SPI 075: Six-Figure Earnings with eBooks (Not on Amazon) and a Pricing Structure That Works with Nathan Barry

The Smart Passive Income Podcast Logo

In this session of The Smart Passive Income Podcast, I’m extremely excited to welcome former freelancer turned app developer turned incredibly successful self-published author, Nathan Barry from NathanBarry.com to the show! In a relatively short time period, Nathan has earned well over $200,000 by self-publishing eBooks on his website, and he shares all of his strategies and how it all happened here on today’s show.

I left the interview incredibly inspired, and I know you will too.

With an email list of under 1000 people, he successfully launched his first book, The App Design Handbookand made over $12,000 on the first day—which is awesome!

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Nathan in Portland a couple of weeks ago and he’s one of the most down to earth, friendliest guys I’ve met in a while. He’s very transparent and shares all of his numbers during the interview, and it’s obvious that he really wants to help other people succeed too. If you aren’t following his work, you should.

In addition, in this session you’ll find out about:

  • How Nathan started as a freelancer and why freelancing is a great way to start your own business. 
  • How and where to start freelancing.
  • Nathan’s first iOS application, how he promoted it and why it was priced at $199.99.
  • The importance of actually talking to people in your target audience and reaching out.
  • The big challenge that Nathan faced that stunted the sales of his iOS application, and what he would do differently.
  • Nathan thoughts about inbound market vs. outbound marketing.
  • Why Nathan started a blog and how he eventually found his voice.
  • The inflection point in Nathan’s journey that started with writing an eBook about app design.
  • Nathan’s answer to: “What qualifies you to write The App Design Handbook?”
  • How Nathan spread the word about his book and made $12,500 on the first day—even with a small email list.
  • Why Nathan avoids publishing on Amazon.com and instead publishes books on his own site.
  • Specific details about Nathan’s 3-tier pricing structure and how having multiple packages can double or triple your revenue.
  • What makes good design and three quick tips that will drastically help the design of your website.

Resources and Links Mentioned in this Session Include:

Posts that Nathan Wrote Leading up to the Launch of his First Book:

Right click here to download the mp3 file to your desktop.

Thanks again to Nathan for the amount of information he shared on the podcast! If you’d like to thank him yourself and show your love, click the link below to send him a quick tweet:

Click here to thank Nathan for being on the show!

Leave Me a Voicemail!

Every once and a while, I’ll be recording podcast episodes that are completely driven and made up of questions asked by you, so if you have any questions you’d like potentially answered on the show, simply record a voicemail over on my Speakpipe Page.

Help Out the Show!

And lastly, if you haven’t done so already I would love if you took a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below! It would be extremely helpful for the show and I’m aiming for 1000 5-star ratings before the end of the year! We are currently at 922 5-star ratings—you are amazing, thank you!

I hope you enjoyed this episode. Please let us know what you think in the comment section below. Cheers!


Click Here to Download the Transcript for Session 75 (PDF)

  • http://workingonit Carlos

    I’ve seen in disney channel with my kids.Thanks Pat for all the great content

    • http://kangjum.com Patricia Lim

      I also have seen a lot of things about the kids, but to simply produce was still very far away. Can you help me?

  • http://makeyourhairgrowfaster.net/ Ray

    $12k in a day? I’ll take that! Great post as always

    • http://www.yourdailyfinance.com Thomas

      I’m with you Ray but he really does have something that his visitors want and find valuable. Knowing your audience makes a big difference when trying to sell something. His list isnt even that big.

    • http://www.affilorama.com Mary – Affilorama

      Yeah 12k in a day from a small list is fantastic. Just goes to show how much you can actually achieve with the right business model and mindset. I bet he’s also selling truly high quality information in his ebooks as well, whereas many eBooks I’ve read have been of a very poor standard.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1DeQhEJtXs Rubel

    Hi Pat!

    As usual great podcast! Thanks a lot for sharing it with us =)


  • http://www.theclothingbroker.com Valerie Lewis

    Awesome podcast, Pat. I love the way he positions his book. Considering all the flack you got from your info product, maybe a strategy like his would be better in the future.

  • Robbin

    And again, an interesting podcast! Amazing how much money Nathan made in such a short time.

  • http://www.nackte-frauen-bilder.com Sanane

    Cool, the timing is perfect! :) I will start with a new ebook next week

  • http://phatmare.com Marcy

    Fabulous! The tips near the end were invaluable for design through doing simple things like alignment, spacing, & emphasizing/deemphasizing items. Clean clear design always wins out over clever :-) Thanks Pat and Nathan.

  • http://skylanderscharacterlist.com Matt

    Another great episode Pat.

    I’ve started writing a few books, but never finish. I think part of this is my dislike of the Amazon and Apple platforms as far as revenue sharing goes. However, after listening to Nathan’s story, I’m re-energized and I have all sort of ideas flying through my head.

    I think this was the motivation I needed. Thanks!

    • http://www.traffictravis.com Michelle – Traffic Travis

      Starting and not finishing projects is a big problem for many people (myself included). However, when you’re publishing eBooks that simply won’t make you any money until they are live and before peoples’ eyes, it is crucial to overcome that shiny object syndrome and get them published.

  • http://www.incomegin.com Josh Lee

    Intro from Choo Choo Soul (Disney). Nice!

  • http://www.nickykay.com Nick Kizirnis

    Wow, I’m too late to guess, but I do want to say I think your musical adventures are an awesome addition to the show! The interview with Nathan was great, he shared some great ideas for thinking about the design – and user experience – of a web site. It’s encouraging to see that he has been able to share his passion and reach an audience, and been rewarded. I’m looking forward to picking up his new book.

  • http://www.nicheclerk.com Clerk

    Very enlightening interview. Thanks Pat. 200K in 10 months for Nathan is really something to be proud of. My main takeaways were his strategy and implementation of product launches. How he literally bootstrapped his business. An ideal example of a Grassroots Entrepreneur, if you ask me. There was plenty to learn from his design approach, which can be applied to niche website layout and presentation. With 1500 – 3000 word posts, talk about epic. It kind of ties in with your interview with Neil Patel, so I’ll go through that one again. Nice.

  • http://teachyourbabyenglish.com Jun Han

    Hi Pat,

    I am a big fan from Korea. This episode will literally change my life.
    Thank you so much for creating this awesome episode.

  • http://www.thepegeek.com Jarrod

    Excellent episode as always. Thanks Pat for the interview and Nathan for sharing so much gem content.

  • Yassin Madwin

    I use Gumroad myself and so far it’s the best payment gate I’ve ever used. Nice podcast!

  • http://www.vnblogger.org/2013/07/rui-ro-tu-cac-phan-mem-seo-spam-tu-dong.html Phuong Le

    It seem too fast for me to follow all the talk, waiting for the transcript :)

  • http://NoGym.net Christopher

    Great interview guys. I’ve been following Nathan’s stuff for a while and his insights have inspired/helped me a lot over the last year. Thanks!

  • http://www.voiceoversupport.com Marc Jordan Paxton

    I haven’t made it past the intro music yet, but I needed to shout: “Choo-choo Soul!” (on Disney Junior)

  • http://rickzullo.com Rick

    Very informative, as usual. A few things occurred to me while listening to Nathan’s story. First of all, how cool it is that he’s been so successful while largely avoiding conventional paths to success (college, corporate ladder, etc.). When it comes to his eBook strategy, I think we need to remember that he wasn’t really starting from zero. It is implied that he got to 6-figures in a relatively short period of time–but he already had a decent email list and probably plenty of traffic to his site, as well. For someone like him, selling his books himself (without Amazon, et al) makes a lot of sense. I especially liked what he said about knowing who his customers are instead of just getting the money from an anonymous buyer through Amazon.

    But unless you’ve already built up a sizable following, social network, email list, etc., this might be a very, very slow approach. Which is OK, if that’s your goal. However an unknown writer, in my opinion, will have a lot more success through Amazon than trying to do it all his/herself. You can always pull your books from Amazon down the road once you’ve built a brand and put them on your own platform at that point.

    • http://vernonross.com Vernon

      Rick I can’t say that I agree with your take aways on this session. I don’t think having an email list of about 800 or so is a large list, and his following on social media wasn’t that big at the time. I think what made the difference in his success is what he stated. He used a landing page for the book they’ll people he was writing it beforehand then followed that up with three epic post taking about the subject matter contained in the book.

      In addition he built relationships with the people on his email list between the time they signed up and book launch which I’m sure makes a big difference in sales and how people share information about the book.

      Lastly he offered multiple packages with different pricing which doubled the amount of revenue he would have made by just offering the book alone. Also lets not forget his starting price was $39 up to I think $150 or something like that. He also mentioned that although sales from just the book were more that the top package actually produced more revenue.

      I think Amazon is a great way to sale your books but its limited in how you don’t retain that customer information which you mentioned that was a big plus for me. Just pointing out a couple things however I thought you made some good points.

      • http://rickzullo.com Rick

        Thanks for the feedback, Vernon. Your points are well-taken and I think that I just need a little more experience under my belt before I’m ready to go it alone.

        • http://vernonross.com Vernon

          Trust me I understand that but I have to give it to Neal he’s right on a few points but something that stuck out to me was the part about teaching gives you a perceived authority. I’ve noticed that in my business as well. The more speaking engagements I do and the more I contribute to conversations in the social media strategy space the more people come to me for expert advice. I took a look at your site and it looks great btw!

          I’m pretty sure you could be giving some expert advice and people would pay very nicely for it.

    • http://nathanbarry.com Nathan Barry

      In June 2012 I didn’t have an email list at all and only 100 RSS subscribers (a wasted effort). Two months later I had 795 email subscribers and a $12.5k book launch.

      Yes, you can do it even if starting without an audience.

      • http://vernonross.com Vernon

        Nathan is the design on your site now totally custom? I can see it’s WordPress but what theme did you start with? Very nice flow to it.

  • http://www.restaurantownerlessons.com Chef Tony

    Another great one Pat…I love your interviews that seem pretty “over the top” but are very humble at the same time . Makes the whole thing pretty approachable and your step by step instructions are just awesome!

    Keep it up, we’re all listening….

  • Jack

    This was fantastic Pat, thanks for putting this together and getting Nathan on your show.

  • Sam

    $200 app for nonverbal autistic kids?

    Why not lower the price, for the sake of helping people, now that you don’t seem interested in that product anymore?

    • Justin

      You do know that the competing product was 7K right?

      $200 < —- Great Deal!!

    • http://www.daddylessons101.com Gerry

      MyVoice offers the app for free, at a subscription plan. Just wanted to throw it out there. read about myvoice and their developers from last year’s Profit Magazine (Not sure if its available outside Canada), the 2 programmers (who are now CEO and COO of MyVoice) won The FuEL Awards (an award given to top young entrepreneurs in Canada) last year.

    • http://nathanbarry.com Nathan Barry

      That’s actually a good idea. Though it would need someone to support and update it first.

  • http://onlinemastersinpublichealth.ccom David Paul Krug

    Wow, thanks for this podcast. I have been following Nathan for awhile but it was awesome to hear the deeper insights into his methods. Glad you connected with him.

  • http://www.howimakealivingonline.net Norm

    Inspiring podcast. Love listen to these podcasts on my daily relaxation time.

  • http://www.affilorama.com Mary – Affilorama

    Thanks for the fantastic podcast. eBooks are definitely one of the best ways to get started with making money online, especially if you’ve actually got a bit of flair when it comes to writing. The secret is to produce good quality material, as opposed to trying to churn out rubbish (something which many have been trying on the Kindle marketplace).

  • http://www.intead.com/recruiting-resources Michael

    Hey this is fantastic post most interesting paragraph I read today. My sincere apologies with the relatively quiet posting recently

  • http://techwayz.com Pramod

    Great Podcast . Thanks for sharing it with us mate ..as usual i got to learn somthing new from this post.


  • http://www.daddylessons101.com Gerry

    Im not sure if OneVoice is the same as MyVoice, which won FuEL Awards last year by 2 University of Toronto research assistants. The story sounds the same–DynaVox was thousands of dollars worth, but from the magazine in my hands that profiles them, they offered the app for free and offered subscription plans for $20-$30 a month. Just wanted to throw it out there for anyone interested. Just was surprised to find someone using something similar to MyVoice, charging $200 for something that was offered for free at a subscription plan. Then again, this is the Internet after all, everything is a rehash of something.

    For those who care, the guys who created the code used by MyVoice is Alexander Levy and Aakash Sahney.

    • http://nathanbarry.com Nathan Barry

      I think OneVoice came out well before MyVoice. Also $30/month is a lot more than $200 one time.

  • http://www.moneyahoy.com Derek @ MoneyAhoy.com

    Wow, inspiring story. I’m working on building up blog traffic before embarking down the ebook road – it’s definitely sounds like a great path to success!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.beatech.in Manthan Thakar

    Awesome story! What are the other product ideas that could get you there?

  • http://robnonstop.com Robnonstop

    So GumRoad only works for costumers with a Credit Card? 95% sounds good but I paid with Paypal for years before getting a Credit Card.

    • Daniel M. Prado

      Yes that can be a real bummer, especially if you’re selling internationally. I’ve used sellfy.com for this very reason, with results similar to gumroad. Sounds like that’s want you need too.

  • http://www.eventchecklist.net Arwin Adriano

    I was really surprised to see Nathan earning a lot of money with ebooks without the help of Amazon. It was truly an inspiring story, thank you for sharing.

  • http://thewpchick.com Kim Doyal – The WordPress Chick

    I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE your podcast intro’s Pat! I knew it was a kids show intro., just not sure which one (my kids are 16 & 12, so no more Disney Jr).

    I’m listening to this episode again- fantastic! I love the way Nathan has simplified this process (not easy, but simple). And the way his pacakges are laid out on the pages is a fresh, clean way to promote. I purchased the Authority PDF- so far it’s great.

  • http://www.betterblogimages.com Joseph Michael

    Ha! Choo Choo Soul song! I’ve heard it one too many times – I can see you have too Pat lol :-) I actually called my daughter into the room to hear the intro and her face lit up with a huge smile and she said “Heeey I know that song!” Haha

    On another note…Great podcast guys! Thanks Nathan for being so transparent and sharing your strategies. This was the perfect combo of helpful and inspirational. I’m getting ready to launch a product soon and was wondering whether it was worth it to offer 3 different pricing options or not. Well you answered my question so thanks!!

  • Norman

    Re mp3 link: Move podcasters put it right under the listen option. Moving below all the text (presumably so that we’re more likely to read it) does nothing but cause frustration in those of us who JUST NEED TO DL THE MP3. Also, I’m not blind, but if I were…

  • Melissa Wilson

    Another great episode with great tips. A great listen for those looking to self-publish a book. Thanks a lot to Pat and Nathan!


  • http://www.successwithwomen.info/black-women-white-men-interracial-couples/ Christopher Quinn

    Hi Pat

    With two ebooks on Amazon not selling a whole bunch I find this podcast very interesting. Worth sitting down and listening to a second time!

    Thinking about writing one more and trying something different in my approach.

    Pat, thanks!


  • Jesse Davila

    Thank you for another great interview Pat, I can’t thank you enough for sharing so much with total strangers, much love brother… :)

  • http://sweetmiles.com Sarah @ Sweet Miles

    This was fantastic again, Pat! I love reading your blog anytime I have a spare minute at work. It’s really inspiring! Just keep dreaming, just keep dreaming, I’ll get there one day!

  • http://winterparkflahomes.com/ pat

    Timely info. I am working on an ebook and can’t wait to incorporate it with my book.

  • http://bloggerbloggingtricks.blogspot.com/2013/04/Unblock-youtube.html Adeel Qamar

    Really nice podcast. This will help me to produce my first ebook.

  • http://www.medxpower.com clark

    Really, It is good Post.
    I would like to use this strategy to My business.

  • http://www.motivatept.co.uk/ Jules

    Great Post. Some useful tips to those looking to get into self-publishing. There is clearly a great market if you can follow these tips and create something that has truevalue for others. I guess consistency is key, but $12k in the first day is awesome and nice to see that you can do it yourself without Amazon! Thanks Pat and Nathan.

  • http://www.ajtec.nl Eric

    Great post again Pat, nice to see how good e-books do their work.

    Thanks Pat

  • http://srwtips.com/ Mikemilton

    Thats a pretty impressive piece of information :) as a blogger I am your fan now

    • http://www.writechristiansongs.com Ben Chilcote

      Hey Mike – Are you by chance using the Jarida Theme on your site? I’m planning on purchasing that for my site and wondered how you like it.

      • http://www.allstuffweb.com Serge Marchuk (@MrMarchuk)

        He’s using eleven40

  • http://crown-molding-ideas.com Steve

    Another awesome podcast Pat. I wish you had like a thousand of them! I laughed out loud when I heard the choo choo train song. I have a five year old so Sprout is on my favorite list too! Funny how those songs get stuck in your head!

  • http://ownlessandlivemore.com Conrad

    Very interesting podcast Pat. Loved the details about Nathan’s business model and really enjoyed some of his outreach strategies, just wished there was more on that aspect.

  • http://danieltroutman.com Daniel B. Troutman

    Great podcast interview. I really enjoyed Nathan’s information. His website is very well-designed. I’m inspired for when I write my own e-book. Thanks Pat and thanks Nathan!


  • MiaGal

    Definitely useful information.

    I look forward to seeing the transcripts for these podcasts so I can skim through and get to the great nuggets of information that may be of interest to me.

    You may want to consider getting your podcasts down to 30 minutes each with a more structured set of interview questions you know your audience may have with a particular guest or what really excited you about them. I love your stuff, however, 1-1.5 hour podcasts are really long.

  • Tim Wong

    Choo Choo Soul… with Genevieve!!!
    Which song is your son’s favorite?

    Great episode!!! I’ve learned alot, Pat! Keep it comin’

  • Steve

    Pat you will probably not believe this but I’ve been reading Nathan’s blog in the last week. I found him on a Feedly thread or maybe another Podcast…(Not sure exactly) but he is a very interesting guy. He has tons of content on his site. This podcast is right on time..!

  • http://www.mensdesign.com Edgar

    Hey Pat! by the way the song you were singing on your podcast is Choo-Choo Soul.

    I have kids too and practically know every Disney song lol.

  • Steve

    Hey Pat…! Quick question, in your re-design of SPI did you go with a mobile first design or are you going to stay with your mobile APP and build two different experiences ? The reason I ask is that I’m freelancing as a UI/UX Developer/Designer and now we have to think about that…So everything I work on especially my own properties I have to think about.(Possible Post…hmmm)

    • Pat Flynn

      We’re going with a responsive design, but I’d like to keep the app there as well. But, in order for the app to be useful it has to provide something more than just what can already be found on the website, in my opinion.

  • http://empreendedorismoporumempreendedor.com Marcos Soares

    Hey Pat,

    Actually I got curious about how much did the development of the app cost, that would be nice to know.

    I enjoyed the pricing strategies, and that is something very interesting to take in consideration even for different kind of products besides books and digital courses.

    Once again congratulations for the interview, thank’s to your podcast’s i’m getting curious about iOS apps, which I’ll look at in the end of the year.

    The Podcast Listener from Portugal

  • http://thebookrealm.com Michael

    Thanks for another great podcast, Pat! I love the level of transparency and extremely valuable information that both you and Nathan provide. Keep it up guys!

  • http://alex-ding.com/ Alex Ding


    This is truly one of the most helpful interviews that you have done. Although I am not a designer, there is so much wisdom I can apply to my own venture (i.e. tiered pricing). Keep up the good work. I also really liked the reason why Nate preferred to self-publish over using a big distributor like Amazon.

  • http://guitarrasinlimites.com/escalas-de-guitarra/la-escala-pentatonica-menor-3-sencillos-pasos-para-dominarla/ Felipe

    I’m so Impressed Pat, you are just awesome! Keep it up! your podcasts really inspire me.

  • http://fundsindia.go2cloud.org/SHU krishna

    Simply great!!

  • Kyle M.

    Hey man, just wanted to say you nailed this one on the head. Some stuff I really needed to hear in this one.
    Thanks for doing what you do,

  • http://Www.forginglife.com Felicity

    Thanks Pat, and Nathan. As always very honest and insightful. Now we need to take action ; )

  • http://createagreatcv.com C.J

    As a designer I’m totally agreeing on visual design tips. Especially the spacing tips.
    Don’t fear spacing! Great work Pat.

  • Jodie

    I think this is a great post/podcast, but surely it only works well if you have good skills in a particular area. If you don’t have anything meaningful to write about, you’d have to train/study, so it’s almost a goal for a number of years down the line.

  • http://www.tinnitusmiracledisclosed.com Miller

    I have always been skeptical of eBook marketing, but I may have to give it a second look after this. Great post.

  • http://www.expertsenterprise.com Hugh Culver

    Really got a lot from this one. The bundling strategy for Nathan’s ebook was a “duh!” moment for me. Plus, his numbers of higher level bundle sales are impressive. I’m off to go bundling!

  • http://pat.realtyexecutivesfl.com/ pat

    Loved the podcast. Very helpful. I am working on an ebook so this could not have come at a more perfect time. Thanks for the heads up on Gum road too. I know you talked about it before but now I checked it out and looks pretty seamless. Thanks as always.

  • http://www.incomenotebook.com Shana

    Great post. As always the podcast gives me something else to think about and consider. Nathan provided some insight that I will definitely keep in mind.

  • http://coolifedesign.com/ Jimmy Naraine

    Pat you are the man. Love your posts.
    Nathan – 12k is very impressive, especially considering a small number of people on the list.
    Great stuff.

  • http://www.createforcash.com Julie

    I keep hearing that you can’t make a good living selling books, but $12,000 in one day sounds like a very good living to me!

  • http://www.shadeofinfo.com Andrew M. Warner

    A great interview and podcast Pat,

    The best thing I took away from this is that strategy of having 3 different price points. Because it’s true, that usually prospects choose the middle option. I think I need to implement that strategy for the things that I’m selling. The wheels are already in motion.

    Also, checked out gumroad and it looks pretty great. Gonna do a little more research to see more about it before I decide if I’ll use it.

    Thanks again

  • http://www.NancyBadillo.com Nancy Badillo

    I need to print this article and read it over, over, and over. I really appreciate all the great content you provide. You always seem to give more in depth information! Great post.

  • http://Define-smart-goals.com Tom

    Hi Pat,

    Excellent episode! Thanks to you and Nathan for the tip on GumRoad.com. Definitely will be implementing it as an Amazon alternative or augmentation for ebook distribution.

  • http://Define-smart-goals.com Tom

    Hi Pat,

    Quick question about your upcoming website renovation: are you still using WordPress?

    • Pat Flynn

      Yes – still using wordpress :)

  • http://bestjuicerreviews24h.com/best-juicer-breville-bje200xl-juice-fountain-review/ Bunner Malinda

    Great podcast interview. I really enjoyed Nathan’s information. His website is very well-designed. I’m inspired for when I write my own e-book. Thanks Pat and thanks Nathan!

  • http://tutorial.world.edu Rina

    this is best interview. success of Nathan Barry can provide a lot of inspiration for us if that success can be achieved in many ways, including making own ebook
    thank you to share this information

  • http://jasonmcc.com Jason McCullough

    This was an awesome podcast. Just like Nathan I started off as a freelancer. I am a freelance WordPress Developer and Designer.

    I am still struggling as a freelancer, and I am seeking other revenue streams. This blog is really helping out. This one podcast especially. Thanks for doing this interview Nathan!

  • Jarod C

    Hey Pat, I used your “eBooks the Smart Way” as a guide to create my eBook, which now makes me $1000-2000/month … THANK YOU!!

    QUICK QUESTION: As you recommended, I currently use E-junkie and Paypal Pro to process the sales, post-sale emails, etc. I looked at the gumroad.com site and couldn’t really tell how it’s different/better than e-Junkie. Can you please fill us in on why you would switch to gumroad from e-junkie?

    • http://lifeafterfootballblog.com/ Alex Kirby

      Two big things that stood out to me: If you’re going just off of price and have a large amount of volume, Gumroad charges a 5% transaction fee that includes the standard 3% credit card fee. It pays out every two weeks, and does not accept PayPal, at least with US customers.