The past few months have been insane with writing and launching my first book, The Blogpreneur. A few weeks ago I gave you the 45-day update on my progress and since then I've finished writing the book, designed it and pre-sold it to my audience.
At the time of publishing this post, I have hit the 64-day mark, so I wanted to give you an in-depth look into my book launch. The numbers, my launch strategy, what made me want to cry and what I have planned next!
Again, the point of these updates are not to scare you from writing your own book or make you think that writing a book is a piece of cake but to give you some insight from my personal journey through becoming a self-published author.
Let's start off with finishing up the book.
FINISHING THE BOOK
THE WRITING PROCESS. In my 45-day recap I thought all I needed to wrap up the book was to write the ending. But then I realized that I somehow completely skipped over one of the most important chapters in the entire book which also just so happened to be one of the longest. Not to mention I had yet to start designing it. This mistake cost me a lot of time and knocked me off of my original schedule which ultimately made me want to scream.
PRO TIP: When creating your timeline of when you want your project to be completed, factor in extra time for any unforeseen issues like mistakes, extra editing, revisions and time that you may have to wait for your designer.
THE DESIGN PROCESS. I mentioned before that I decided to design the book myself after not being able to work with who I wanted to and I wont lie that the process was tiresome. I have experience using InDesign but because the platform is still fairly new to me, i'm pretty sure it took me twice as long as it would have taken the average designer. Next time, if I don't have the time to solely devote on the design I will most definitely hire out. At least for a project this big.
PROS. Having a solid outline helped me a ton with having to write a lot in a short amount of time. If I had to come up with the content ideas plus write it all out and make it make sense I would have lost my mind. Also, as much as designing the book myself frustrated me I learned a lot in the process. Which I am thankful for because of some other projects I have coming up.
CONS. For two weeks I worked from about 8am to midnight and some days 3am, writing, editing and designing. Not to mention I was knee deep in pre-selling. I was exhausted beyond belief and had to consume way too many energy drinks to get me through. The next book I write i'll be sure to have it completely finished before launching. Or at least ready to send off to the designer.
THE LAUNCH STRATEGY
I've launched a lot of projects but this has been by far my biggest which is why I knew I had to have a well planned launch strategy. When I went into this, my ultimate goal was to get as many people interested in my book as possible. Also because I wasn't launching the typical project, I needed people to know that the content in the book wasn't fluffed just because it wasn't an e-course or workshop. Here's a look into exactly what went into my launch strategy.
1. EMAIL MARKETING
When I first began talking about the idea of writing a book, I created a separate email list just for the book launch. This helped me to not only reach my regular list but also reach those who were genuinely interested in the book. I sent out tips and advice to both lists related to blogging, behind the scenes of my process and a piece of my journey as someone who turned their blog into a business. Those on the book list also received exclusive content from the actual book.
I stepped all the way out of my comfort zone and sent more emails than I felt comfortable with (about 17 total over the course of a month between my regular list and the book list). I was terrified that everyone would unsubscribe but I really tried to make sure that EVERYTHING I sent out was valuable. I've always been told how important it is to dedicate time to your email list so this is where I put a lot of my focus and the results were insane. I literally don't think I would have sold a single book (ok maybe a couple) without putting together my email sequence.
PRO TIP: DON'T BE AFRAID TO PUT FORTH A LITTLE EXTRA EFFORT TO SHOW THE VALUE IN WHAT YOU ARE OFFERING AND ASK FOR THE SALE. YOU CAN'T EXPECT SOMEONE TO BUY IF THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE SELLING.
I started out sharing a different blogging myth everyday that came from the "19 Blogging Myths You Should Avoid" e-book that I gave to my subscribers. About half way through I saw that I was getting a lot more engagement when I showed the behind the scenes of the book so I stopped about half way with the blogging myths.
LESSON LEARNED: Not everything in your launch strategy will work. You have to give yourself the permission to make adjustments along the way.
No huge strategy here but I posted CONSISTENTLY at least every 2-3 hours. I scheduled out the sales page for the launch to tweet out at least every hour and all of the other content were posts that I previously wrote on blogging. Also on the books sales page I created a click-to-tweet link so that anyone who visited could share the page as well.
My original plan was to consistently post on my blog twice a week for the entire month of January. But between finishing up the book and prepping for the launch I was only able to post about 5 times. Those posts were still related back to blogging and also mentioned the book (with a link to the sales) page.
Can I be real with you for a second? I really do have a love hate relationship with webinars. I think they are an incredible way to help your audience put a face to the brand and to get amazing FREE content but I do struggle with the thought of hosting a webinar just to sell at the end. Plus I've never had one of those $10k webinars. But I do know how valuable a live class like this can be so I hosted the Blog to Biz class and promoted my book at the end of it. I got a TON of amazing feedback from the live class but it only generated about $200 in sales. Will i ever do another webinar again? Probably, but I think i would explore more into doing joint webinars with another creative and also hosting workshops where nothing is sold at the end but I eventually just sell the replay. The bright-side to this webinar was that it did add about 300 people to my email list which helped a ton with the outcome of this launch.
I haven't been the biggest fan of Periscope but decided to give it a shot to tell people about the book. My first scope was strictly just an update on what i had been working on and explaining the purpose of me writing The Blogpreneur. I didn't ask those who joined to buy anything but simply just mentioned the website so people could take a look at the sales page. Right before my second scope I was about half way to reaching my launch goal (we'll talk about that in a few) so i decided to hop on to show people what the inside of the book looked like and it was a big success! I received about 12 sales from this one scope alone.
PRO TIP: People want to see your product in action. Show them the ins and outs and behind the scenes look into what you're creating to better help them visualize themselves using it. Sometimes "value" can be seen and not just listed.
Like anything, I went into launching this book with a goal in mind and wanted to sell at least 50 copies of my book during the pre-sale. I ended up selling 45 copies (because I think God likes to keep me humble) and generated about $1440 in sales during the two week pre-sale period. Not going to lie, I have a hard time not getting attached to numbers so to see that I didn't hit my goal did break my heart a little bit but I had to step back and realize that this is ONLY the pre-sale and that this book will continue to sell once it's put on Amazon.
I had a pity party then cried tears of joy at the thought of my book sitting in 45 homes!
WHAT I COULD HAVE DONE BETTER
- Letting people know that the book was physical and not digital. I don't think I was really clear at first that the book was an actual printed book and not just a pricey e-book. I think that's what stopped a lot of people from wanting to buy when I first opened up pre-orders.
- Focus more on sharing the content in the book. I got super excited once I figured out how to include the coloring sheets and interviews within the book that i realized that was all I was talking about. I shifted gears and began sharing what my readers would actually learn from the book but I wish i would have focused more on that from the start.
- Planned better ahead of time. With writing the book, prepping for the launch, writing blog posts and scheduling social media, I was 100% overwhelmed. I wish I would have completely finished the writing portion of the book before hand that way I could fully focus on the launch.
- Hired out. I already mentioned that I wish I would have hired a designer but I also wish i would have hired someone to help me with social media and tackling my inbox. A lot of the stress I had came from not knowing how in the hell I was going to get everything done and that could have been put to a stop had I just asked for help. If you have the money or someone who is just willing to help, take advantage of it!
- Not take on any new clients. I love coaching, i truly do. But trying to write and launch a book plus keep up with clients and prepping for calls made me cry on more than one occasion. The next time I'll be sure to plan around when i'll be finishing up with clients and not take on anymore till it's over.
WHAT I DID REALLY WELL
- Stayed consistent. Even if that meant staying up will 3am, I made sure I had everything I needed done for the next day.
- Stepped out of my comfort zone. I'm always afraid of getting on someone's nerve if i pop into their inbox too many times or looking desperate if I posted about my project too many times on social media but I basically said screw all of that for this launch and I am so happy that I did! I proved to myself that if I want it, i can't just sit around and expect for it to be handed to me. (yes sometimes coaches have to coach themselves)
- Wrote a damn good book. I put my entire heart into writing this book and making sure it was valuable to my audience and I am so happy with how it turned out. From the content all the way down to the silly coloring pages I decided to add last minute.
During this process I guess you can say that I had a bit of an "epiphany". I'm a commerce girl at heart and although i vowed to never create, sell or ship another physical product in my life, here I am with a planner and now book under my belt that's ready to be sold and shipped. I may not be selling jewelry anymore like i did back in the day but I am excited to make my brand a little more product focused and begin creating more resources to help you grow in your business.
I have a ton of ideas for both physical and digital products to offer and you'll be seeing a change in the site within the upcoming weeks as I transition to make it more commerce focused. Will I still be coaching? Yes, but I will be taking on very limited amounts of clients. As of right now it looks like I wont be taking on any new clients until about mid-spring or early summer.
Of course, i want to create both free and paid content focused on what you actually need so..
WHAT RESOURCE, TOOL OR TOPIC DO YOU FEEL LIKE WOULD HELP YOU TAKE YOUR BRAND TO THE NEXT LEVEL?
PS. If you weren't able to get your hands on The Blogpreneur during the pre-sale, it will be available on Amazon shortly!