cents on January 25th, we were really hoping that the sales trend would continue. Unfortunately, those sales didn't materialize like they did for our first book.
Here's a look at the first few days of book #2:
Don't be deceived by the upward trend right at the end of the month. This trend did not continue into February.
So, the book DID sell a few copies and got some borrows, so it's not a complete flop. But our first book was consistently doing 20 to 30 purchases at $2.99 for the first month. This second book was barely selling at $0.99.
Well, Perrin and I have 2 theories as to why our second book did not go as well.
First, we got some negative reviews.
During our free period, we got lots of positive, 5 star reviews. However, we also got a couple of negative reviews that I think really hurt us. (See the big drop in downloads during our 2 last free days during our free period).
The negative reviews weren't because the book was poor quality, but more because the topic we picked has very passionate people. We were concerned going in that if we didn't tread on some of the subjects just right, we could get some negative reviews.
Well, sure enough, we got some negative reviews. I think our book still sits at an average rating of 4.1; however, the few negative reviews may have really hurt us out of the gate.
Secondly, we chose a more competitive category.
I think our category choice may have been too ambitious. Our first book was very niche, and we dominated.
Our second book had a bigger potential audience, but the category is dominated by well-known authors and books. We DID “niche” our book down a bit, but the general topic is fairly popular and looks like too competitive.
So, the competitive nature of the category and the fact that we got some negative reviews early on, looks like the reasons our second book didn't perform as well as the first.
But never fear! We just launched our 3rd book…and have another one in process of being written. We are taking the catalog approach and hope to have 10 to 12 books in just a few short months.
I see this business as a long term play, and hopefully in 6 to 12 months from now we can look at all the hard work that we've put in and be reaping the benefits.
Some Final Thoughts
Overall, I'm still VERY happy with making close to $1,500 with a site that we really just started monetizing a couple of months ago. We hit a big homerun with our first book and that may have put on the rose colored glasses for our second book.
I was expecting it to perform just as well, but alas, I have a few more lessons to learn here.
As far as the book writing process goes, Perrin and I have gotten a method down that works pretty well to brainstorm, outline, and produce great quality books. So, I feel like the writing and promoting of Kindle books is just going to get easier with practice.
Unfortunately, writing and promoting books does not also equal revenue. As we refine our process for actually picking categories, topics, or even keywords to target on Amazon, I think we can more consistently produce books that make sufficient sales.
In addition, we still haven't quite hit on the perfect strategy for the content of our site. I feel like we are getting closer, but this is likely to take a few months as well.
Part of the complexity of our site is that it's a very big project. We are targeting long tail keywords, and we understand this process very well. However, we are new to the Google News game, and so this is the steep learning curve that may take some time to figure out.
We have some good days, lots of bad days, and a few just okay days. We've been chatting with some colleagues about Google news, and we have a better plan now going forward.
I will certainly share the results as we see them.
Overall, our Authority site project is slowly moving forward. As always, I would love to hear any thoughts or questions that you might have. Feel free to drop a comment or two below.