I’ve never written a year-in-review before, mostly because I’ve never done one before but also because they all blur together. I want to blame 2020, a.k.a. the Dumpsterfire That Never Ends, but it’s me. I have no idea what I did and whether it was special or not.

There are some big ones. I made more money. I quit my job to pursue writing full time. I published several books. I delved into Facebook ads, which is bigger than it sounds. They’re nightmarish.

But it’s not as great as it sounds. I didn’t make nearly enough money to live off of. That means I’ll probably have to go back to that job I quit. I didn’t publish as many books as I did in 2019. My Facebook ads—my ads in general—suck. I try to focus on my successes, but my failures negate most of them. I promise I’m not being a Negative Nelly here, but I was hoping for a lot more out of this year and am having to remind myself that it was 2020. Also, I’m kicking myself for not being better at tracking progress throughout the year. I’m positive I have stuff that could be listed here if I ever did anything to document them.

So this is the beginning of my documentation, and I’m sharing data with the world mostly for my own records but also in case the IRS decides to yell at me for not reporting this income. Also, not to rain on my parade any further or anything, but there were a lot more expenses than marketing. I’m going to do my best to recall what was going on each month (other than the end of the world as we knew it), but if nothing else, I have numbers.

January

Rewinding a couple months, I wrote and edited A Christmas Demon For Clara in November for NaNoWriMo, leading to my best sales month yet in December. Based on file timestamps (yeah, I’m doing forensics here), I wrote, began edits, and designed the cover for An Easter Demon For Eloise in January. I also redesigned Clara’s cover.

  • AMS Ads: –
  • Facebook Ads: –
  • Gross Profit: $7.24
  • Net Profit: $7.24

February

I finished up Eloise and set up the pre-release. I also made another pass at Truth or Weres, having already attempted to finish it in October 2019 and failing. I did not finish it

  • AMS Ads: –
  • Facebook Ads: –
  • Gross Profit: $2.13
  • Net Profit: $2.13

March

Eloise goes live on Amazon. Magical Cave of Glowing Wonder goes wide. According to a post I made on my NaNoWriMo group (forensics!) I was planning to work on several projects for Camp NaNo in April, so I’m guessing that was Truth or Weres, East of the Sun, and Plus Three.

  • AMS Ads: –
  • Facebook Ads: –
  • Gross Profit: $18.38
  • Net Profit: 18.38

April

I did not work on any of those. It was the beginning of the quarantine I didn’t get because essential worker. At the last second I decided to write A Halloween Angel For Hazel, instead.

  • AMS Ads: $54.02
  • Facebook Ads: –
  • Gross Profit: $14.84
  • Net Profit: -$39.18

May

I don’t know. This was the beginning of the nightmare of my job transfer. We also had a ‘temporary’ roommate that quarantine was turning into a more permanent roommate. My for-real permanent roommate’s girlfriend also became something of a fixture. I don’t do well with extra people in the house. I heavily research grad school. What I want to do doesn’t mesh well with what I already have from undergrad. I plan to tutor myself in advanced maths in the hopes there will be a way to test out, but I’m also trying to work out a budget for more undergrad credits in a state that has no reasonably priced colleges. I’ll have to quit my job if I go back to school, so my five-year plan to sustain myself through writing crunches a little. My roommate pledges to help me financially where he can since he’s so stable as a childless adult with an ok-paying job, a reasonable mortgage, and a 40 year-old vehicle.

  • AMS Ads: $18.28
  • Facebook Ads: –
  • Gross Profit: $10.67
  • Net Profit: -$7.61

June

My roommate’s girlfriend announces she’s pregnant. The grocery store I work at has generic grocery store music, and there’s this song called Time Machine (I think). There’s a line where the singer says, “I’d go back and I’d tell me RUuUuUuUN.” Before this moment, I’ve always thought that was the worst way to tell a past version of myself to do anything, but at this point I’m pricing out camper trailers and working out the logistics of literally riding off into the sunset. The plan is contingent on my grandmother’s will changing at the last second to include me.

  • AMS Ads: $9.21
  • Facebook Ads: –
  • Gross Profit: $14.76
  • Net Profit: $5.55

July

BRYAN COHEN’S AMAZON ADS SCHOOL. Total gamechanger. It didn’t help me in the sense that I suddenly started making money (obviously) but it did help me not hemorrhage money on ads. I made a first attempt at Facebook ads, and it was a total disaster. The system is not intuitive or designed with someone selling their product via a marketplace in mind. This was also the second Camp NaNo of the year, and I planned to work on Truth or Weres, Plus Three, East of the Sun, and Olivia’s Confectionery Delights, my cyborg x demi-lesbian holiday romance. All but the last one happened.

  • AMS Ads: 23.02
  • Facebook Ads: $5.10
  • Gross Profit: $21.89
  • Net Profit: -$6.23

August

I need to RUuUuUuUN from the baby. Unfortunately, I need to RUuUuUuUN from my job more. I hate this. I hate quitting any job. I hate quitting a job that I love—and I do love cake decorating—and I especially hate quitting a job in a time when so many people have lost their jobs. But you have no idea how bad it was working at my Publix. Yep, I named it. We had no management half the time I worked there (that’s literal, I did the math), no other managers were brought in to help us, no additional associates to cover the labor hours, and we weren’t allowed to take overtime. My final straw was a day when I was the only person scheduled when there should have been 3-4 of us. And I have a highly specialized job, I get that, but one of the other decorators was scheduled to clerk. They could have gotten anyone in to cover clerking so the other decorator could help me.

And then 13 hours into my shift (not a typo) the district manager came in to brag about how great Publix is to its employees. I feel inclined to mention at this point that because of how fucking shady this company is, there was a “bonus” that was actually just our regular pay raise going in early that had no actual criteria for how much money we’d each get. So some people effectively got $900+ bonuses.

I got $10.

So fuck that place, but I digress.

I cancel my plans to RUuUuUuUN for the sunset and go back to college. Plus Three goes live. Hazel goes on pre-order. I attempt a post boost on Facebook. It had the expected result of nothing, but it was cheap. I shut down all advertising on THIRD Shift because clearly no one wants to read it.

  • AMS Ads: $13.17
  • Facebook Ads: $4.52
  • Gross Profit: $24.62
  • Net Profit: $6.93

September

I quit my job. The right way, because I have money in the bank but I’m not making nearly enough of it to make a career out of it. On September 25th, I leave Publix, pack a bag, and fly down to Florida to condo-sit for two weeks. For the moment, life is good. Hazel goes live. I’m starting A Valentine Demon For Verity. I’m quietly plotting an alien romance. I piss away an insane amount of money on Facebook ads, but it’s a learning experience.

  • AMS Ads: $12.92
  • Facebook Ads: $95.13
  • Gross Profit: $144.25
  • Net Profit: $36.20

October

The glow of new writer is incredible. I write Verity. I plot out six (six!!) alien romances. I edit Verity. I do another round of Bryan Cohen’s Amazon ad school. I join writing groups. I start blogging again. I stress over the insane amount of money I’m losing, but I’m good.

The temporary roommate who overstayed his welcome is finally gone. My house is back to normal for the briefest of times.

And then two trees fall on our property, causing $50,000 worth of damage. We’re safe, the house is sound, but it’s days before we get electricity and weeks before we get internet.

  • AMS Ads: $28.39
  • Facebook Ads: $174.64
  • Gross Profit: $161.92
  • Net Profit: -$41.11

November

That tree thing is still going on. It’s NaNoWriMo, I’m supposed to be running my region, and I don’t have internet. But I’m working. Hard.

Y’all, I wrote two novels and edited Verity.

It was over 100,000 words. This is huge.

Backed way down on ads because I needed to focus.

  • AMS Ads: $22.86
  • Facebook Ads: $33.24
  • Gross Profit: $58.98
  • Net Profit: $2.88

December

The quarantine slump finally hits me as I cancel more and more plans with the spikes. Also, this baby is imminent. There are some people who think I shouldn’t live in my house anymore because a man who has a baby shouldn’t also have a roommate? Or because I got him through the worst of his addictions, I’m no longer needed? I’m less valuable as a human being because I’m not pushing out babies? I’m the reason he’s not putting a ring on it? I don’t get it, but I’m feeling pretty shitty. There are people in his family advocating that he steal my car (it’s technically in his name, but also he sold my previous car, it was a trade of sorts) and evict me.

I get Verity out, and I crash. The last two weeks of the month I get nothing done, but I’m trying to get stuff done, so it’s not like it’s a vacation. It’s soul-draining.

But I’m getting a little bit better on Amazon ads. And I posted that Fiverr. And those give me hope.

  • AMS Ads: $13.32
  • Facebook Ads: $121.94
  • Gross Profit: $311.64
  • Net Profit: $176.38

I’m not giving you grand totals.

They’re depressing. My only hope is that December is an indicator of better things to come. Honestly, though, I thought I’d do better in December. I hoped I’d be able to push back my return to Publix for another month because of it, and I’m fearful that the only reason December went so well is exactly why I thought I’d do even better: the only series of mine that sells, Candy For Demons, begins with a Christmas novel.

So this is all pretty bleak, I know. I wish I had a success story to give you. If anything, the word of wisdom I have is:

Expect to lose money on ads in the beginning.

Not very encouraging, I know.

Post Script: I was so distraught by the end of this that I didn’t link anything. I’m better now, but I don’t think I deserve to make money off this post. 😅

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