Fans of Austin Powers, prepare your little fingers and repeat after me…
Mwahahahaha! My evil plan is ready to spread the world over! Mwahahahaha!
All right, enough megalomaniac stuff for this morning, let’s back to the real business. January is historically one of the best months both in terms of traffic and income. It seems like finance is similar to gym memberships.
People don’t really want to go to the gym just like they don’t really want to care about their personal finances, but once or twice a year (the other time is usually in September), they make a resolution and pay for their membership! This is also why so you see so many rebates in January. Each year, I work on maximizing this first month of the year to make as much as I can from affiliate products. But this year, I have an evil plan to make even more money. Something in the range of nine billions of millions of dollars… mwahahahaha!
There is nothing better than offering free coffee to sell more breakfasts, right? If McDonald’s is doing it, I’ve got to learn from them! Last year, I put out a small eBook about the best 2012 Dividend Stocks. This eBook was downloaded 4,287 times this year. It’s not as impressive as the 24,773 downloads of my first free eBook over 18 months but still, it’s pretty good as I didn’t do any promotion except during January. Considering that my investing newsletter size has tripled (the exact number is 3.36 more subscribers from Dec2011 to Dec2012) during this year, I will aim for 10,000 downloads for my 2013 eBook.
I’ve revisited my format and updated the content to generate a great offer: 20 US stocks and 10 CDN companies. All one pagers that outline a company description, main strengths & weaknesses and several financial metrics. Another thing I’m doing is that I started the creation of this book 2 weeks ago whereas I created the 2012 edition between Christmas and New Year Eve’s which didn’t leave much time for editing (confession: I didn’t edit a single paragraph!).
I’m far from being able to create a viral video of a cat singing and dancing with a mouse on the top of the Empire State Building. Investment topics are not made to be so viral (unless you mention another Black Swan event!). But I know that investors are looking for predictions and stock picking ideas. I also know that they are looking for them in January because:
a) It’s the beginning of the year
b) It’s right before the RRSP season when people will invest their contribution
c) They return from the Holidays and are willing to spend some time on their personal finances
I’ve already announced to my mailing list subscribers that I’m working on the 2013 edition. I’ve got many replies (somewhere around 150 emails) giving me their thoughts on the format or simply sharing a few stock picks for the New Year. By telling them about the book 1 month prior to its launch date, I’m creating some expectations from them. Solely from my list, I should be able to get a good 2,000 downloads within the first 2 days. Last year, 51% (unique) of my subscribers opened that email and I got 42% of unique downloads just to give you an idea.
But that’s only the start. There is a limit as to how many downloads I can reach by myself, but there is something I can try this year that could triple my numbers at least. This “something” is called Amazon! When you publish a book on Kindle, you are allowed to offer it for free for up to 5 days. My plan is to use the first 5 days of January to give it away for free. Most people don’t work on January 1st and 2nd and I always get a boost of traffic. I guess that they are too burnt to go outside and play in the snow ;-).
On top of being a search engine for products in and of itself, Amazon also publishes multiple types of rankings. If you are able to get a massive amount of downloads in a short period of time, you will ultimately appear on the top of several rankings for your book. During that period, chances are that several Amazon users that are not connected with your site and have no clue that you are a blogger will download your book (man, it’s free!). The effect is like being featured on Pinterest for example. The main difference is that people see your book instead of seeing your site. If I can reach the first page on Amazon, I’ll definitely be able to get my 10,000 downloads rapidly.
This is where the nine billions of millions of dollars will be made mwahahaha! The 2013 version is a genuine and helpful guide to find interesting stock picks. I’m definitely making real efforts and am investing real time to apply different screens, read about companies and search through their financial statements. In 2012, I am doing okay with the US stocks (I’m slightly under the index because of 1 pick… but the rest of the portfolio outperformed the index) and I’m crushing the Canadian index by 6%. I think it’s enough to say that my book is useful. So why give it out for free? The answer is simple: because I can upsell my “customers”.
This book is the perfect tool to promote my sites and products. It’s professional and useful and I’m convinced that all readers will enjoy the book. This is why I am mentioning my main investment sites, newsletter along with my book at the beginning and end of the book. On each page, I’ve included my blog url in the footer too. I want to make sure that everybody that reads the book knows where to find me and where to buy my other books.
I’ve tried this technique with a newsletter I sent recently. In that newsletter, I simply outlined two very interesting articles I wrote on my blog over the past month. In these 2 articles, I included mentions to my Dividend Growth eBook. I sent the email on Friday and by Sunday, I was showing 11 sales in three days. My average sales/day had slowed down to under 2 per day prior to that mailing. So the odds are that at least 5-6 sales came from my email that was far from being as useful than a complete eBook on the best dividend stocks.
If my book goes viral on Amazon and I reach over 10,000 copies, chances are that I will be able to sell another 300 books during that month! 300 books at $9.99… I’ll let you know figure out how I will start my new year with few of thousand in my pockets ;-). So the 2013 best stocks eBook will not only boost my sales but will also boost my rankings for Dividend Growth. If I can consolidate my 1st page positions for most of my keywords, I’ll be assured to sell between 1 and 2 books per day for the whole year. This is when you can reach passive income!
If I publish my book with Amazon, it has to be 100% exclusive content and I can’t offer my book anywhere else for 90 days (that’s the rule if you want to offer your book for free for up to 5 days under the “KDP Select program”). This also means that the book must have a price once I’m done with the 5 day promotion. I’ve seen other cheap eBooks at $0.99 ranking very well in Amazon and they show as little as 30 pages. With all my content, I should be able to reach roughly 50 pages. This is why I should not be shy of selling my book for a small amount.
I’m not going to be greedy as I want to make sure to spread the word and upsell customers with my “real book”. This is why I’ll probably charge $0.99 for each copy after January 5th. The cool thing is that I’ll be able to make a few bucks throughout the year. This will also help me to reach my monthly minimum of $100 in order to receive checks monthly. I’m not expecting much from the sales but if I could make an extra $50 per month with the book, this will pay for the time invested to write it! After all, if I successfully operate my marketing strategy, this book should rank pretty high on Amazon.
To be honest, I don’t think I have much to lose besides my pride. I can’t lose on the money side but my ego can be hurt. How’s that possible? Because by playing the Amazon game, I have to play by their rules.
The first thing that bugs me is that I can only offer the eBook in a Kindle version. While I sold a lot of copies of Dividend Growth so far (I’ve crushed my objectives 1 month in advance!), I received several emails asking for a PDF version. This is the biggest obstacle that could lead to a slower start and not getting the boost I’m looking for to appear on the “most popular rankings” done by Amazon. If I fail with Amazon and I don’t get a boost from their customers, I’ll obviously have a hard time getting 10,000 downloads and my feelings will get hurt. On the other hand, I’ll always have the options after 90 days to offer it in PDF for a small price… who knows, I might end-up good money with the “free” eBook ;-).
On the other hand, I don’t have other options: I either offer the PDF versions and please all my readers or I go with Kindle versions on Amazon and try to get new customers. The thing is that my readers are already loyal readers and have been offered my book more than once already. Therefore, most of my readers who would have bought my book already did by now. Plugging the book to existing readers via the Best 2013 Dividend Stocks won’t have a huge effect on my sales. Getting more investors from Amazon will. It’s an “all-in” strategy but I truly believe that it’s how I will eventually hit a home run with my online company!
What’s your take on my strategy? Anything you think that could be improved? Is the price of $0.99 a good idea or should I try to rack-up a few more bucks with a price at $1.99 or $2.99?
Comments: 12 Read More
Man, selling your own stuff is so much fun!
Almost exactly one year ago (it was on Oct 18th 2011), I was doing the “post-mortem” analysis of my first paid eBook launch. I had sold a minute 22 copies in about a month as compared to 12,600 downloads of my free eBook: Dividend Investing (Which is now showing 24,270 downloads, you should DEFINITELY get your copy!).
This time, in less than three weeks, I’ve sold 226 copies (as of October 15th) of Dividend Growth. If you make the calculation, it’s $2,257.74 of gross income. Minus the 30% Amazon cut, I will get a check slightly under $1,580.42 (there are a few additional small fees). Therefore, it’s over $500 net per week and it keeps coming. Remember that my first number was 144 sales in the first 12 days. In the following week, I sold 82 copies in seven days. So technically, I’m still going at an amazing rate of 12 sales/day! And the most interesting part is that only yesterday (so exactly 19 days after the launch date), I sold 6 copies. This could mean two things:
#1 the Buzz around the book is not over yet (I’ve got 2 additional reviews over the weekend for 11 reviews so far!)
#2 Amazon is selling books for me as I sleep (literally!)
Chances are that it’s a combination of both statements but I truly hope that Amazon has already started to work for me. When I look at my Amazon affiliate panel, I can see that I have sold the 226 copies but I don’t know how many were linked to my fellow bloggers affiliate program. For the past 82 copies, I know I’ve sold 38 of them so 54% of my sales in that week are coming from outside my direct network. Let’s hope that half of that is coming from Amazon! This would mean that I’m selling 3 copies a day without any effort! Oh well, I’ll see that in late November I guess!
But I’m not here to brag about my new book today, I’m here to give you more info on how I’ve setup my marketing plan and to look at the results coming from it. But first, let’s start with a few funny numbers…
I’ve noticed a few interesting trends in terms of sales. During the first day, I was all excited to see my first sales coming in during the morning. I thought that during my one hour lunch, I would make a killing as people would buy the book during their pause. Funny enough, I made a big fat $0 from 12pm to 1pm!
On the other hand, I checked my sales around 10pm each day and at 5am when I wake up the next morning. Believe it or not, I never spent a night without selling a book! It seems that most people are buying books at night when they get back from work. When you think about it, it totally makes sense. But it’s just funny to make money while you are sleeping and not while you are eating!
When you publish a book on Amazon, you can see if someone bought the book and decided to ask for a refund. What I found funny is that I have 15 refunded books but no negative emails or reviews whatsoever. And I’m not talking about fellow bloggers reviews and emails. Technically, you may think that these guys are biased as they are my friends in the first place. I doubt that most of my friends would badmouth my book on the web! However, I have received some great reviews, comments and emails with regards to this book from my readers and customers. I didn’t receive any bad comments. I’m not saying that my book is perfect, but I would really like to hear what those people have to say about my book!
I also have 20 borrowed units. Borrowing a book is possible if you are one of Amazon’s “prime members”. I think you can borrow 1 book per month. I’m flattered to see that 20 individuals decided to use their privilege to read my book.
Don’t forget to include your Amazon affiliate links when you are promoting your own book! I generated $83.43 in commissions in September along with $51.38 in the first 2 weeks of October. The funny part is that I’m not only making money on my books but from all the other things that my visitors are buying on Amazon at the same time. So it goes literally from the “body press Ab wheels” to the “Hardwire Ionization Smoke Detector” someone bought after clicking on my link. Did you know that you can buy an ionization smoke detector???? I’ve never received a check from Amazon since I started to blog back in 2006 and I’ll be getting my first check in November!!! So ALWAYS include your Amazon affiliate link! Ok… enough with the numbers, here are some second thought strategies if you plan on launching an eBook….
If you publish a book on Amazon, it’s the same thing as if you publish a website on the web: you want to get found. With a website, there is something called Search Engine Optimization that is all kinds of methods used to help you rank higher in Google (‘cause that’s all that matters anyways when you are doing SEO!).
Well, when you publish a book with Amazon, I’ve seen a similar result: your book will rank for specific keywords within the Amazon search algorithm. Unfortunately, I’m pretty new to this “Amazon Ranking Game” since I was too busy fighting with a Panda lately! But, I noticed that my book had different rankings from day to day for different keywords. I can’t obviously rank high for a generic word such as “investment” but I’m doing pretty well in my niche though.
In the “book” section, here are my rankings as of October 15th:
Dividend: #10 (1st page)
Dividend Investing: #11 (1st page)
Dividend Growth: #1 YEAH BABY!!
In the “Kindle Store” section (Since my book is not offered in any other format yet):
Dividend: #8 (1st page)
Dividend Investing: #10 (1st page)
Dividend Growth: #1 YEAH BABY!!
These rankings kind of validate that Amazon will be able to sell books without me pushing it anymore. On the other hand, I’m curious to see how long I can stay on the first page for the three keywords. Investing is still a highly competitive niche and I’m afraid this ranking is only temporary. It’s like a website without new content or new links coming in; your ranking will eventually fall even if you have a top quality site.
I guess the key is to play on the following metrics:
– Get customers to write a review on Amazon
– Sell more copies
– Offer a print copy for sale
Mike Piper from Oblivious Investor (yeah, he is my 2012 hero!) told me to Amazon link your Kindle book to your paper copy in their system adds it up to your “book power” in their ranking. This is another reason why I’ve decided to launch a printed copy in December. Speaking of which, the process isn’t really rolling right now as my designer is fooling around with the format… sometimes I wish I was good with formatting!
Hum… okay, the above sub-title is only half-true. In fact, one of the biggest advantages of dealing with Amazon is that they handle everything from A to Z once you have published your book on their platform. They handle the marketing on their site, they take the payments, deliver the copy, they process the refund and send you a check after 6 weeks. Technically, it’s a hand off process where you can truly enjoy passive income once the machine is rolling.
But a big part of my marketing strategy was based on using my newsletter. I’ve grown a significant size mailing list throughout all the investing sites I own which totals over 8,000 subscribers. When I send an email, I know that 50% of my readers will open the email and read it. Therefore, I’m opening myself to 4,000 potential replies. All right, it’s not THAT scary as most people don’t reply. But still, I had to reply to over 131 emails concerning my book. Some people had questions, others commented on my work. I wanted to make sure I answered everyone in a timely manner with a personal answer. Actually, if you are a subscriber of any of my newsletters and you reply to any of my messages, you’ll be sure to get an answer back to all of your questions. I’m just thinking that if you are kind enough to take 5 minutes of your precious time to write me an email, the least I can do is to write you back, right? But then, it had created an additional work load, especially during the first week as I now receive only 1 or 2 emails a day concerning the book.
I am super happy with my results. But still, there are things that could have been done differently in my strategy. Lucky me, I’m already working on another book where I will use my experience once again to make it an even bigger success. So for my next book, here’s what will be done differently:
I was so afraid to create another flop with this book that I paid a high price for a designer. I don’t 100% regret my decision as I got several features:
– A complete site design with logos and banners (not used yet! Can you imagine that???)
– 2 books formatted (I have 2 versions but it’s literally twice the work for the designer as both books requires separate work)
– 3D super fancy cover (man, I really like my logo and cover!)
– PDF, EPUB, MOBI format (and they are working on the paper version too!)
– Countless emails back and forth adjusting everything (and when I write COUNTLESS, I mean it!)
So I can’t say that I didn’t get enough for what I paid. However, I should have be more precise in stating my needs and use only specific features instead of going all over the place and trying to get everything done. Next time, I won’t ask for a complete site since I’m not even using it yet. I might not get 2 versions of the same book as it was a lot of work. Mind you, the Canadian version is the most popular and there must be a reason for that: because it’s darn specific!
If I can make a better selection of what I need or not, I will save a lot of money in terms of design and formatting. The good news is that I’ve learned from the process and from what is required by Amazon to get both a Kindle and print copy.
Huh? What’s the point of giving the book for free when you want to sell it and make money? Believe it or not, free is the new way to make money. But it’s not as simple as that! Lol!
Amazon gives you the possibility to offer your book in Kindle format for free for a maximum of 5 days during the first 90 days you publish with them. The point of offering your book for free is to build your “book power” in the Amazon ranking system. This is similar to search engine optimization as well: the more people download your book, the better the ranking you get. Therefore, if you have a good readership (such as my 8,000 mailing list subscribers) and you tell them that your book is free for a few days on Amazon, chances are that you will hit over 1,000 downloads pretty fast.
So instead of bragging that I rank on the first page for highly specific keywords, I could probably rank (temporarily) in wider range keywords such as investing and be part of the top/hottest downloads on Amazon. If this happens, it’s like doing the first page of Digg (well… a few years ago anyway! Hahaha!).
With a super boosted ranking due to your free downloads, chances are that the wave will continue to push your paid book higher. Even better, if you are smart enough to launch the paper version at the same time (which I will do next time!), several people will want to get the paper copy (most people still prefer to read a “real book” than an electronic version). So this is how you can make money from free.
In all my books, I’m referring to my site in order to not only get a happy customer but to gain a happy reader as well. It’s a derived way to grow your traffic without Google. But I’m not directly making more money with this strategy. I’m just slowly building more traffic.
The next step for me will be to create an upsell of my current product. It can be a sequel that already exists or another related product. For example, in my free book Dividend Investing, I’ve updated the previous version with mentions of Dividend Growth hoping that people who liked my first book will eventually buy the second one. Since I’m getting lots of downloads for my free book, this will eventually generate more sales of my second book. This is a good example of doing an upsell: people like your stuff, you offer them more and they become a bigger customer by buying more products from you.
This is what I’ll be trying with my new book (possibly to be released in 2013… so far it looks good for that!). Eventually, my goal is to sell over 10 eBooks per day. This would mean that I could be making roughly 35K in my pocket each year with pure passive income. I guess that if can I write 3-4 great books, I’ll be able to reach my goal!
Woah! I feel like I’ve literally dissected my brain with this post. If there is anything you feel that I didn’t tell you about my eBook adventure, now is the time because I can’t think of anything else. However, I’m sure I’ve forgotten some important stuff!
And if you have no questions, let me ask you one: what would you do differently if you were me now that you know what I’ve done to publish my book?Comments: 5 Read More
Be prepared… for another huge article!
Last week, we finally launched our second Dividend book: Dividend Growth: Freedom Through Passive Income. This time, in seven days only, I have sold 144 copies. At the time of writing this article, it has jumped to 178 (after 12 days of sales).
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After I got burnt by my first attempt to sell a book (check the Rat Race Failure Story), I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to work on another book. In fact, I remember taking a few months to seriously think about the future of my “writing career”. As many other bloggers and writers, I had hit the wall of the cold hard truth: it’s not because your book is good that you are going to sell many copies! You need a whole marketing plan around it and you had better make sure to not make any mistakes! I basically made 3 majors mistakes when I launched my previous book:
Wrong Market: the book was not written for my audience, therefore it was quite hard to generate sales.
Wrong Pricing: $27 was definitely too much. I have since dropped the price of Rat Race to $9.95 and I’m selling more copies even though I didn’t relaunch the product! Lol!
Wrong Marketing: The sales page wasn’t too appealing and affiliate marketing just doesn’t work when you don’t have the right audience!
With my latest book, I made sure I got these things covered! So here’s a more successful story…
I decided to narrow down the topic of my book to dividend investing. The idea behind this was to target the largest audience across my network. Since I own several dividend investing websites, it was easy for me to reach tons of potential buyers. The dividend niche is great because readers have money (if not they would not invest) and they don’t consider buying a book as an expense, rather as an investment. So for over a year, I have worked on building a strong relationship with my readers and building a sizeable investing newsletter. At the time of launching the book, I had over 5,000 subscribers to my main list + 2,600 subscribers with other investing websites. I knew that I had the right market for this book:
– With money
– Ready to buy stuff
Then, I decided to go one step further in my niche: I produced 2 versions. I noticed that one of the main issues my readers have is tax implications on foreign dividend stocks. This is why I decided to create both Canadian and US versions to make sure I address this particular issue. Since the tax system is different, it was important to write two books. While the Canadian market is smaller than the US one, not many investing books cover the tax topic in Canada. I thought it would be a great way to stand-out. I was right: I’ve sold 109 Canadian copies and 69 US copies so far.
In terms of marketing, our plan was relatively simple; we thought of promoting our book through both our network and investing newsletters. Then, a few good reviews from other bloggers, giveaways and guest posts would do the rest. This was until we got to FinCon12 just a week prior to launching our ebook…
Mike Piper from Oblivious Investor is definitely the guy I know who has sold the most investing books in the PF blogosphere. We had a chance to discuss our strategy with him. I have detailed the discussion in my newsletter (so make sure to register by putting your name and email in the box on the right hand side of this blog if you want the juicy details ;-).
He encouraged us to go with Amazon instead of selling our book through our own network at first. The point was that the chance of making more money by selling our own product through our own newsletter at first were there. In fact, I’m 100% sure that I would have sold more copies and made more money (since I don’t have to pay a commission!) if I had sold a PDF version to my readers (more on that later).
So we thought of raking in the bucks first and then, put it on Amazon. But what we ignored was the Amazon book ranking system. The more books you sell, the better your chances are to have Amazon promote your book when their customers (people who ignore my blog completely) are shopping on their site.
A good selling book on Amazon will appear all over the place:
– Best sellers
– Hot new releases
– Best reviews (4 stars and up)
– Recommended by Amazon
– “People who viewed/purchased this book, also viewed/purchased these books”
– Search by categories
– Search by keywords on Amazon (I now rank on the first page for 2 of the 3 keywords I’m targeting!)
In order words, if your book sells on Amazon, Amazon will start selling it for you!
But in order to do that, you need to push your book in some ways. The best way is obviously to publish your book on Amazon right away and promote the Amazon link through your own network. Chances are that your readers will be the first people to buy the book. This was the case for me anyways. But by sending them to Amazon instead of making a few more bucks in my pocket by selling the book myself, I was able to push my book into the Amazon machine.
The power of Amazon is not seen when you first launch your product. At first, I can’t say that I’ve seen any difference because I was on Amazon. For the most part of the 144 copies sold, they were all coming from my sites or from the reviews I got from other bloggers. I know that because I’ve used my own affiliate links to promote my book on Amazon and I got stats from a few other bloggers who did the same thing. But what is truly interesting is the week after the launch. During these 5 days, there wasn’t any other review or me pushing the book that much.
Out of the 34 books sold in the last five days, 15 were sold by Amazon. This means that Amazon has the power of selling 2-3 copies per day. If the math is right and Amazon keeps selling only 2 copies per day because I rank well in their sales machine, this will generate $7292.70 in sales. It’s too early to claim that I’ll be making a 70% cut on 7K in the next 365 days but the thought of selling books without having to do anything seduces me big time! Hahaha!
So the whole idea was to leave money on the table for the first week in order to recover this money over the next months and make even more cash by selling to non-readers of my blogs. The reason I’m saying that I’m leaving money on the table is because I have to push the Kindle version. But not everybody likes or has a Kindle. You can tell your readers that they can download a free version of Kindle reader on their computer or that the PDF copy will be available later on, you are just creating more obstacles to your sale pitch. We are all bombarded by products and ads every single day of our life so if a purchase seems complicated or involves more than 1 single action (paying for the good), chances are that we let it go and continue on with our merry life.
I’ve received several emails from people asking for another way to buy my book. And I can tell that for each email I’ve received, there’s probably 10 other readers thinking the same thing but just deleted my email instead of replying back to find another option.
Honestly, I was disappointed after the first day of sales. I sold a 57 copies and I was expecting to sell more than 100 on the first day. I was upset but realized that most of my “failure” at that time was due to the fact that I was selling through Amazon instead of selling a “conventional” PDF copy. Fortunately, the following days were better and I’m now aiming at 200 copies over the next few weeks.
I used several marketing strategies to accomplish these sales. The three angles I’ve worked with were my blog, newsletter and the support of other bloggers.
The Dividend Guy Blog was the perfect place to sell my book. It is an authority among dividend investors with an important following. It was also a good way to write a keyword rich article and try to rank for keywords such as “dividend growth”. Since I will continuously link back to this page in the future, its ranking should improve over time and I should be able to get more search engine traffic that would eventually convert into more sales.
The newsletter is an amazing tool to launch a product. I sent a quick email to my readers telling them about my book and to go to the blog to get more info. It drove over 1,000 visitors in one day to my site. It’s another great way to get immediate feedback from your readers too!
I have sent over 64 personal emails to fellow bloggers and sent several copies for review, asking what they thought of the book. Many of them were kind enough to promote my book on their sites. Among them, I’d like to thank the following (in alphabetical order):
Selling 178 copies is cool, but I want this book to generate passive income for many years. My first goal is to sell 300 copies by the end of the year. I only have 122 copies left so I’m pretty confident I will reach my goal! However, I won’t just hope to make it, I’ll take some action!
I plan to do a “relaunch” in December for the Holidays. I’m currently working on a paperback copy and will be releasing a PDF copy. This way , I will offer three ways to purchase my book, making the buying process easier. A relaunch could probably sell another 50-60 copies by itself. I will also be able to use testimonials from existing readers (and reviews from bloggers and Amazon) to market my book. The only downside is that the printed copy process is not simple either and I better get going with it soon if I want to launch it in two months!
I’ve packaged a chapter of my book about REITs investing into a small eBook of 33 pages. Since Dividend Growth is over 150 pages, I’m basically offering 20% of my book for free through my investing newsletter. I’ve included a link to the Dividend Growth book inside this short guide to investing. In a single day, I got 494 downloads. I hope to convince people that liked this chapter to buy the whole book after. This email will be sent to my new subscribers as well as I have included it in my follow-up emails.
Now that the book is for sale, I have to go back through my entire network to make sure I find every single place I can plug it. It can be in high ranking search engine pages, on side bars, within existing email funnel, future guest posts on my other sites, etc. The point is to create as many occasions as possible for a reader to be aware of my book. I can’t just hope that Amazon will sell books for me.
One thing we recently tried for another eBook project was to modify our titles and sub-titles on our sales pages to encourage the feeling that you will have a better life if you buy this product. We took off all our features and transform them into “your life will be better” terms.
For example, instead of saying:
Learn how to buy & sell your stocks at the right time (that’s a feature)
Save time and avoid stress when you buy or sell a stock (your life will be better if you have more time and you are less stressed ).
Believe it or not but we sold 5 more copies in 2 days of this eBook right after changing the wording of the sales page.
It comes down to the same thing but it appears that people are buying to improve their life, not to get features. I will have to read everything I had written about my book to make sure it reflects this methodology.
I’ve learned a lot through this process and if I had another book to launch, I would follow just about the same process. But, I would use the Amazon option of giving your book for free for a few days in order to boost my ranking even higher. I was too concerned about making money when I launch my book that I didn’t want people to download it for free. Now I realize how strong Amazon is when it comes to launching a product. It’s definitely the way to do it!Comments: 12 Read More
This is no surprise to you if I tell you that I’ve been working on a second Dividend Investing eBook. After over 20,532 downloaded copies (yup, over TWENTY THOUSAND!) of my first edition, I knew that I was serving an awesome niche and had to continue writing. The best part is that it’s not only a great niche, it’s a profitable niche as well! But what could surprise you is the book was written in March 2012 and it is still not on sale yet. Let me introduce you to the “behind the scenes” of eBook creation…
I write in English.
2+2 doesn’t equals 4 in this situation!
You can say that there is a huge editing job to be done once I’m done writing ;-). This eBook is over 30,000 words (that’s 150+ pages of plain text). You can imagine what needs to be done in order to simply edit the eBook and make it not only “readable” but appear professional. After all, dividend investing is a pretty serious topic and buyers won’t be too patient with grammatical errors.
Then, we had to send the content for formatting and design. We wanted to have something very professional for our eBook and this is why we are outsourcing this part of the job. I guess this will take a month or two since we don’t have control over the firm that does it and they have other contracts too. There will be a lot of back and forth about what we want and what they did. We have picked our site designer to do this and we know that they do an awesome job and are easy to communicate with. On top of that, they offer a full package including a Kindle version… and a full sales website!
We didn’t like the idea of publishing the sales page on our blogs. Blogs are not formatted to sell products and we thought that a separate sales page would be a more professional approach. Since we will have the opportunity of having a complete website, we thought of adding excerpts of each chapter on separate pages of the site. They are roughly 1,000 words each and show the introduction and a description of each topic discussed in our book. Along with that, we added an “about the author page” which is very important once we are done selling the eBook across our network. We want to generate a source of passive income out of this book and this is why we need to be as broad as possible. People who don’t know Mike or The Dividend Guy yet need to know more about the author prior to spending their precious bucks. Since it’s a oft targeted niche, chances are that this sales site will also get traffic from search engines over time (that’s the whole point actually!). The main source of traffic should be our sites and newsletters but I’m still expecting some good ranking for dividend related keywords. This should generate some passive income all by itself!
If you are registered for my newsletter (you better do it now!), you will eventually receive an email about how to manage your newsletter and build a funnel to attract people to buy your service or products. One of the techniques is to ask your readers for feedback about the product/service you are developing at the moment. I sent an email asking investors what was their #1 issue when it comes to dividend investing. I’ve received tons of detailed answers. This not only helped me to write the book but also to market it. You need to speak your potential buyers’ language to convince them that you have written a great book. By addressing their issues, I’ll definitely nail the problem and help people want to buy my book. If you can find the solution about the #1 thing that bugs you regarding X, would you not be ready to spend a few bucks to solve it?
Then, the next technique used was to keep my readers aware of the development of my project. I told them when one section or topic was covered in my book. They are able to follow me in my adventure and become excited to see the end result. This is a great way to build momentum. The only downside is that you have to deliver afterwards.
I wrote about ten guest posts that I will offer to dividend/investing blogs. The point is to A) create a buzz, B) generate more sales outside my normal reach C) do link building for the site. In order to have my guest post accepted, I’m offering an affiliate link in the article where the blogger will make money off any of HIS readers buying my book. It’s a win-win situation and I think it can work pretty well. Since they are all my buddies, they will host the post for free and hope to make a few bucks. So besides my time, this promotion technique is absolutely free!
I’ve also gathered a list of emails to reach newspapers and other sites. With this technique, I had a lot of traffic for my first eBook. The main difference is that the second eBook will cost something so I don’t know to which extent this technique will be beneficial or not. Since I already have my email list ready, it won’t be too hard to send them a quick email with a copy of the book. If I have just 1 guy who’s kind enough to mention me, I’ll be happy!
Another important strategy is to go back into your archives and to mention your new eBook. Several old pages are the first point of communication with new readers. It’s important to mention your eBook where necessary. I’ll also update my first eBook to make a mention of the second book in a few places. The point is to be everywhere!
The goal with this eBook is to sell 300 copies by the end of the year. 300 is a huge number and it’s not very impressive at the same time. It’s huge since it’s 10 times what I sold with Rat Race, but it’s small when you think that will generate roughly 3K in profit. When calculating my time and other costs of publishing, I’m roughly breaking even. Is it really worth it? I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know. I just know that each copy sold over 300 will be pure profit and passive income. This is why I hope to sell it for a while ;-).
Is there anything I’m missing? Do you have any other ideas I should try?
Thx for your help!
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Over the past 12 months, I’ve launched 3 different eBooks. Since I’m in a learning process with regards to creating products, I’ve tried 3 different techniques. It’s not a surprise that I’ve gotten 3 different results. But the most surprising is that I didn’t expect such results.
Today, I’m sharing the results from my 3 different eBook launches. I can tell that you have never heard of my 3rd eBook on TFB yet and this is probably the most surprising! You want to know more? You gotta read this article till the end ;-).
If you have been reading The Financial Blogger for at least a year, you certainly know about my biggest success of 2011: Dividend Investing. To date, I’m at 19,349 downloads and made roughly $2,000 through different affiliate programs. The book itself is pretty complete for any beginner investor who wants to know how to invest in dividend stocks.
At first we offered it free for 4 months or so. It went completely viral and I received a lot of support from other bloggers along with some media mentions. After the first month, we were already over 6,000 downloads. Then, in October, we decided to offer the eBook to those who subscribe to our newsletter. This has helped up tremendously and we are now getting 15 to 20 subscriptions per day (see how I’ve built my newsletter for more details). The best part is that less than 10% of my subscribers quit the newsletter after receiving 5 emails from me (over a period of 3 months). After almost a year (the book was launched in June 2011), I’m still getting about 20-30 downloads per day (some people get links that they don’t have to subscribe to the newsletter since the eBook download link was posted everywhere back then and have yet to change all of them…).
The fact that I made a few bucks with this book is fun. But the real goal was to establish my credibility in the dividend investing niche. Now that this has been a success, it has created a very important reader base that enjoys my content. The next step with this community is to be able to “up sell” them with our next eBook and other products. The key will be to provide a very valuable product so they don’t feel that I’m trying to pull a quick buck out of their pockets ;-).
My second eBook experience was with my Rat Race eBook. This one is far from being a success and I’ve already explained what went wrong (read the details here). In the light of my experience and after few months of promoting this eBook, I’m now able to nail exactly the problem of this book: the range is too wide.
When you go for a wide range, you go for a mass public. The problem with the mass public is that you automatically compete with the big guns that are already successful with it. Therefore, my Rat Race eBook was going head-to-head with The Wealthy Barber or Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I’m definitely not a Best Selling author so I can’t go against such incredible huge institutions! That was the problem with Rat Race.
Everybody thought: “hmmm… that’s another “personal finance and get rich” book”. The book and its presentation sound like that… and this is the problem! I had a concept of writing 4 eBooks including 4 different steps but I should have written only 1 big fat book with the 4 steps included! It would have been more narrow in scope and better defined.
But even now, if I had to do it all over again, I would never write about this topic. The personal finance and “improve your finance” topic is too general and as a small blogger, I can’t compete in this huge industry. Instead of writing a general book on how I have succeeded, I should have written a specific book on how I’ve built an online empire that generates a sustainable cash flow in two years.
This is the third example that is the best of all in my opinion. Why? Because this is the one that generated the biggest surprise!
If I tell you that we produced an eBook without a fancy cover page, without an official launch and on a site that gets roughly 500 visitors/month, would you believe that we are able to sell it? I’m actually selling about 3 eBooks per month over the past 4 months on this site! I do that without any promotion, without any newsletter or a link back strategy.
This all started as a very small project where we thought it would be interesting to put together a lot of content that has been written about a specific topic and build an eBook around it. There was a lot of content that had already been written but nothing was formatted and shaped into a book format. We spent a few hours to put everything together and wrote the missing pieces.
Then, we formatted the eBook in a “school textbook style”. This means that it’s easy to read but not as fancy as some eBooks. We included a few pictures to make it more fun but 3 hours later, everything was wrapped up and online. The price is $9.95 and available through e-junkie.
We didn’t advertise the eBook as we just thought it was worthwhile to put 10 hours or so into it and see how it goes. We actually thought we’d see if we were going to sell 2 -3 eBook before going back into it and make it even better. We are 4 months later and the product has been pretty good. We not only sell 3 eBooks/month but also get great comments from the buyers! What is very exciting is to play around the numbers. Right now, we are making roughly $30/month with a site that gets 500 visitors. Imagine if we can get this site to get 5,000 visitors? This would probably generate revenues of $300/month. Even at $200/month, this would be awesome since this is pure passive income. Once the book is done, there is nothing else to work on!
What’s the secret behind this small eBook? It’s darn targeted to a very specific and narrow audience. This book covers 1 very specific need and is made for 1 situation only. While we probably can’t sell 500 books per month ever (even with a substantial traffic), this tell us that we are way better off creating very specific books and aim at very small audiences. It takes less time to build and your sales are way easier (read PASSIVE!). This is another way to reach the blogging’s Holy Grail.
Oh… I’m sure you want to know what eBook I’m talking about, right? Hehehe! It’s Passing Your CFA Exam in 12 Weeks.Comments: 0 Read More
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