eBook project is a complete failure, but what exactly can we learn from it?

Hello sitepoint-forum members,

this is my first post and it is a request for feedback. It’s about a failed project.

After getting interested in online marketing me and a friend decided to produce an ebook and sell it online. We were both quite successful in our day-jobs so we figured it would be a good subject to write about.

So we wrote an ebook full of good career advice and we created a blog where we posted free articles related to the topic. We also posted a few articles to ezinearticles and twittered links to all new blog-posts. This resulted in about 1000 unique visitors over a span of two or three months. No sales. So we created a “sales-pitch” page and invested money in google CPC ads. This was expensive and resulted in a couple hundred more visitors, but again, no sales.

We have declared the project a total failure and stopped working on it. But it still bugs me: What the hell did we do wrong? What can I learn from this experiment? I invested a lot of time and I’d like to get at least that out of it. I can’t think of a better place, that’s why I thought I’d ask here before we take the website down. Did any of you ever try something similar? What did we miss?

Any feedback is very welcome. Thank you.

Link (Blog): careeradvicebook com
Link (Sales-Page): careeradvicebook com / book

(Spam-Protection won’t let me add the links any other way. Sorry!)

P.S.: We really think the information in this book is worth something. We aren’t scammers looking for quick money. I’d like to publish it somehow, even if for free. Any recommendations?

Since most stuff like this can be found online for free, then giving it away is proably the best way to go.

I wouldn’t think you guys did anything wrong other than trying to sell something that is readily available all over the internet for free.

I have never bought an ebook. Probably never will do. I feel that if I’m going to spend money on it, I’d rather buy the actual book in physical form. I don’t like reading PDFs, so that might be something to do with it.

SitePoint sell ebooks, but they’re regularly giving them away for free too (if you complete a survey, or something like that) so perhaps the fact that they are often free reduces their apparent value and makes people hesitant to pay for something intangible. I know people pay for lots of intangible software products and online services, but in the case of a book… there’s something different about it. I’d rather buy the book.

KM Richards has a point, this sort of information (including scams, very bad quality info and complete misinformation as well as genuine research) is widely available for free. But even if you were publishing your new crime fiction novel in this form, I doubt your sales would be fantastic.

you will earn money ONLY if YOU:
give your ebooks for free, BUT make them click on some sponsor ads from your web !

ebooks might take off if devices like Amazon’s Kindle get popular enough. I personally prefer when coding to refer to a printed book open on the desk rather than refering to an eBook on the screen.

With all due respect, you didn’t really learn anything.

There are so many variables that go into selling things on the Internet that it’s almost impossible to tell what went wrong with so little information.

Bad product
Bad landing page
Bad traffic (e.g. bidding on the wrong keywords)
Bad marketing
Too much free information on the topic
lack of an affiliate program

It could be any of those, or all of those, or a combination…

It’s tough to make a living selling information products, that I suppose is one thing that you’ve learned.

I agree with tke and must add that three months isn’t long enough to make any business successful. Most things in the real world aren’t right now… most require patience.

Thank you for the answers.

Yeah I guess we fell for the Tim Ferriss book a little bit. But then again we gave it a try. I like the idea to make ppl click something to get a copy. But then again at this point we’ll probably just give it away.

Which puts you further ahead than 95% of the people out there.

Web marketing is a crazy business, you can do everything right and fail, or do everything wrong and succeed.

You just need to keep flinging **** at the wall until something sticks.

I don’t agree with Raffles in that PDF’s are a bad idea, granted I do have a lot of physical books but I certainly would buy a PDF e-book if I felt it offered something which would prove useful to me or my business. 3 months is far too lean an amount of time to try and make a successful business though. Most business take a lot of time, care, money and attention before they manage to turn a profit. Just look at Google, they didn’t suddenly fire out of the block and become a huge success, it took them years before anyone even knew about them. Why not evolve your business model? If no-one will buy the e-book, give it away for free, get some feedback from the readers as to what they would be interested in (as a result of that), then you can build a community or site around the book and perhaps end up with something that is worthy of selling. The main thing you can get out of this is, nothing is an absolute failure, you can always take manure and make roses. :slight_smile:

I’m not saying PDFs are a bad idea - they’re great for scientific journals, documents, forms, single-page sheets of paper, etc. But for an entire 100-page plus book then I think it gets tedious. Reading from a lit-up screen for extended periods of time is tiring and just not as nice as leafing through a book. The big advantage for an eBook, I suppose, is the “search” feature, but it’s not overwhelming enough to tear me away from a book.

Perhaps you’re just old :stuck_out_tongue: I love the idea of e-books replacing printed media on the premise that it’s easier to organize, carry with you, there’s less space wastage, kills less trees, easier to search, etc… and I stare at a computer screen as often as I can, and it never tires me out! :slight_smile:

Ha, I’m only like 2 years older than you. But yeah, call me old fashioned but I do like the printed word. Besides, you can take a book practically anywhere, but you’d be a bit concerned about getting sand in your laptop or Kindle at the beach!

I buy ebooks only from SP because they are a reputable company/website and it’s something I know deep down inside that the information will be top notch. OK, I can get all the information off the internet for free but is it credibility and upto date?

Yes SP has given away free ebooks, but thats one way to advertise the ebook to get sales and I think it works. Say the first 100 is free, after you pay. They also appealed to me and it was what I was after too.