Join the Journey: June '21 Progress Report

It's time for my 6th monthly progress report, published as part of my "Join the Journey" series, available exclusively to Think Better Newsletter subscribers. You can read my previous updates here.

This monthly progress report details my sales and marketing efforts. It is an effort to both hold myself accountable to making continuous progress as well as provide insight to anyone else considering self-publishing. It's meant to be the Strava to my book sales...a public record for anyone interested to follow.

My overall impression of June (Month 6?!)

I will remember June as a rough month, because I had a lot of personal and business challenges and I felt like every aspect of my life was in flux. We paused the podcasts, I spent time looking for another job, and some personal challenges...challenged me.

On the other hand, I was pretty productive. I joined three podcasts as a guest, wrote a few articles, and sold my first couple team packages (though the orders officially went through in July). I'll outline this in detail below. 

Selling the team packages makes me feel much better going into the new month. Sometimes you need those first couple sales to validate the value in what you're offering. Plus I found a contract job that should help me bridge the next few months while I work all the other issues out. Things are looking better.

My Monthly Sales (units)

June 21 sales

I actually under-reported May the same way I under-reported April. It turns out Lulu, my print-on-demand provider, doesn't report my reseller (Amazon) sales until later in the month. I've been publishing this update before it's out. Now that I know, I've made sure to wait and include them!

I sold a total of 46 books in June, up 59% from May, but only 18 of those came from my site. It's not what I'd like it to be. At least three of the orders came from podcast appearances, but I suspect a few more of them were as well. I also use an upsell plug-in called Honeycomb Upsell Funnels that offers customers purchasing the book a discounted workbook. When that discount is applied, I can't see if the customer was referred from another source.

The big news here was selling 28 copies on reseller channels, which I assume is 90% Amazon. I avoided putting the book on there because each sale returns me less than $3 and I can't get customers to join my newsletter, etc. But that was probably a mistake. So many people simply don't shop anywhere but Amazon, so it's trading a potential sale for a definite non-sale. We'll see how this channel grows over the next couple months!

My Marketing Initiatives

June '21 marketing

I was on the Marathon Running Podcast, the Justa Runners Podcast, and the Rambling Runner Podcast, all of which were completely different conversations! All three ran at the end of the month, so hopefully I'll see a small boost in July.

I published an article on Runner's Tribe that got good traction called Doping and the Trap of Marginal Thinking. I also published an article on my site called How Dopers Talk About Doping and a "from the archives" article The 12 Arguments in Every Online Running Debate, which I wrote in 2008 but is no longer on the web.

Like I said, I was pretty busy!

I was consistent with my Instagram feed in June, posting 37 times. I only gained 22 followers. I continue to send the same posts to Facebook but got zero engagement.

I published four newsletters in May and gained 12 subscribers. Most of this growth happened at the end of the month after the podcasts ran.

I reached out directly to a handful of coaches about the team packages, and am working on something more systematic to approach more of them.

My Goals Achieved

I think I crossed one of the early newsletter subscribers goals, but the big milestone was selling a couple team packages, which felt great. 

I'm going to leave this category here but I'm not sure I'll have much to update as my goals get bigger and take longer to achieve.

My Plans for July

My major goal for July is to drive awareness amongst coaches. I'll be meeting with a PR agency and taking some of the funds from my new job to apply to marketing. 

I plan to publish another article at PodiumRunner and get a little more published here on my own blog.

I will continue posting on Instagram and publishing my newsletter, as I see having a strong base of quality posts and newsletter editions to be their own feedback loop. I'm not seeing a lot of growth now, but I'm in the Build phase ;)

Wrap-up

It was a solid month. The team packages are crucial for not just making some money but also getting the book in my target audience's hands. It feels great that those are being well-received.

I'll end every one of these updates with the same message, as much for me as for you:

This is a long journey, and I plan to achieve success by following the same principles I lay out in Make the Leap: high quality work, done consistently, that feeds back into itself to create outsized gains. I'm still at the beginning where growth isn't really visible. But the foundation is being laid.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. If you have any advice or feedback, please email me at bryan@maketheleapbook.com.

Go Be More,

Bryan