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.
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.
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 :-)
I really think for technical books/guides like this digital publishing is the way to go.
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.
Though generally something that helps people make money will be easier to justify. Send me an email (email@example.com) with more info and I'd be happy to give more detailed feedback.
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?
Thanks for subscribing to the newsletter!
Truly inspiring for all the folks sitting on Xcode day in an day out
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?
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.
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.
As for the pricing I thought that $59 was the obvious choice, though I see what you mean about wanting everything.
Two things I thought would significantly boost your sales:
1) Try book reviews by bloggers
2) Run deals on AppSumo, etc?
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.
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.