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:

A5 Planner Sheet: Daily To Do list w/ word count & goals

So, this is just a quick post, mostly because I’m uploading something a few people on twitter were interested in downloading. This isn’t anything fancy, just a tweaked version of the daily sheets I use in my planner. They’re very, very slanted to exactly what I want, which is encouragement to drink 8 glasses of water, a big spacious To Do list, and places to focus on goals, priorities and my word count.

These are designed to be printed on 8.5″x11″ paper and cut in half. You can print them front & back and end up with 4 days per 1 piece of paper.

Daily A5 To Do List w/ Word Counts

Custom printables for A5 planners with a to do list, space to track words and goals, and even handy tracking of how much water you’re drinking. Print on 8.5×11″ paper and cut in half.

I’ve also included the download file for my writing project word count trackers, in case you missed those!  (The novel one tracks a 100k book. The other is cut up into 10k parts, in case you need smaller goals. I do love coloring that thing in every 1,000 words.)

100,000 Word Project Tracker

Custom printables for A5 planners with space to track 100,000 words. Print on 8.5×11″ paper and cut in half.

10,000 Word Project Tracker

Custom printables for A5 planners with space to track 10,000 words. Print on 8.5×11″ paper and cut in half.

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.

Project Word Count Trackers for A5 Planners

One of my goals this year was to get more organized. The stress of trying to carry this increasingly complex business in my head (oh god, why was I still doing that) got to me last year, and I decided it was time to work smarter or have a gibbering mental breakdown. (Or another one.)

My solution was to get an A5 planner. But instead of relying on the default filofax refills, I went out to find things that would fit the sort of organization I needed. Etsy is wonderfully full of such printable options, and there are tons of other places where you can get them for free, I discovered.  It’s going well so far…two weeks in and I’ve already got a better grasp on what I need to delegate and I’m getting more done, more efficiently.

But some of the stuff I wanted to keep track of, I couldn’t find on etsy or the internet. So I popped open photoshop and went to town.  And in case there’s anyone out there with an A5 planner who wants to keep track of word counts, I’m posting my project trackers here.  🙂

(In case you are new to this–I was!–A5 planners easily fit things printed on standard 8.5×11″ paper. These printables are designed to be cut in half and then have holes punched in them. You can buy a fancy six-hole punch, but I didn’t have one when I printed out my first run. So I used a divider from my planner as a guide and punched those holes freehand one at a time. If you’re determined, you can get it done. :D)

100,000 Word Project

Screencap of the novel progress PDF

This one is good for up to 100,000 words. You can scribble in the totals as you go (I was inspired to use the thermometer image by my friend Vivian Arend, who does this on a white board for each project!) and keep track of the date and your word count/how many words you wrote on that day. Whichever you prefer. This sheet is designed to be printed on both sides, so when you cut them, the right side will be the “front” and the left side will be the back.

But 100,000 words is a lot, and sometimes I have a smaller project, or I just want to chop my goals into things that feel more satisfying. So I also made…

10,000 Word Project Part

Screencap of the Novel Progress PDF

This is also designed to be printed on both sides. Each side can be 10,000 words of your current project, and you can use as many of them as you want.  🙂

Feel free to download these and adapt to your own needs!

100,000 Word Project Tracker

Custom printables for A5 planners with space to track 100,000 words. Print on 8.5×11″ paper and cut in half.

10,000 Word Project Tracker

Custom printables for A5 planners with space to track 10,000 words. Print on 8.5×11″ paper and cut in half.