Note: This is part 4 of a multi-part series about writing a book and donating profits to COVID-19 efforts. Click here to read the other parts.
On a whim, I went from thinking “I’ll publish my book in a month,” to “screw it, I’ll just publish it now.”
I basically listed my book on pre-order using Gumroad, and it’s now available for sale at a deep discount.
I’ll explain why in this post.
First, I have a quick request.
If the topic of virtual team games is relevant to your team (or to someone you know), I’d be honored if you pre-order the book. All profits from the first 30 days of sales will go to COVID-19 relief efforts.
You can pre-order it by clicking here.
Let’s start with a basic question.
What does pre-order mean?
Pre-ordering a book means that a customer pays for the book now, but gets it later when it’s officially released. Their credit card doesn’t get charged until the book is available for download on the release date.
With Gumroad, I can easily set up my book for pre-order and even move the release date if I need to. Customers can also change their minds if they decided that they no longer want the book.
Why did I list the book on pre-order now?
With all my books, I follow a very structured, step-by-step, framework.
After I decide on a general topic for a book, my next step is to narrow the topic down and come up with a title & subtitle.
I then start working on the outline and writing the book.
Only after I design the cover, do I start increasing my marketing efforts to promote the book (and maybe consider it for presale at that point).
However, I decided to skip all of that and list it for presale now.
Here are a few reasons why.
1) Maximize revenue
I need at least a month before I publish this book. During this time, there might be a few people who are interested in buying the book but end up finding alternatives.
Moreover, the topic of remote teams is really hot right now, but might start to taper off in a month or two.
So if I don’t capture customers’ potential interest now, I could lose them down the line.
Another reason is that one of my blog posts about virtual team games gets a lot of hits every day, but it has a high bounce rate (meaning people visit the page and then leave after reading that one article).
So if I don’t have some mechanism to provide an offer to people who are already interested in the book topic, I’d be losing revenue.
2) Get Validation
There’s no better form of market validation than having someone punch in their credit card number and give you their money early to buy your book.
So as an author, this gives me the confirmation that I need that readers genuinely want the book and not just saying that they do.
It also gives me the motivation to get the book done because I’m now on the hook to deliver.
3) Build some Buzz
Listing the book on presale helps with building some buzz around the book launch.
Some people need to be marketed to several times before they decide to buy.
For example, if someone sees a book they really want today, they might be too busy or distracted to buy at that moment and would need to be reminded again before they take action.
To help with building that buzz, I can now start sprinkling the presale link on social media and emails over the next few weeks. And to incentivize people to buy, I’m giving the book away at a steep discount.
Finally, the reason why I ended up with a presale is that it just so happened that I was following a few people on Twitter (Daniel, Sahil, and David), and within a 24-hour period, they all tweeted a few updates that gave me that extra push (you can check out what they tweeted by expanding the thread here).
In 1 hr, I went from “I’ll do this in a month” to “Screw it, I’ll publish now”— Hassan Osman (@HassanO) April 17, 2020
I set up a @gumroad account and listed the book on pre-order
All profits go to COVID-19 efforts
(Tweets I read in the last 24 hrs that inspired me to do this 👇)https://t.co/QtUFkQ6sgo
Of course, there are a few drawbacks to preselling, including the pressure of having to deliver by a specific date and the fact that only a small fraction of people actually pre-order.
In fact, I tried preselling one of my books on Amazon KDP a long time ago but I wasn’t too happy with the results (more about that later)
However, the pros outweigh the cons for me, and I’m glad I listed it on presale now.
In my next post, I’ll explain why I chose Gumroad, how I created a book cover in 30 seconds (for free), and why I chose that price point.
Update: Part 5 is now published