An end is an opportunity to begin something new.
There is something very human about looking up at the night sky. In a way, it is staring directly into the unknown, not with a sense of fear, but of pure curiosity.
I get a funny feeling when I look up. It sparks questions that seem to make whatever happened that day on earth irrelevant. I can’t help but wonder.
I wonder how far away the stars are and how long it would take to get there. I imagine myself standing on this spinning ball that is hurling around the sun. I imagine what each star would look like if I were up close.
When’s the last time you looked up?
I had a book launch planned for today but it’s not happening anymore. Here’s why.
I started working for Praxis in November, 2016. As soon as I started, I held myself to a higher standard. I started reading more, writing more, and becoming more intellectually disciplined. Praxis already had a great curriculum that worked well. I learned it quickly and applied it as I helped participants through the placement process.
A few years before that, I dropped out of school and ran a painting business. After a year of entrepreneurship, I felt so filled up with new knowledge and experience that I had to get it all out of my head and onto paper. So I wrote Undecided.
The same thing happened shortly after I started to work for Praxis. I was learning so much about how people can create careers for themselves that I had to get what I’d learned down on paper. So, I did the thing I already knew how: I turned it into a book.
Most of the concepts and strategies I wrote in this second book were created by Isaac Morehouse, Derek Magill, and other members of the founding Praxis team. They wrote awesome blogs and built the Praxis curriculum around them.
When I wrote this second book, I added my own spin to those blog posts and curriculum pieces and put them in the book without letting them know. In doing this, I didn’t clearly give them credit for the core ideas and strategies that were theirs, and the book was presented as if the ideas were originally mine.
For that reason, the book will not be published.
I apologize to Isaac, Derek, and the founding Praxis team for publishing the ideas they created without the proper accreditation. I never intended to present their ideas as my own, but I did that by publishing the book in the way I did.
To everyone who supported me, voted on the cover and title, joined the pre-launch list, and expected a book, I’m sorry. Thank you for sticking by me.
I’ve learned so much through this whole process that my next book will be much better. And there will be a next one.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org
Launch day is tomorrow. Here’s my plan.
In Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, there’s a chapter about the Law of Reciprocity. He tells the story of Christian missionaries who used to walk around airports and ask for donations for the church. They tried directly asking people for a long time with minimal success. Eventually they tried something new. They started carrying around roses and handing them to people in the airport before asking for donations.
Results skyrocketed. Humans have a hard time refusing to do a favor for somebody who has already done one for them. It wasn’t even about the roses. In fact, the missionaries would regularly retrieve roses that people had thrown in the trash so they could reuse them.
People who donated clearly did not value the roses. They valued the idea of returning a favor for somebody. This story reminds me of this Office episode during which Andy and Dwight endlessly reciprocate favors for each other.
Now for the launch strategy:
Remember the last edition of this series when I got people engaged in the book-writing process by asking them to vote on my title and cover? I did that for a specific reason.
Several days before my launch I reached out to everyone who voted on my cover and title posts. This small group of people are most invested in the story of me launching this book since they saw (and helped) me create it from the beginning. I thanked each of them for their input and sent a PDF copy of my book.
By sending this close-knit group of fans an early copy of my book for free, I’m setting myself up to have more success when I ask them to download the book and leave a review later on launch day. The Law of Reciprocity is powerful.
The two most important metrics during launch week are:
- Number of downloads
- Number of reviews
These two metrics will determine the success of the launch and ultimately the long-term success of the book. The Amazon ranking algorithm values these numbers more highly than anything else. A highly concentrated number of downloads and reviews during the first two days will give the book so much momentum and exposure it won’t slow down for a while.
Most people struggle to give their book out for free. They worked hard on it and they want to be paid for it. I want to be paid for my book too, trust me.
If your book is paid on launch day, the percentage of people who will download it goes way down. Asking people to pay even $0.99 for a book that just came out and has minimal social proof is a really big ask. You will make more money right away, but you will dramatically stunt your book’s acceleration in the charts, which is the #1 determining factor of lasting success.
I’m taking the long-term approach. My book will be free for the first 2.5 days after it launches.
Rather than cashing in early, I’m being extremely generous with my book. 90% of the people in my personal network will not pay for it. That’s OK. Like I said, a high concentration of downloads and reviews in the first two days is unquestionably more valuable than early sales. It will result in future sales that continue rolling in after I’ve stopped actively marketing the book.
Gaining momentum on the free charts is paramount if you want to gain momentum on the paid charts.
Launch day. The book goes live on Amazon and the free promotion begins. I will send an email to my pre-launch list asking them to download and review the book. Most of them have already received a PDF copy by now.
I will reach out to everyone with the PDF to individually to ask them to download and review the book.
I will also be announcing progress and engaging with people on Facebook.
By this time the book should have several hundred downloads. It should be climbing the charts and should be close to #1 in its niche categories.
50 people will simultaneously post the link to my book at noon eastern time via my Thunderclap campaign.
The name of the game on Day 2 is urgency. The price goes up to $0.99 on Day 3, so I will be engaging my email list, posting on Facebook, and reaching out to people individually to push stragglers to download the book.
The price goes up to $0.99 at 2 pm eastern. Until then, I will be pushing urgency for free downloads. After, I will switch to pushing for reviews.
The book should have well over a thousand downloads by now. It will be #1 in all of its niche categories. This momentum will carry it from the top of the free charts to the top of the paid charts.
Reviews. Need more reviews! I’ll mainly be thanking everyone who left a review and asking people to leave reviews for the next couple days.
About a week later, the price will bump up to $1.99. It will go up by $1.00 every week until I notice sales tapering off.
I hope you’re as excited as I am!
P.S. There also might be a surprise released along with the book tomorrow… 🙂
**This is Part III of a series documenting my book launch marketing strategy. Click here to watch it unfold live.**
I’m a big picture person. My natural tendency is to focus less on the details and more on the big picture.
This can get me into trouble when I get into a planning phase. After I finish a big project I like to make lists and plan out everything I want to do for the next few months. My mind gets so excited about all the possibilities and options I have in the coming months that it loses the singular focus required to dive into a particular task.
When this happens, I look at my list and identify the thing that is most important and pressing right now. I ignore everything else and just focus on that. It can be hard because everything seems exciting and important, but when you force yourself to make a decision you will know which item needs to get done first.
Tim Ferriss asks these two questions for each item on his to do list:
“If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?”
“Will moving this forward make all the other to-do’s unimportant or easier to knock off later?”
It’s hard to ignore things you want to do. But you can’t do two things at once, so pick one and ignore everything else. They will be there when you get back.
Most conversations I have with college students start (and end quickly) with them complaining about doing schoolwork. It’s almost a rite of passage to complain about classwork in college. If you speak enthusiastically about going to class and studying for your exam and learning about new ideas, you are written off as a weirdo.
You will never hear somebody say, “I’m so excited for class today, there’s a quiz and I can’t wait to put my knowledge to the test!”
Instead, you hear things like this:
“Oh just the usual, procrastinating studying for my exam.”
“You know, just taking a nap so I don’t have to study.”
I’ve come to the conclusion that they genuinely believe they have no choice.
I do not enjoy every part of my work, but I never complain about it. Ever.
I chose to do it freely and I own that choice as my own. I do not claim that anybody has the power to force me to do something against my will. I do not grant myself the right to complain by deferring the responsibility of my choice. Manually reviewing edits over a 35,000 word manuscript is difficult and mentally draining but I chose to do it and I stand by that choice.
Believing you have no choice gives you a right to complain. It frames the situation in a way that makes kicking and screaming reasonable. If you believe you are utterly out of control, the responsibility to change your situation disappears. It is not your fault. Complaining becomes an acceptable response.
The Fundamental Difference
The rational man wants to grow while the irrational man wants to sit still.
In the face of an unfavorable situation, the rational man will remove the reason to complain in order to grow.
In the same situation, the irrational man will leverage the reason to complain to justify not growing.
The rational man’s underlying goal is to become better. He strives to creates situations that benefit him. He uses unfavorable situations as an opportunity to make a new choice and create a situation that will help him become better.
The irrational man’s underlying goal is to remain stagnant. He strives to justify his current situation no matter how beneficial or harmful it is for him. He uses unfavorable situations as a reason to prove to himself and others that he has no choice but to remain stagnant.
The rational man who believes he has the power to choose does not complain. If he does not believe his situation is valuable for him, he makes a choice to leave the situation.
The irrational man who believes he has no power to choose complains. If he does not believe his situation is valuable for him, he leverages that belief as a way to gain sympathy and remove resistance in his pursuit of stagnation.