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Hi I'm writing an ebook


#1

Hi,

I’m new here. I’m currently writing an ebook on some relatively unknown software used to manage streaming radio stations. I’ve got a blog up with articles and mailchimp signup forms with links to my leanpub ‘coming soon’ page.

The blog gets less than 10 hits per day and I’ve got less than 10 subscribers on the mailing list. I’ve gotten one or two emails from people saying they might be interested in purchasing the book.

I’ve started this about 4-5 months ago, and of course I know there are no overnight successes, but is there anything I could be doing that I’m not?

These are the main problems I think I have:

  • content is not very good, and there is not very much of it
  • niche is too small, no one cares about learning how to use this software (although they do have a mailing list with a couple of posts every day or so)

Should I just keep chugging along? I feel like I only have a few more posts I could even write about this software, there are only so many features. Should I get this book shipped and move on?

Critical feedback is more than welcome. :slight_smile:

blog:
mcfiredrill.github.io
ebook:
https://leanpub.com/modernonlineradiowithliquidsoap

Thanks for any feedback!


#2

You will almost certainly make no money on writing a book, online those on the Times best seller list make anything significant. Most technical people who write a book because it is a vanity project or they want to use it on their resume to bolster qualifications. So before continuing you need to decide what your motivations are.


#3

I’m not sure that’s true, Craig - Nathan Barry has made good money from his books:

http://nathanbarry.com/authority/

Sure, there’s a “selling tools to the miners” aspect to it, but still, he also cites other people who have made some money too.


#4

Try amazon kindle. There are many authors selling even 99c books in large volumes to make money. Most of those books are in fantasy and erotica category. It all depends on niche and the people who buy those books. Amazon is a good start but if you are serious then try what nathan berry did, choose something like gumroad and start promoting your stuff.


#5

Fancy running into you here. :smile:

When you’re starting out, rather than waiting for people to come to you, going out and talking to people can be more effective. For instance, you mentioned there is a mailing list. Did you ask on the mailing list about the book? How about forums or other places where people are talking about internet radio?

It sounds like you haven’t found anyone yet who is saying “I need this book”. If you can’t find anyone like that, maybe it just isn’t a topic that people are interested in. I’d guess part of the problem is that liquidsoap is just a tool, and people’s goal is to set up a radio station, not use liquidsoap. If I was to do a book in this area, it would be something that more in line with their goals, such as “Hosting your own online radio station”.

I’d also look at what your goals are. If you’re having fun writing the book, then it doesn’t really matter how many copies you sell, so go for it. But if you’re trying to get a return on investment, everything so far is pointing to there just not being a big enough market for the book as it is.


#6

Hey Paul! Thanks for taking the time to respond.

I actually was hesitant to post to the mailing list about it, but I did last night and got a couple more subscribers! Thanks for mentioning it.

It actually makes a lot of sense when you phrase it like that.

I was thinking before it might be possible to reposition the book as emphasizing that as the end goal, but really that would require a rewrite to be an effective solution for absolute beginners. Perhaps I’d write that book if I could find the audience for it.

Return on investment would be nice, but I am having fun and I suppose I learned a thing or two about bootstrapping a product. I’m going to finish this up and start researching an audience for my next product.


#7

This depends on your definition of “no money”. If you’re looking for some side passive income, it’s totally possible. I’ve made ~ $20k (after CC transaction costs) from http://brandonhilkert.com/books/build-a-ruby-gem/ in the last 8 months.

I think the choice of book subject plays more in to the amount or revenue you’ll generate. You said it from the start that the book is targeted towards a relatively unpopular piece of software. Expecting knock-out sales from that is probably unreasonable. Might be better to look to write about something else if generating sales is your goal. Maybe you could reach out to the mailing list to try and understand how many people are on the list? This might help you decide of it’s even possible to reach a large majority of them. That relationship could also help you push the book to them once it’s ready.

All things being said, if the content is crappy, the result will be crappy – unless it’s a niche that’s so underserved the audience would rather have crappy content than no content at all.

Probably harder to replace a whole salary from the start. As @davidw mentioned, people like Nathan Barry have been able to do so by launching multiple books/products, along with continuing to build a targeted audience with an intentional product funnel.

From my experience, this does tend to be a side benefit (it wasn’t my initial motivation) for writing the book. If this is your prime motivation, I’d focus less on sales vs. just launching a professional looking product so people see and know it’s out there.

Like @craigvn mentioned, knowing your motivations from the start can help guide your decision making and the decision whether to continue or not if things don’t go as expected.


#8

Looking at the LeanPub landing page for the book, it seems like your approach is primarily technology-focused - e.g. talking about Icecatst and Perl scripts in your lead text, listing the “full programming language interface” as one of the benefits. As a fellow nerd, I understand that as a way of reaching the audience. My question to you though is: who is this book for? Is it for people who are also engineers who’ll also speak that language?


#9

it sounds like a solution looking for a bigger problem. Unless liquidsoap itself already has a large enough user base, and that user base has issues using the software, you’re probably better of looking for a wider audience.

the thoughts already mentioned above by @pwim and @brandonhilkert resonate with me: my bet is you need to figure out what problems the audience of “online radio station hosters” are struggling with, adres these problems on your blog, promote your posts in the online community and build an email list from there.

i highly recommend reading @amyhoy’s blog (unicornfree.com) and grasp the concept of her “sales safari”. she really convinced me to start with the audience in mind, not so much my idea/product.


#10

Looking at the LeanPub landing page for the book, it seems like your approach is primarily technology-focused - e.g. talking about Icecatst and Perl scripts in your lead text, listing the “full programming language interface” as one of the benefits. As a fellow nerd, I understand that as a way of reaching the audience. My question to you though is: who is this book for? Is it for people who are also engineers who’ll also speak that language?

I think initially I thought there were lots of people like me out there who wanted to use this tool, knew a thing or two about programming, but were just kind of struggling with it since its not very popular or documented. Looking back, I should probably try to understand my audience better. Maybe people want to use this tool who can’t program at all?


#11

Thank you everyone for so many detailed responses, I was not expecting that. I am going to try to do more research to find problems that ‘online radio’ enthusiasts are having and see if I can solve them.