In case you missed it, I published The Essential Web Design Handbook a few weeks ago. Launching my first product was truly an educational experience. I was excited and terrified about the outcome at the same time.
Fortunately, I can consider this ebook launch as a success and it’s not because of the number of sales, but how well it was received by my audience.
I’ve gotten many great reviews and comments. I haven’t seen a single piece of negative feedback so far. This means a lot to me and motivates me to keep going and produce even more high-quality content.
Let me share with you some big lessons I’ve learned on the way.
1. A solid platform is everything.
It’s incredibly important to have a solid server that is fast and that you can trust won’t crash a few minutes after you hit publish.
It’s worth spending more money and planning ahead before you release the product that you’ve been working on for months. Imagine your launch goes viral and you suddenly get thousands of visitors. Think how many sales you can lose if your site goes down even for a few minutes.
If you read my previous blog posts, you know that I’ve recently moved my website to the Rainmaker Platform. I chose it because I knew it was secure, stable and had all the functionalities I needed. However, the greatest thing about Rainmaker is that it has all the features I didn’t even know I needed. It’s even a few steps ahead of me with functions that I know will come in handy later.
I wanted to have the ability to sell a product, but thanks to a membership functionality, I created the Designers Area on my site where I can share both free and premium products. So, it not only provides you with features, but it actually encourages you to build a solid community around your website.
Now, I’m looking forward to adding a members forum, an affiliate program and trying out A/B testing. Seeing all these features available in your system and waiting to be activated makes it all so easy.
2. You can’t do everything yourself.
The truth is you can’t and shouldn’t do everything yourself. It was a hard lesson I learned and I hope I won’t make this mistake again.
My ebook was entirely a ‘one-man show’. The only thing I outsourced was the proofreading of the final ebook and sales page copy (thanks to Laurie for her amazing work!).
Because of trying to do everything on my own, it took me a really long time to make it all happen. I should have outsourced at least the sales page copy to someone who knew how to do it right. I’m planning on getting some help on any future marketing kind of writings.
Fortunately, I got a lot of help from the amazing WordPress and Genesis framework community. The amount of tweets and shares made marketing the ebook much easier. I didn’t have to spend a dime on ads and I’m not planning to (content marketing FTW)!
Also, I need to give a big shout-out to Nathan Barry who offered a lot of great advice on launching the ebook and on how to market it. I bought Nathan’s book, Authority, which is a great resource for everyone who’s planning on writing and self-publishing an ebook.
3. It’s not that easy.
It’s all not that easy. Writing a book is hard work. You need to be patient, extremely focused and really believe in what you’re working on to complete it. Then you put it out there and wait for the outcome.
My ebook got a lot of tweets, shares, positive feedback and over 10k page visits. However, it was a very interesting and educational experience to see how small of a percent really converted into sales.
First I started worrying, but then after talking to some more experienced friends, I realized that this is just how it all works.
It’s incredibly easy to get email sign ups, especially if you offer valuable content in exchange. That’s something I’m really happy about because I grew my email list from 4,5k to over 5k in just a few days. BUT, the really hard part starts when you actually ask for money.
I’ve learned not to measure a book launch success in money. I’m much more proud about the positive feedback I’ve got and some great stories I’ve already heard. For the first time I feel like I’ve done something that may change some people’s lives (you can read here some of the first ebook reviews).
Now I want to definitely focus on creating more free content for designers to grow my audience and make it stronger.
My next big project is a free Photoshop course for web designers. It’ll be available only in the Designers Area. I think it’s going to be a great addition to the ebook, as well as a free resource for everyone who wants to learn more on how to use this most popular design tool.
You can learn more about how to use Photoshop before you start designing the actual website using my techniques and methods in the Essential Web Design Handbook.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress!