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13 Lessons (& Tips) Learned Launching an eBook

ebook copy.pngIt’s been 10 days since I excitedly launched the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook. When it launched I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I was sure I’d learn a lot by doing it – I was right.

Today I thought I’d share a few of the lessons and tips that I’ve learned:

But first an Update – 31DBBB now has an affiliate program

If you’re interested in promoting the workbook to your network and making a 40% commission from it you can get more information and sign up here. There’s no pressure to be a part of this and if you’d rather not then I totally understand – but I was asked so many times in the lead up to launching this product whether there’d be an affiliate program that I thought it’d be worth doing to see how it took off.

13 Lessons Learned from Launching an eBook

Now onto some of the lessons I’ve learned over the last 10 days:

1. It is Possible to Launch a Product that You’ve published the majority of for free

This was the only real doubt about this project for me. Would people buy something that I’d been blogging a lot of publicly?

The answer was yes – people were willing to pay for all the content to be collected together, updated with some extra material and put into a format that they could have forever and keep dipping into over time.

Ultimately people will buy something that is valuable to them – the feedback I’ve been getting has been incredibly positive. People reporting renewed energy for their blogging, that they’re coming up with create ideas to reinvent their blogs, that they’re seeing upswings in traffic, discovering new ways to engage readers and more. It’s no wonder sales have been so good and the feedback has been remarkably positive – it comes down to producing something that is useful.

2. Partnerships are Important

I’ve relied upon a few people to get this workbook up and running. The team at SitePoint were particularly helpful and very generous with offering to bundle this workbook with every copy sold of their new book Online Marketing. By the way – this offer has only got 7 days yet to run so if you wanted to get the bundle you need to do so soon. You can place your order for the two books here.

3. Reese from Design by Reese rocks

Reese did a lot of the layout and despite some limitations that I put on her that didn’t release her to do what she’d normally do with an ebook she did a great job. Thanks to Albert Hallado for helping me with some of the affiliate banners/graphics.

4. Don’t Launch on the Week of a Major US Public Holiday

While I waited a few days after Memorial Day to launch the workbook I suspect things were a little slower sales wise as a result.

5. Email promotions out performed blog post promotions for affiliates

My initial findings in watching affiliates promote the workbook is that those who have promoted it to their email lists seem to have driven more sales than those who blogged about it.

Those who blogged about it seem to have driven more sales than those who Tweeted about it. While I don’t have enough information on how big people’s lists and readerships are the anecdotal info that I do have is that email won the day for this product.

6. Facebook…. Not so Good

One of the promotions I ran for the workbook was on Facebook by sending a message to all my ‘fans’ on my page there. As far as I can tell that didn’t really convert to more than a couple of sales.

Considering there were 14,500 people who received that message it probably wasn’t the most successful of promotions.

7. E-junkie is a solid performer

I’ve no doubt I’ll write a more extensive review of e-junkie in the coming weeks but I’ve been reasonably happy with my choice to use it to deliver my product. While I’m sure there are other products available with more features and flexibility – E-junkie is cheap yet solid as a delivery system.

I’ve had one hour of downtime with them in the week which was unfortunate but have not had any other problems apart from having a bit of a learning curve to discover all of its features.

8. Building a Network Before You Need it

This has been my catch cry of late when talking to people about social media. If you’re launching a product and decide to get on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and start a blog a week before to help you launch that product – you’re too late.

I’m very grateful for the time that I’ve put into building my network over the last 7 years because this week when I needed it it’s certainly paid off.

9. My Mortgage isn’t Paid off Yet

Releasing this ebook has definitely been worthwhile on many fronts – one of which is the financial reward. It’s more than broken even already – but it’s not something that’s paid off the mortgage by any means.

The great thing about doing it is that it has added another income stream to my business – one that should continue to tick over for months and even years to come.

10. Selling a Product is a lot of Fun

I had a suspicion that it’d be a fun process – but I didn’t realize just how fun it’d be.

I’ll admit that this week I’ve slept less than normal, particularly on the first two nights when I launched (I did major pushes just after midnight my time to coincide with the US waking up) and waited up to see how it went – it is very exciting to see the first few hours of sales of something you’ve worked hard to produce.

11. Pricing is Confusing

Setting a price on this workbook was one of the hardest parts of the process. In coming up with the price of $19.95 I did a number of things:

  1. I surveyed a group of participants in the initial 31DBBB challenge. On average they told me it was worth around $30…. or $1 a day of the challenge
  2. I asked a variety of internet marketer friends – their advice was to charge closer to $50 (in fact the range was quite astounding – some suggested closer to $100).
  3. I asked a few readers of ProBlogger who hadn’t done the 31DBBB course and they all suggested around $15.

In the end I was just confused and decided $19.95 was fairer than some of the higher rates (although a few of them think I’m crazy).

12. Be Confident

Some people are surprised when I tell them this – but I’m a shy guy. In fact on Myers Briggs personality tests I always come up as one of the most extreme introverts that you can get. While I like people I’m usually pretty reserved and always wondering about how I’m coming across. This transfers to how I interact online and many times my natural instincts are to undersell myself and what I do.

Over the years I’ve learned to be more confident in my blogging (to a point where some have critiqued me for having too big an ego) however when I launched this product I found myself going back to some of my old ways of going into my shell. Fortunately a couple of my blogging buddies pulled me up on this pretty quickly and told me not to sell myself short and to tweak what I was doing. As a result I tweaked a few of the things on my sales page (thanks Brian at CopyBlogger for that advice) and snapped myself out of my old shy ways.

While I’m not someone to be into hype or trickery in my online promotions there is a time to step up and sell yourself a little.

13. Keep Working on your Core Business

The last thing I’ve learned is that while it is an exciting thing and a lot of work to launch a product – you shouldn’t forget your core business. I’ve worked hard this week to get the book launched and to do a little extra marketing (interviews, promotion etc) – but I’ve also worked hard to keep my blogs producing content that meets the needs of my readers.

I’ve seen a few bloggers over the years become so sidetracked by the launches of products that they’ve become distracted from the thing that enabled them to launch the product and that will help sustain them over the long haul – their blogs.

Has It Been Worth It?

All in all the experience of putting together and releasing 31 Days to Build a Better Blog has been well worth the effort. While it took a month to write the initial material and then another 2-3 weeks of work to get the workbook together I’ve learned a lot through the exercise and it’s been a rewarding experience.

Thanks to everyone who has picked up a copy already. I’m looking forward to offering some extra bonuses for those who have picked up a copy in the coming weeks (everyone who has already got one will get them too) so if you’re looking for a little extra inspiration and motivation to get your blog back on track – grab yourself a copy.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. enjoygame says:

    31DBBB was a great project to be a part of and the workbook is well worth the price to carry that work forward on an ongoing basis.

    Maybe you’d have sold twice http://www.aj2u.com/air_yeezy.html as many at half the price, or half as many at twice the price, but there is really no right or wrong answer I think.

  2. KampungBoy says:

    Neway, marketing plan is the best way to giving up your won business

  3. Akila says:

    Hi Darren,

    How did you specifically identified the number of sales happen through a particular marketing method? Is this a rough number or an exact number ?

    Thanks in advance.

  4. Akila says:

    Hi Darren,

    How did you specifically identified the number of sales happen through a particular marketing method? Is this a rough number or an exact number ?

  5. Sharon says:

    Hi Darren

    Thanks for sharing what you learned from launching an eBook.

    I am planing on writing an e-book, so it was fascinating to watch the process. I must confess that many times I wondered if you ever get some sleep ; )

    I have done the course and joined your affilate program. Although you call it 31 days to build a better blog, I believe that not only bolggers can benefit from your e-book, but anyone who is trying to do business on the internet.

    I am promoting your e-book on my Hebrew blog. (which I write with a partner) I am including a link to the page, only if you are curious to see your e-book promoted in the Hebrew language.
    http://www.nashim-bareshet.com

    Best Wishes
    Sharon

  6. Debbie says:

    This fact alone really surprised me – It is Possible to Launch a Product that You’ve published the majority of for free. I wouldn’t have thought that would have been possible but I guess it is.

    Thanks for the great article. I really enjoyed it. : )

    Debbie

  7. fas says:

    Thats a lot of experience for you Darren. And more so for your readers with the course.

  8. Thank you Darren, very helpful information.

  9. great information as usual! thanks Darren

  10. sci-man says:

    thank for useful information.

  11. Black Sand says:

    Thanks for great information. Keep like that

  12. Jake says:

    Darren-

    Thanks for being so transparent. I actually value the information in the article that much more because you feel like a real person, not just a set of words with a name on it.

    Keep up the good work!

    Jake Jordan

  13. If i buy your ebook, am i allowed to sell it through my blogs or it cannot be re distributed.

    • Lara Kulpa says:

      No, you cannot redistribute your copy, however you can join the affiliate program that Darren has set up and sell it that way.

  14. Thats a lot of experience for you Darren. And more so for your readers with the course.

  15. This couldn’t have come at a better time, as I’m in the process of writing my own ebook. As I’m focusing on building critical mass for my site, it is going to be a free book (on pursuing your passion). Still, some of your tips are going to come in handy. Thanks Darren!

  16. thank you have shared many important information and valuable, so I do not have to start from zero to achieve success

  17. Rob says:

    How do you keep someone who downloaded your ebook from re-distributing it?

    Is their some DRM hidden withinn your ebook?

  18. Darren,

    Thanks to the affordable price you chose, this single mom of three is going to be able to purchase the workbook with my next paycheck. Wonderful as you are, I’m not sure in my current situation that I could have justified even $5 more. (I look forward to monetizing a couple blogs at some point, but not before growing them.)

    I also appreciated you saying that “many times my natural instincts are to undersell myself and what I do.” It’s nice to know I’m in such great company, and encourages me. Thank you for being so real and generous.

  19. If i buy your ebook, am i allowed to sell it through my blogs or it cannot be re distributed.

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