I finally released a product (but not what you probably think)

Hey all!

So, that whole SmallSpec thing I was struggling to launch for so long? I saw an opportunity to take a detour and launch something small, fast, so I did it.

As part of the Gumroad Small Product Lab 10-day challenge, I wrote a book. A book about drumroll please …podcasting. Obvious choice, right?

If you’re interested, it’s at www.record-and-release.com, but I’m not here to sell. I’m here to talk about how INCREDIBLY RELIEVING it is to finally, finally, finally have some kind of a product out in the wild, even if it’s not the product I was hoping to launch. Just knowing that I’m “on the scoreboard” has injected a much-needed sense of optimism back into me.

For a long time, I was stuck. I thought I didn’t know enough to launch anything. But that was horseshit, I was just engaging in Condition X thinking. “When I learn enough about landing pages…”, 'When I learn enough about lead magnets…", “When I master e-mail autoresponders…”, that sort of thinking.

And to be honest, I was getting depressed. You probably already know I fell into a deep depression, had a minor breakdown, and destroyed my SmallSpec prototype just over a year ago. Yeah, that wasn’t my finest moment, and since then - even though I’ve since re-created a SmallSpec prototype - I really hadn’t marched that much closer to launching anything.

I’m not sure why this 10-day product challenge fired me up so. Maybe because I was already outlining a 5-day e-mail course on something related to freelancing, so my writing muscles were all warmed up? Maybe because I had been considering an ebook anyway? Maybe the oft-repeated advice that “you shouldn’t do a Saas app to start out, you should do a small product” finally sunk in? Maybe it was the support of the Product People Club? I really don’t know.

All I know is that at a certain point, I just gave myself permission to move forward. I decided that everything I knew about marketing a product - which, it turns out, is quite a bit - was good enough, and proceeded as though I knew everything.

Anyway. It’s been a long, weird trip to get here. I’m a little stressed about the dollars and cents of it - this book is NEVER going to earn out the $5,000 in otherwise-billable time I put into creating it. There’s just no way. But it pays off in other ways:

  1. By publishing this, I have added “…and author of…” to my professional bio, forever. Nobody can take that back.
  2. There’s a call for consulting built in to the book, so there may be some back-end revenue coming that way. I suppose that might let the book earn out, even if the sale price doesn’t.
  3. I’m on the scoreboard, and I know it.
  4. I can re-purpose the content from the book in other ways, some more lucrative than others.

So here I am, with a $29 ($20 on launch day) ebook for sale, 3 pre-orders in my pocket, feeling like I’m on top of the world. It’s not where I anticipated being, and it’s not where I wanted to be, but it’s good to be here nonetheless. There’s a lesson in here someplace about expectations, control, and acceptance.

Next up: whip SmallSpec into shape and make. It. Happen. That shit has been dragging on for way, way too long.

Just wanted to share, since I’ve been such an infrequent visitor here lately. Feel free to ask questions about my subject matter, my process, etc. Whatever you feel might help you get unstuck and get a product out the door, too, ask away!


Congrats Christopher! I totally understand your feelings. And they are justified. Shipping is a good habit!

Thanks. You’re not kidding! I’m already planning my next book. :slight_smile:

Congrats on getting the book out.

Re: shipping SmallSpec, remember Andy Brice’s sentiment: “If you aren’t embarrassed by v1.0 you didn’t release it early enough.”

1 Like

I’m willing to be embarrassed. I’m not willing to ship something that flat-out doesn’t do anything! :smile:

7 book sales so far, woo-hoo! And a steady stream of people downloading the free workflow and then e-mailing me w/podcasting questions. Let’s see if I can swing some “productized consulting” when some folks ask me to just do it for them.

Congratulations! There’s a podcast “Show Me Your Mic” about podcasting, perhaps you can get on it to promote your book.

I just reached out to the host, thanks for the tip!

Anybody have any questions about what it’s like to bang out a product in 7 days? (It was a 10-day challenge but I started on Day 3).

Well done!

Perfectionism is a disease, and shipping is the cure. You can quote me on that :smile:


Congrats! Saw this on Product Hunt the other day. How did that go?

It went AWESOME!

First off, RECORD & RELEASE finished the day at #5 on PH. I’m told this means I’m going to be in a newsletter of some kind that PH sends out. I don’t really know much about it, but I’m told it’s a good traffic opportunity.

Second, Twitter engagement was great. I wrote up a couple dozen short podcasting facts/tips, hashtagged them, put my landing page link in them, and scheduled them with HootSuite so I wouldn’t have to be glued to Twitter all day.

Links popped up on bootstrapped.io & reddit, and I tried to participate in comments there where there were some to participate in.

I e-mailed my mailing list 24 hours before launch and again when the pre-order went live. It’s only about 300 people, but they’re my people, so…yeah.

It’s been exhausting but exciting. Right now I show 30 copies sold for a total of $600. That’s not much, but it’s a start! I’m already looking at some ways to automate the process of driving traffic to the book, and have plans for a v2 release already.

Also, I got 2 media inquiries and 2 requests for podcast consulting. Not a bad day by any means.

Frankly, I’m just grateful to be here, standing on the other side of a launch, with any sales at all. It’s been a long road!

1 Like

That’s awesome. Great to hear another Product Hunt success story, I’m quite active on there :smile:

I actually help to maintain makersuccess.com, if you blog about experience, let me know and I’ll get it posted.

Thanks, mubashar, I’ll do that.

Congrats on finally releasing a product, Christopher. I’ve been a listener for quite a while. Admire your tenacity.

Congrats on releasing. The key now is to try and get as much feedback as possible to help you to improve the product and/or give you ideas for another product.

1 Like

Congrats on shipping! If the book content is evergreen than it might produce a small amount of revenue each month that continues for a long time. That’s something to build on!

Thanks, Scotty, I appreciate that.

That’s what I’m hoping for, Ryan. I calculate that if I could sell 2 a day, that covers my mortgage (after taxes). “2 a day” sounds like a do-able goal, but it will require learning how to spin up some automated lead-generation systems.

Fingers crossed, I’m in new territory here!

Mubashar, here’s that blog post I was talking about: How I Accidentally Launched On Product Hunt

…and I just noticed that you already saw it & posted it. Nice!

Well, I guess I’ll just leave the link here so the rest of you can enjoy it. You all might want to check out the companion piece about what participating in the Gumroad Small Product Lab was like; it’s on my blog but I haven’t started promoting it yet:

How To Launch A Product, Lose A Contest, And End Up A Winner Anyway

Hi, congrats on the product launch. I see the buy button like this:

Is this intentional? I use adblock + ghostery.

Woah! No, that definitely isn’t right. Yikes! I suspect a busted CSS media query is to blame…is this on your tablet? Phone? Laptop?