From 345 people who started out knowing nothing about Living Forward to 18,500 pre-order sales!
Back in January, I, and the other 615,000+ subscribers on Michael Hyatt’s email list, received a notification that his next book, Living Forward, which he co-authored with Daniel Harkavy, was soon to be published, and they wanted to create a Launch Team who would commit to reading the book and commenting on it. Members of the Launch Team would receive a hardback copy of the book to read, a few weeks before the book was officially released for sale.
I filled out the application, got the notification that it had been received, and figured that was that. I really didn’t expect to hear back.
Imagine my surprise when about a week later, I received a notification that I’d been selected to be on the launch team!!!
There was a Facebook group already prepared for us, and Daniel Decker was the group leader, although both Michael and Daniel Harkavy have been active participants.
At first, the main things we did were activities to help us get to know each other and connect socially – I think my Twitter followers grew by over 300 people as we added each other. Then Michael shared a download of the first chapter (a PDF file) and we were asked to share our thoughts and favorite quotes.
Soon, we were praying for each other or sending well-wishes; many were becoming friends outside of the group, and still, no one had seen more than the first chapter yet.
As the books were due to arrive in our mailboxes, Daniel D. suggested we each post a photo of the book. My picture was taken in the waiting room at the hospital as we waited for my son, J, to come out of a pre-scheduled surgery. One was taken beside a shovel full of snow , another had a picture with the book and a bottle of fine scotch. One at a time, we posted our pictures and commented on others. By the way, mine wasn’t the only hospital picture – another lady also started reading her book in the hospital waiting room.
Next, we were asked to share our favorite quote so far, and to start creating a list of favorite quotes that we could share via social media when the book was officially launched. I love this quote that one of the members shared:
A contest was set up – each time we shared on social media with the hashtag #livingforward, we were entered to win an Apple TV. People started writing blog posts about the book and sharing them. We were sharing and liking each others’ posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Even now, some of my most retweeted comments are the ones about Living Forward.
Soon it was obvious, Michael and Daniel had created a group that was invested in making this launch a success.
By the time March 1 rolled around – the official release date for the book – it was already high up on Amazon’s best selling list. On launch day, the book had 18,500 pre-orders! And the group is still active. We cheer every time we make a Bestseller list . I smiled a few days ago when someone asked Michael, “When do we find out if we’ve made the NY Times list?” That’s the community that was created for a book launch.
The biggest mistake we can make is to release an idea in a vacuum.
Most people think that you have to keep your idea to yourself, because otherwise someone might steal it, but the world is full of ideas and it’s very likely that other people have come up with exactly the same idea as you – the only difference is that they haven’t acted on it. And so, most people hold their idea tight and only share it when it’s ready for publication (whether it’s a book, website, etc.). Then they wonder why there’s no traffic to the site or no one reading the book.
You are the 1 person out of 100,000 who is willing to act on your idea. Don’t hold it so close that it suffocates!
Don’t be afraid to spend money.
There are 345 of us in the Launch group. Let’s say that the wholesale price of the book plus the cost of shipping came out to $10 (probably more, but 10 is an easy number to work with). That’s $3,450 spent before there was any real idea that the book would be a success. And, that’s not including the cost of creating all the bonuses (a free copy of the audio book, an adult coloring book, etc. etc. etc.). The numbers went from 345 people who started out knowing nothing about the book to 18,500 pre-order sales!
When Michael and Daniel started out, there was no guarantee that the expenses would be worth the cost. No one was required to give a great review, share the book with friends, or even buy their own copy in addition to the free copy. In fact, some members of the Launch Team did not give the book top reviews when they posted on Amazon, Good Reads, etc.. In my opinion, I think that was overall a good thing – it showed that our opinions were our own.
Some of us look at buying an ad on Facebook and hesitate because we’re not sure that it’s worth it. But the thing is, if you want your business to grow, then it needs to get out in front of as many people as possible. Facebook, and possibly Twitter, ads are one of the cheapest ways to make sure that you reach the people that you want to reach.
This is the MOST important takeaway. Whatever you can do to build excitement for your upcoming product will be repaid exponentially!
I read a story a short while ago about someone attending a conference. At the conference, there was a guy hawking a product. He was sharing a story about the product, but no one was listening. The author walked past, heading to a meeting. After the meeting, he noticed that there was another guy at the product stand, and this time he had a crowd around him, listening to his every word. Curious, the author went over to watch. After the speaker finished his speech and everyone had made their purchases, the author went over to figure out the difference. He started talking to the guy and discovered that this was the inventor of the product. He was telling his own story and sharing his own experiences, and HE was excited about his product, so when he started talking, others grew excited about the product as well.
You are the ambassador for your product! Share your excitement every chance you get! As people pick up on your excitement, they’ll want to be a part of it.
But if you’re not getting out there and sharing before hand, then low sales may make your excitement lag, and that will also carry over to people that you talk to. If you’re not Wowed by your product, why would someone else want it?
In Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform, he talked about how with his first book, he had a list of 7 reasons that he needed to write the book. Every morning, he started off by looking at the list and reminding himself why he was doing this. “It gave the project an almost epic significance,” he says, “but it kept me going when I wanted to quit.”
Early last week, there was a notification in my inbox of a blog post by Chad Cannon, the Chief Marketing Officer for Michael Hyatt. His post was titled, Killer Takeaways From a Bestselling Book Launch. In it, he discusses the lessons he learned from the publication of Living Forward and included a mention of the Launch Team. Reading his post was the impetus to writing this post, as I considered the lessons I had learned from being involved as part of the Launch Team for Living Forward.