Given that this was all done within 24 hours, it's unlikely that many sales came from the quality of the book: people won't have had time to read the book, and so word-of-mouth-based sales will be negligible if not nonexistent.
In the first few days of sales, most every transaction is derived from presentation, notoriety, or luck...
I haven't read the book (and I couldn't afford it even if I had a desire to do so), and it may be a fine product. However, Nathan could have easily published a piece of abject trash, full of platitudes and banal tautology, and done perhaps just as well. Quality has no bearing on the initial success of a product, and only comes into play later. It just goes to show how much gravity factors like marketing have on sales.
1. 26k is not a huge amount of money.
2. He didn't make the money in 24 hours. There was a lot of work involved in the writing and making of the book.
Even if that weren't true, it's still an inordinately large amount of money to earn in a single day. When is the last time you made 26k in a day?
2. The amount of time spent making the product has nothing to do with the amount of time in which the sales were made. What you're saying is just incoherent. Within a 24 hour period, he earned 26k. The assertion that the time put into making the product also qualifies as time over which he earned money just isn't logical.
He made a lot of money in a short time based on notoriety and marketing. What is so hard to accept about that?
I think it's pretty good, but it's not like Nathan is earning 26k a day every day, it's basically just once or twice a year.
And if you spent several months building up a following, writing a blog, getting people to sign up to a mailing list, not to mention releasing another eBook first, you too could "make a lot of money in a short time based on notoriety and marketing"…
Basically, the moment it was offered for sale, the product was purchased practically sight unseen (altho the article mentions that he in effect pre-released portions of the text to his newsletter subscribers).
Given this, the book could have been low quality and it wouldn't have impacted this sales curve. In which case, the OP could have spent 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, or 5 months writing the book and the sales curve would look similar.
What I gleaned from this article was not that it took substantial effort to write a book to evoke this sort of sales curve, but rather there was a process of building expectation and an audience which would result in substantial sales for a book, regardless of its level of quality. The level of quality became assumed and did not require prior evidence. Thus, labor / effort in writing was not proportional to sales.
The actual time vs. value comparison is irrelevant, though. Regardless of the time and effort it took to make, the 26k figure is pretty remarkable. We would not be having this discussion if he had made 1k-2k each day over the course of the past few weeks.
Moreover, the true quality of and time invested in the book doesn't change the fact that those who bought in the first day likely did so out of ignorance and without knowledge of the quality.
Given the amount of work put in, is it a truly huge payday for Nathan? Not really. Is it still a massive one-day sale figure? Yes.
Tell you what, I live in Tunisia, and still $26K is not huge or even big by any measures
2. Within a 24 hour period, he earned 26k.
Not true, if he were to do it again, he'll need to write another book; and that can't be done in 24 hours. But again, tell you what, I'll accept that argument.
He made a lot of money in a short time based on notoriety and marketing.
He has a brand. No one is born with a brand. You make the brand. The brand is a capital, just like a car or something of value you have. You can't make a brand in 24 hours, far from it.
I sold about $12,000 in the first 24 hours for my first book.
For the record, I'm not asserting that it's bad that you made so much money based on theses factors. I don't expect you not to market you products. If anything, I was commenting on the importance of marketing to initial success.
I finished v1 of my ebook from a post that did really well on HN: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3837264 I have been really looking into distribution of the eBook and this is such a timely post for me.
Did you think about publishing the book on amazon / other eBook sites? Did you ever think about making this into a real book or using kickstarter to get funding?
Thanks for this post. Seriously Awesome.
- Stores like Amazon and iBooks limit the price you can charge. iBooks limits it to $15 for the book, Amazon radically changes the royalty payments if you go above $10 (or so). I want to charge premium prices, so those audiences wouldn't work.
- Selling through another provider means that they aren't my customers. I don't have contact information for follow-ups, other sales offers, or anything else. Owning the customer list is really important to building a sustainable business.
- When I sell through my own site I keep about 95% from every sale. If I sold through the iBooks store I would only get 70%. I would be willing to accept a lower percentage if it meant I was able to build my customer lists.
A final thought is that I've seen people put all their effort into creating the product (whether it is an app or an eBook) then put it up on the store, just expecting it to take off and organically get sales. By selling through my own site I was forced to do all the marketing and promotion myself. Since that is a skill I am still developing, it was important to me.
The final few emails would then try to sell the book. IMO it's too hard to sell this sort of product to an audience that has never heard of you.
Right now it is just a matter of figuring out where to spend my time.
Shoot for an optin rate ~45.1% at least (if this is hard straight out the box, just have 1 data field, i.e. email address not name+email address)
Profit hack: consider a funnel like this:
squeeze page-->immediate redirect = sales page-->sales page thank you has something like PayWithATweet.com on it...offer a bonus for a social share.
Unfortunately selling with Gumroad I can't track conversions effectively, so that may make page optimization more difficult.
I'll give it a try soon and report back the results (on my blog).
Would be happy to share it with you for free in return for an endorsement if you find it helpful.
My email is email@example.com if you're interested!
Since the entire purchase happens in a secure iFrame I have no way of knowing on my site when the transaction completes. So I can't use Visual Website Optimizer or Google Analytics to track the conversion.
I hear they are working on this... Otherwise they are wonderful.
1. Did you have to 'kick back' any money? To those that you interviewed, or companies where you used their screenshots in your examples/critiques? Did you reach out to them and notifying them that they/their company will be in your book for profit?
2. From the sample chapter, you talk a lot about principles and critiques of interface design but are there any area in the book where there are data or user ability studies to explain it further (ie: why they work)? Or is most of it based on experience?
3. Any plans for a sample page on the case study? I think that's where the most value is - the full process of where you take us through your thoughts and reasoning on designing a product.
For companies I didn't contact them in most cases. The few I did talk to were thrilled their designs were being used as an example in a book.
2. This book is light on data and studies. That's a short coming. These are all techniques that I know work well, but I don't always have a study to back it up.
3. I'm not sure what you mean about a sample page for the case study. To better market it? That case study has a lot of great content and I'll be working with the company further to write a lot more articles and tutorials around what we all learned in that process.
For the case study, basically I'd like to know what it entails before purchasing. All the other content speak of principles and guidelines but I find it more interesting to read about an actual case study, the thoughts and reasoning behind the decisions made. (I can't find what the case study was about too - just that it's a time tracking service. Is it Harvest? Basecamp?)
You said you'll be working with the company further, I look forward to that one!
I believe he's currently working on adding subscription payments (and hopefully invoicing) which I am very keen to get but affiliates/electronic delivery could be another great add-on for him to deliver.
More about that here: http://nathanbarry.com/commitment-changed-career/
Did you really make all of the graphics and layouts (perfectly I might add), create a book landing page, tweak your blog to promote the book, maintain your Twitter following, deal with miscellaneous tasks (server configurations, etc), conduct interviews, do the copyediting and review process, all while writing 1,000 words a day, in the same timespan?
Did you have a life? Did you ever take time to watch a TV show or switch off your computer or phone? Really inspiring stuff man, great work!
Don't believe this bullcrap people. This person is lying to get covered by Hacker News and similar sites. I bet he didn't make $500 in total.