“$25,000 in a launch.”
“I landed my dream job.”
“I broke $100,000 in revenue after 10 months.”
My favorite thing about Authority is the stories I get from readers. Over the next couple days I want to share a couple of those with you.
A lot of the most successful Authority case studies come from a technical background. That’s why I talk so much about about design and programming books. Which always leads to the question: does Authority work for other industries?
Absolutely. And today I’ve got Katie’s story to prove it to you. Katie is a music teacher from Melbourne, Australia who provides resources and courses to other music teachers.
Enjoy the interview!
Can you give everyone an introduction to your book?
My ebook is a series of step-by-step iPad projects that music teachers can use with their students at school. It’s aimed at students in the elementary and middle-school age range. iPads have been adopted by schools very quickly and most teachers are not sure how to use them in a meaningful and creative way with students – this ebook aimed to solve that problem.
Where were you at in the book writing process when you read Authority?
I had the idea for a while and had started to collect email addresses and write the collection of projects, but I wasn’t very far along. At first, it was just going to be an ebook, but Authority made me start thinking about adding in bonus materials and videos so that I could shift to the three-package format.
How long did it take you to write the book? How did you make time with your other work/projects?
It took me WAY too long to write it.
I first announced my intention to write the ebook in February 2013 and didn’t end up releasing it until 30 October 2014! The major part of my business was running workshops, online courses and presenting at conferences and I found it incredibly difficult to prioritize time for the ebook.
I always felt like I needed to wait until I had a clear day or two to write, but realistically that never happened. In the end I tried to set aside blocks of time (turning off email and blocking myself from social media sites) and tried to take advantage of time on planes and so on.
What did you do to promote the book leading up to launch?
I didn’t do nearly as much as I could have done. No guest blog posts, no affiliate sales and only one Facebook ad.
My main focus was the email list I had set up for the ebook. By the time of the launch it had reached around 1,800 email addresses, so it wasn’t a big list.
I gathered email address from links in blog posts, at conferences and workshops, Facebook and Pinterest and a good number came from my main business mailing list of around 6000 people.
My email capture page offered a free project from the ebook, which teachers were able to try with their students. Many wrote to me to let me know that it was really successful and that the students were engaged (I kept those emails and later used them as testimonials).
I had intended to do a Jeff Walker-style product launch with a series of 3 videos but I just didn’t have enough time in the end so I just sent a series of emails to the list. I based a number of them on ones that I had seen you send for your own launches, especially the “Here’s what you need to know” email which gave all the product details.
I knew that would be useful and necessary for my audience who need quite a bit of lead-time for purchases since they are usually using their school budget money.
I had teachers emailing me daily before I announced the launch date – asking when the product would be available. Ultimately, I decided I just needed to get the product out there even if I wasn’t doing things the way I really wanted to.
How were the revenue and sales from the book?
As soon as I launched the ebook, sales started flowing in. The launch was delayed by a couple of hours because I had only finished editing my sales page video 30 minutes before launch time and while I uploading it to Vimeo, the internet went down!
I sent the announcement email to my list of 1,800 on a Thursday and in the first two days there was $10K in sales. I had hoped to achieve that amount over the 7-day launch period, so it was exciting to reach that figure after just two days.
I sent one email to my larger list of 6,000 at the end of day two and then sales dropped off over the weekend. Teachers don’t make so many online purchases on weekends, so I saw the sales pick up again on the Monday and they continued steadily for the next couple of days.
I sent two reminder emails letting the list know that the special launch prices were ending soon and there was another spike in sales on the final day. In total 332 packages were sold at a total of $34,500.
The most surprising thing to me was that the majority of sales came from the top two packages. Less than one-fifth of the units sold were in the lowest package.
What would you do differently if you were launching another product?
I will do many things differently for the next launch! Prioritizing time in the schedule to write and create videos is very important. It’s also easy to underestimate the time it takes to put everything else in place: setting up a landing page, creating a sales video, setting up purchase forms and writing emails, so I will definitely schedule time for those things as well.
I would also like to concentrate on the promotion of the ebook – guest posting, setting up an affiliate program, some targeted adverts and so on.
I will also try to time the launch more effectively, taking into account the timing of school budgets closing off for the year. It wasn’t possible this time around, but it’s something I’d like to do better next time (which is difficult when you deal with schools in different countries).
What were the most valuable lessons you learned from Authority?
The three main things that Authority helped me with were:
- Believing that it’s possible to earn a decent amount online from teaching and helping people.
- Knowing that self-publishing and selling from my own website was possible and the right decision for me and my audience
- The most useful part of Authority was the 3-package structure and pricing model. I realized that my ebook would be much more valuable for teachers if there was an option to purchase step-by-step videos and I included lots of bonus materials like guides and checklists in all packages.
In addition, I had run and recorded an iPad Bootcamp for Music Teachers online course earlier in the year, so it was easy to add that in to the top package since it was already done.
I ended up using similar pricing to your own products (launch prices were $37/$77/$197) even though I thought they might be too high for my audience and no one questioned the pricing!
What tools did you use to write, package, and sell your book?
- Evernote to draft the text since I have it available across all of my devices.
- iBooks Author for the ebook itself (another tip from Authority).
- Videos were created and edited with Screenflow.
- WordPress for my website and Lead Pages for the lead capture page and sales page.
- Ontraport for my email database, Stripe for credit card payment and Xero for invoicing schools that wanted to pay by purchase order.
And Anti-Social to block myself from social media websites!
What’s next for you?
My focus now is to set up an effective sales funnel for this product and then start work on the next products. I have a list of products I’d like to create, so I need to decide which one to work on first.
I may also re-launch this product in the new year with some extra bonus materials and include a new project or two.
There you have it. $34,500 in a launch to 6,000 subscribers. It’s amazing what’s possible when you execute. Since launch Katie has gone on to sell many thousands of dollars more in training and courses.
Start your self-publishing journey
I hope Katie’s journey has inspired you to finally start your own self-publishing journey. If so, make sure to start on the right path.
Authority will give you the step-by-step process for turning that idea into a profitable self-published book.
The price on the new edition increases on Thursday June 4th. Pick up your copy now: