Here's a boast-worthy note: We sold $150,000 in book sales in ten days . . . with no major publisher and no bookstores.
Now, I know some best-selling business books enjoy tens of millions of dollars in sales, but we're an independent website in a small niche (real estate investing) that earned its haul in just over a week. And, as you can imagine, we were quite pleased. After all, according to the Huffington Post, the "average U.S. nonfiction book is now selling less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime.”
So how'd we do it? One word: intentionally.
By that, I mean that we didn't just write a book about buying rental properties and put it out there. We planned. We strategized. And we launched hard. Following are just a few of the things we did to achieve a six-figure launch, and how you can repeat our success.
1. Start building your email list now . . . or partner with someone who has one.
I’m not going to lie: We have a large audience. Our business, BiggerPockets.com, is the web’s largest website geared toward real estate investors. We get a lot of traffic, and having a big email list that had been “pruned” numerous times to include only happy, committed members helped us get the word out immediately.
Now, maybe you don’t have a big email list. Which is why you need to start building one today. I’d recommend using SumoMe.com to set up several email capture boxes on your site (because SumoMe is amazing, and it’s free to use!).
Next, provide incredible content to members of that list. Don’t just "sell" them. "Engage" with that list. Make your emails stand out because of the quality you provide.
If you don't personally have a big list, that's okay! Why not partner with someone who does? Split the book profits and launch big on that other site. When we put out The Book on Flipping Houses several years ago, that's exactly what we did: We partnered. The author came to us with an incredible book, and we were happy to co-brand it.
Whom can you partner with to launch a six-figure book in your industry?
2.) Build buzz months ahead of time.
The second strategy is to start building buzz around your book now; even if you haven’t even begun writing it.
For this book on rental properties, I started sharing my progress at the very beginning. I shared images of myself planning the content. I told people about my “100 day challenge” in which I made a goal to write the whole book in just 100 days (more on that in this post I recently wrote on Entrepreneur.com.)
I even started to use short sections from the book as blog posts for six months, leading up to the official launch. And, of course, every blog post started with: “This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, 'The Book on Rental Property Investing.' Stay tuned for the launch!”
As a bonus, after the launch I was able to go back and change each of those blog posts to: “This is an excerpt from the recently published book, 'The Book on Rental Property Investing.' Click here to pick up your copy.”
At this point, I have dozens of aged SEO-worthy blog posts about rental properties, each with a call to action about the book launch, driving future organic sales. For example, consider this post called, "5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Fixer-Upper Property." Notice my call-to-action in the first paragraph? Now, when people go to Google to learn about buying fixer-uppers . . . what book are they going to want to buy?
3.) Price strategically and offer incredible bonuses.
Our third strategy, when deciding how much to sell the books for, involved a multi-faceted approach. Yes, we could have simply put the book on Amazon and sold it for $20 . . . but we wanted to give people the opportunity to get more value, based on their comfortable spending level.
So, first, we wrote a second book to accompany the first. While I wrote The Book on Rental Property Investing, my wife and I co-wrote The Book on Managing Rental Properties to release at the exact same time. Now, we had two books to sell at the launch.
Next, we put together some incredible high-value bonuses, including:
- Over 30 landlord forms
- Three HD-videos of me teaching topics from the books
- Nine one-on-one interviews (video/mp3) of me interviewing some world-class real estate investors
My goal was to provide so much value in the bonuses that those bonuses alone would be worth far more than the cost of the books. I wanted people to think, as they read the sales page, “I bet this is going to cost $500.” Then, I hoped, people would read down to the bottom and see they could get everything for under $50.
Accordingly, we priced the books as follows, during the ten-day launch:
- $25 for a single book on Amazon (if they wanted both books, the cost would be $50 on Amazon.) No bonuses included on Amazon.
- $29 for both books in digital format, including all the bonus content.
- $49 for both books in physical and digital format, including all bonus content.
- $29 for just the audiobook.
We also planned for 75 percent of our sales to go to the $49 package during the first ten days, contributing to most of the profit.
4.) Add a deadline to buy.
My final strategy involves what I'll call the “secret sauce” that led to our selling $150,000 in books in the first ten days: The secret sauce was the deadline.
You see, we knew these books were great. We knew the bonuses were incredible. We knew this content would change lives. But we also knew people are procrastinators.
So, we announced that the price would increase $20 on both the “digital” and the “physical/digital” packages sold on BiggerPockets once the launch ended. In other words, we were telling potential customers: Buy now or pay $20 more later.
Then we threw in one more high-value bonus for those who purchased during the initial ten days: the complete audiobook of The Book on Rental Property Investing (which I recorded myself, which is a whole different story).
Therefore, during the ten-day launch, not only did people get the two digital books, two huge physical books shipped to their house, over ten hours of video content and 30-plus landlord forms: They also got the audiobook and $20 off when they purchased during the first ten days. All for under $50. It was almost ridiculous not to buy.
Again . . . massive value, marketed intentionally.
The lesson here is that selling $150,000 of books in ten days doesn't happen by accident. It happens through an intentional launch. It doesn't matter how big your audience is -- you, too, can make good income selling books if you take the time to do it right and do it intentionally.