Over 200,000 Served
Sitting here on Sunday at the Caribou Coffee shop trying to figure out how best to convey the excitement of the past several days. I’m not even sure where to start.
Last week, I’d said that this whole process was similar to opening night of a play for a director. That everything that you can possibly do is done and you just sit around all day – slightly bored, slightly manic – waiting for the returns. Rob likened it to an election where the campaign has done all it can do until election day when the results start to trickle in (and hope for no hanging chads).
On Thursday, many of my colleagues and friends emailed their networks and ezines on my behalf with the details of my Thursday-Only offer. Between the blogs that announced the book launch and the email newsletters, I think we reached about 200,000 people by the end of the day. My publisher had said that with all the blogging books out there, that we’d do well to show strong online sales.
By the Numbers
I don’t have stats on actual units sold. But from the online tracking I was doing, here’s what we know so far.
- 4200 pageviews on GOblogwild.com
- 293 folks went through my client database system, either to grab the book excerpt or to sign up for the Amazon offer
- 831 views of the offer on the site (and many more saw it via email)
- 223 people joined my newsletter (9,373 total now!)
- 360 folks downloaded the PDF excerpt of the book
- 12 new orders for products at the $50 discount (I’m guessing many more will take advantage of this offer throughout the next couple weeks)
- 282 orders using my Amazon affiliates link netting Amazon over $700 in revenue ($44 in commissions) – any many of them bought extra stuff besides the book
My Website Blows Up
And what would a global, critical, crucial online product launch be without some stomach-churning technical hiccup?
On Wednesday morning my web server blew up. I tried to reach my websites on different browsers, different computers, asked colleagues to try and connect, tried pinging… to no avail. The usual torrent of profanities came trippingly on the tongue as I submitted a tech support ticket to the wizards at Dreamhost. They verified the outage at 20 minutes in and then called my cellphone personally to tell me that the server had failed and that they were moving my data to a brand new shiny server and everything should be back up in 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I had no less than three concerned clients and colleagues call me to see if everything was alright. Service was restored within the hour.
I continue to love Dreamhost.
Amazon Rankings Are Dangerous
Blogwild! started the day ranked at 16,992.
Amazon rankings are a dangerous thing. The promise of hourly statistics and data on your beloved book can drive you crazy. My dad was at home in Indiana on dial-up hitting reload. Ron had been checking the ranking first thing in the morning (along with United Airlines stock). I was camped out in a Skype chat room (with Krishna, Maryam, Tara and Lisa) and I was broadcasting instant messages each time the book’s rank changed. I had programmed my computer to take screenshots of six different top seller lists on Amazon every hour so I couldn’t possibly miss the apex – I did manual screenshots just in case. An OCD fantasy-land.
Ron and I had a victory-lunch down at the downtown Big Bowl. By then, the book had broken into the top 300 and we were giddy as little schoolgirls. On our way to the Apple store (to buy a victory-iPod) I got Lisa’s voicemail that we’d reached 101.
Much cheering on the Magnificent Mile! I got the 30GB iPod at our local Best Buy (to get those reward points) and have spent the past few days ripping most of my CD collection into it. (And yes: they scratch VERY easily. And yes: you have to buy the power adapter separately. And yes: you have to buy the belt clip separately. And yes: they’ll probably come out with a 120GB in the same size, at the same price by Christmas. And yes: I still bought it.)
By the time we got home, the book had reached 64.
By now, I was calling my parents and my sister everytime the ranking changed. My dad had bought ten copies to ship to me for me to sign for relatives and then send out. Dozens of people were taking advantage of the $50 off offer and snapping up copies of Six Figure Blogging and Easy Bake Weblogs and my affiliates were racking up commissions. Email blasts hit inboxes from Michael (thanks Lisa!), Krissy, Krishna, Donna and Julia, Andrea, Mitch (thanks Peggy!), Terry Z, Scott, Stever and Lou. A phalanx of bloggers helped out by posting on their blogs: Sylva, Yvonne, Ben, Paul, Darren, Des, Tris, Connie, Brian, Mark, Carol, David, Angie, and Alicia. I even co-starred in a rambunctious podcast with Madge Weinstein from Yeast Radio. We were reaching critical mass. Ron had called the Filipino gay mafia in San Diego and had instructed everyone to buy the book – he kept repeating the instructions in Tagalog and all I could understand was the words Wibbels and Blogwild. I think they all met at a Starbucks with a laptop and everyone was coerced into buying a copy.
Borders and Barnes & Noble
Ron found out that you can search the inventory of any Borders bookstore from their website so we were ecstatic to find the book was in stock at several Chicago Borders stores. He checked other regions and the was in stock at many large metro locations. (On our way to Barnes and Noble we found our local Pier 1 having a closing sale – we picked up a nice mirror to hang over the couch – the frame matches the couch. I almost feel like an adult now!)
At Barnes and Noble, we were able to search their computer and found that they had five copies on the way and all the nearby book distributors (Ingram, etc) had at least 70 copies of the book in stock.
Maryam told me she went to her local Borders (Palo Alto) on Sunday and they’d already sold out of the book. Fantastic news!
There are a few times in your life when you feel your worldplace. When your perspective is both local and global – where biography and history intersect. I’m not sure what else to call it – maybe magnitude. When I first got copies of the book from the publisher I walked out onto to Barry Avenue and felt my magnitude – just another tiny carbon-based mammal on this tiny whirling globe who managed to reach out to others. You feel tiny but you feel your connectedness.
That happened again last Thursday.
Yes, Thursday was about having a big splash and ranking high enough to call the book a bestseller – but at the same time it was about marveling at the entire process of books and blogs. That I write something in November and in April you can hold it in your own hands and find it in hardcover format in bookstores all over the country (soon to be all over the world). Or I write something today at 10:55 and it is readable at 10:56 and then delivered to over 9,000 email inboxes. I still marvel at all of this technology.
I felt worldplace again Saturday coming home from the gym when I stopped in at Borders to see my book on the shelf.
On the top shelf but right next to Joe Vitale and Zig Ziglar. (Finally that W is something besides being called last in homeroom!) I opened the book and rifled throgh the pages to ensure it was the right book. (This whole process does things to your brain)
Hourly Rankings Aren’t So Hourly
One of the juicy bits we discovered throughout the day is that Amazon’s hourly rankings aren’t hourly – they are barely even one-and-a-half-hourly. The book rankings were updated around every 1.5 to 2 hours. What was really odd is the rankings – for the whole system – froze at Thursday around 10:00 Central and stayed that way for at least 11 hours. Even better: the ‘Yesterday’s Rank’ for Blogwild hasn’t changed in five days (if it still says 133,799 then you know it’s out of date). I’m hoping my editor can get some more exact stats for Thursday from our Amazon rep.
Was it Worth It?
We’re all exhausted. But I think this was all worth it. To be able to say that your book is a bestseller or ‘the #1 blogging book’ is great marketing copy. To know that you’ve got phalanx of fans, clients and colleagues ready to help you get out the message is even more rewarding.
Manage – Don’t Control
I remember a call Andrea did a while ago talking about her early days managing Coachville and how Thomas guided her not to focus so much on controlling the business – but to focus on managing it. This whole process has been like a wild dragon dance where to attempt to control it would be crazy – but you can manage it better and try to keep it’s bounds within reason and focus the energy in the right place.
C is for Cookie
On Friday, Nancy FedExed me a huge tin of cookies from Tom’s Cookies in San Francisco. I cancelled all cooking plans for the day and immediately went to work. Everyone knows my weakness for cookies – especially soft, chocolate chip ones – so I didn’t even have to make lunch! So much for getting rid of the bookfat.
I’m a bit relieved that I can get this newsletter back on topic. As well as get back to regular blogging – I’ve got a lot of political and business rage to vent and ideas to spin out. It’d become really sales-y the past couple weeks so I’m happy to get back to on topic. I don’t want to be like those new parents that all they can say is Don’t you want to see the bay-bay? Jerry! Elaine! Kramer! You just haff to see the bay-bay!