Week 1 Book Reflections | #167
January 22nd, 2021: Greetings from Austin. I don’t think I’ve lived anywhere that goes from 80 degrees to 30 degrees in 24 hours but that’s what happened this week. Bike riding and eating tacos in the sun on Wednesday and wearing 12 layers on Thursday.
A couple of shoutouts (non-affiliate) for friend’s courses to check out:
My friend Khe Hy is launching his Supercharge Your Productivity course but I think that a better name would likely be “figure out what matters.” Khe made a couple of appearances in my book and was one of the first people I found that was on a similar path. He’s asked a lot of the same questions I have about work and his course is a great way to both upgrade your productivity skills while contemplating deep, existential questions. Check it out here.
While Khe’s course kicks off next week, my friend Jonny’s course on Nervous System Mastery is kicking off in April. Jonny has been on a curiosity-driven journey of research and experimentation with all sorts of approaches to reconnect to our bodies. Or in his words, “Research-backed protocols to cultivate calm, capacity + resilience in every-day life. Check that one out too. He’s taking applications now.
#1 Week 1 “Book Launch” Reflections
On the 13th, I uploaded my book to Amazon. The next morning I woke up to the following e-mail:
I had noticed there was no pre-sale option when I uploaded the book but assumed I might be able to fix it later.
So I decided to just go ahead and launch my book last Saturday.
I had been planning to do some 80/20 research on optimizing launches and figuring out how to hack the Amazon algorithm to boost sales but when I realized it was already live, I was too excited to wait.
“How do you feel?”
I didn’t have an expectation of how I was supposed to feel when I launched my book. When people asked, I said things like “it feels good!” but to be honest it really doesn’t feel like a big deal to me. All the most exciting parts were during the writing. Small moments like tweaking a paragraph over and over again for a couple of hours and then magically finding the right words to make it work.
This book feels like a natural summary of a lot of what I’ve written about over the last five years. Instead of pointing people to a collection of blog posts, I now have something I can give to people that might be a little more helpful or inspiring.
The biggest thing I felt was free. Throughout the entire last year, I was always thinking about the book. Whether it was spotting ideas in things I read, noticing things in every day life, doing the writing, or rounds of editing, I finally shipped the the biggest creative project I’ve undertaken.
This week I’m going to be spending a ton of time reflecting on 2021 and starting to think about what comes next.
Would I have done things differently?
Part of my journey has been learning to go with the flow and to trust that things will be okay. What does this mean in reality? It means sometimes dropping the ball and having the awareness that I am leaving money on the table or not doing “my best.”
Which is fine. This book’s meta-theme is about shifting away from living a life centered around maximizing all gains towards one focused on living a life you want to be living. I never had any sort of goal to maximize sales yet as soon as the book launched on Amazon, I did notice there were a number of measures of success - namely ranks in different categories.
At a couple of points, my book was the #1 new release in business autobiographies and the careers category for the kindle book. My favorite part? I was beating out “Do Epic Shit.”
Right now here’s how the book is doing. I don’t have any reference point for this but it seems like a solid start.
My friend Jordan told me that Amazon reviews can increase sales of your book by 30-40% so if you would like to help me out and have bought the book, go write a review.
I sold about 200 books in the first week, mostly on Amazon
I might have sold more books if I had put more energy into the launch, but it’s hard to know. For my book, I sense that the initial audience will be people that have already read my writing, and if the book does find some marginal success, it will likely be slow and steady growth.
A weird thing: hardcovers take 3-4 weeks to ship but only six days in Europe (*EDIT: Hardcovers are shipping faster on Barnes & Noble right now). As far as I know, here is the only existing copy of the hardcover, in Athens:
Books are the real NFTs?
Sending out over 73 books this week, there’s something nice about being able to send a book to people who have helped me along my journey and to start to give it away to frtiends.
It’s also equally cool to see friends around the world sending pictures of them receiving my book or reading it (keep them coming!).
Who needs NFTs when you can just let people mint your thoughts on Amazon?
I did think of doing some sort of NFT with the launch of the book and I may still do something but the physical objects seem good enough for now.
Some feedback on the book
(or request it as a gift -happy to give it to anyone who would read it!)
#2 Tea Time
Mike Newton of The Tea Letter came over yesterday and made Angie and me some Taiwanese tea. He’s on his own journey of leaving the default path, writing, unlocking his creativity, and exploring his passion for tea.
Thanks again Mike and give him a follow if you like Tea!
#3 Links & Etc.
A great post from Jamie Catherwood on the history of Innovation Hubs. Did you know Cleveland was a thriving hub in the late 1800s?
A deep dive into the history of work through the lens of r/antiwork by Anna Codrea-Rado
A deep dive into how an obsession with procedures and rules slows down institutional change.
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