2023 Progress report #1 – All quiet on the Eastern Front

Just 11 days into the new year and I’m proud to report that I’ve chewed through a few workouts, put fist to keyboard a few times (in a positive way) and organised things a little better so there’s not data and other gear flying all over the shop.

Also I’m confused by stat apps and is it just me or do things seem very quiet in the self publishing world at the moment?

Welcome to the first of many progress reports throughout 2023 where I look at what’s going well, what’s confusing me at the moment (and if you can help me on any of those things please feel free to chime in) and other bits and pieces that have crossed my life/desk recently. There’ll be no set time for these types of posts, just whenever there’s enough going on to warrant one.

Holiday mode still engaged

And yes I will admit, there’s been quiet the number of days in the downtime that have blurred into each other to the point where (including today) I’ve had to look at the calendar just to work out what day I’m in. Apparently it’s a Wednesday which means I’ve four days left before I have to set the alarm hideously early to get back into work mode (I work in breakfast radio when not writing here which means it’s a 4:30am weekday alarm call).

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It’s also been brilliantly hot this time of year so time to break out the mini pool and marquee for some shade!

I’d like to tell you it’s been a very busy Aussie summer but truth be told aside from the occasional BBQ with family (their place or ours) there’s been a lot of time at home pottering around the house. Jackson’s been recovering from his surgery (which went superbly well), my wife’s gone back to working in a coffee van, my Daughter Sophie has been playing with enough Lego to build a new house with and I’ve been running the 3D Printer red hot in amongst reading, falling asleep on the back couch (very easy to do) an occasionally remembering ‘Hey, didn’t we promise ourselves we were going to lift a little more this year?

The iron just wants to be your friend

After setting myself a target for my backyard work outs this year, I went one further and broke them down into different equipment sessions. So now my plan so far looks a little like this:

-Barbell workout day (Including moves like curls, dead lift, overhead presses, high pulls, bent over rows and much hated squats)
-Rest day
-Dumbbell workout day (including curls, push presses, side bends, dead lifts and goblet squats – still hate squats)
-Rest day
-Kettle bell workout day (including halos, clean and presses, swings and goblet squats – and yes, that’s not going to change in any of these progress reports, I still hate squats.)
-Rest day
-Everything day (So working out with the barbell for a bit, then dumbbells and then kettle bells.)
-Two days off, cycle continues.

Each session has a 800 Fitocracy point minimum meaning I can’t go inside and sit on my bum until I get at least 800 points. For everything day I look at scoring at least 267 points or more with each set of equipment to go past the minimum.

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Last workout results. Obviously that’s not me in the pic.

Progress report update: I still love the barbell, the dumbbells are okay and kettle bells just completely destroy my energy levels the next day. Wrists are a bit sore from the KB clean and press and not gripping the handle enough so the heavy part hits the back of my wrist when my arm is fully extended. Should remember to wear gloves next time.
Soreness not killing me yet, score!
I’m also trying ‘Time under tension‘ which is slowing down your movements so your muscles remained worked for longer. It’s a bit tiring but apparently this’ll have me ripped like Henry Cavill in no time but I haven’t seen that positive effect just yet, maybe after the next workout?

Putting everything within easy reach

I’m a huge fan of Google Drive to the point where I’m there almost daily. (‘Hi Al, back again? How’s the kids?’) I like to have my latest work in progress book there so I can log in wherever I am to work on it, regardless of device (yep, I can write on my phone if I have to) and I enjoy a good Google sheet or two to keep track of how book sales and my finances are going (both good and car crashing level bad).
Last year I had quite a few sheets for various things – one for general finances, one for content earnings (Adsense and any book sales through Amazon, Smashwords etc), one for tracking all my workouts and their respective points and the occasional one whipped up to compare rates of return for various cryptos and other spreadsheet related shenanighans.

This year I have one with everything in it. A tab for finances, a tab for content earnings, a tab for how my Plenti account is tracking, a tab for fitness and of course a million spare tabs for anything else that I need to get my spreadsheet on with. It adds, it calculates, it’s reached the level of my mathematical ability (which admittedly isn’t that high) but everything is there in one handy place and really not hard to find with the name I’ve given it.

(Once I figure out how to arrange columns in numerical order automatically when values change, then I’ll be set. I’m sure it’s in the million options Google Sheets have somewhere…)

The numbers are adding up

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Like the last five minutes of a Doctor Who episode, things are all coming together nicely with my printable diary. I’m remembering to not only put things into it but also to read it on occasion so I’m aware of what I’m doing. Even better, the prompts for me to fill in about my finances, fitness and word counts are a constant invitation to grow them, usually working on the lowest number first. ‘Ahh, needs more blogging? Best get to it then!’

Yes it’s not the prettiest looking thing at the end of a productive week but that was never the point. It’s all about growing those numbers (and in the case of the debt, shrinking it) and doing this week in week out.

Which stats are telling me the truth here?

This one is for you WordPress buffs – I have three places to check on my post view stats and confusingly they’re all different. Taking my recent mead post for example – the official bare bones counter that’s part of the framework says it’s garnered 29 views so far.

Post views counter plugin on the other hand tells me that number should be slightly higher:

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Google Sitekit Summary plugin on the other hand reckons both numbers are hilarious inaccurate and it’s actually a lot quieter around these parts than first thought, not even putting the mead fun anywhere in the top five for the last 28 days.

Which is also echoed by Adsense, suggesting the numbers are a lot lower than they should be.

So which one is right? And if the Google stuff is on the money then a) I need to make this place a lot more exciting quicksmart and b) What the hell are the other two apps counting exactly? I’ve tried a few refreshes and it doesn’t look like it’s counting my visits when I’m signed in, so what’s going on here?

Sigh – I welcome any advice here. Or even better, an accurate post count WordPress app.

Speaking of quiet – book sales progress report

While work progresses slowly on my next book Last thief running (follow up to Last thief standing) it seems to be very quiet on the sales and KDP read front. How quiet? Well pretty much a graveyard at this point according to Book Report.

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Last month was the best month ever for revenue. This is shaping up to be the worst for some reason.

Yep, nothing going on there but a whole heap of blank space which means when I next get some time, I’ll sit down and work out some kind of low cost (read: free) advertising for them ala Tik Tok. I produced a few videos last year which for fun to make but I can’t really say things took off because of them. Page flips didn’t bring me in a bunch of new readers, who knew?

Although I did learn that the shorter the better, this was my most watched all year and it only went for seven seconds..

So if you’re a fellow self publisher and you’ve found something the audiences on the Tok are really digging, I’d love to hear what it is.

I’ve also posted up links to some of my books in the sidebar now. There’s no inspiration like a lack of sales to remind you ‘Hey, you haven’t put them onto your sidebar yet!’ so there we go. Here’s to this month turning around and doing…uh…something!

Right, so that’s where we’re at right at this moment – better get back to more writing, saving and lifting then until the next check in!

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