I’m incredibly excited to share February’s income report with you! My new book, Will It Fly?, went on sale on February 1, and I’m stoked to share how it performed and the total costs associated with it, among a few other things that happened in February that were exciting too. [This link leads to Amazon. Full disclosure: I receive affiliate commission if you purchase from this link.]
Before I get into the report, I have something awesome to share that I know a lot of you have been waiting for…
The audiobook for Will It Fly? is now available!
As of today, the audiobook went live on Audible.com and iTunes and I know a lot of you who prefer listening to books or enjoy the podcast will love it. Also, if you’re a first time user of Audible, you can get my book for free with your first free credit!
Just click here to get access to it now! [This link leads to Amazon. Full disclosure: I receive affiliate commission if you purchase from this link.]
I've also created a small sample of the audiobook for you too, which you can listen to below:
Now, if you’re not familiar with these income reports, I publish them once a month to share not only how much I’ve earned online and where it all comes from, but the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
So let’s not wait any further, and let’s get into exactly what was going on in February.
The entire month of February was dedicated to the launch of Will It Fly? It represented a year’s worth of work and it was cool to see that it was all finally going to be out there in the public. It was exciting, but I was extremely nervous to see what the results would be. Even though I validated the topic, even though I put a launch group together who all had amazing things to say about the book (they were given early access to it), and even though I knew the content in the book was great, I couldn’t help but wonder: “What if it doesn’t do well?”
That’s a common thought that always comes across my mind when trying something new, exciting, and different that could potentially be great, but I’ve learned to see those nerves as a sign that whatever is generating those feelings is something I care about a lot, and I have to keep going.
And keep going I did, all the way into the morning of February 1 when I stayed up all through the night to finish one final piece of the puzzle (the book’s free companion course), which I published at 7:30 on the morning the book went live on Amazon, and an hour and a half before the virtual book launch party, which I knew I would be running on fumes I after pulling an all-nighter. The adrenaline kicked in though, and I had my second (or fifth) wave of energy to finish the broadcast and see the rankings of the book continue to climb, until I finally passed out on the couch and slept for seven hours straight.
When I woke up, of course the first thing I did was check to see how the book was doing, and I couldn’t believe it had already cracked the Top 100 of all books on Amazon, which was one of my primary goals. The next day, the Kindle sales started to skyrocket and the book reached as high as number twenty-two of all Kindle books on Amazon, and number one in Startups, Entrepreneurship, Self-Help, and Small Business.
Earlier this month, I wrote a two-part post about the entire process from start to finish, including how I wrote the book, the methods of self-publishing, and how I marketed it, so I won’t get into the same detail here in this report, but if you’d like to read those posts, please click on the link for each part below:
- Will It Fly from Start to Finish—How I Wrote a Wall Street Journal Bestseller – Part 1
- Will It Fly from Start to Finish—How I Wrote a Wall Street Journal Bestseller – Part 2
And, as you can tell from the title of the links above, the book did go on to become a Wall Street Journal bestseller, which I’m truly amazed by! I thought that when I chose to self-publish my book that I was pretty much letting go of potentially getting on the lists, but I made it to number six on the list, and I couldn’t be happier about it!
Now that I know this is possible, I’m curious to know if, as a self-published author with no connections to the world of bookstores like Barnes and Nobles, I can get the book out on shelves. I have some things in mind to potentially make this happen, but it’s going to take some experimentation, and something out of the box I’m sure. More on that coming soon 😉
The breakdown for the total earnings as well as the expenses to write and publish Will It Fly? are in those posts linked to above, and included in the line-by-line income statement below, but there’s one thing I didn’t mention in the reports that was also a massive success that I’d like to share with you now.
The Free Will It Fly? Companion Course
When you sell a book on Amazon, you don’t get access to the list of buyers. So, it’s your job as the author to follow up and continue a conversation with your readers, to somehow get those readers out of the book and into your email list. There are a number of different methods for doing this, for example offering a bonus chapter, the audio version, or other free incentive in exchange for a person’s email address, but, as always, I wanted to experiment and try something I hadn’t seen before, which is why I offered a free companion course.
A companion course to a book, by my definition, is one that helps you as you read or listen through the content. The modules and lessons are setup like the parts and chapters of the book, and each chapter contains information and resources related to that particular chapter. So for example, Chapter 2 in the companion course, contains a video as well as a downloadable worksheet related to the exercise I ask people to do in that chapter of the book. Other chapters have audio files, some with other resources, and all of them have clickable links of for anything mentioned in the book, which addresses one of my pet peeves when reading books nowadays, the plethora of non-clickable-links on paper.
I was very curious to see how the companion course would perform in terms of getting readers to subscribe, and the results have blown me away.
After all twenty-nine days of February, 15,674 copies of the book were sold.
How many converted into the course?
That’s a 27.25% conversion rate, which is awesome!
This is a great conversion rate, especially considering that it’s not a quick signup, but rather one that includes a username and password. So how has collecting information from readers helped me?
Here’s one awesome example:
One week before February was over, I had 170 customer reviews. My goal for the month was 300 hundred, so I had some work to do. Below you can see an email that I sent out to about 4,000 people thanking them, and then asking for an honest review of the book.
With a 65% open rate, I added 101 customer reviews within twenty-four hours, and by the end of February I surpassed my goal with 303 by March 1.
I’ll also be updating the course with additional content over time to keep delivering value to this audience, and when I launch future courses using the same platform, it’ll be really easy for them to sign up and get access because their username and email are already in the system. The platform I’m using is called Teachable.com, and I am really enjoying how easy it is to use and setup a course, and looking into the future, it seems like it’ll be perfect for housing all other courses that will be going live here on SPI. More on Teachable later.
Beyond that, all of my other businesses and functions were pretty much automated, or pre-scheduled since I knew ahead of time I was going to be focusing solely on the book launch in February.
So, let’s get into the income report breakdown.
Full Disclosure: Some of the items in the list below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase through that link, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Note: Items with an empty difference percentage were not present on the previous month's income report.
Expenses do not include pro-rated yearly fees. Most are related to the Smart Passive Income Blog and new projects that are currently under development.
The Biggest Lesson I Learned in February
Beyond the book stuff, there was one other activity I did during February which I truly enjoyed. I spoke at the Traffic and Conversion Summit here in my own backyard of San Diego. Not literally in my backyard, but you know what I mean.
This is a huge event that happens each year in San Diego, and what I love about it is that some of the sessions are more advanced than you might have access to at other conferences. Plus there are a ton of people in the entrepreneur and Internet marketing world who show up, so it’s a great opportunity to meet and network.
I did meet and connect with some amazing and smart people people while I was there (like the guys from BuzzSprout), but my favorite part was walking around the hallways in between sessions and getting stopped by people who follow the SPI Blog and Podcast. And this was the first time, ever, that I had been asked to sign a book. In fact, dozens of people had a copy of Will It Fly? with them, which surprised me, but I think they knew they would eventually run into me because I was speaking on the final day of the event. [This link leads to Amazon. Full disclosure: I receive affiliate commission if you purchase from this link.]
Signing books was weird, but awesome. Not because I felt like a rock star, which I believe I’ll never feel because I’m just a regular guy, but what I loved was seeing people get inspired by the book, and hearing from some about how it had already changed the course of their businesses and lives.
One person, Tom Tate, who purchased a digital copy of Will It Fly? even had me sign his Kindle at the event!
— Tom Tate ?? (@tnrt) February 11, 2016
All of this feedback from the book, and all of the other amazing feedback that I’m seeing on social media makes it all the worthwhile to me. This is what it’s about.
So, when you’re writing your book, building your course, or creating something that you know in your heart will help people, know that on the other end of it you’re going to make an impact on another person’s life. That’s what will help you get through those tough times. There’s no better feeling than knowing you’re helping others, and I’m now more inspired than ever to get back to work and see what else I can do for you.
Cheers, thanks again for your support, and I appreciate you! And don't forget to pick up the audiobook for Will It Fly on Audible or iTunes! Cheers!