Up-boo! Day

Today is the last Friday of October, which means it’s time for another Update Day. In case you’re wondering what it is: Beth Fred and I host a blog hop, where we set crazy or crazy important goals. The idea is for everyone to chase down their goals, and on the last Friday of each month, we share updates on our progress.

You’re welcome to join at any time, so if you’d like to sign up, or to see who else is taking part, please click here.

I have to admit, it’s currently 9:30 p.m, so I’m cutting it close with my own blog hop. In fact, I almost considered cutting it even closer, because I have a deadline looming (more on that in a few), but I needed a break. So I thought: what better way is there to relax than to do a post mortem on the past month?

Huh?

Huh?!

Oh okay fine. I’ll just get to it.

In cased you missed last month’s post, I’ve hit reset on my 5-year goal and I decided to take this being-a-writer thing full-time.
To make that happen, I’m setting monthly writing goals, along with writing business goals. The former deals with my activities in producing more stories. The latter deals mostly with marketing, and my ability to earn revenues from writing, and writing related activities. Just to clarify, if the money I earn relates in any way to me using my writing skills or knowledge, I’m counting it as revenues for my writing business.
So, if I were to monetize this blog (which I won’t do) and this blog generated an income, it’d show up in my analyses. But if I win the lottery, or suddenly become a millionaire doing something else… Nope.
Basically, this whole exercise is to see exactly how hard or how easy it is to start almost from scratch and become a full-time writer. So I started last September with a budget of $10, and started working.
Every month, then, I set a goal for Writing and a goal for Generated Revenue. 
 

So how did I do in October? 

Before I show the graphs, I should point out one thing: If I had to give October one theme, I would call it The Agony and the Ecstasy. 
 
Especially the week I just had. Life and other work (yeah, remember how I said I’m still doing other work too because it gives me so much time? BAHAHAHAHAHA *sob*) just went into full-blown hell mode.
In fact, when I wrote my friend Connie about it, I couldn’t even put a word to it. A day later, and it’s finally occurred to me:
Shell-shock
I’m not even kidding. This was a week I will not want to experience ever again. I’ll get around to talking about it, as soon as I’ve really recovered.
It’s not all bad, though. This same hell-week also turned out to have something really good in it too. (And that doesn’t count the fact that I’ve finally tasted (and fell in love with (even more passionately than I adore parentheses)) macaroons.) In fact, this exact same hell-week was nothing short of miraculous. (Again, more on this when I’ve recovered.)
In short, the overall results of October were mixed.

Writing

One of my major writing goals I have at the moment is to finish Book 3 of The War of Six Crowns before the end of this year.
Basically, doing so means I have to write about 50,000 words every month, including October.
Did I manage it?
No.
In fact, I’ve managed a slight bit under half of what I wanted to do. In my defense, pretty much every one of those plateaus coincided with some crappiness from the rest of my life spilling into my writing time.
And sadly, most of the words added here were courtesy of my Insecure Writers’ Support Group short story, but I did submit that, so that was one writing goal achieved.
As for my third writing goal (reformatting my books for updates to the content and covers), I’ve so far managed to start on The Vanished Knight. It’s basically done, but I want to do yet another proofread. Not because I think I’ll find anything, but I’ve found that Word does funny things to documents, changing formatting without permission, making words and phrases vanish… That sort of thing. Call me paranoid, but I’d rather be sure everything is where it should be.
If you’re wondering, if the hell-week is over, why I haven’t started writing… I have a very good reason. More on this on a bit.
Goals for November: 
1) NANOWRIMO! Yes, I’m a glutton for punishment, but I’ll be rebelling and trying to add 50k words to Book 3. In case you want to buddy up with me, my username on the NaNoWriMo website is iceangel.
2) Published books. I have a lot to do here:
2.1) Take my paperbacks out of Amazon’s expanded distribution, so I can prepare to publish them directly through Ingram Spark.
2.2) Finish formatting and proofreading all three of my books so I can do the updates I want to do.
2.3) Plan something around the reveal of the updated covers.
3) Post Ryan on Patreon. Ryan is a short-story from the same world as Endless. I want to share it with my patrons, and had planned to start this month already, but I just couldn’t get to it.

Generated Revenue

Every month, I’m setting a monthly revenue target. Then, I’m counting all of the month’s revenue, which means I count revenue the moment it’s generated (which I usually call future income or income generated in the month) and money that were actually generated in previous months.
So, if I sell a book on Amazon and I get $5 in royalties, it will only really be in my account later. So, in order to show people where my income is coming from, I’ll show the money in the month I first earned it, and then again once it’s in my account. (It’s all just to make the graphs make sense. I actually studied accounting and am aware that this is not how normal people count money. But I’m not normal.)
Also, I have a few rules I’ve set for myself:
The first one is: I set the target, and the target doesn’t move until after I’ve reached it once.
The second one is: The target for current and future generated income is equal to the monthly target minus accrued income. (So if I set a goal of $10 and that $5 royalty is paid into my account, I have $5 left to generate for this month, or for future months.)
The third one is: If I hit the target, I have to raise the bar.
And… well… I’m going to have to raise the bar quite a bit.
See, in September, I set a $100 target for the month, and then came in under. But this month… this month I annihilated it.
That’s right. I generated more than double my target revenue. In fact, I hit the $100 goal on the 14th. Which was part of the reason why I haven’t been able to write today. Because I’m getting this income from Upwork, and I still have a deadline.
On the positive side, I made enough to get Upwork to pay money into my Payoneer account, which also means I’ll be able to withdraw my money. Which means I can pay for Photoshop etc.
Goals for November
1) Boost book sales. Don’t get me wrong. I really like when my target graphs look like this, but honestly, I need to see more book sales. Amazon was completely dead this month (except when they paid out a few royalties.) And really, my overall goal is to get my written works to pay my way, so I really need to make that bar graph a bit more colorful. Mainly, though, I know I didn’t enough to get sales this month. I did more in September, to obvious results.
2) Hit my next revenue target. Deciding on the target is a bit tricky, because most of the money I made on Upwork this month will be accrued income in November. So, if I set a $200 goal, it will basically only be $100 to go after. Instead, I’m lifting the goal to $300.
That’s it from me. How did your October go? Are you doing NaNoWriMo?
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Update Day: Hitting the Reset Button

Hey everyone! Today is the last Friday of the month, which means it’s time for another Update Day!

I thought I’d do things a bit differently, which means…

Tada!

Vlog post.

To sum up for those of you who haven’t the time to watch the vid:

This month, I decided to stop moping around and approach my writing career as if it’s already my full-time job. My thinking is that I’m a business person anyway, so I might as well turn this writing thing into a business.

Making this work meant I had to rethink the way I’m going about this.

So…

TL:DR:

I’m hitting reset on my goal. 

My five-year goal is still $7500 a month, but now it can be from any writing related activity, whether it’s me actually writing, or me using my writing expertise in some way.

I’m starting over. 

This is actually year three, but the change is so major and the mind-shift so big that I decided to start again. So September 2016 is month one of Year One. I basically did this, because I want to track my growth. And since my income basically flatlined for the past three months, I thought it would be a good thing to start since this major change got brought in.

I’ve been keeping track since 6th (which was when I decided to kick things up a notch), so that’s enough for me to actually get some stats in.

Speaking of stats…

I’m also going to change the way I report on my progress. 

I might get back to the to-do list eventually, but I can’t help feeling that people really don’t care about those all that much.

A lot of people have been asking me how I’m actually doing with my five year goal, so I will be reporting on my money coming in and going out, since this full-time-writer-with-almost-no-money-to-start-with thing is probably something that might interest a lot of people.

Which means that I’ll be posting monthly stats for the year. Two, in fact, but I’ll explain more in a minute.

So how did I do?

Basically, this full-time thing has two components: Me selling stories and services I already have, and me creating more stories. For ease of reference, I will call these Marketing and Writing. 
 

Marketing

Since my marketing results can only be measured in terms of income, I’m keeping track of that instead of the hours I’m putting in.
My income basically gets divided into three groups: Income from previous months (since there’s up to a 3 month delay on royalties etc), income earned within the month and income generated for the future (so I’m keeping track of books I sold today so I know how much I’ll get in three months.)
I set my goal for Total Income Generated. Which means that if I say $100 is my goal, I’ll see that goal as achieved even if $100 came in only from previous months sales etc.
Since I’m also concerned about my income’s growth, I’ll be keeping track of how much income I generate within a month and for future months, separately. So there will be a separate graph, where the goal line is calculated by subtracting my Income Generated Goal from the amount that came in from previous months.
Okay?
Okay.
So first, let me look at income generated in past months vs income generated within this month.

 

 

Basically, the income accrued in previous months is money from Patreon (which is currently around $10).
As you can see, most of my money generated this month was for current or future earnings. Let’s see how those look.

 

So since starting this whole exercise, I’ve critiqued one short-story on Fiverr, and actually sold some books on Amazon (which is definitely an uptick, because my book sales have basically been dead lately.) The Patreon income is basically the $10 from patrons who’d signed up before and $1 from a new sign-up. It will show up again next month as income accrued from previous months, since every month’s subscriptions only actually hit my account in the following month.
Goal for October: 
 
It’s such a nice, round number, so for now, I’m keeping to $100 as my goal. Fingers crossed that I actually hit the line next time.

Writing

This month I basically set writing goals as I went along, which is why my goal line keeps jumping up as I hit my targets.
I basically only started writing on 11 September, and then only sporadically. Then, on 24 September, I started timing my writing and trying to write every day. The effect on my daily word counts are quite staggering….

 

 

Let me put that into words real quick. I wrote over 16k words this month. 10k of those were written last week.
Goals for October: 
 
I have three big ones:
1) I want to finish this draft of Book 3 of The War of Six Crowns before the end of the year, which means I’ll basically be chasing NaNo targets every month for three months. Thanks to timing myself, I know I can type 2k words in 80 minutes.
2) I want to write the story I have in mind for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group competition.
3) I want to re-format and update my currently published books, specifically The War of Six Crowns to prepare for the new covers I made for them.
There are, of course, more goals (we’re talking about me, here), but these are my priorities.
How did your goals go? What do you think of this new format for my Update Day posts? Are you interested in the outcome of this experiment of mine?