Did you know that quite a few web designers and web developers are making thousands of dollars by writing and selling their own books?
They do that by leveraging the knowledge that they already have in order to take advantage of the fact that more and more people are interested in acquiring web design and web development skills (and are willing to pay for it!).
You can do the same – and I’ll show you how…
Why write a book?
You might be wondering why you, a web designer or a web developer, would want to write a book?
Here are three benefits of writing your own book:
- Money. Play your cards right, and you’ll make a nice chunk of money on your launch month, and a then a bit of passive income every month after that.
- Credibility. Once your book is out, you are not some random person blabbing on the Internet anymore, you are an expert in your field who published a book on it.
- Opportunities. More credibility equals more opportunities – you can leverage it to charge higher rates, land a better job, get paid speaking gigs, etc.
What would you do if you had more money, more credibility, and more opportunites? Would you pay off your mortgage faster? Or maybe travel the world? Or land that job you have always dreamed about? Writing a book could open more doors than you think.
7 step process for launching your own book
When it comes to book launches, there’s a method to the madness, and I’d like to give you an overview of the most important steps…
Step 1: Pick the right target audience.
It may sound counterintuitive, but you are more likely to succeed if you start with the target audience, not with the product. Yes, you should probably write about what you know, but if you write what you know for people who are either broke or not interested, you won’t make a lot of money. So why not start by picking the right audience?
Here are three things that I suggest you to consider when it comes to a target audience:
Do they have money?
Are they willing to spend it?
Can I offer a solution to a painful problem that they have?
This means that you should probably aim to write a book for established professionals (it means they have money) who have a history of purchasing ebooks related to their field (it means they are willing to spend that money) and who face a problem to which you can offer a solution.
Step 2: Find a painful problem.
You want people to buy your book? Then, once you picked a profitable target audience, you have to find a problem that is painful enough. How do you do that?
Go and hang out where your target audience hangs out. Read related online forums, subreddits, and blogs (and especially comment sections!) – these are the places where people really speak their mind. You will soon notice that there are rants, complains, and questions that appear over and over again. These are the problems that you want to solve.
Step 3: Validate the idea.
Now that you have the idea for your book, it’s time to validate it, otherwise you might end up writing something that no one wants to buy.
The simplest way to do that is to create a landing page with a description of your upcoming book (and an opt-in form so that those who want to get notified when the book comes out could sign up for your email list), write several guest posts on the popular blogs in that field, put a link to your landing page in the byline, and see what happens.
Remember, if you can’t sell free, you won’t be able to sell paid, so only proceed with the ideas that get you at least 100 subscribers from a few guest posts.
Step 4: Build your email list.
Talking about subscribers, the size of your email list will either make or break your launch, so make sure that you put in the time and effort to build it to at least 1000 subscribers before you release your book. How do you get those 1000 subscribers? The same way you got that first 100 – write guest posts on popular blog in that field, and link to your landing page in your byline.
Also, make sure that you keep your email list warm by sending them occasional updates about the book, free excerpts, and relevant articles, because you don’t want people forgetting who you are or what your book is about.
Step 5: Write your book.
Now, when it comes to writing the actual book, the 1000 word per day rule is your best bet. You want to know how professional writers manage to get things done? They don’t wait for inspiration, they sit down and write, day in and day out, until the project is completed. Set a daily word quota for yourself, then focus on meeting it every single day. Keep doing it long enough, and, sooner or later, you will have enough publishable material for a book.
Step 6: Launch your book.
The launch day itself matters less than you think. Once again, the size and responsiveness of an email list is what makes or breaks an ebook launch, so if you managed to not only build a decent-sized email list, but also kept it warm, then you are pretty much set. All you need to do now is send them an email that informs them that you are launching tomorrow, then the next day send them an announcement email that offers a 24-hour (or 48-hour) launch discount, then the next day send them an email reminding them that the discount is about to expire and it’s their last chance to get your book at that price. That’s about it.
Step 7: Work out an after-launch strategy.
What should you do once your launch is over? Take time to figure out a way to keep sales coming in – put the link to your ebook on your blog, strike affiliate deals with bloggers in that field, submit it to places like Dealotto and AppSumo, maybe even give paid advertising a try to see if it works for you, and so on. This way, once the initial launch revenue dries up, your book will still bring you a bit of passive income every month.
Now, again, this is just an overview of the general steps, and if you actually decide to write a book, I suggest you to take time to learn more about this process – I recommend checking out Nathan Barry’s blog, as well as his book Authority, which is the most comprehensive resource on the topic that I’m aware of (take a look at these success stories).
Okay, this sounds great, but how does all that look in practice?
Here are some examples of web designers and web developers who have successfully launched their books:
- Jarrod Drysdale, Bootstrapping Design
- Nathan Barry, Designing Web Applications
- Sacha Greif and Tom Coleman, Discover Meteor
- Sean Fioritto, Sketching with CSS
- Julien Danjou, Python for Hackers
I suggest you to read these case studies if you want to have a better understanding of how all these principles are applied in practice.
So… What are you going to do now?
As a web developer or a web designer, you are in a unique situation – you posess knowledge that is in high demand, people are willing to pay a lot for that knowledge, and there’s a pretty straightforward way to monetize it.
This is not going to last forever, though. Once more web designers and web developers catch up with this trend, they will release more and more books, and therefore drive the price that people are willing to pay for a book down, making it much harder to make money that way. Wait too long, and you are going to miss your chance.
So don’t squander the opportunity that you have right now.
Did you enjoy this post?
Never miss a blog post. Subscribe below to get more posts like this sent straight to your inbox as soon as they're published.