Indie Publishing September 20, 2020

I wrote an eBook over the weekend and made over $1,000 [you can do it too]

Travis R. @saaspnr

Just recently I wrote a 100 page eBook about my journey bootstrapping my first SaaS business to $643k in annual recurring revenue (ARR). I wrote it over the weekend and then sold over $1,000 in copies of it exclusively on Twitter.

Here is the eBook: https://gum.co/100_mistakes

Now I'm helping Indie Hackers do the same thing I did with my Easy Book Blueprint micro-course: https://gum.co/easybook

AMA about my process, my story. But more importantly, take action on your future today and invest in yourself.

  1. 15

    I saw this book suggested on another website. I asked the person recommending it if he had read the book and he said no, but he really liked the title. I noted "Unless someone wants to review it I am suspicious of the content. It’s a fantastic title and he has published a $50 book for how to publish a book in a weekend"

    So I reached out to @SaaSpnr on twitter and asked: I cannot find any reviews of your “100 mistakes” book or a sample chapter. How can I assess the quality of the insights that you offer without spending $20?

    He replied, “Well, just released it but here is a very nice review. Just have to take a leap of faith.”

    He posted a screen shot with no name and no date that said
    100 mistakes review posted on twitter by @Saaspnr

    Hey Travis, I started reading the 100 Mistakes book this morning. Not to further
    but OMG what a blast of a start of the book! Got me goosebumps all the way! Kudos, I rarely see that type of engagement with business books.

    I answered, “Thanks for the quick reply. I am inferring that you don’t have much confidence in what you have written if you are afraid to release a sample from the book. Doubling down by saying “trust me” inspires me to take a pass.”

    He closed with “Ahhh…thanks for the clarification.”

    Sometimes you have make an "intentional mistake" (see update below) to calibrate your rules of thumb. Against my better judgement I ended up buying the book.

    Bottom line: there are many better books out there for bootstrappers.

    Here 5 mistakes from book taken verbatim from the book (they are each numbered but listed in a random order).

    Mistake #24 “​I didn't write this book soon enough.”

    Mistake 81 “​I took the time to write this book.”

    Mistake #64 “​I should have moved away from my hometown sooner. I'm originally from Chicago, and I love my home town."

    Mistake #37 “​I didn't ensure I had a clean desk space.”

    Mistake #62 “​I should have done more drugs. I am a huge fan and proponent of microdosing on mushrooms. The active ingredient in it is ​Psilocybin​."

    So rule confirmed, if you don't see an excerpt and you don't see any reviews then it's probably better to give a book a pass.

    Edit update: An "intentional mistake" is a technique a I learned from "Brilliant Mistakes: Finding Success on the Far Side of Failure" by Paul Schoemaker, a book I strongly recommend. An intentional mistake is a way to gather more information and calibrate various models you have of the world against reality.

  2. 9

    I wouldn't personally buy a $50 book that was created over the weekend.

    I don't think a good, quality book can be written over a weekend and I dislike that you even recommend this to others.

  3. 5

    Hold my beer, I needed to make $643k ARR first.

    https://twitter.com/askmesaas This account doesn’t exist
    I wanted to check your follower count, because I assume I'll need that much following as well.

    50 sales no reviews, not a good indicator.

    But more importantly, take action on your future today and invest in yourself.

    Good call out. 👍

    1. 2

      To gilli's point, no one actually leaves reviews on gumroad and thats one of the problems they need to fix

      I've sold hundreds of copies of my book. I have tweets for proof but gumroad will show 3 5 star ratings lol

      1. 2

        Yeah I've got thousands of downloads for Norde and not a single review, I think it's probably because they get it directly from my website and don't even have a gumroad account, so there is no reason for them to go there to leave a review.

        1. 1

          Great point!

          Gumroad should really fix this with auto email follow ups

          TBH there's ALOT to fix in gumroad, typical example of MOAT defensibility, it's hard for people to move to other platforms just due to the sheer traffic gumroad brings in rn

          1. 1

            Personally I wouldn't want to bother my customers with something self-serving like begging for a review, I don't like all the spam I get in apps these days saying "Like our app? Write a review". It really annoys me :D

    2. 2

      Nobody leaves reviews on gumroad, I got tons of sales and 0 reviews.

      1. 2

        Do you use workflows to solicit ratings? I'm new at Gumroad, so I wonder how effective workflows can be at this.

        1. 2

          No, I don't really see much value in trying to get reviews, especially if it means I have to annoy my customers with an email. My marketing efforts point people to my own website, so they don't actually see that there aren't any reviews.

    3. 1

      Gotta have a story to tell before anyone will listen. Otherwise, it's a fairy tale of marketing checklists and how-to's that rarely come to fruition.

    4. 0

      I changed it recently to @saaspnr :-)

  4. 2

    I agree with most comments here, luring people in with a good title may sell but can't be a great feat. On the contrary, a good book written in a short time frame would only be worthwhile if you're leaning on a well-structured body of thoughts gleaned from years of experience and study. That said, I still believe a weekend is too short. Editing is long.

    1. 1

      I wrote in a weekend, proof reading, formatting etc took another week or so. But taking the first step is usually the hardest problem for folks

      1. 1

        Haha, I think the editing is the hardest part. Included within that is assessing what needs to go, what should stay, etc.

  5. 1

    @saaspnr I am eager to know how you approach people for selling your product on twitter. For my product (www.ruttl.com), we are trying to build the initial audience and I would love to hear if you have any tips for us to start using twitter for the same?

    Cheers!

  6. 1

    Are you saying you wrote 100 pages of text over weekend? How is that even possible?

    1. 6

      Having read the book I would say it's not only possible but likely it was written in a weekend.

      1. 1

        What do you really mean? Doesn't it have a lot of text, or something else?

        1. 1

          It's a little under 16,000 words. It's long enough. I think it was his way of processing some of the mistake he made in his business.

          It's more of a memoir that's a series of anecdotes presented at random in a stream of consciousness style. In his opening he writes:

          Each lesson is broken down into bite-size learnings on a single page. Each page contains the mistake #, the actual mistake I made, and a few paragraphs for some context plus images.
          My mistakes are not in chronological order. That is on purpose. You will be bounced around from mistake-to-mistake in random order. Reading an extensive list and knowing how many you have left to read can be daunting.

          It would be more effective as a chronological memoir. Or cluster the mistakes by the stage of the business so that an entrepreneur at a certain stage could start there.

    2. 1

      I wrote in a weekend, proof reading, formatting etc took another week or so. But taking the first step is usually the hardest problem for folks

      1. 1

        So, do you mean you wrote it right from your head - during that weekend, not already having any notes or whatever?

        1. 1

          yup, I rattled off mistakes 1-82 in short order. The other 18 I had to dig a little in my mind and memories to pull out some profound mistakes. But all written down and supporting context paragraphs over the weekend. i know have pretty good blueprint and process in place to do this again

    3. 0

      Yes, I did and yes it is possible. My micro-course walks you step-by-step on how to do it.

      1. 2

        Well, even if you can type 100 pages of text, I believe it's not possible to think them out during the weekend. Therefore, you already prepared all the materials what means the phrase "wrote over the weekend" is slightly incorrect.

  7. 1

    That's awesome! Would you be willing to share a 2-3 sentence summary about the SaaS business the book is based on?

    1. 1

      But my micro course will show how you can write your won book in the same time or quicker, even if you don't have the same results or story to tell that I do.

    2. 1

      The book was written about my journey with AccelerList.com

  8. 0

    Do you have an affiliate link? I can post on my little website: https://gumrank.pory.app

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