Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

A few thoughts:

1. OP isn't as bad a designer as he thinks. The goal isn't a beautiful page so much as "no trust destroying indicators" like weird fonts, bad formatting etc. Good Job!

2. OP could probably double their sales by offering the first chapter for free with email signup on the landing page and then offering a time-limited discount as part of an email sequence.

3. We (in the dev space) have a weird view of these sorts of things as we make relatively so much in salary. But $400/mo is a decent car payment, another way to thinking about this is that OP wrote himself a free car.

4. OP could have taken all this knowledge applied it in his job, etc. but by making this very public and consumable objective proof of his knowledge he's put a solid milestone in his career path. I've friends that have done similar and then picked up six figure consulting gigs, lucrative job offers, etc.

All around, I just want to say nicely done and that I would love to see more developers do similar.

Hey thanks a lot for your comment!

For point 2) yes that's something I could have tried, I see a lot of people doing this so I guess it works.

About point 3) I know that for SF folks making 150-200k / year, $400/month is like pocket change. Just keep in mind that in other countries, like France (I'm French) and many other European countries, a Junior dev is making 30-40k€ on average, and Senior around 45-55k€ (1)

[1] https://www.payscale.com/research/FR/Job=Software_Developer/...

Good call and good approach. I'd recommend taking it a further step.

My co-author and I figured out that a positive feedback loop is key. In addition to our API Design Book at http://theapidesignbook.com/ my co-author and I have a weekly newsletter at http://bit.ly/apiWeekly then he followed the consulting route using those for lead generation while I did some classes for Lynda/LinkedIn Learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/instructors/keith-casey and in both cases, we refer back to the book and the newsletter. Then in my day job at Okta, I talk about the same topics and occasionally refer to our stuff among other things as "for more information."

Most of it is free, a few things are paid, but everything builds and complements each other.

No matter where anyone finds us, the threads lead to the other things. This allows people to understand the basics of APIs, learn some advanced topics, and generally stay up to date on the space as a whole.

I have a few friends who have left cushy tech jobs to take roles in the non-profit sector, which they augment with side jobs they enjoy (teaching, writing, etc.) One just plays poker for rent money to augment what she makes booking gigs as a lower-tier musician.

They all seem much happier.

You're welcome! Since you seemed to like the suggestions, here are two more:

1. Try raising prices by 50% for a month, see if your actual unit sales decrease.

2. Record a video for each chapter and then offer that at a (much) higher price point. $250+ - combine all this together and I bet you could crack $1k/mo.

> Record a video for each chapter and then offer that at a (much) higher price point.

Thanks for sharing. For technical topics, I think reading is much faster and reliable because readers can skim and also copy code. I'm curious why it might be effective to produce a video and price it higher?

Some people are almost completely price insensitive for amounts in the low hundreds. They have a work budget that can be spent on training if they want, picking the better value $60 option wont gain them anything at all, and picking the $250 video option might end up being useful maybe. Like if they don't understand a concept the way its written, maybe it's explained differently in the video. It doesn't really matter. They aren't stopping to think about it. The cost is irrelevant to them and that package lists the most things they get.

People (in general) view video courses as being worth more than an ebook alone. I'm with you on this and personally prefer to consume technical information in text form, but there are many who don't.

> The goal isn't a beautiful page so much as "no trust destroying indicators" like weird fonts, bad formatting etc.

Could you give an example of what kind of a font would be a "trust destroying indicator" ? Maybe comic sans I guess, but I have a feeling you mean something more subtle.

> 2. OP could probably double their sales by offering the first chapter for free

Maybe! IDK.

What are the percentage of people that would make the the first chapter in and fail to convert - vs the people that would have bought then likewise never finished?

For what it's worth, I offer my entire book [0] online for free, and I am very happy with both the print and eBook sales.

[0]: https://gameprogrammingpatterns.com/

I get that this model is successful (when it is)... But the counter-intuitiveness is hard for me to overcome.

I'm not a marketer and haven't done a lot of research, but my informal impression is that the logic works out something like this:

Because I have the entire book online, people are much more likely to reference and point other people to it because it's a complete useful web resource. If, say, someone on Reddit asks about learning some architectural pattern, it's natural for someone to say "Oh, check out this book here." It's less likely they would say, "Oh, check out this page which just describes a book that you have to buy to actually answer your question."

So my book is much higher profile than it would otherwise be. A lot more people are discovering my book and coming into the funnel. The fact that they can read the whole thing without paying probably means a smaller fraction of people buy it, but the increase in the total number outweighs that.

Also, giving it away for free gives people a lot of gratitude towards me and that in turn can cause some to buy it. It feels less transactional to them because they don't have to. In fact, I've had a lot of people email me saying they had already read the entire book online but bought a print version just to show thanks.

Let's say that preview shouldn't discourage "buying for the shelf", with the plan to read the book one day even if that never happens. I presume this accounts for a wealth of turnover in the book market.

For item 2, Do you know of a email trickel system that would take care of this. Or is it just a salesforce/crm feature to look for?

Applications are open for YC Summer 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact