Once again, it took me far longer than I had hoped – but here is my Stakeholder Report for 2021!
The Patreon Campaign
I’ve managed to maintain a steady pace with my translations last year, publishing at least 1,000 words of translations and commentary every Monday. The latest version of the Master Volume – a compilation of all the tales I’ve published on Patreon, available to Scholar-level Patrons – has now reached a length of 277,412 words and 353 tales.
Furthermore, unlike in 2020 the Patreon campaign itself has seen notable growth. I started with 21 Patrons, and ended it with 25 – as of this writing, I have 30. The fluctuation seems to be fairly high – while many join, many others leave, usually stating “My financial situation changed” in their exit interview. This is understandable, of course – we live in uncertain times.
To my great frustration, I was unable to publish a book last year, even though the first draft of the manuscript that I sent to my alpha readers was finished in early June. Unfortunately, the second half of last year turned out to be exceptionally busy for me, for the following reasons:
- Sorting out an inheritance for an apartment
- Taking on a large mortgage in order to buy out the co-heir
- Organizing the renovation of an apartment on the other end of the country
- Becoming a landlord for said apartment
- Plus an unusually high workload at my day job
Thus, for the purpose of this Stakeholder report, I will only evaluate the sales for my first book, Sunken Castles, Evil Poodles: Commentaries in German Folklore:
As expected, sales gradually declined over time after the release of the book, with zero sales in November. However, sales returned with surprising strength in December, representing the month with the second highest number of sales in total. I can only assume that the book had been slumbering on quite a few people’s wish lists for some time…
In total, I sold the book 69 times (30 ebook sales, 39 paperback sales), compared (36 ebook sales, 35 paperback sales) to 61 times in 2020.
As in 2020, my main social efforts were concentrated on Twitter. I regularly participated in the #MythologyMonday, #FairyTaleTuesday, and #FolkloreThursday events by sharing folk tales appropriate to the topics for that week. This approach continued to increase my reach. I started the year with 728 followers on January 1st, and ended it with 1,339 on December 31st (1,673 as of this writing). Nevertheless, recent negotiations about the possible change in ownership for Twitter have encouraged me to diversify my social media portfolio. More on that in the future.
The additions to the website have been minor. Beyond the Stakeholder Report 2020, I have only published one further blog entry. I need to do better this year, and discuss assorted folklore topics in more depth. Nevertheless, the German Folklore Map remains up to date. I have also started working on a searchable database of all the folk tales, though this remains a long-term project.
In 2021, I earned the following:
- €834.17 from my Patreon campaign (down from €896.51)
- €299.36 from book sales at Amazon (up from €239.29)
for a total of €1133.53 (down from €1135.80).
However, I also incurred expenses for:
- Cover illustration & Cover layout for Vol. 1: Lurkers at the Threshold
- Domain hosting
for a total of €1215.45 – leaving me with a net loss of -€81.92. This is less than the -€117.83 I incurred in 2020, but it’s a net loss nonetheless. Still, the increasing Patreon support makes me optimistic that I will finally break even in 2022.
My basic approach will remain much the same:
- Publish more translations of German folk tales on my Patreon campaign
- Bundle 100 of these translations into books centered on specific themes
- Talk about it on social media with the goal of attracting more customers and Patreon supporters
Still, these could reach more refinement – especially the last one. Using social media to spread the word always requires a certain investment of time – time I cannot spend on translating folk tales. Yet with the current level of customer and Patreon support, I cannot afford to spend more time on translation work. Thus, my release schedule for the foreseeable future will remain at one book per year at best.
Time will tell if this project of mine remains a side hobby where I will more-or-less break even, or if it manages to develop into a significant amount of side income.