Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anecdotal Data on Self-Publishing

Jesse Storimer shares his experience with 4 Months of ebook Sales … nearly $18,000 in 4 months – not too shabby!

Four months ago, to the day, I launched an ebook about Unix programming for Ruby developers. Here I'll share how it came to be and some sales numbers.


I've been interested in writing an ebook for a while. The first time I tried I didn't finish because I couldn't stay motivated.



I did zero promotion before launching the book. Literally no one knew about it besides me, my wife, and a few friends. The book is fully self-published so there was no publisher involved, no copyeditor, no technical editor, just me. I'm really grateful to the few people that I reached out to who provided valuable advice and reviews. Without their interaction I wouldn't have known what I had. If I were to do this again I would certainly offer a pre-launch mailing list to let people follow along as I worked on the book.

I was very nervous about putting something out there with my name on it and asking people to pay money for it. Once the book was 'done' I deliberated for a month on whether or not I would release it. After putting together a web site for the book (with the help of Copywriting for Geeks) and showing it to one more person who gave really positive feedback I decided to bite the bullet and see what would happen. I treated the whole thing as an experiment and had no idea what to expect.

Someone close to me asked what I would consider to be a successful outcome after launching the book. At first I said that if I can create something, put it online, and get even one person to pay for it then that's a huge accomplishment. After some thought I said that if the revenue were $1,000 in the first month (about 1 sale per day) I would consider it a success. To my surprise revenue was just over $1,000 on launch day alone. The only launch announcement I made was via Twitter.

  • Total Revenue: $17,992 USD
  • Total # of Sales: 746

WWUP sales to date

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