I mean, I’m usually pretty good at what I do.
Especially when I do it for the second time.
Well, I guess it’s totally different when you charge, right?
You got it. I’m talking about the number of downloads for each of my books. In the right corner, with 12,652 downloads, weighing 37 pages and containing clear explanations about how to invest in dividend stocks; Dividend Investing: How To Build A Never Ending Cash Distributor
And on the left corner, the overweight 97 page eBook with templates and appendices, containing clear explanations on the very first steps on how to get out of the Rat Race… and with 22 downloads… Rat Race: 1 Year From Now, Will You Still Be A Rat?.
Ouch! This hurts! After a month and a half, I have only 22 sales of my 2nd eBook…. Definitely nothing to write home about! As I previously mentioned at the beginning of the year, my goal was to sell 100 copies by the end of the year. Let’s face it, this ain’t gonna happen. Unless Santa Claus buys them from me for Xmas!
After a few days of frustration (‘cause it’s really frustrating to put so much effort, energy and money into something!), I had to seriously think about what went wrong. While my first book was free, I still have more than 12,000 downloads in 3 months which is nothing compared to 22!
At first, I didn’t want to talk about the sales of my eBook on TFB and just pretend it never happened. I even debated this topic with my partner as to how transparent we should be about this failure. I was am ashamed of my poor results. But I told you at the beginning of the year that I would be transparent with my business. It’s pretty easy to do when you claim to the world that you made 11K from blogging last month, but it’s another thing when you have to claim your failures! So I decided to go “all-in!” But while I can’t tell you how to write and market a successful eBook, I can tell you where I shot and missed. So here are the hard learned lessons I came up with.
So my first eBook talks about how to set yourself with the right mindset, get your finances in order and prepare to get out of the rat race. In my opinion, I got it all right: people are stuck with jobs they don’t like, don’t manage their finances properly, don’t take the time or the energy to build a sideline business…. In other words; several people are stuck in the deep shiz and they don’t really know how to get out of it. So what’s wrong with the topic? 2 things:
#1 People know that they are stuck but they don’t care (e.g. they don’t realize how bad their situation is… this is usually called denial).
#2 Getting your personal finances in order is like losing weight: we all know we should do it and how to do it but we just don’t act.
The main problem with my topic is that I didn’t aim for emotion, for commitment. I simply tell the world; hey! Look at me! I got out of the rat race and I’ll tell you how…
Sorry! Not sexy enough!
When I thought about writing a book about escaping the Rat Race, I knew that I wasn’t reinventing the wheel; there are tons of books about personal finance and the rat race. I thought mine was different because it has 4 parts and I was going towards a very specific plan and a very specific route to become financially independent (through blogging). So the first book is too basic for most of you, my educated readers ;-). If you have been following me for a few years, chances are that you already have most of your finances in order and that you don’t feel the need to read the first book.
In fact, I think am sure that I would sell more copies of an eBook that explains how to build a media kit, deal with advertisers and build your own 6 figure online empire on 10 hours a week! Well… this is part 4 of my series ;-)… a little bit too long of a wait to sell copies, right?
I did my bachelor’s degree in Marketing… and it seems that I forgot most of it when I did this book! The price for the Rat Race is $27. I didn’t want to price it lower. It wasn’t a matter of making a lot of money per book but rather to show that it has value and I wanted motivated people to buy this book. I think that if you are not motivated, you won’t be able to apply most techniques I wrote about.
But the truth is that $27 for a PDF document is just too much for most people. Worse than that, $27 is definitely not enough to develop engaged and motivated buyers. Therefore, I’m just another writer, selling another book. Price differentiation totally went wrong with my marketing!
The problem with only 22 copies sold is that you can’t say if you product is good or bad… at this point, it is just bad marketing. So you have to take a closer look at the sales page and strategy to sell the book.
I spoke with a few people about my disappointing results and Baker was honest enough to tell me that my sales page sucks! Well, he’s a nice guy so it actually went like this:
“Out of 10, I would give your eBook cover a 9” (thx man!)
“But your sales page is a 6 at best” (doh!)
What’s so bad about my sales page? Several things:
#1 Graphics are not that great, I should have hired a professional webdesigner to create a kick ass page… and not try to do it myself!
#2 It doesn’t catch the buyer’s attention, I need to have a more powerful layout with images to convince people that my ebook is great.
#3 I don’t focus on emotion enough. While I worked on the page already, I still have more work to do in order to focus on benefits and emotion for potential buyers. You probably don’t care about how many pages and appendices you’ll get but you sure will smile when you read that this book will show you how to tell your boss how to shove his report up is ….
Besides the sales page, I’ve made several other marketing mistakes:
#1 I sent the contents of my sales page to my newsletter subscribers… the email was too long and too big. A short line such as “Hey Mike, take a few minutes to check out my book, I promise it will change your life forever”. People hate long emails (I do!) so what’s the point of sending a sales pitch to my most loyal readers? Man… that was such an amateur mistake!
#2 I got the link wrong in the newsletter! OMG! What a retard! So I had to send a second email with the right link… out of that email, I got 30 clicks to the shopping cart and 12 sales… just to show you how having the proper setup is a must when you launch a product!
#3 I counted on affiliate programs to sell books. Lol! At the Financial Blogger Conference, Ramit said that bloggers don’t sell products most of the time. In fact, it’s pretty hard as a blogger to be successful at affiliate marketing so I guess that selling your friend’s book won’t be any different! This is why I sent my book to several bloggers, got pretty good comments about it and some great reviews… but nothing more than links. Not a single sale.
On top of my numerous mistakes, there are omissions! Here are only a few things that should have been done and didn’t:
I recently heard of bloggers giving a full chapter away to their newsletter readers so they get a real feel of the book. This is such a great tease and it shows what you have to offer. I think that offering a freebie is always a good way to show people why they should spend money and trust you.
At first, we thought of launching each book separately and offer a special discount each time for previous buyers. Right now, I’m considering writing the whole thing in one shot, package it as 4 volumes of the same book (because this is exactly what it is) and sell only the package of something that will probably have over 500 pages. I think that the value will obviously be there in terms of content and that everybody will be able to pick the advice they need.
These books are meant to be a series of 4 steps. In my opinion, you can’t achieve step #3 before step #1. But hey! What if most people are more interested in reading about step #3 and #4 before doing anything they find in books #1 and #2? By selling the whole package in one shot, I’ll be able to reach everybody in one shot.
Instead of asking bloggers for reviews, I should have been much better at writing huge and epic guest posts on big blogs and mention that I have a book about escaping the rat race.
It’s not too late to apply these strategies and I’ll certainly do it. However, I’ll wait until I really want to write about this book again (the pill is still VERY hard to swallow). In the meantime, I went back to my first success and I’m writing the second book about Dividend Investing ;-D
I’ll keep you posted on my other experience in my newsletter, be sure to subscribe ;-).
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