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$72,000 in E-Books in a Week – 8 Lessons I Learned

Over the last 11 days I’ve been on a massive learning curve.

This post is a number of the scattered lessons I’ve been learning – mainly from the launch of my Portraits E-book over at Digital Photography School. This builds upon the post – The Insiders View of How I Launched My New E-book from last week.

Update on the Launch

In the last few hours I’ve ended the official launch process of the e-book. You may remember that we launched the book with a 25% off discount on the book that was to last a bit over a week (9 days actually).

In that time we’ve sold a bit over 4800 e-books.

Before you rush off to grab the calculator – that’s a little bit below $72,000 USD since launch.

While it has certainly been a profitable week – do keep in mind that there are some costs to take off this figure, it’s not all profit. PayPal takes a fee off every transaction, there were design costs, proof reading, affiliate commissions etc.

All in all it’s been a fun week but I’d learned a lot about this type of launch that I’ll do differently next time.

Lesson #1: Offers with Deadlines Work:

You’ll see from the following chart the number of sales each day during the launch.

e-book-sales.png

Day 1 and 2 were the ‘pre-launch’ – held over the weekend and basically a trickle of sales from a couple of tweets that I made.

Day 3 was launch day. It was when I emailed my list, posted on the DPS blog, tweeted in earnest about it and posted my last post mentioning it here on ProBlogger. It was a great day of sales.

Days 4-9 saw me do a few promotions on Twitter and an attempt by me to get my affiliates for the product promoting it. I’ll talk more about the affiliate promotions below. I also mentioned the e-book in the weekly newsletter that I sent out (Day 5) but that promotion wasn’t as in your face as others as I didn’t want to burn out readers. These days were steady in terms of sales which surprised me a little as Thanksgiving was in the middle of it all!

Day 10 was the day I sent out my final ‘last chance’ email to my list. It was a short email simply reminding them that they had 36 hours to go to take action on the 25% discount. The email also linked to a page on the blog where I had a number of reviews from other blogs that said nice things about the e-book.

This last action email and the post on the blog drove a heap of sales. I was expecting it to be a good day but Day 10 went past the launch and considering that the promotion ended halfway through Day 11’s figures that was a good day too.

All in all I think this chart illustrates the power of having an offer with a deadline. The sense of urgency and scarcity that such an offer brings about is powerful.

Lesson #2 – Extra Launch Offer

One thing that I almost immediately regretted with this offer was not having a time sensitive offer that ended after 24 hours. While the first day and last day were great, the reaction of a lot of readers on Day #1 was ‘I’ll think about it’.

Perhaps having a fast action bonus of some kind might have helped convert some of these procrastinating buyers. I’m sure some did end up buying but perhaps not having a fast action bonus lost a few sales on launch day.

Lesson #3 – Mid Promotion Offer

I mentioned above that on Day 5 I mentioned the e-book in my weekly newsletter. I showed the above chart to a couple of experienced internet marketers over the last few hours and each one of them said it’s a pretty typical result. The first and last day of an offer are generally the biggest.

However a couple of them also suggested that they also try to do a mid launch promotion also. In this way they try to get their chart to look more like a W than the V that my chart is like.

Upon reflection I could have done something similar with a number of things. Next time I’ll consider a post and/or email mid launch that points to some reviews/testamonials of the product as well as adding an extra bonus.

Jeff Walker did a nice mid launch promotion on his latest launch that seemed to work well – midway through he added a series of extra bonuses for buyers.

Lesson #4 – Affiliates Need More Hand Holding

Next time around I will be putting a lot more effort into developing relationships with the affiliates promoting the promotion. While 2-3 of the affiliates did quite good promotions – they were in the minority. Here’s what I’ll work on next time:

  1. communicating with affiliates before the launch – the craziness of the launch I didn’t start equipping affiliates until I’d already launched. While I did have a couple of them set up and ready to go most signed up on Day 3-4 and didn’t start promoting until days 5-6 which coincided with Thanksgiving.
  2. tips for affiliates – as I watched the promotions that some of the affiliates ran it became pretty obvious that many didn’t really have much experience in affiliate marketing – I think I assumed too much and should have developed some resources for them that showed them how to promote the e-book. While I’m not a big fan of swipe files and would never use them myself when promoting a product – I can now see why many people offer them to affiliates.
  3. banners – again, I wish I’d put a little more time aside to put together some banners and other graphics for affiliates to use. This was on my list of things to do but in the whirlwind of the last few days before launch it didn’t happen.
  4. recruit affiliates – I think this will get easier as I launch more products because I’ll have previous affiliates already set up but next time there are a few sites that I’d like to target as potential affiliates that didn’t come on board this time. Perhaps they didn’t come on because it was all too last minute or perhaps I simply didn’t have the relationship with them that I thought I did – but next time I want to be more prepared and have done more groundwork in this area.

Lesson #5 – Pre Launch Buzz

Apart from a few comments in passing in newsletters and blog posts – I did very very little to build anticipation on DPS in the weeks before this launch. I think I wasn’t wanting to build unrealistic expectations with readers or to be too in your face – and in doing so failed to create ANY anticipation among readers.

I look back now and think I should have done more – perhaps doing a live interview with a portrait photographer in the days before, running a competition, publishing an excerpt from the e-book…. etc

I don’t think that these pre-launch promotions need to be ‘in your face’ at all – rather they should both build buzz but also be useful to readers.

Lesson #6 – Price Isn’t Everything

When I ended the 25% off discount I expected that the folder in my inbox that collects emails about new sales would sit dormant for a while. The promotion is over – sales will stop now won’t they?

Not true. The price is back up to it’s normal price now of $19.95 but the sales are coming in pretty much at the same rate that they were before the discount. There’s still a certain buzz going around about the E-book and this momentum continues to drive sales. Even since writing this post we’ve had another 10!

Lesson #7 – It Takes a lot of work

This type of launch is both exhilarating and exhausting.

The excitement of launching this 9 days ago was fantastic. Seeing the first sales being rung up over the first few hours was a real buzz. Getting up each morning and realizing that you’d sold several hundred e-books was great.

However the number of emails that I’ve personally replied to this week must have been quite a few hundred. The weight of customer service type queries that come in when doing a launch is massive.

People whose computers crash during downloads, problems with credit cards, complaints about PayPal, people with old versions of Adobe Reader that mean they can’t read the PDF, people who fail to see that you’re selling an E-Book not a hard cover book (despite you slapping it all over your sales page)….. etc

This is just the territory that comes with this type of launch and if I were smart I’d probably have outsourced it – but it was good to get my head across it all as it taught me a lot.

Lesson #8 – Products are Powerful For More than Just the Money They Earn

I’m planning a post on this later in the week so won’t say too much except that both with this Portrait e-book and the development of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook I’ve discovered that having a product of your own is something quite powerful.

Not only is it an income stream – but it’s something that has a real impact upon both your readers and your standing in your niche/industry:

  • I’ve noticed that readers are quite excited about the launch – they are proud that a blog that they belong to has it’s own resource.
  • Some readers somehow feeling more ownership of the blog because they have bought the e-book. I guess they now have something a little more tangible from the blog that they own.
  • I’ve also had a few emails from others in the photography space who seem to have taken a bit more notice of the site as a result of the e-book. It’s already opened doors.

That’s it for now – I’m going to log off now for a bit and have a glass of bubbly before crashing into bed to try and recuperate before I have to do it all again!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Darren, your The Man!!!

    You’ve got me beat by $29,800.

    I guess us bald skinny guys have all the luck.

    Dr. Dave Hale
    The Internet Marketing Professor

  • For #7 – you should probably put together a FAQ from that experience and use it next time you have an e-book launch. When people write, auto-reply with the FAQ and provide a different email address to which they should write if their problem is not covered in the FAQ. After each launch, update the FAQ.

    Erin

  • M.

    This is an excellent product you’ve put together. I owned a small-publishing site and we always tried to give customers the best product we could, but this one is truly outstanding. No wonder you had such great sales numbers.

    Well done!

  • Oh man you’re awesome!! Make $72000 in just week is my dream. Thanks for the tips too. In 2010 my target is $5000 per month ! And you help me with lots os ideas.

  • This was some very valuable information. Thanks or sharing. We wil be sure to put to use in launching our much anticipated ” Starter Guide to Youth Fitness”

  • Congratulations on your success Darren. Totally well deserved from the amount of work you’ve obviously put in.

  • Darren,

    This is exciting.

    As an affiliate manager for other marketers since 2005, I’m looking forward to launching my own product.

    I’ve learned a lot from working with others and I know somewhat what to expect, but nothing beats doing things under your own name.

    Yes, I agree, having your own product is essential.

    Krizia

  • Nanuni Kokoritu – I like your numbers. That was what I also had in mind and then keep growing from that point on.

  • Oh man you’re awesome!! Make $72000 in just week is my dream.

    Thanks for the tips too. In 2010 my target is $3000 per month ! And you help me with lots of ideas.

  • ’ve also found having a deadline, and mentioning it a lot, can help sell a few more copies or a book, e-book or a web site layout.

  • Oeh, you did a good job: $72,00 is a huge income for 10 days work haha.

  • I agreed on comment suggestion for an FAQ to help your next launch.

    BTW I would LOVE to be your next ebook product launch project! I am a food blogger of almost 4 years and would love to sell a cookbook…

    Help?

  • Thanks 4 posting, I found this very interesting and helpful.

    Thanks,
    Scott, CA

    http.linksharedirect.blogspot.com

  • Thanks 4 posting, I found this very interesting and helpful.

    Thanks,
    Scott, CA

  • Kaw

    Wow, that’s a nice number of books sold. Have to do it again and again.
    Thanks

  • Another great rticle! I always like read your blog so I always come back for more to get so useful information. Thanks.

    http://www.losangelescarrental.org/

  • That is a great sales figure in a week time! You are really giving a detailed insight of your business which I love and I’m sure other readers love it too.

  • Congrats on your success. Like you said in your final section. Products are really powerful. Specially, what you learn during you create, launch and after the launch.

    When I created my first product 3 yrs ago, I was surprised by the results. It opened doors to many relationships with other marketers.

  • It is good to see how a real pro does things, there is something to be learned here even for a wee fish like me. If I can reach my target of 500 copies in the next year I will be a happy man.

  • Next wonderfull article 72$ in a week…..wow

  • Nice job. Congratulations on your sales figures.

  • Can I join your group vacation to the Disney World too? Just kidding – great work!

  • I’m intrigued by the feedback loop you have created in this blog, particularly evident in this post.

    You retain and attract readers by articulating, in earnest, exactly what you do to make money from blogging and yet it is these exact same readers which make you money in the first place.

    I guess an individual reader isn’t aware of the patterns of the masses and so, despite his inclusion within this crowd, the insight from above is highly valuable. It certainly is to me.

  • Now this is what I like! Thanks for putting this information out there for everyone to see – actual results from someone actually making money on the web!

    Keep up the fantastic work, I love your site!

    Travis

  • Great tips! One of my biggest goals in 2010 is to launch my first ebook; I will definitely use this post as a step by step guide. Thanks again!

  • As with everyone else…congratulations on a successful launch. I really agree with beefy up your affiliate help. I’ve done a few affliate things in the past and still a newbie in this area, I can tell you, it would really help from our viewpoint.

    Have a Prosperous New Year.
    Mark

  • Thanks this is inspirational! Before you accept any publishing deals – consider doing it yourself. The possibilities for this keep expanding.

  • Thanks for the post. It encourages me to go on with my blog.

  • sweet, this will help me when I next launch a new ebook. hope you write more behind the scenes posts about your launch

  • I am planning to launch an ebook based on PLR, hope to get some great sales with your good tips. Thanks!

    Simon

  • Hi Darren

    You said you made $72,000, but there were some other expenses like PayPal fees and affiliate commissions etc, how much did all that cost?

    Also, an idea that could reduce the amount of customer service questions would be to make an FAQ page or something

  • i simply don’t believe it! awsome sales!

  • Yet another great post on this Blog. I have been thinking of writing an e-book for quite some time now but I know from experience that making money online is not easy and requires a lot of effort. The information you have here is very useful and will definately help me launch my first book.

  • Wow! Great results. I wonder how I can use these techniques myself. Hmm, will have to do a little planning.

  • Fantastic results !

    Can you please advise the % of return or refund requests you have received.

  • Thank you for these tips – I have made about $72 (without the k) in the last couple of years with my e-book. I thought writing it was going to be the difficult bit – selling it is even harder. I have got an awful lot to learn – thank you for the advice.

  • That is astonishing!! I’m getting ready to do just the same, and will hold off a little to make sure I have all your lessons in check! Thanks for the lessons learned!

  • Those earnings are really huge, Darren. I would like to know how much e-junkie took for helping with the sales. Your experience is an eye opener

  • I really hope you will at least run through some of his modules as it is so relevant to this post. I have never, yet, done a launch, but hope to in the early part of next year and will certainly be using your experience, and Jeff’s very logical step by step plan. Reinvest less than 5% of your net profit from this launch and I am sure you will achieve 50% increase in figures next time.

    This is an interesting post, particularly as it follows your frank admission earlier in the week that you had failed to expose yourself to any of Jeff Walkers strategies over the last few years and realised you had let yourself down by not doing so.

  • As a long time Italian Internet geek being in a break in the Caribbean after a US nice experience, i have to recognize your optimization in the work-flux, it’s amazing.

    The to do list must be a 300 k/byte file minimum in situations like, and your lessons are crystal clear and very useful. Especially the story about the affiliates and the launch, incredible true. I have to confess i read: “lunch” instead of “launch” the first time and was still true and funny :)

    I’m running a website for passion and incredible good climate here, where you can relax yourself swimming in 2 minutes, but it’s still important to be honest with your readers and offer always valuable and relevant content. So, thanks for the suggestions, i am trying to put together a photobook about this St.Maarten paradise, and i think i am gonna need them a lot. I’ll try to do my best.

    Congratulations,

    Alex

  • Nice post here. It does make senses, appreciate for sharing.
    This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. this is very nice one and gives indepth information.

  • very good tips darren
    thanks
    http://ebookku-gratis.blogspot.com

  • Thanks for sharing this experience with us! I believe it will be useful not only for me, but for all the readers.

    Mohamed Adam Jr
    Attraction Marketing Coach

  • A friend of mine wrote an ebook about fishing in Weipa. He released it last week. He’s has sold 2 copies so far in 4 days at $19.95 per copy. He is very pleased.

    He figures on these averages if he writes another 10 or so ebooks, he can retire:) I admire his thinking.

    Maybe that’s the secret? A few bucks per day from multiple little niches that have automatic delivery.

  • prashant

    Great results. I wonder how I can use these techniques myself. Hmm, will have to do a little planning.

    bookmarking demon

  • simply amazing. 70,000 of an ebook for photography? Wow, I would have never guess their was such demand. Congrats on a successful launch.

  • First off, congratulations on the earnings. This method of earnings has always interested me but I’m not quite to the point where I want to spend that much time working on an e-book and the frustration in successfully launching it. I will definitely keep this as a helpful guide when I do manage to start this up myself.

    Thanks for the super tips!
    -Josh

  • Thanks for sharing, I know your ebook is going to be a great success. What id like to know is… if you had a forecast of what you was going to earn in your first week and if this amount has hit your expectation or totally smashed it. Either way congratulations on your fantastic number.

  • Ok so you made some money – real good money I believe.

    Of all the pains and costs you mentioned related to your launch and the product, one that catch my attention (and I will always keep that in mind) is Lesson #7 – It Takes a lot of work.

    I can imagine the frustration on people pretending to have not seen the signs and banners and reiterations about the stuff being downloadable rather then tangible (as in books). How did you deal with it? Did you tweak your web pages? That would be interesting to know.

    And just before you answer, that, let me extend my kudos to you. You are an inspiration to those who want to make money online.

  • Congratulations on your success! Thank you for the helpful tips. I really appreciated it. Keep up the good work!

    Thanks again!

    Shanon

    Rich Edge

    http://www.richedge.com