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$6,000+ of app design ebook sales today (nathanbarry.com)
91 points by rob41 1930 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 43 comments



Nathan - congrats buddy!

There are a few key takeaways anyone who has a product, or wants to create a product, should take note of.

* Email lists are very, very important. I was also able to market my freelancing book to 2,000+ freelancers on my Planscope list. Like Nathan with his weekly list, I had a huge head start.

* Additionally, the theory that you can't sell to the HN audience is bunk. When I wrote a post similar to Nathan's about how I netted $2k in presales, I made another $1k that day alone off HN traffic. And I'm absolutely certain that Nathan is making sales right now from HN. Something to keep in mind: HN doesn't like being sent to marketing sites. HN wants immediate and direct value. So instead of just showing off your latest product, put together a post about what technical or promotional hurdles you went through putting together your product - i.e., sell through education. Look at my submissions to see this in action for both my products.

* Increase customer LTV wherever possible. You could pay Nathan $29 for the book, which triggers as an OK price to pay for most of us. Now that you're interested, for $30 more you can get some videos and PSDs. These people came for one thing and left with another, the same underlying theory supermarkets use to upsell you at the checkout line.

* Nathan now has a mailing list of people who have already taken out their credit cards for him in the past. This is pure gold.


Email lists are very, very important. I was also able to market my freelancing book to 2,000+ freelancers on my Planscope list.

I'll second this (along with the scores of people I've discussed this topic with) because I accidentally turned this into my full-time business!

I started my Ruby Weekly newsletter merely with the goal of promoting books and screencasts I wanted to make but it has gone a bit too well and now I have 75k subscribers to speak with. Sadly still no books.. but the training and screencasts have gone well.


And because you're dishing out a weekly email, you're keeping the list healthy and motivated.

I've made the mistake (and I know a lot of other's have too) of: build email list, silence, silence, silence, SELL SELL SELL. ...And then Mailchimp contacts you about your unsubscribe rate being too high :-)


Wow! That is an incredible number of subscribers. Sounds like it is time to write that book. I am now at $11.5k in less than 24 hours. With a list like that you could do a lot better.


Update: I am now at $11,536.90 in less than 24 hours of sales. I guess I can cross "Make $10,000 in one day" off my bucket list!


Awesome! Congrats!


I just bought the book and the preview chapter is what convinced me that the book was worth owning. The content was new to me and it was obvious you've put in a lot of effort. I'm just at the beginning stages of iOS development and I thought reading your book now will be a good start to get me thinking differently about app development.


I contributed to that $6k with a book purchase today. Nicely done Nathan!


Thanks Rob! I always appreciate the support.


How much of this marketing for an ebook do you think applies for a conventional book launch through a publisher? I guess that question also applies to any other tangible product for that matter?


Since I haven't done traditional publishing, I don't really know. But I do know that in a traditional format it would take a lot more work for considerably less revenue.

I really think for technical books/guides like this digital publishing is the way to go.


I have a question, for you Nathan, or even anyone who has published an ebook. Do you think a large portion of your success is due to the commercial nature of the book? (You help people make better apps, which makes them money) Or, is it just one among many factors?

I ask because I am contemplating writing an ebook, but it's more of a self-help-style book. Nothing cheesy, I promise. But the premise is more of "I'll help you accomplish X" rather than "I'll help you build beautiful apps/achieve Y technical feature."

Thanks a ton, and good luck.


Really it comes down to proving value. The price and content doesn't matter (very much) if the value is there. People like Chris Guillebeau (http://chrisguillebeau) sell digital guides on all kinds of subjects and do well.

Though generally something that helps people make money will be easier to justify. Send me an email (nathan@thinklegend.com) with more info and I'd be happy to give more detailed feedback.


Great answer, I really appreciate it.


Nathan, I almost completely missed this. I woke up to it on HN. Yes, I did get your email yesterday around 8:30am but when I read it on my iPhone, I skimmed right to the center section, with the 4 icons, which is now my routine after getting it for months. Your book has been coming for a while so didn't actually notice that it shipped.

Anyway, I'd suggest a more prominent headline in your next newsletter, or even include the different versions. Heck, why not just dedicate half an issue to discussing it?


I didn't want to seem like I was spamming my list by focusing on it too much. Though I will continue to mention it in the coming weeks.

Thanks for subscribing to the newsletter!


During the gold rush the people who made money were the ones who sold the tools. Same logic applies here. (nothing against that btw it is just how it works)


I've made money on both sides. $40k on selling apps, now $7k selling the book (the tool in your analogy). I think it is good to do both.


That's great Nathan and Thanks for sharing as well.

Truly inspiring for all the folks sitting on Xcode day in an day out


Awesome article.

Question about Gumroad - it looks like you are able to make purchases directly from your site http://nathanbarry.com/app-design-handbook/ and not have to be directed to https://gumroad.com/l/AppDesign. Is this the norm for Gumroad or did you have to add anything custom to the process?


That is standard with Gumroad using their modal feature. It was really easy to setup!


This is a fantastic article, I learned a ton.

Unfortunately when I went to buy the product, it dead locks chrome at 100% process usage, and it breaks scrolling in a bad way.

I also don't like the pricing: - give me an obvious choice like the Economist. At the bottom there should be a launch day offer for $80 that gives me the full package for being a pre-review adopter. I need your product, but as it stands there was no clear package to choose.


I like having the tiered pricing, but I would probably minimize the 50 user license package.

You should absolutely test this assumption, but I might try:

$49 -> book

$249 -> book + Photoshop originals + X hours of premium tutorial videos + Obj-C PDF + sample project

You'll get +$10 for the baseline purchase, and I think a lot of people who are willing to drop $50 might be very persuaded to almost 5x their price for the value you're putting in the fully loaded package. You're solving a real pain, and people who do this for a living drop money on pain killers.


Sorry that the process didn't go well. Could you send me a screenshot? nathan@thinklegend.com

As for the pricing I thought that $59 was the obvious choice, though I see what you mean about wanting everything.


I'm always happy when a geek makes money, way to go!


Me too. I love these success stories, so I make sure to share my own revenue numbers.


Congrats! I love it when money making geeks share revenue numbers.


I emailed you this morning, read your blog entries and bought the book about 20 minutes later.... very good stuff.


Awesome stuff.

Two things I thought would significantly boost your sales:

1) Try book reviews by bloggers 2) Run deals on AppSumo, etc?


If I had my launch planned better I would have had book reviews go live today. But unfortunately I got overwhelmed and didn't get that done. Maybe next time!


No money to be made in the App store, much to be made teaching people how to build apps. Kudos.


Teaching people commercially relevant skills which bill out at $150 an hour is a great thing for everyone involved. (And in that light this is possibly severely underpriced. I love the packaging options available, but I think there is probably also a packaging option for selling the same benefit to customers at 10X the prices on this page right now.)


I knew at some point you would tell me it was underpriced! :)

Patrick, thanks for all your encouragement and reminders to charge based on value. Without that I would have picked a much lower price and probably made half the money.


Love that you used Gumroad for the sales. :)


Me too. They are fantastic! I plan to post a detailed review later on.


Great post Nathan. What tools did you use to author the ebook and are you looking beyond pdf format?


Yes! I would like to know a bit more about the tools used to create the ebook too.


Congratulations Nathan. Great article, great landing page for your book too.


I just bought a copy. Looking forward to great designed apps.


How long did it take to get the confirmation email? I've been waiting over 3 hours now.


Thanks! I'd love to know what you think. My email address is nathan@thinklegend.com


You've probably heard the following parable:

Little Bull: "Let's run down the hill and make sweet love to a couple of cows."

Big Bull: "I got a better idea, let's walk down and make sweet love to them all."

When you have content of a transient nature, you got to get the going while the going is good. An ebook launch like this will get the job done.

However, if you write a book that will blow people's minds and change a culture or an industry forever, you don't need the big launch. The name of your book will be whispered into the ears of others for a long time. You will get your sales.

The latter is a lot harder to do, but I'm hoping I can do just that.

Watch this space.


I agree that you want the book to truly influence people, but I think you'd be surprised how important a strong launch is. Don't underestimate the importance of making a big splash right away.




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