Saturday afternoon I decided I was ready to unleash my book on the world. Or rather, the 0.1 extremely unfinished draft version of the book.
How finished do you consider it ? I'm counting 16 pages of actual content. I'm expecting a book to be a bit more work than a long blog post. /../
I understand that you would like to have money early to fund the process, but releasing drafts is not a good idea. And this $3.14 price point is not serious.
~ A Reddit commenter
Why is the price capped at $10? I'm sure there are people who'd be willing to pay more
~ A HN commenter
Consider a book that's about 6000 words long, most chapters are just outlines and the most developed chapter is missing two important sections. Selling this almost sounds like a bad joke.
However, after a few weeks of work and estimated reading time breaching the 30 minute mark, it was time to run the next experiment in the series - will people part with money for this?
Using Leanpub allows me to run this sort of experiment with a clear conscience. People pay however much they want and they're getting future updates for free - they are basically paying for a future finished book.
Set the minimum price at \\\\$1.73, the suggested price at \\\\$3.14 click publish, create a few coupons, post to reddit and twitter and away we go!
Mentally, I drew a line in the sand at 10 sales. That would let me know this book is worth my time.
883 readers and 272 sales later ... oh boy!
HN referrred just over 8000 visitors, who used HN's promo code 240 times. The 7500 people from Reddit used theirs* 362 times*. Promo codes made the book completely free, by the way. It's also hosted in full on Github, so it's not like I was forcing people to pay me money so they can read a draft of the book.
The book made a total of \\\\$959.88 in sales, of which I get a \\\\$730.40 cut in royalties. Much better than going with just about any other publisher - I was recently contacted with a promise of 16% royalties. And I really have a lot to thank Leanpub for, they made publishing the book dead simple and have invested all the work in having a landing page that converts.
Here's the really cool part though; out of everyone who paid, 77%** paid more than minimal price and a whopping 38%** more than suggested price.
And I can't even put a price on all the useful feedback I received.
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
Subscribe below 👇
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"
Senior Mindset Book
Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companiesLearn more
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️