Self Publishing Questions Logo

Income of My Self-Publishing Business

15 Flares 15 Flares ×

P Income

What’s it like to build a self-publishing business?

Honestly, it’s a long, day-by-day process where you try a bunch of strategies and hope some will work.

In February 2012, I started my self-publishing journey (without a clue of what I was doing.) At first, I focused on Internet business books, since this was my primary source of income for the previous eight years. (You can see these books here.)

I was moderately success for about a year. So in February 2013, I tried to replicate this success by producing a line of children’s animal picture books. (You can see them here.)

After a few months, I abandoned this idea because it was too easy for people to clone my books and I wasn’t willing to take this brand to the next level.

Then in May 2013, I launched a third line of books – targeting the habits market. At first, I thought this would be a side project. Now, these books have turned into my primary business model. (You can see them here.)

The above is just a cliff’s notes version of my self-publishing business. So to illustrate what it’s like to build a business from scratch, I’ve gone back and tracked ALL my income from the beginning.

Finally, I’ve included the specific actions that I tried along the way. You’ll see that I’ve made some mistakes, but you’ll also see that the income grew as I tried more things and put more products into the marketplace.

Without further ado, here are the numbers:

Income and Actions (Month-by-Month)

Feb. 2012: $47.44

Actions: 1. Published 55 Ways to Make Money Online


Mar. 2012: $24.01

Actions: None


Apr. 2012: $10.60

Actions: None


May 2012: $8.50

Actions: None


Jun. 2012: $25.11

Actions: None


Jul. 2012: $432.07

Actions: 1. Published Authority Affiliate Marketing. 2. Tried KDP Select for the first time. 3. Realized the potential of KDP, but couldn’t take action because I was on a seven week vacation across the U.S.


Aug. 2012: $707.86

Actions: 1. Began a “deep-dive” education on all things self-publishing.


Sep. 2012: $588.31

Actions: 1. Published How to Discover Best-Selling Nonfiction Book Ideas. 2. Decided to launch each future book for free to my audience.


Oct. 2012: $986.75

Actions: 1. Published My Blog Traffic Sucks!


Nov. 2012: $2,012.87

Actions: 1. Published Make Money with YouTube, How to Write a Nonfiction Book in 21 Days.


Dec. 2012: $6,424.75

Actions: 1. Published Internet Lifestyle Productivity, Your First $1000. 2. Started doing podcast interviews about self-publishing (I initially resisted this idea, but now it has become a core part of my marketing strategy.)


Jan. 2013: $7,558.97

Actions: 1. Published How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers. 2. Compiled three books into Online Business Bundle. 3. Completely outsourced a Kindle book. This was a failed experiment.


Feb. 2013: $6,788.40

Actions: 1. Launched a new catalog of Kindle books – targeting the children’s market by publishing Tiger Facts and Pictures, Monkey Facts and Pictures, Giraffe Facts and Pictures, Wolf Facts and Pictures, Bear Facts and Pictures and 33 Cute Animals of the World. 2. Started a new blog called DevelopGoodHabits.com.


Mar. 2013: $8,300.05

Actions: 1. Continued with this second brand, outsourcing 33 Dangerous Animals of the World, 33 Ugly Animals of the World, 33 Endangered Animals of the World, Lion Facts and Pictures, Cheetah Facts and Pictures, 4 Zoo Animals – a bundle of four animal books 2. Published 61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Books 3. Published How to Start a Successful Blog in One Hour – my first “perma-free” book.


Apr. 2013: $6,860.07

Actions: 1. Compiled three books into Kindle Publishing Package. 2. Published How to Find a Profitable Blog. 3. Published the last of the animal books: Leopard Facts and Pictures, 99 Amazing Animals Bundle.


May 2013: $5,912.10 – Habit Books: $9.18 / Other Books: $5,902.92

Actions: 1. Published Email Marketing Blueprint. 2. Published the first book in my habit-brand – 70 Healthy Habits. 3. Made three important decisions: (I) The two $0.99 books weren’t worth my time. If I was going to publish a book, I would add more content and price it at $2.99. (II) The “Animal Books” project is a failed experiment. The model is too easy to clone and I didn’t think a platform would help. (III) I would start growing the “habit books” brand and see if that made a difference.


Jun. 2013: $6,798.39 – Habit Books: $756.63 / Other Books: $5,981.76 / Mobile Apps: $0.36 / Amazon Associates: $0.24

Actions: 1. Published Wake Up Successful, Outsourcing Mastery. 2. Switched launching strategies from giving away books for free to selling them for $0.99.


Jul. 2013: $9,204.57 – Habit Books: $354.04 / Other Books: $8,829.84 / Mobile Apps: $6.70 / Amazon Associates: $13.99

Actions: 1. Went on a vacation to Greece and thought a LOT out my “next move.”


Aug. 2013: $7,283.07 – Habit Books: $256.02 / Other Books: $6,980.67 / Mobile Apps: $9.11 / Amazon Associates: $37.27

Actions: 1. Published Is $0.99 the New Free?. 2. Published Writing Habit Mastery.


Sep. 2013: $8,201.09 – Habit Books: $2,190.59 / Other Books: $5,783.55 / Mobile Apps: $9.57 / Amazon Associates: $127.26

Actions: 1. Decided to completely focus on my habit books. 2. Decided to ramp up the additional sources of self-publishing revenue—starting with Amazon Associates.


Oct. 2013: $7,544.98 – Habit Books: $2,466.51 / Other Books: $5,168.59 / Mobile Apps: $9.35 / Amazon Associates: $37.27

Actions: 1. Published 10,000 Steps Blueprint.


Nov. 2013: $9,504.24 – Habit Books: $4,229.41 / Other Books: $5,222.46 / Mobile Apps: $8.67 / Amazon Associates: $43.70

Actions: 1. Published 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits.


Dec. 2013: $22,400.80 – Habit Books: $14,918.49 / Other Books: $7,095.47 / Mobile Apps: $3.12 / Amazon Associates: $383.72

Actions: 1. Published Resolutions That Stick!. 2. Started promoting my books with the new Kindle Countdown Deals program that’s part of KDP Select.


Jan. 2014: $26,559.85 – Habit Books: $18,846.55 / Other Books: $7,416.29 / Mobile Apps: $4.42 / Amazon Associates: $162.75 / Audible: $129.84

Actions: 1. Followed Matt Stone and Rob Archangel’s advice by publishing audio and print versions of my books.


Feb. 2014: $20,114.98 – Habit Books: $12,979.24 / Other Books: $5,968.61 / Mobile Apps: $3.51 / Amazon Associates: $366.48 / Audible: $644.54 / CreateSpace: $152.60

Actions: 1. Published Declutter Your Inbox, S.M.A.R.T. Goals Made Simple.


Mar. 2014: $21,325.18 – Habit Books: $14,823.14 / Other Books: $4,663.52 / Mobile Apps: $2.58 / Amazon Associates: $276.06 / Audible: $1,164.40 / CreateSpace: $395.48

Actions: None.


Apr. 2014: $17,688.36 – Habit Books: $11,480.34/ Other Books: $3,901.79 / Mobile Apps: $3.00 / Amazon Associates: $315.72 / Audible: $1,728.81 / CreateSpace: $258.70

Actions: 1. Published Habit Stacking.


May 2014: $65,643.53 – Habit Books: $56,639.35 / Other Books: $3,883.75 / Mobile Apps: $2.89 / Amazon Associates: $1,684.41/ Audible: $1,865.36 / CreateSpace: $1,531.77 / BuckBooks: $27.00

Actions: 1. Published To-Do List Makeover. 2. Started promoting my books through Matt & Rob’s Buck Books website.


Jun. 2014: $55,194.63 – Habit Books: $44,848.69/ Other Books: $4,469.43 / Mobile Apps: $3.13 / Amazon Associates: $766.08 / Audible: $2,905.17 / CreateSpace: $2,202.13 / BuckBooks: $0

Actions: 1. Started testing the Babel Cube translation platform.


Jul. 2014: $54,556.55 – Habit Books: $41,340.21 / Other Books: $5,273.19 / Amazon Associates: $986.37 / Audible: $5,117.73 / CreateSpace: $1,839.05 / BuckBooks: $0

Actions: 1. Published Master Evernote. 2. Left for a two-month vacation 3. Had my books automatically enrolled in the new Kindle Unlimited program.


Aug. 2014: $44,855.85 – Habit Books: $31.940.92/ Other Books: $4,941.11 / Amazon Associates: $389.44 / Audible: $3,685.88 / CreateSpace: $1,939.09 / BuckBooks: $343.00 / Sticky Habits: $1,616.41

Actions: 1. Promoted my first affiliate marketing offer through my habits brand – Sticky Habits.


Sep. 2014: $34,932.76 – Habit Books: $21,128.63 / Other Books: $4,370.48 / Amazon Associates: $541.47 / Audible: $3,321.83 / CreateSpace: $1,887.38 / BuckBooks: $29.00 / Babel Cube: $36.43 / Foreign Rights Advances: $3,495.00 / Other: $122.54

Actions: 1. Published 115 Productivity Apps. 2. Received my first deposits for the foreign rights on a few books.


Oct. 2014: $30,095.61 – Habit Books: $20,353.14 / Other Books: $3,454.46 / Amazon Associates: $688.14 / Audible: $3,088.48/ CreateSpace: $1,232.68 / BuckBooks: $74.00 / Babel Cube: $72.07 / Mini Habits: $1,120.40 / Translated Books: $12.24

Actions: 1. Published The Daily Entrepreneur – my first book with another author. 2. Published 23 Gewohnheiten gegen Prokrastination – my first book with translator/marketing partner. 3. Promoted my second affiliate offer — Mini Habits.


Nov. 2014: $29,110.39 – Habit Books: $17,411.65 / Other Books: $3,787.05 / Amazon Associates: $582.09 / Audible: $2,552.64 / CreateSpace: $1,466.88 / BuckBooks: $129.68 / Babel Cube: $121.73 / Mini Habits: $5.20 / Translated Books: $500.82 / Brilliance Audio: $2,552.64

Actions: 1. Published 23 Hábitos Anti-Procrastinação – my first book with a Brazilian Portuguese translator/marketing partner. 2. Ran my formal book bundle campaign, calling it a Cyber Monday deal.  Promoted it to my email list and social media channels.  3. Published Bad Habits No More as a way to leverage the “perma-free” tactic on Amazon to generate more email subscribers and increase book sales.


Dec. 2014: $29,989.93 – Habit Books: $16,669.95 / Other Books: $4,079.54 / Amazon Associates: $878.36 / Audible: $2,869.54 / CreateSpace: $1,771.60 / BuckBooks: $78.38 / Babel Cube: $59.29 / Mini Habits: $18.80 / Translated Books: $1,419.47 / Brilliance Audio: $0.00 / Foreign Rights Advances: $2,145.00

Actions: 1. Published Level Up Your Day — my second collaboration with Rebecca Livermore.


Jan. 2015: $35,294.21 Habit Books: $22,210.20 / Other Books: $3,917.01 / Amazon Associates: $937.56 / Audible: $2,038.14 / CreateSpace: $1,488.25 / BuckBooks: $65.37 / Babel Cube: $139.89 / Sticky Habits: $811.50/ Translated Books: $2,826.29 / Brilliance Audio: $0.00 / Foreign Rights Advances: $860.00

Actions: 1. Published three foreign language versions of my books: Hábitos Ruins Nunca Mais (Portuguese), O Empreendedor Diário (Portuguese), and Der richtige Start in einen erfolgreichen Tag (German).


Feb. 2015: $23,660.52 – Habit Books: $8,348.70 / Other Books: $5,664.57 / Amazon Associates: $221.96 / Audible: $2,534.12 / CreateSpace: $1,118.59 / BuckBooks: $118.75 / Babel Cube: $??? / Mini Habits: $0.00 / Translated Books: $2,724.20 / Brilliance Audio: $0.00 / Foreign Rights Advances: $2,929.63

Actions: None (Took a two week trip to Africa and didn’t really work on my business at all.) :-(


Mar. 2015: $31,531.92 – Habit Books: $17,060.81 / Other Books: $647.45 / Amazon Associates: $1,056.90 / Audible: $2,979.10 / CreateSpace: $1,025.25 / BuckBooks: $181.14/ Babel Cube: $200.66 / Mini Habits: $26.80 / Translated Books: $4,452.20 / Brilliance Audio: $3.901.61 / Foreign Rights Advances: $0.00

Actions: 1. Published Exercise Every Day.  2. Published another Portuguese translation: Domine o Hábito da Escrita.  3. Ran a St. Patrick’s Day sale on 7 of my habit books.


Apr. 2015: $26,457.51 – Habit Books: $15,402.70 / Other Books: $2,848.66 / Amazon Associates: $777.99 / Audible: $3,824.32 / CreateSpace: $940.25 / BuckBooks: $181.14/ Babel Cube: $234.54/ Mini Habits: $19.60 / Translated Books: $2,228.31 / Brilliance Audio: $0 / Foreign Rights Advances: $0.00

Actions: 1. Published German translation:  Schluss mit schlechten Angewohnheiten.  2. Published Portuguese translation: Eleve o Seu Dia.  3. Started to systematize free promotions of my older Internet business books, using James Mayfield’s service: http://www.jameshmayfield.com/book-promotions/