Tools that helped me keep my cool in 2015

Near the end of the year, I put together a list of tweets of some of my favorite tools for keeping mu cool. They ranged across tricks & websites for tracking/analyzing your sales, places to get stock photos and make promo pics, and ways to format & convert your ebooks. It was a tangle of all my favorite bookmarks and programs, presented in 140 chars or less.

You can follow the tweet above back to the thread, or just browse the list below. (Keep in mind, brevity and abbreviations because, you know. Twitter!)

Bree’s Favorite Tricks

Book Report – a nifty way to watch & analyze your Amazon sales. Free if you make < $1k/mo on Amazon, $10/mo if more.

Google Keep – simple, easy to organize/tag virtual To Do list. Browser, Android or iOS. Free.

Kindle Sales Total Bookmarklet: Tired of adding up your MTD sales or page reads in KDP? Enjoy. It’s magic.

Spreadsheets – I made my own so they’d be as nitpicky & precise as I like them. Have one! Or two!

Sigil – Free epub editing software. Super useful if you need to fix small things in an ePub.

Trackerbox: When you need to track ALL the vendors, and multiple pennames. Free trial, $59.99 to buy:

Kindle Previewer: When you need a quick preview of your book, or to quickly convert epub to mobi:

PicMonkey – $4.99/month photo editing software. Make super pretty promotional pics without photoshop skills.

Dreamstime: Save up promo images & grab a monthly subscription to get ALL THE STOCK PHOTOS you could ever want.

The Windows Snipping Tool: Seriously, I screenshot everything and his makes my life beautiful. Just saying.

Redirects. Still. Always.

InstaFreebie: Give away books & let the winner decide their own format. Plus optional newsletter subscriptions!

RescueTime: No one wants to know how much time they’re actually spending on twitter. But you probably need to know.

Send to Kindle: A shocking % of people don’t know how easy it is to review your MS on your phone and/or kindle:

Self-Publishing Income Tracking Spreadsheet

Don’t look now, it’s time for another round of… LOOK, LOOK!

Glittery pink text with SPARKLES that reads: A SPREADSHEET!

(What, I made that glittery pink sparkle image, and I’m going to get some use out of it. Never waste glitter text, guys. It’s like, the first rule of the internet.)

Last time I uploaded my Self-Pub MTD Income Estimate spreadsheet, which is how I keep a rough running estimate of my monthly sales.

This spreadsheet is a lot more straightforward, because all I track with it are deposits.  I update this at the end of the month (*coughcough* or the end of the year) with all of the deposits that hit my bank account. There’s no conversion here, just straight up dollars.  The big things I keep track of with this sheet are my monthly and quarterly totals, my totals by vendor and my breakdown of self-pub vs publisher money.

Year to Date Spreadsheet

This one has fake numbers in January. The breakdown of the fake numbers probably tells you a lot about my idea of what % of income comes from which vendors, even though I tried not to be too obvious.

There’s really not a lot to it, but I’ll break down the three parts just in case.

The top of the spreadsheet with running totals and YTD total.The top of the spreadsheet is all automatic. Everything in here should update as you put your numbers in the bottom two sections. It tracks your total monthly payment, and also breaks it down by traditionally/epublished vs self-published. On top of that, it keeps a running total of each quarter, and at the end of each line it breaks down what % of your income came from publishers and what % came from self-publishing vendors.

 The middle of the spreadsheet, where you can add each self-pub vendor payment as you recieve it.
The self-publishing section is also pretty straight-forward. The vendors are pretty easy to tweak and update as needed. That holds my current list, including revealing my current laziness in tracking down which country $1.47 payments from Amazon came from. (Bad, Bree, bad.)

Some vendors pay quarterly. I tend to black out the months I don’t anticipate payments so I won’t be dumb and wonder why they aren’t there, because almost everything I do with spreadsheets is pre-planning for the days where I’m really dumb and wonder very silly things.

As you add payments, the monthly totals will update at the top in the green boxes. The year-to-date total by vendor will update in the 2nd column in teal. The year-to-date grand total for self-publishing shows up in the YTD Selfpub box. At the end of each line is the % breakdown by vendor. Finally, quarterly self-pub totals show up above the months.

And finally…

Spreadsheet where you input money from your publisher.

The publisher section is basically exactly the same as the self-publisher, except you have to fill in your own publishers.  I’ll be honest, this section is pretty basic and doesn’t handle a ton of excitement or variation…but I only have a few epublishers, one who pays monthly and one quarterly, so I don’t have a lot of excitement here.  But if you’re just tracking deposits, this should do it.

And that is the spreadsheet in all its glory! There’s a download link below, and I have it on good authority that it works just fine on google docs. Feel free to take and adapt and have fun.  And if you have any questions, feel free to ask! (And just for fun, I threw the link to my Running Totals spreadsheet in the bottom here, too.)

Year to Date Totals

A file for tracking your Year-to-Date payments from vendors and publishers. Includes monthly and yearly totals and percentages, broken down by vendor, publisher and self-pub vs publisher, and quarterly income totals.

Running Totals Spreadsheet

An excel spreadsheet that tracks MTD sales for self-pubbers. Vendors included: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Draft2Digital, Apple, and Google. Also provides a way to estimate money from Amazon borrows.

Tracking Month-to-Date Self-Pub Sales

So, I haven’t posted since July, because the first rule of Self-Pub Club is do not make any plans you’re not okay cancelling in a feverish zombie deadline fervor.  But a conversation on twitter today prompted me to come on over so I could post…

Glittery pink text with SPARKLES that reads: A SPREADSHEET!

(I mentioned the zombie fever, right? Give me some sparkles, y’all.)

This is not the world’s fanciest spreadsheet, but I find it pretty useful as a quick way to keep an eye on how much money I’ve (probably, roughly) made this month.  When I’m feeling excitable, I update it a few times a day. When I’m tired…well, I just started December’s Running Total page 4 days ago. But you don’t need to update it constantly to keep it accurate, since it was designed to use the information vendors give us.

In no particular order… (and with totally bogus numbers)…

Amazon section of the spreadsheet.

You can grab the Amazon numbers from your Sales Dashboard (the one with the graph.)  Remember to set the totals to Month to Date first (and click Update, which I never do) because it defaults to showing the last 30 days.  Paste the totals in the 2nd column. The 3rd column are conversion rates (some more recent than others, all subject to change, all just estimates) that spit out US Dollars in the last column.

The Apple & Google parts of the spreadsheet. The B&N and Kobo parts of the spreadsheet.
Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo are simpler, since all will let you grab a MTD total.  Barnes & Noble has the “Month to Date” sales that exclude the current and previous day, which you can click on to get. I’m lazy, so I have a space for each of those numbers so I don’t have to add them together. If I wanted to add, I wouldn’t have a spreadsheet.

I also have a line for draft2digital, since I have some books through there, but prefer to keep track of those by the vendor they’re selling on.

As for google…I don’t know. Make something up. (I’m kidding. Maybe. You can pull a transaction report and add your total, but only if you’re a masochist completionist–or you’re making enough money on Google to get you excited. :D)

The borrows section of the spreadsheet.

I grab my borrows totals from the Month to Date sales reports. (NOT the one with the graphs.)  I just add up the borrows for each book manually, because I haven’t found a less annoying way to do this yet. And you have to do it for each domain (so Amazon US, UK, DE…)  The good (bad) news is that you may not have many sites moving borrows yet. Though I changed the numbers above, I didn’t change the countries I’m tracking for.

The estimates at the top are my current range for what those borrows might be worth. I keep a high/mid/low range, and this spreadsheet uses the low range in all totals. Because I’d rather be happy than cranky.

Breakdown of %s sold at each vendor.

Finally, the monthly breakdown is…a monthly breakdown. Because, you know. I like knowing where my money is coming from, and where it isn’t. And where I want more coming from.

So, that’s the form! Like I said, not the fanciest thing in the world, but if you need an easy way to keep track of stuff, it works okay, it’s easy to update, and it’s compatible with google docs, which is where I keep mine.  🙂  Feel free to download it and adapt to your own needs!  Link below.

Running Totals Spreadsheet

An excel spreadsheet that tracks MTD sales for self-pubbers. Vendors included: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Draft2Digital, Apple, and Google. Also provides a way to estimate money from Amazon borrows.