Retailer Reports: A few Thoughts

I’m still in the process of analyzing my new baseline. To do this I am collecting sale reports across all the retailers and distributors that I’m already using. It’s taken more time than I thought it would, for several reasons (some listed below). In the process of collecting reports and putting together a new spreadsheet, I thought I would share a few things I’ve noticed.

  1. Finding the right reports can be a real pain in the neck. They aren’t always easy to find. Or there are so many and the ones that sound like they are the ones I need turn out not to be the one needed. I kept having to go back and forth from the spreadsheets to the website to find a different one.
  2. Createspace reports made me want to tear my hair out. The information displayed on the website was exactly what I needed, only to find that the exported report did not have all the information as the website. I ended up having to copy and paste from the website. ARGH!
  3. Kobo still doesn’t have the ability to generate and download reports from their website? Still, this many years later?
  4. Most of the retailers really stink when it comes to naming the downloaded reports. I had to rename so many of them so I could easily find which ones I wanted later.
  5. Some retailers don’t have detailed reports of what books sell on specific days. You only get by month. Retailers need to step up their game on this. Apple and Amazon, I’m looking at you.
  6. There is definitely consolidation in the ebook retailer area. Several that I had listed in 2014 are now completely gone (ARE, and then several small ones I reached through a distributor). Sad to see income streams go away, even if they were smaller.
  7. Smashwords used to be a rather good sales platform for me. For 2017? It’s literally zero. Wow, Smashwords has really fallen and is not a competitor now, at least not for me.

This has been an interesting process. I’m not an expert in statistics by any means, but already I’m learning a few things that I hope will help me when moving forward.

Restarting The Writing Business – ACK!

Restarting The Writing Business - ACK!
mohamed1982eg / Pixabay

There are plenty of blogs out there charting the course of a new endeavor in writing and releasing fiction. No real need for me to duplicate what has already been done unless I have something special to say (which isn’t very often).

But from someone who was making several hundred a month in book royalties who then lost a few years and is now in the process of getting going again? There aren’t that many of those.

Why did I lose a few years? A major life-roll. Mother Hen was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013. I became one of her full-time caregivers. She passed away in 2016, and it’s taken until now to really come out of the fog. I still miss her terribly, but I know she wanted me to keep writing (she said it many times during those last years). It made her so happy to see me reaching out for that dream.

It’s time to do that reaching.

So that’s what I’ll be talking about on my little blog here for a while. Who knows, maybe a few out there will find it of interest and my rambling will help them along with doing the same thing.

So, here are the first steps I’m taking:

1. I’m back to writing! I’m not doing it daily, as I’m working a seasonal job at the moment and have had some fatigue issues. But, I’m definitely making progress! One of the goals is to start recording the progress over at Writing Groove. Oh, and thanks for all the support the writers at Writing Groove and Forward Motion have given over these trying years!

2. Over the winter I took a 6-week writing workshop that I had a lot of fun with. I’ve been reviewing my notes on a few past workshops. I’m also reading writing craft non-fiction books, just to get my mind back into the game (very much picking and choosing what I want to take away from those books). If I find anything of interest, I’ll post here.

3. Creating a new business and writing plan, starting from this point and looking forward. This means setting goals on such things as how much I want to write per week, month, quarter and year. Setting new publishing deadlines. Setting deadlines for getting print editions out there for works that do not have any so far.

4. I’m also investing in myself. This October I’ll be heading to Lincoln City, Oregon to participate in the upcoming Master Business Class for writers, hosted by WMG Publishing. I’m hoping to learn how the industry has changed over these several years, and hopefully learn a few things to better my writing business.

5. Find the new baseline for my publishing business. I am no longer selling at the rate I used to. Not with no new releases in a long time. Using my old baseline as a measurement against the upcoming months would only lead to disappointment and depression.

We don’t need that!

I’m in the process of downloading sales reports across various distributers and retailers, and coming up with an average of how I am selling. I’ll post a detailed report of this baseline when I have it finished. I can then use this new baseline as a reference to see how I’m doing as I get back into the game. I think it would be fun to track on this blog the build-up from that baseline to a new and improved baseline!

All of the above takes time, and yet it feels like it all needs to be done RIGHT NOW. And that list doesn’t even scratch the surface! ACK!

…take a deep breath…

I’m trying hard not to overload myself with everything that needs to be done. That would only set myself up for failure. I don’t need that. So, I’m trying to do what I do at work: Keep my head down and focus on only one task at a time. Finish that task. Feel good about it! Then, and only then, look at the next task that needs to be done. Rinse, repeat.

So, join me on this journey. Let’s have some fun getting back into the groove of things!

The Lovely and Surprising Creative Mind

The creative mind is starting to work again. It’s not consistent yet, or really strong, but it is happening. It’s even resulted in words!

One things that is helping me is working on a new series. Even though I was a little miffed at myself for creating yet another universe when I already have so many. On top of the new universe I started writing on, The Enigma Watchers, the last year before Mother Hen passed away.

So yeah. Had an alternate history action-adventure series in The Enigma Watchers.

Now also have the Atlantis Shifters romance series.

And then earlier today…


The Lovely and Surprising Creative MindThese aren’t two new universes! Both of these series are in the same universe!

I was working on the timeline of The Enigma Watchers when it happened. I realized that the Atlantis Shifters ‘world’ diverged from that one in the past. Only they take place at about the same time, just in different parallel universes. But they do cross over. To the point that characters can cross over, if I ever wanted to do it.

Talk about getting a shiver of delight!

Sometimes I just love the creative mind. 😀

2017 Writing/Revision Tracking Spreadsheet

2017 Writing/Revision Tracking Spreadsheet
skeeze / Pixabay

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. It hasn’t been an easy year, but I’m still puttering forward with the writing and other creativity. To start off the new year in the right direction, I have updated the yearly Writing and Revision Tracking Spreadsheet.

This format is a little different than before. Instead of separate tabs for the writing and revision, this time it’s been combined into one single tab. I’ve been using it for the past year and like having both were I can see them in one glance.

Another post soon on the other big project I’ve been working on.

So, go! Write and revise!

View every word forward as a triumph.

All spreadsheets are available on the Writing Freebies page.

Memories: Making It Happen

We never had much money. But, that didn’t stop Mother Hen from making things happen and that’s something that all of us learned from her. A commercial yesterday reminded me of one such incident.

Memories: Making It Happen
Schmid-Reportagen / Pixabay

I’m a born and raised Alaskan (Yes, really to those who put a review on the Salmon Run books that I’ve obviously never been to Alaska. So much for that thought.). The ironic thing is that those living in an area don’t always see all the sights around them. It’s close by, so the mentality is “I’ll get to it eventually.”

But, as painters, Mother Hen decided one summer that her and I needed to go see and photograph the Kenai Fjords. It would be great to get our own reference pictures to use in our own paintings. We had to save several months to afford one of the boat rides and fuel to drive to Seward. Paying to eat one of the fancy meals on the boat or the high-priced food places around the harbor though?

Forget it.

So, off we drove to Seward, Alaska along with our cameras and a bag-load of film, as well as the 11 bologna sandwiches we’d made. I’m not sure how we arrived at that number, but that’s what I clearly remember. Even this last year when Mother Hen’s memory wasn’t what it was, she still remembered this trip and those sandwiches. Our bologna sandwich saga always made us laugh and smile.

Memories: Making It Happen
saxonrider / Pixabay

The day was dreary and rainy, but that’s rather normal in that area. It gets a lot of rain, as well as snow (feeding all the glaciers). The cruise was hours long and fortunately the ocean calm. There was only one other person on the boat that was out on the deck taking pictures as much as us, and his camera gear told us he was a serious and perhaps professional photographer. We laughed with him about why come if not to get out and take pictures and SEE what was out there?

We might have gotten cold standing out on the deck so much, but we did it. Went out to take pictures for as long as we could stand it, then went inside just long enough to warm up. Then out we went again. I remember taking pictures of many sea otters, puffins (one of the birds in a pic above), dolphins, tidewater glaciers, all sorts of marine birds, seals, and several whales that unfortunately kept their distance from the boat. Then there was the scenery itself. The murky weather created a layer of clouds, but under we could see pretty far.

It took years for us to afford having them all developed. No, the pictures here were not taken by us. This trip happened in the days before digital cameras. One day I hope to find them and scan them into the computer.

A day we usually we couldn’t afford, but Mother Hen decided it needed to happen, so it did. She made it happen.

Another life lesson that I’m very thankful to her for.