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!
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