First, a welcome. If this is your first time reading one of my posts, this might seem a bit erratic. I write like I talk, which is fast and all over the place, and it never really seems to have a pathway, but in the end, it somehow all makes sense.

And secondly, an introduction. I’ve always said I wanted to be very transparent about my author journey, how I went about doing things, how much I spent, and how much I made. Then, I started making a lot more money than I ever dreamed possible… and I also couldn’t figure how to go about putting this post together.

But, as we enter deep into the second quarter of 2022, I know it’s time to make this post! This will cover the entirety of 2021, however, going forward, I intend on making this a quarterly post. I will be covering what I did during the quarter, some of my numbers (as far as I can look them up), and also how much I spent and how much I made.

Something to keep in mind, however, is this: AMAZON TAKES 60 DAYS FROM THE END OF THE MONTH TO PAY OUT. Meaning… what I made in November, I did not see until January. And what I made in December, I did not see until February. So, keep that in mind.

And now, with all of that said… let’s begin.

2021 Overview:

  • Opened a bank account and deposited my savings (June)
  • Started author accounts on social media (June)
  • Began Newsletter (July)
  • Series Announcement (August)
  • Title Announcement – Book 1 (August)
  • Cover Reveal – Book 1 (September)
  • Pre-Order Announced – Book 1 (September)
  • ARC Call Out – Book 1 (October)
  • Cover Reveal / Pre-Order – Book 2 (November)
  • One Night in Garoureve Released – Book 1 (November)
  • Bonus Epilogue – Book 1 (December)

All in all, my goals for 2021 were to write and release a book. Initially, I wanted it to be a novelette, meaning under 17.5k words, but there was so much interest, I ended up expanding it. From there, I also had requests for paperbacks, which I never planned on doing. And now, here I am.

Let’s break it down month by month? To start with, output. What I did and what I spent money on. And then, we’ll wrap it up with income, what came in.

And then bookshop signed copies will be separate because… you’ll see why.

JUNE:

As you can see, June was an exciting month, because I decided to publish. I made the decision and opened a bank account. I figured, if I put my limited savings into it, then I was making a commitment. I ended up going with Bank of America, which I regret. There later ended up being fees, which were stupid.

From there, I also started my social media accounts. These were Tiktok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I made the big announcement, and started trucking along. I didn’t actually start writing my books yet, although I did start research and planning. I had a goal of starting writing in August, and in the meantime, I was going to dedicate myself to research.

JULY:

July is when I actually started spending money. I made the mistake of assuming I needed linktree pro in order to have my newsletter connected. I later figured out that was wrong, so I regret spending the money there. 

I also opened a PO Box so I could begin sending my Newsletter out. I do not regret. I went with mailchimp initially, but I heard from a number of authors this platform was not a good one, so I made the switch to mailerlite, which I continue to use and have no intention of changing from.

I also continued to be active on social media and interacting on Tiktok. 

AUGUST:

August is when I started writing One Night in Garoureve, and I actually almost entirely finished it this month. My oldest started school, so she was busy, giving me more time to write. I continued with my newsletter and social media presence, and I announced my series!

Oh, and I bought my first cover from Fiverr. You can see it right there. I still stand by this cover, even though I know some people aren’t a fan of it. I worked with what I had.

SEPTEMBER:

September was a month filled with editing. A lot of editing. I continued to pay for linktree, which I didn’t need, and had my first BOA Maintenance Fee. That won’t be there long. I was also running a little low on funds, and deposited more money into my account after selling a few things so I could buy Atticus.

I still stand by Atticus, even with my recent troubles. I thoroughly enjoy it and plan on using it to publish and format all of my books.

Also, a Title Page. I later added this on in packages!

OCTOBER:

October I was once again riding really low on funds. The facts were, waiting until January to have any income wasn’t going to make it, and I was desperate. There’s once again a BOA fee – I switched to another bank account with our personal bank after this.

I also was in the processing of ARC phase, and so I started a Bookfunnel account. I started at the basic level, but quickly realized I needed the next level up, so I could send certified mail with my ARCs rather than having a basic page to share. So, I paid the 20$ annual for the base level, ended up switching to the 10$ a month next level.

And uhhh yeah. That’s that. Also my husband got home from deployment lol. I had lots of inspiration for writing my second book, which I was working on during this time.

NOVEMBER:

RELEASE MONTH! A lot going on, obviously.

First and foremost, I switched over to using a credit card for all of my purchases, with the thinking being… it delays out. So, what I spend in the month, I do not need to pay until the 23rd of the next month, which helped me bridge the gap, because I was out of cash.

I purchased the cover for my next book, which went up for pre-order mid month, went to Hobby Lobby looking for decoration and I regret it all, and I grabbed the App Sumo deal, which I don’t regret. I have already purchased all of the stockphotos used on my covers, and I love them very much, and use them on a lot of things.

And that’s about it. I was low on cash.

DECEMBER:

And, the month after release. Again, remember, I won’t see the money made in November until January, so I was on my last dollar, however, signed copies came in clutch and saved the day!

I did put a little of my own money in, to help pay for the previous month, but I was also able to order paperback books to sign, along with the swag, by doing a sort of kickstarter with a google form and paypal. People were so kind to pay ahead of time, so I could afford to order the books. They did not come until the end of the month, so I couldn’t ship them until January, but the money was spent.

I also could not afford to hold out money for taxes, however, as the product did not ship until 2022, I did not submit taxes on this. I will… deal with it in 2023, when I submit 2022’s taxes. I did, however, hold out the appropriate 30% on what I was paid.

More about signed copies below.

2021 Spending Overview:

Here’s the overall stats for 2021 in general. I hope, after walking through this, that it all makes sense. I did make some mistakes along the way. I do consider my money I put into this a toss away with no intention to pay myself back for it. I ended the year in the negative, technically.

SIGNED BOOKS

We’re going to just keep this… separate.

I initially had about 20 people interested in purchasing books from me. I ordered 35 in total. I sold, before the end of the year, 22 of them. There were also a few damaged copies.

As for swag, I ordered 100 bookmarks, 100 thank you stickers, and 100 of each of the two book stickers. In the end, I broke about even with them, as I still had to purchase mailers, wrapping, and shipping. I’ll talk about this more in my 2022 Q1 Post.

And now, finally… the numbers y’all really want to know. Let’s talk about my royalties.

PRE-ORDERS

Pre-Orders for One Night in Garoureve went up in mid-September. I tried to push it, but I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, and since it was my debut, I don’t think many people knew what to expect. My goal was 50, and I cleared it!

Overall, my goal was to make 500$ before the release of my next book! That uhh… Look, I can explain.

ROYALTIES OVERALL

Let’s talk about what happened here.

The initial spike is pre-orders, obviously, for release day.

The secondary spike in mid December is when the lovely Lillian Lark talked about my book.

And the third giant spike, which then began me blowing up on Tiktok, was when I had a viral video talking about fat girls getting railed. I ended up hitting number 1 in six categories over this time. It was insane.

And, it goes to show how much tiktok and booktok can change your life. It only takes one video for everything to take off.

I spent nothing on ads. I wasn’t pushing that hard on other platforms. It was mainly just me on tiktok. I was working hard on my next book. I was not thinking this book would go viral… and then it did.

Again, please remember, I did not see this actual money in my account until the end of February.

KENP PAGE READS

My page reads goal, overall, was 100k. Like, that was it. So this huge surge… well, it speaks for itself! Obviously, when comparing to the other spike, you can see where I was at and where I got to.

ORDERS

Now, compare this with the page reads to above. I was having pretty steady low sales, but of course, most of it was from page reads, other than my initial release.

Keep in mind, with my next image, that author signed copies are not part of this number:

So, of my 246 orders on Amazon, 20 were print and 226 were Kindle Ebook. 77 of those orders were pre-orders. I also had, at this point in time, 20 signed copies paid for. 

WRAP UP

So, uh, there you have it? Again, keep in mind that I don’t see any of this money until 2021, but knowing I had money coming at the end of January allowed me some flexibility going into 2022. 

All of my previous goals, at this point, were down the drain, and I’m still living in awe.

My entire goal for 2022 since then has been to hit green and stay green, and we’re staying that way. Also, holding out 30% for taxes. Also, staying on top of bookkeeping.

I’ll post my First Quarter data here in the next few days, but, here you have it. My 2021 Author Stats, both spending and income.

If you have any questions, please ask! And, thank you for allowing me a bit of transparency.

xoxo Elle