Is it possible to make money from a blog? (Or how many euros I earned from "The Lazy Manifesto")

365 texts answers to questions books money blogs business

Goal of the day: 477 words. Written: 1200.

This interview should have been published on the blog Investologia(.lt). However, the author Justin fell asleep after taking the interview and did not publish it. Now that I've updated and added to it, I'm sharing with you what we talked about blogging and book publishing.

In the centre of attention: the book "The Lazy Manifesto", which I self-published in electronic format and earned euros.

Euros was fun. Even more fun was (and still is) the wonderful feedback from readers. I am currently preparing the book for publication in paper format (on March 14).

(By the way, after the electronic version was published, two publishing houses were the first to offer to publish this book. I applied to three more on my own, but the best conditions were provided by those who gave me the ideas themselves.)

Here's what we talked to Justin about…

What were the reasons for publishing the book? Where was the financial motive and how much did you expect to earn from it?

Hi Justin!

The main reason for publishing the book was that I wanted to try to make money from a blog for a long time. When I spend about 100 euros a month on editors, designers and servers, and I need about 400 euros every month to survive, I wanted to at least cut my losses. Use tips from American blogging books.

…They tell you a lot about how you should build your product and sell it. And I wanted to try and present my best knowledge in such a tangible format.

My goal before publishing the book was to earn more or less 150 euros per month - to supplement my current salary. ...And after the book was published, this goal had to be raised a bit - now I want 450 euros per month, so that after tax deductions, I will get exactly MMA from a rather passive job.

How long did it take you to write the book?

Four years for ideas to be tested. Over the years, since I'm still quite young, I've gone from being a "mommy" to a self-supporting 24-year-old actor. Then I started writing the first draft, which took me about 20 days.

…Then for half a year I showed this draft to all the teachers, writers, journalists and friends I knew and asked for criticism.

Finally, at the end of the summer of 2016, I rewrote the book in 30 days. Of those 30 days, writing was about 18, and the rest was editing and designing.

Let's hear:

How much did it cost to publish the book?

Editor: 117 euros. Designer: 67.5 euros. The cups of Cascara tea I drank in a cafe cost about 40 euros. So the total is about 230 euros. I could have gotten around cheaper if I hadn't gone to my favorite cafe (Green Cafe in Kaunas, and yes - there's an ad here) every day, at the time of writing, or if I hadn't added the 20% top to the salary of the editor and designer from what they asked for. But, hey, what's up - the amount is still not that big. 🙂

The cost price of the book is now about 30 euro cents. 29 cents go to Swedbank, Paypal or Paysera, and the remaining one goes to sending promotional newsletters. One email through Amazon SES costs 0.1 cents.

It is true that when publishing a paper book, the cost price will rise to 4-5 euros, which is not as profitable as when publishing a purely electronic book. And with paper, I heard, more trouble. But I haven't experienced it yet - that's in the future.

What are the sales channels for your book?

Well, it all comes down to, but the audience is coming here from my newsletters and also dating. Since during the last 5 years of blogging I got to know probably all the authors of self-development blogs in Lithuania, it was not difficult to ask for a service to share my feedback with my fans.

(Not everyone wanted and agreed. But I didn't force it.)

I also sell the book through Saviugdos Knygynas, the audio recording through Audioteka and several smaller blogs, whose authors wanted to sell books simply by writing SEO articles about minimalism, laziness and productivity and sharing their affiliate link.

From what I've seen so far, newsletters and celebrity endorsements work best. Just putting it in the store is a bit hopeless. And no one has bought the book yet through these SEO articles. But knowing that I'm going to sell the book as long as I'm alive (or at least another 5 years), so... Maybe one of those completely passive channels will be born. I'm not in a hurry.

Have you received suggestions/plan to conduct training related to the topic revealed in the book?

Exactly about the book - not yet. But laziness? Minimalism? Productivity through purification of desires? Really so. I had a chance to speak at the Kaišiadorių Algirdas Brazauskas Gymnasium, I am currently planning a presentation during LITEXPO Book Fair 2017, it is possible that I will organize more book presentations.

(Note: This interview was recorded in November 2016.)

I, personally, am too laid back to care about live teachings. It's more important to me to create a product that I can sell for a long time, simply and lazily. Why do you think the book is called "The Lazy Manifesto"?

Is it possible to make a living from book publishing? How much did you earn from selling the book and for how long?

Yes, it is possible. Currently, since the release of the book 3 months ago, I have earned about 1700 euros in income. That's before tax, of course. I'm not sure yet whether I, as a holder of "Creative activity", will be taxed at 5 percent or 15 percent. For now, I'm too lazy to find out.

I understand that this amount is only pennies if you have children or did not try to invest in home heating and repairs. But don't be afraid! It is possible to earn more if I try to promote the book more widely or aggressively. At the moment, I'm just keeping the intrigue going, slowly expanding my knowledge of the book (just like answering your questions, Justin) and lazing around a bit.

I'm planning to publish a paperback book in the spring (and yes, I haven't even told my subscribers about it yet), so I'm gathering ideas for the book's additions. So far, the feedback on the book has been fantastic, so I believe I will be able to freely publish the book in the spring with at least 2,000 copies.

Is it possible to live from evil? Why did you start writing a blog? Was the original idea to make money from it?

That's right - if you sell products, it's definitely possible. When I started writing about earning, I didn't plan because it seemed like space to me. However, the further I go, the more I am convinced that making money from a blog is not that difficult, as long as you put in the work and attention to creating quality content. It took me 5 years to make a loss, and it's been half a year since I've been getting 500-900 euros per month from the products I sell (Manifesto, Onbo, various affiliate products).

It's true - if I didn't advertise anything, didn't work, didn't give anything useful to my readers - then my income would fall below zero again. No one wants to deal with a money and advertising machine.

Basically, if I didn't make any money again, I would just keep doing what I'm doing. It's somehow easier to share useful content and thus create acquaintances with your cloud user/reader/friend than to do all kinds of market analysis and try to squeeze out the last euro. 🙂

And wouldn't you earn more if you surrendered to your employer? Wouldn't more income from an activity you don't like be more beneficial than less income from an activity you like?

Well, considering that I'm like... I've never worked for an employer... I don't even know how I'd even get a job somewhere. And that doesn't attract me - I like challenges, I like extreme experiences, I learn tricks from my parents, grandparents, the best Lithuanian freelancers and business creators - so I prefer to figure out how to earn money myself.

If I didn't work in training, then I would do one of the other activities - either I would sell dirty girls' underwear (a unit goes for 50 euros on the Internet), or I would learn to make small toys that I would design based on Star Wars, Marvel and other POP culture heroes (they also go for the same on the Internet, after 10-30 euros, and it takes about 40 minutes to create one). After all, I'd do the same thing when designing a t-shirt or whatever crap someone wants.
It's true, I have a lot more fun writing, teaching, speaking, not creating some junk just for Americans who earn N and Y.

I can create content in English and earn more, but it's much more fun for me to create content for Lithuania and my friends. Lithuanian.

I could do activities that would give me more euros per minute, but... It's much more pleasant to work with what I'm doing now. It is not easy and money is not thrown on the ground, but sometimes working 12 hours a day is really quite fun. Because you know that you helped a person who lives here, close by, in Lithuania. For someone you can always meet and shake hands with or hug.

And to summarize - if someone wants to take and earn from his creation, it can certainly be done. You just need to put in the work. I put in the work for 5 years working in the red, just to learn how to do something useful.

I hope this conversation of ours will also be useful to someone.

(And if not - then next time I will try to be more useful elsewhere.)

Investing in the future

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