Hi, I'm new here, so as a "hello" post I'd like to share my journey with you.
Especially since today is the last day of the lowered price ;)
The story is simple - I'm teaching a university class on Design and my students were asking me constantly which book were the PDF materials I kept sending them from. As they were made by me, especially for the class I decided to take action and after 15 months of work released the eBook which due to many actionable paths through can also be considered a UI design course.
The book is being used by both startups and large corporations and banks. Most of the US universities (including Stanford, Yale, and others) purchased at least one copy.
It got rave reviews from the users and we're getting emails from people saying how they "leveled up" because of it. That's awesome!
Back in 2018, I had no online presence - 100 followers on Twitter and no reach. I started writing the book and made a newsletter, to which the first signups were from my university class. For months I only had 40-60 people subscribed, but I shared the initial chapters there to see what people want to read about - what they're missing from their current classes, etc.
I released the first free chapter (22 pages) in March 2019 and the word of mouth spread - got about 1K downloads and +100 subscribers in a little over a week.
I started writing on Medium in August 2019 and my reach there grew very quickly resulting in even more subscribers. Ended 2019 with 5000 people in the newsletter.
I launched a YouTube channel with free tutorials, started doing redesign events, a slack community, and more. The idea was to be active and show that even if you don't buy the book there's still a lot you can learn from us. Having this as the primary motivation meant we were able, to be honest, and the relationship with the audience was simply better.
The book also gets monthly updates, so it was a natural incentive to "Build in Public" and that worked very well too.
It was a huge risk to start a project that big without a big audience, but I managed to build the audience as I was writing the book. In the end, it allowed me to start working on other books and courses, so it's a great start to building a product.
If you have any specific questions on how we launched, or anything about the book/marketing / promotion, etc ask away :)
I'll be happy to answer.