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What I’m Learning from the Launch of My New eBook

Travel book book graphic1-1.jpgThis is completely off topic…. but then again it’s not….

An hour ago I just launched a new eBook on my photography blog – it’s called Transcending Travel and is a guide to Travel Photography.

Every time I mention my eBooks I am asked for tips on how to put them together. I’ve written a few times before on the topic but thought I’d share a few of the lessons I’ve learned while launching this particular eBook.

  1. Partner with good People – collaboration is a powerful thing. While I know a thing or two about photography – I’m no travel photography expert. So when thinking about this book I decided that the best way to produce it would be to find someone with expertise in the field to author it. I chose to work with Mitchell Kanashkevich for two reasons – firstly he’s a travel photographer who knows what he’s doing and secondly, he’d already produced his own eBooks – this showed he was able to stick with a project and also gave me something to look at to judge the quality of his work.
  2. The Front Cover is Important – Test it! - in the last week one of the biggest things we’ve had to decide upon is the front cover – in particularly the image on it. We considered 6-7 of them and while I thought I knew which one would work best – I found with a few quick tests that I was wrong. I drew together 3 groups of people to test it and found that the one we’ve gone with works a lot better.
  3. Pre Buzz Helps – previously when I’ve launched eBooks on dPS I’ve been in such a frenzy getting them together that I’ve not put a lot of time into pre-launching them. I could still do better on this front with Transcending Travel – however I’ve worked harder at doing some pre launch activities in newsletters, on social media, with some guest posts from Mitchell introducing the topic etc. It seems to have paid off with qutie a few readers eagerly anticipating this launch.
  4. Get Help – not only have I involved another author in this eBook but there has been a number of people who’ve helped pull it together. A great Designer, proof reader and a cast of at least another 10 people who’ve bounced ideas around with me for everything from titles to sales pages to sales emails. I pay for designers/proof reader services but the rest is collaboration and friend helping friends – a network is so good to have at a time like this.
  5. Bonuses - this launch I’m going for a twin barrel bonus strategy. We’re offering a 25% off discount during launch week but also have partnered with two companies to give readers discounts on products and a third company to offer some prizes. It’ll be interesting to see how they pay off!
  6. It’s fun – one of the things I’ve found every time I’ve launched something is that it is a lot of fun. It is great to have a project on the go that you’re working towards and the anticipation in the lead up to a launch as well as finally putting it out there can be a lot of fun. It’s also a little frightening and scary – but overall it’s something I really enjoy doing!

I still have a lot to learn about launching products but am loving the process again.

PS: For more tips and strategies on launching eBooks don’t forget to check out How to Launch the *** out of your eBook as well as The Sticky eBook Formula (both books that have helped me through this process immensely).

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. Hi Darren,
    I don’t know what your cover choices were before, but I’m definitely feeling the current one. (It would be interesting to see your other cover choices, by the way and how you ended up with the current cover.)
    This is a very timely post for me because I’m in the beginning phases of a product launch. I’ve been checking out Dave Navarro’s ebooks and I think if I follow through on all that he suggests. I’m going to be alright. :)

  2. Roshan says:

    Great Post!
    I totally agree with the points and especially with the front page thing. I always check the book cover before I buy it. The professional books will have professional covers. And I love your cover designs. They’re simple, neat and attractive. Adding too many colors and images in covers looks ugly.

  3. Josh Garcia says:

    Hey Darren,

    I like how you said get help. Sometimes for some reason people are afraid of asking for help from someone with more experience or knowledge.

    I learn this early on my business career to ask for help if I’m stuck. People like to help people especially when they are more knowledgeable than you.

    Chat with you later…
    Josh

  4. Dave Navarro says:

    Darren –

    So glad that the ebook helped you out. And that’s one good-looking buy button ;-P

  5. Matt says:

    You are definitely right about the front cover design being important. Your cover looks great and has perceived value. So many eBooks have poorly designed covers that actually scare away potential customers. If the cover looks cheap I assume the content will be too.

  6. Darren – Great points. I’ve been putting off my eBook production for a LONG time, and I really should get back to that…

    How do you recommend designing the eBook cover/image? I’m sure this is covered somewhere else, but did you outsource the design or can you recommend a good piece of software for that (or a template for something like Photoshop)?

  7. Simon Bunker says:

    Book looks awesome Darren. Personally I am not big into Photos but it looks so good I might just buy it in time for my trip to Aruba!

    Great article and advice as well!
    Thanks
    Simon

  8. Mike Piper says:

    Wow. I just had a “why haven’t I thought of that before?” moment.

    Running a split test on book covers literally never even occurred to me–and I make a living through selling books.

    Thank you!

  9. Your cover is going to go a long way in selling this book. The picture is an action shot which is something that many travelers are trying to capture. Bravo!

    I was wondering, do you have the same staff working for you on dps as you do on problogger?

  10. Darren,

    That is a great tip, about testing the ebook cover itself. Even though we are selling virtual products, people want to see something with their eyes before makiing a purchase.

    If you can present them with a visual representation of what they are going to buy, then you have a much better chance of closing the sale.

    Many marketers don’t realize the power of putting the product in the context of the reader’s experience. People know exactly what books look like, so the better be presented with a cover that looks like what they expect.

    Testing the covers is powerful advice. That is where the attention begins.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  11. RJ Weiss says:

    I was going to say the same thing as Ms. Freeman. Wonderful cover. Even though I’m not into photography, I wish I could take a picture like that.

  12. Darren, your cover looks wonderful! I love that photo! (Which I read about on DPS recently.)
    I’m in the process of putting together my first ebook, and will be following most of your advice. While I can’t afford a designer, I will be using a network of friends to help with editing and quality control. I’m still planning my pre-launch campaign (a post on that would be helpful), and need to put together a bonus package.
    You’re definitely right, though. This is fun!

  13. James Dyson says:

    Good tips Darren. I think you have chosen well on the cover – it looks great.

    I think one of the other things that people shouldn’t underestimate is the power of having a blog as a platform to help launch an ebook.

    Yes you can do it without, but building an audience and following like you have with DPS gives you an instant group of people ready to purchase.

    ~James

  14. Nick says:

    Your e-books look great. Very professional. Out of curiosity, do you offer versions for kindle/nook/etc? I’d love a post on the process of using Ejunkie (which is seems like you use) to sell versions for books on those platforms… if that’s even possible.

    I just launched my first ebook for sale and it’s doing okay given my smaller audience, but I’ve gotten questions about offering it for those devices instead of just in PDF format.

  15. Josh says:

    My noob is showing…what type of software do you use to put an ebook together? I’m fairly comfortable with the selling part, but I’m not sure where to start as far as a layout editor.

  16. Laura says:

    I don’t know which were the other options for the cover, but it looks amazing…colors are in harmony, reflects peace but at the same type a sort of dynamism too…i love it

    Starting a pre launch campaign is very important. Using social media and PR, asking other bloggers help, is a great way to generate buzz…..I think a nicely designed sales letter along with a video tour of the product is also very engaging.
    Product bundling and discounts always work:)

    Laura http://ipadappsplus.com/

  17. Alphabetix says:

    Darren, congrats on the ebook. It looks quite polished. Knowing when to ask for help in areas you may or may not be very comfortable is essential. Great post, as always!

  18. @Josh
    I am using Open Office to write my ebook. After I get finished writing it, it has the option to export as a PDF. I imagine that MS Word has a similar option, but I don’t have it installed on my computer.
    This allows me to use a program that I’m already comfortable and familiar with so that I don’t have to spend any time learning how to get things done.

  19. axel g says:

    That’s an amazing photo on the cover.

    Sounds like a great idea to let the photographer guest post prior to launch.

    Best of luck Darren!

  20. Nick says:

    Great post Darren – I’m writing my second e-Book, and I agree with most of your point. However, I will also add:

    1. Make sure that your product will do exactly what you say it will do.

    2. Building a Network Before You Need it

    3. Choosing a price is hard

    4. Keep Working on your Core Business

    5. Define your marketing strategies and tactics

  21. Thomas James says:

    Congratulations on the launch, and good luck. I’m working on my own eBook launch on June 15th, and I’ve definitely been working with pre-buzz such as mentions on my site, podcast, and social networking. I agree that it helps to get people excited and also build social proof before the book even launches because people see others already getting pumped about the release.

    I’m also eager to see how my approach to time-sensitive offers helps to build excitement, such as half-off in the first 24 hours and 25% off for the first week. I’m trying to include a lot of bonus materials as well, and I’ll be running a giveaway in advance of the launch to further reinforce social proof. Anything I can do to make an “event” out of it and make people care.

    One idea I have is to run the giveaway where I give 1 book away for every 50 people who enter. This not only prevents people from keeping the giveaway a secret, but hopefully will actually encourage sharing. We’ll see how that goes. Does anyone else have any successful giveaway ideas?

    Cheers,
    Thomas

  22. Josh says:

    @Adventure-Some Matthew

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve seen that as an option, but I wasn’t sure if it cranked out results like you see here on problogger. Thank you for the advice.

  23. @Josh,
    I dunno that it’ll be quite that nice, but it’s certainly an easy way
    to put together a PDF file. I’m perfectly happy with the insides, but I need to work a bit more on my covers. That’s more of a photoshop/GIMP thing, though. Once you have the image that you’re happy with, just copy and paste it onto the first page, before creating the PDF.

  24. Any reason why you’re not offering a discount if people buy your other photography eBook?

  25. Thank you for sharing your ideas on product launches. I must say that the book cover looks very nice. Didn’t know it was an ebook that you launched until I read the blog post.

  26. I have no plans of launching an ebook, but thanks for the tip – that ebook on travel photography looks PERFECT for me, so I’m getting it. :)

  27. ymc says:

    Thanks for the ideas about an e-book.seems great but i am there to start is now.

  28. Hey, I have been reading for solutions of writers, and after bbrowsing aol, I ended up your write up, it isinformative write up. Too bad I took long to get to read your article. Saved you in my bookmarks already. Shall visit again. Keep on writing your blog will get really popular.

  29. Fred Kapoor says:

    I couldn’t agree more with @Josh Garcia, it is incredible how people and even entrepreneurs (I see that all the time with some of them) have difficulties when it comes to asking for help or assistance of any kind. But if you look at this great article, you realise that asking for advice to someone with the experience and skills is the smartest thing to do.

  30. I’ll be launching an ebook before the end of the year, so I’m reading posts about the process with even greater interest than I have in the past.

    Since my blog is about living simply and deliberately, I’d like to be able to do everything myself — and end up with an ebook that’s not overworked or overdesigned.

    But I see you point. I probably need to call in more help than I’m yet willing to do. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

  31. Robby G says:

    Keep us informed how the Bonuses end up working out in a few weeks. I am launching an ebook in the next few months and also highly looking forward to it. Should be revolutionary in the world of dating ;)

  32. Excellent advice Darrin. I am putting together an e book on different vacation villa locations. I’m combining a few interests and meeting good folk with helpful advice. Anyway. Thanks, Ill bookmark this article.

  33. congrats on the ebook. It’s amazing how sometimes what we think will be the best seller, just doesn’t seem to work.

    How did you handle the testing between the 3 groups?

    Brandon

  34. A 400 year old proverb says everyone has an ebook in them…hmmmn yes, very wise.

    My first ebook won’t be available for about 6 months; no I’m not building hype, I just haven’t written the thing.

    Where do regular people find the time to write ebooks, or are there just a lot of rushed and poorly written ones on the market?

    Ben

  35. Thomas James says:

    @MyBusinessisFitness – I’m sure there are just as many bad eBooks as there are good ones. As for me, writing mine has taken over 6 months, because I’ve done it while maintaining my demanding blogging duties. I found it important to at least start the book, and with consistent effort on a regular basis, I’m now ready to launch next week, but it’s been a long road.

    Now the work of promoting it takes over.

    Thomas

  36. Joshua Noerr says:

    Darren, I am in the process of getting my first eBook done, and I must say I am scared to death!! Beyond writing this thing, I don’t really know what else to do. I have some ideas, but nothing resembling a good plan.

    Are there any resources you suggest to get someone like me on the right track?

  37. Jay says:

    Darren, you continue to be an inspiration for Bloggers. It’s particularly useful to see how your blog monetization methods continue to evolve and adapt to a changing environment.

    It’s also hard to believe how much traffic your single author/guest poster blog manages in a Web 2.0 world.

    I’ve been blogging for three years on various projects and I probably get less traffic in a week than you get in ten minutes :)

  38. Hi Darren,

    Your post made me think a lot about asking others for help. All to often we think we have it figured out. Rather than being honest with ourselves and knowing we could use a hand.

    Great post and I look forward to the book.

    Regards,

    Steve

  39. Mike G. says:

    Hey Darren, do you sell your ebooks on your website or outsource it to another company taking care of the payment, sales, security, etc?

  40. @Thomas. Yes you’re probably right about the scale of good vs ugly ebooks.

    I hear you on finding the time, so congratulations on completing yours and good luck with the launch mate.

    Ben

  41. Thanks Darren,you continue to inspire me!

    I am in process of completing my first ebook/physical book about marketing strategies for photographers, so I’m following your guidance and that of David Navarro & now Kelly Kingman (The Sticky E-book maven) very closely.

    I’ll keep you posted on my progress, perhaps even send you a review copy if you’re interested.

    All the best, Rodney

  42. buitenkeuken says:

    Hello Darren, I want to write an ebook for a long time now but just can’t find the time to write it. The hardest part for me is thinking about how to write the ebook, I know what the story is but making it interesting for other people is hard, maybe your idea to partner with good people is the way to go and share from their experience. Thanks.

  43. Hello again Darren,
    You are so right about the power of having a network to do a book launch, in fact, many things in business are made simplier when you work with a team. Napoleon Hill wrote about this in his book Think and Grow Rich the 1930′s and since then his idea of using the power of the mastermind (a special network of people) has been used over and over again with great success.

    I hope the e book lauch goes great!
    David

  44. rososusilo says:

    your name will always be noted as the author of the book. knowledge that you shared in the book will bring benefits to others.

    It is the beauty when we share

  45. Hammock says:

    Good points and the current cover looks great. Definitely a good idea to test the cover and much easier to do on an ebook than a hardcopy book, so a great advantage. Also with the bonuses, they do a great job of increasing conversions I feel. They atleast draw me in to read and consider more into the ebook product.

  46. Pre Buzz really helps … and there is no doubt about this.

    Just you have to target right people and right field in a right way.

  47. Wow… Really informative post! I do believe that having a great book cover design is paramount to any business’s success!
    Have a great day!
    PS: Keep these great posts comming… (By the way… I had just subscribed to your newsfeed)

  48. rob place says:

    This is a good post. A few weeks ago, I wrote a quick post about #6–enjoying the process. I think that’s really important for people that are blogging or starting a business. The goal is one thing–but are you relishing the moment of creation? If we’re doing what we love to do, that should be the icing on the cake.

  49. Since we’re on the topic of What I’m Learning from the Launch of My New eBook, You simply need to have a good idea and a will to write an ebook. No problem if you don’t want to write one; you can also have it done for you from a professional writer.

  50. I like the concept and idea of your e-Book, as I do like traveling as well as photography. It’s full of fun and experience.