Last year in December I launched the Ionic 2 eBook “Ionic 2 – From Zero to App Store” which was the most successful product Devdactic ever had. There were a lot of considerations and countless hours of work that led to this release, most of them were never noticed by anyone.
In this post I will show what you can expect if you plan to write an eBook, which practices worked best for me and how you can get it all done while still working a full-time job.
Finding the Right Idea
Before starting any kind of project you need the right idea. And the right idea doesn’t mean it only looks good to you and you think everyone needs this.
If you only create what you think is useful you will most certainly fail. I did this in the past and lost months of work for nothing.
Learning from mistakes I did a survey (using Google Survey was totally fine) to ask all the readers of Devdactic about different interests and problems they have. And 155 persons filled out the survey, a lot more than I ever expected to take part, so thank you once again for your participation!
After they survey was finished it was time to aggregate the results and look for patterns.
This was the critical step in which I discovered that more than a few people responded with they would like to go from zero to hero and most of them were as well interested in Ionic 2.
That’s when the idea for the book was born, created only by the problems of the readers!
Getting Shit Done
While this was already early in the year, I knew I wanted to release the book close to the release of Ionic 2 to prevent all kinds of errors due to different versions. So until summer I did not really start any writing for the book.
It was in the most relaxing moment 2016 right in this sport when I created my timeline.
At the beach of Mallorca I settled on a release date of the book because I wanted to finish it in 2016.
In retrospective this was most effective for some reasons:
First, a project takes always so much time as you have for it. If I had gave myself 1 year, the book would have taken 1 year. This is Parkinson’s law and it’s most of the time damn right.
“work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” – Parkinson
Still, the timeline was realistic and now with the launch date in mind I was able to plan backwards.
When does which part, chapter, marketing page or email need to be ready?
Everything could be scheduled and added as todos so I “just” needed to tackle of the tasks, one by one. Every week.
For everyone writing a book, here are the actual tools I used:
- Evernote: Write the Outline for the book and chapters
- Google Docs: A document for every Chapter where I could write each day
- Word: Put all Google Docs chapters together into the final book
While there might be better writing tools like iBooks Author for Mac I was fine with those tools. Everything works as long as you get the job done.
Once everything was ready I only had to put the different docs into one Word document, add stuff like a cover and table of contents and I was almost done. At this point I used a service called Fiverr to get stuff like the cover done. If you have simple tasks you can outsource, do it.
Finally the book was reviewed by some friends. Although this was awesome (thanks again so much) I probably could have given out some copies to other bloggers or readers to get a feedback on that version. Maybe next time.
Even while writing the book, there is another thread you need to follow and that’s the marketing side. Although many of you might not like the word at all, marketing is what actually amplifies your voice and message to reach more people. That’s why you need some kind of marketing strategy for launching any product!
Building up a Buzz
If you can build up a buzz for your product even before launch, you will have a good time.
The first step for Ionic 2 – From Zero to App Store was the pre-launch of an at that time not yet finished product.
This gave me not only the confidence that the book would be relevant for people but also created a first group of people who were just waiting for the release of the book.
After this first pre-sales I regularly spoke about the book on Twitter, my Email list or Instagram to keep people interested and engaged.
The plan was to give out all needed information about the book and packages before the launch, so people would (hopefully) already line up and wait for the release.
On the release date I only had to announce that “it’s available now” and people had all the information they needed upfront.
To most parts, this worked really great. If you were on of the buyers or in that group of people, I would love to hear from you if you would have needed anything else before the launch, like more progress, more insights into the book and stuff like that.
The pre-sale was 19$ at the first stage and moved to 29$ after the very early phase which turned out to be the final price of the lowest package at launch.
A Word on Pricing
The book comes in 3 different packages. Why?
People at different levels have different needs. And the packages are there to give additional value to those who want it.
The 3 packages are:
- Basic Package (29$) – Only the eBook including code for all examples
- Advanced Package (49$) – The eBook plus a dummy app showing a login and a submission checklist to release your app in a more structured way
- Ultimate Package (79$) – Everything from before plus a real App + Node.JS server for user authentication and an HTML template to launch your app and promote it
These packages served different needs, and by now the prediction of most guides comes through. Although the basic package has the most sales, the ultimate package is bringing in the most money from those 3.
Whenever you have the chance to add additional value to your product, go for it. Don’t just throw in a bunch of useless stuff, but think about what people purchasing your product might actually need, what could help them after finishing/using your product?
It’s about offering value, not just having packages for the sake of packages to earn more money.
Releasing the eBook
Before the book was finally released, many emails were sent out. Especially in the week before the final date, I announced everything important about the book, the packages, what you will get and which package would be for whom.
The launch period was 2 days long and started with the email that all packages are now available. For 2 days, people could get both higher priced packages for a discounted price.
Like always with a launch, you will see a spike of sales in the beginning and a spike if you announce that the discount ends soon.
Make sure to plan in time for those days, because things will go wrong.
People will have questions and problems.
Offer support whenever possible and wherever needed to help your customers along their shopping journey.
Finally, expect hate.
Let’s say you miss black friday and go to the shop the week after and you rage about why you should pay the regular prices.
Well, exactly that happened. After the discount of the launch ended, many people emailed me they would see a higher price. Well, yes this is what happens when a discounts ends.
Some of them were not really polite, but you have to stick to your word. Even if you miss out on 1-2 sales, it’s not worth to look like your word doesn’t mean anything!
So a launch is always a mix of fear and happiness, but if you prepare well and manage everything the happiness should be the much bigger factor here.
Automating & Marketing
After your launch you can play around with automation and different sales funnels.
Never heard of that before?
Easy example: You can get my 7 day Ionic 2 email course, and at the end there will be a little pitch for my Ionic 2 book. This is a sales funnel.
They are automated emails, send out on a schedule and leading the subscriber finally to a product of mine. Again, it’s not only about making the sale, it’s also offering the subscriber a solution to his problem (learning Ionic 2) and giving them the chance to get even deeper material after this 1 week course.
To push your sales you can also start guest posting around like I did on the official Ionic blog, you can try to get more influencers on board to speak about your book or start an affiliate program where others get paid if people buy through a special link.
There are many options and routes, and there is no one-fits-all solution so experiment and mix, throw some stuff at the wall and see what sticks!
Writing a book was hard work, especially if you do it next to your full-time job. Every morning I would get up an hour earlier to write another chapter. And steadily you achieve something that you previously thought would never be possible.
Make sure to give yourself deadlines, establish a plan from that date and tackle off small tasks, every week, every day.
Was it worth?
From the financial side it was ok, but from the experience side it was even better. Every project helps you to learn, grow and become more confident in what you do.
Finally, the value generated for the subscribers and readers of Devdactic is what counts in the end.
If I was able to help one single person to build and release an Ionic 2 app my goal is reached.
Get the free 7 day Ionic Crash Course to learn how to:
- Get started with Ionic
- Build a Tab Bar navigation
- Make HTTP calls to a REST API
- Store Data inside your app
- Use Cordova plugins
- Style your Ionic app
The course is free, so there's nothing you can lose!