Lessons learned after selling 1.1 Million books and ebooks

73 replies
It's been a while since I added something of value to the forum, so I figured I'd share some things I've learned. I'm not as active here as I used to be, so pardon the big numbers in the post title - it's really more to get your attention and give back than to brag.

Feel free to ask me anything in this post and I'll try to help you.

So yes, according to my publisher and my royalty checks , I've sold 1.1 million books and ebooks since 2009. This was split between 3 books with a fourth one coming out in August. I guess the best proof I can offer is right here on the unreleased cover of my new book coming out in August there is a label that says "more than a million books sold in this series".

For those who know me, you know that I started out as a newbie in 2001 just trying to find a niche for an ebook to put on Clickbank. I was working full time for JP Morgan Chase back then and the only time I had was my lunch break, nights and weekends. I taught myself everything from scratch (html, photoshop, copywriting, niche marketing, SEO, Google Adwords, email marketing, etc) while working in a one bedroom apartment on an old refurbished computer that I bought from a used computer store for $300.

I was a one man operation when I first started but I was super motivated. Nobody knew my name Online and I didn't give two sh*ts about failing. There weren't many long indecisive planning sessions - I was just indiscriminately throwing all my ideas against the wall to see what sticks. I didn't care what anybody thought of me (except my customers) and had that determined newbie energy that I wish I still had lol. I also didn't have a coach or big name mentor and I didn't buy many training courses - I just watched what other successful marketers were doing and I took lots of action.

Eventually I figured things out, starting making a full time income Online, left the corporate world in 2007, and then got a big break signing a book deal with Simon & Schuster with a multiple 6-figure advance in 2008. Ten years in and millions of dollars later and I'm still here making posts on the Warrior Forum . I really do appreciate this place though - I've been a member here for over 7 years and I've met many good friends and business partners.

So enough about me, let me share the top 3 lessons I've learned:

1) Getting a book deal is just like getting JV partners - they will want you more when you're already successful and don't need them.

Book publishers are really struggling. Their margins are very low and their business models are outdated. Add to that the fact that most of the authors they sign don't even earn back their advance. Consequentially the big publishers are taking on less and less risk. They want books that are a sure bet to sell well.

What made me stand out was that I was already an established brand Online. Before signing with them, I had already sold over 50,000 self published books and ebooks and I had an email list of over 150,000 subscribers. When I hired a literary agent to submit proposals, we got a deal signed within a few months.

The lesson here is - build a list and a brand. Establish yourself as an expert on a topic first. With all the resources you have today - social media, guest blogging, article syndication, video marketing, etc., it's now easier than ever to share your expertise with the masses.

Success leaves clues and when decision makers can find those clues Online, you have a much better chance of getting a deal. And even if you don't - you can make still a killing by self publishing.

2) All you need is one good idea.

When I first started self publishing physical books, I didn't know that there were print on demand book printers and fulfillment services. We eventually figured it out the hard way - out of a desperate necessity lol. But before we smarten up, we used to sell a spiral bound cookbook that I'd actually have photocopied at Staples. And we would manually take the books to the local post office to ship the orders. It got to the point where the post office clerk hated to see us coming because we'd hold up the line for like an hour lol.

You'd think that they would appreciate all the money we were spending, but all they were concerned about was keeping the line moving and finishing their shift.

During Christmas, we would get so many orders in that we'd go to the 24 hour post office in midtown Manhattan at like 1 am with a car full of boxes. After a while we hated to see new orders coming in because of all the manual labor and stress involved.

One day while printing books at Staples, a lady probably in her late 50's standing next to me noticed my cookbook titled "America's Most Wanted Recipes" and asked me what kind of recipes were in the book. I told her it was a book featuring copycat recipes from restaurants like Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Cheesecake Factory etc. All of a sudden her eyes lit up in excitement and she asked me to let her see the book.

I told her that we sell the book on our website if she's interested in getting a copy. She looked at me in disbelief and wouldn't take no for an answer - "just let me see it, I just want to see the recipes!" She then kinda snatched it from me and proceeded to look through the book.

I couldn't help but laugh at how bold she was, but part of me was flattered that she was so interested in my book.

The lady gave me $20 on the spot for a copy of the book and thanked me for letting her buy it. Right then and there I knew that I had a winning idea that I should focus all my efforts on.

So how do you know if your idea is a winner? If it has a such big amazing claim that when you show it to a regular person they immediately become curious enough to ask you questions about it. As long as you can actually deliver the benefits of your claim, you have a winner.

Now in no way am I telling you to lie or be sleazy. But at the same time, you can't be subtle in communicating the main benefits and value of your product.

Just look at the headlines of some of the top selling products Online and you'll see that they all have that big claim. And it's not as difficult as you might think to find a winning idea. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, you can just put your own spin on an existing idea to make it even better.

Build a better mouse trap. It doesn't matter if an idea has already been done, just do it better. For example - Yahoo was around before Google, MySpace before Facebook, Network Solutions before GoDaddy. That didn't stop them from starting their business and eventually dominating.

3) Focus your efforts on maximizing the potential of one niche.

Once you find a winner, stop everything else and just focus all your efforts into marketing it. Go hard like you want everyone on the planet to know about it. Turn every stone with your marketing campaign - jv partners, affiliates, SEO, PPC, media buys, press releases, social media, viral marketing, article marketing, etc.

While everyone else is jumping from one idea to the next without maximizing to potential of any one, you'll be way ahead of them by focusing your efforts. If everyday you just focused on building a list in one market and giving value to that list, after a year you'll have more than enough loyal subscribers to make a full time income.

All you really need is 500 dedicated customers paying you just $8.50 a month to earn over $50k a year.

The bottom line is, if you have something that people really want, you'll have the motivation to get it in front of everybody. That is the power of having a big idea and focusing your efforts on it - you can't help but succeed.
#books #ebooks #learned #lessons #million #selling
  • Profile picture of the author aaallday2010
    Thank you for this awesome post.

    Just out of curiosity, how did you get the recipes for your cookbooks? And if you're not a chef, how did you build your authority reputation?
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
      Originally Posted by aaallday2010 View Post

      Thank you for this awesome post.

      Just out of curiosity, how did you get the recipes for your cookbooks? And if you're not a chef, how did you build your authority reputation?
      That's a trade secret lol.

      We were just coming up with copycat recipes, so they only had to be close. Some of the recipes we created through trial and error after doing research to find the ingredients. Some of them were submitted to us by members of our site. And some of them we pieced together based on other recipes that had been posted Online - we'd test them out and add our own ingredients and directions to make them taste more like the restaurant.

      The credibility came from just publishing a cookbook. Rachel Ray isn't a professional chef either, but she's a famous cook . After awhile a couple of real chefs joined our team to contribute.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dann Vicker
    Can't pass over a great piece like this. Thanks Ron

    Bookmarked this.
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  • Profile picture of the author x3xsolxdierx3x
    Thanks for the time you took to write this, Ron!

    I made it 1/3 of the way down your post, then scrolled back up to subscribe to it.

    Rest assured, I don't want to miss any questions other users may post, and any subsequent answers to those questions.

    Awesome story....and, it looks like your new book will be released just in time to put it on my Christmas list. I don't know how anyone could resist a cover like THAT....
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    • Profile picture of the author PattC
      Congratulations Ron. I know it has been a long road, but so worth it.
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      • Profile picture of the author jan roos
        Awesome post and thanks for sharing!

        I have a question which I hope you can help me out with.

        Where and how can one outsource the creation, layout and design of a recipes book?

        Cheers

        Jan
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        • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
          Originally Posted by jan roos View Post

          Awesome post and thanks for sharing!

          I have a question which I hope you can help me out with.

          Where and how can one outsource the creation, layout and design of a recipes book?

          Cheers

          Jan
          Hey Jan. You might be disappointed with my answer but initially I just found vendors on Elance. I used KNDesign.net for my cover. Once I got the book deal, the publisher had there own design team.

          Originally Posted by x3xsolxdierx3x

          Maybe you could expound upon this, Ron...

          "I taught myself everything from scratch (html, photoshop, copywriting, niche marketing, SEO, Google Adwords, email marketing, etc)"

          ....what kind of sources did you use? Types of Products? Did you query Google relentlessly for as much information as you could find? Did you buy books to learn from, and which ones?
          Mainly just free resources Online - Google, the Warrior Forum, etc., combined with trying stuff out on my own. Embarrassingly I still use Frontpage on occasion to create simple web pages .

          Today I have a network of different vendors who I outsource to.
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          • Profile picture of the author David Keith
            Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post


            Embarrassingly I still use Frontpage on occasion to create simple web pages .
            I don't do my own web work much anymore, but when I need to make a crude example to send a developer, I often use this bugger here. It is from 1996.

            That should make you feel better.

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            • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
              Originally Posted by David Keith View Post

              when I need to make a crude example to send a developer, I often use this bugger here. It is from 1996.
              OMFG ARACHNO!!!!! I haven't seen that in forever. I switched to UltraEdit32 around then. Thanks for the blast from the past
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  • Profile picture of the author David Keith
    Nice post Ron, but I hate it when people speak from experience. I like the ones who just talk about theories and push button stuff. The posts that come from experience seem to always talk about stuff like working hard a lot more...JK

    You are spot on with the post in my opinion.
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    • Profile picture of the author Devin X
      Banned
      These are general tips here, but I appreciate the post regardless.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomcam
    Corollary to 1) Getting a book deal is just like getting JV partners: The book publisher will have no ideas about marketing your book. None. Once the book is complete they will turn around and ask you to do it. They will ignore it completely until it starts to sell. Then they'll place dull display ads in exactly the same places (New York Times, etc.) and send press releases to the same generic outlets instead of using their budget in your market niche.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
      Originally Posted by tomcam View Post

      Corollary to 1) Getting a book deal is just like getting JV partners: The book publisher will have no ideas about marketing your book. None. Once the book is complete they will turn around and ask you to do it. They will ignore it completely until it starts to sell. Then they'll place dull display ads in exactly the same places (New York Times, etc.) and send press releases to the same generic outlets instead of using their budget in your market niche.
      Yes, tell me about it lol. Luckily I was able to get some publicity on my own or it never would have taken off like it did. The publisher got more involved only after it became a NY Times Best Seller.

      They stink at marketing but their distribution is amazing. The book is in Walmart, Target, Costco, supermarkets, airport book stores, etc. My buddy who works at Lowes said they even sell it there lol.
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  • Profile picture of the author x3xsolxdierx3x
    Maybe you could expound upon this, Ron...

    "I taught myself everything from scratch (html, photoshop, copywriting, niche marketing, SEO, Google Adwords, email marketing, etc)"

    ....what kind of sources did you use? Types of Products? Did you query Google relentlessly for as much information as you could find? Did you buy books to learn from, and which ones?
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  • Profile picture of the author Danielle Lynn
    I particularly agreed with #3 (Focus your efforts on maximizing the potential of one niche.)

    I see too many people jump around from venture to venture without taking time to cultivate the a perfectly profitable project to full maturity.

    Focus is a huge part of running a successful business.

    Enjoyed reading your story Ron
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    • Profile picture of the author Cataclysm1987
      Originally Posted by Danielle Lynn View Post

      I particularly agreed with #3 (Focus your efforts on maximizing the potential of one niche.)
      Same here.

      The problem with diversification is it almost guarantees mediocrity, which makes it hard to make any significant amount of money. No one wants to work with a mediocre individual anyways.
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  • Profile picture of the author Freedom Media
    Great Post Ron!!!
    Wow, really packed with wisdom - bookmarked it
    So true - That opportunity killing lack of focus, not sticking with one thing and maximizing to it's fullest potential instead of constantly jumping to the next "bright shiney" idea.
    Great advice!
    Natalie
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  • Profile picture of the author DianaHeuser
    Ron,

    You remind of me of Jack Canfield. His book "Chicken Soup for the Soul" was rejected by multiple publishers so eventually he and his partner went out and flogged them themselves through self-publishing. Then the publishers started tripping over themselves to get rights to publish that series.

    It is still my favourite story of success

    Di
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  • Profile picture of the author Wide
    Superb post, thanks a lot

    Quite rare I read a "long" post like this, word for word - this time I did
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  • Profile picture of the author dwriter
    Always a great inspiration to read on these motivational stories. Great stuff man!
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  • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
    Great post Ron, I still can't believe more people don't make a point of putting their own product together, instead spending years trying to pick up the next gimmick to game the system or earn temporary income. Your story is a tremendous story of how just having one good idea can lead to years of leveraged income (leveraging the idea and some early content that is)

    Couple of other takeaways from your post...

    1. Don't be afraid of entering competitive niches - how many Gazillion cookbooks are there, and yet you still were able to come up with a unique spin

    2. You mentioned JV's and affiliates - I assume that was a big part of your early success (getting to that first 50,000 sales and 150,000 subscribers)

    3. Recognizing when something isn't really taking off versus when something does really hold great potential...many people who create their own products have trouble with this because they get too close to their project and lose the ability to judge its potential (even when the writing is clearly on the wall either way)

    Question for you...what have you noticed has changed the most over the last 10-years, if you had to start again, would you follow the same path as you did or would you do something different now that you've been through all of this and given how times have changed?

    Jeff
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
      Originally Posted by jbsmith View Post


      Question for you...what have you noticed has changed the most over the last 10-years, if you had to start again, would you follow the same path as you did or would you do something different now that you've been through all of this and given how times have changed?

      Jeff
      Honestly I can't say that I would do anything different because everything worked out for the best. The things I was doing back then still work today - big claim, evergreen market, affiliates, reinvesting profits into advertising, building a list and a community on my site, etc.

      Originally Posted by Mohsin Rasool

      my question is that..how you stumbled upon this niche, and can you think that when you finally said that it is the Niche i am going to put all resources in... i mean what convinced you to take this niche serious and not get distracted by other niches/topics..and you had no background in cooking or was not a chef...you must have tried other niches just to find this goldmine....can you give your insights...so other warriors who are going from niche to other thinking maybe this is that Big Niche which is going to make me million dollar...
      Cooking was actually a hobby of mine. I originally started out in the Internet Marketing niche and released a product back in 2002 where I interviewed a bunch of popular marketers at the time like Rosalind Gardner, Carlos Garcia, Holly Cotter and like 10 others. That made some money but not enough to get excited about. Then I figured I'd try my luck at finding a niche outside of the IM market, so I focused on one of my interests which was cooking.

      Back then I used to follow Corey Rudl who would talk about his success in the car niche with his product about Car Secrets. I started thinking about what kind of "secrets" I could sell related to cooking. Eventually that led to me finding the secret recipes niche.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mohsin Rasool
        Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post


        Cooking was actually a hobby of mine. I originally started out in the Internet Marketing niche and released a product back in 2002 where I interviewed a bunch of popular marketers at the time like Rosalind Gardner, Carlos Garcia, Holly Cotter and like 10 others. That made some money but not enough to get excited about. Then I figured I'd try my luck at finding a niche outside of the IM market, so I focused on one of my interests which was cooking.

        Back then I used to follow Corey Rudl who would talk about his success in the car niche with his site CarSecrets.com. I started thinking about what kind of "secrets" I could sell related to cooking. Eventually that led to me finding the secret recipes niche.
        Thank you Ron! You have made me think... wow what a Million Dollar question to ask:
        I started thinking about what kind of "secrets" I could sell related to ------ (cooking in your case)!

        More power to you!
        Mohsin
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      • Profile picture of the author Colin Y
        Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

        Cooking was actually a hobby of mine. I originally started out in the Internet Marketing niche and released a product back in 2002 where I interviewed a bunch of popular marketers at the time like Rosalind Gardner, Carlos Garcia, Holly Cotter and like 10 others. That made some money but not enough to get excited about. Then I figured I'd try my luck at finding a niche outside of the IM market, so I focused on one of my interests which was cooking.

        Back then I used to follow Corey Rudl who would talk about his success in the car niche with his product about Car Secrets. I started thinking about what kind of "secrets" I could sell related to cooking. Eventually that led to me finding the secret recipes niche.
        I like the path you tool. To me the Interent Marketing niche is where you can make quick money, but long term passive income is in smaller niches.

        My plan is to have my IM niche projects finance my goals of making passive incomes in smaller niche.

        Thank you for sharing your story Ron.
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        • Profile picture of the author ExRat
          Hi Chris,

          Originally Posted by ChrisDeals View Post

          I like the path you tool.
          Unfortunate typo! :p
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  • Profile picture of the author Mohsin Rasool
    Hi Ron,

    Great post man!
    It has always given me a sense of pride to see you , a warrior friend, live on TV shows (you shared video with us with live sales of your book!)....

    As you said in OP that you will any answer related this post so here is mine...

    As you started blank like many other warriors, and learned all those things all alone (same here! ) and as also you said you tried every idea to see what sticks.....to put something on clickbank......

    Also as you advised to focus on ONE niche to make it big...like your own success has proved...

    my question is that..how you stumbled upon this niche, and can you think that when you
    finally said that it is the Niche i am going to put all resources in... i mean what convinced
    you to take this niche serious and not get distracted by other niches/topics..and you had no background in cooking or was not a chef...you must have tried other niches just to find this goldmine....can you give your insights...so other warriors who are going from niche to other thinking maybe this is that Big Niche which is going to make me million dollar... i know it maybe confusing question... but i would like to read your thoughts on this...

    Thank you for your time and still being an active member of WF and sharing your
    experiences with us. We are lucky to have accomplished Warriors like you posting
    and sharing with other Warriors and public at large.

    God bless,
    Mohsin
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  • Profile picture of the author Zayne
    wow, I million Books sold!

    Talk about high volume!

    Congrats, glad you are still humble enough to help us out!

    Zayne
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  • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
    For sure, Corey was such an influence early on with Car Secrets Revealed...he opened up so many early ebook publisher's minds - I used to also study many of the Nightengale Conant published guys who created self-help material that always sold like crazy.

    Awesome insights Ron.

    Jeff
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  • Profile picture of the author bhuff85
    Ron - thanks for the post. Nice to see someone with the track record and history of success that you have still come around here to share you insights with everyone, too!

    One question - Have you seen an increase in eBook sales with the growing popularity of the Kindle? Any decrease in physical copy sales at all? While I don't think a traditional book will ever go away completely, it looks like digital books are starting to catch some major waves with the success of various e-readers out there. Just curious to see how it has impacted your business (both the good and bad).
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
      Originally Posted by bhuff85 View Post

      Ron - thanks for the post. Nice to see someone with the track record and history of success that you have still come around here to share you insights with everyone, too!

      One question - Have you seen an increase in eBook sales with the growing popularity of the Kindle? Any decrease in physical copy sales at all? While I don't think a traditional book will ever go away completely, it looks like digital books are starting to catch some major waves with the success of various e-readers out there. Just curious to see how it has impacted your business (both the good and bad).
      I think it's been good for my book sales because we sell a lot of ebooks through Kindle and other marketplaces. This year the publisher is planning to use the recipes from my cookbooks to create themed ebooks. For example, they might take all the pasta recipes from the books and create a pasta ebook. They've found that the sales of themed ebooks act as teasers that help promote the full cookbooks.

      The only negative from the Kindle and Amazon movement in general has been it's affect on pricing. People have become accustomed to paying like $5 or less for an ebook. That's why you can't call your product an ebook these days if you want to charge $27.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cantbedone!
    Inspiring! Thank you for that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    Thanks for the advice Ron. Nice to have you here on the forum. : )
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  • Profile picture of the author Arroway
    Awesome post, Ron! Very helpful and motivational for upcoming writers like myself. I'll do whatever is necessary to meet and surpass what you have achieved!

    Allen
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  • Profile picture of the author bigballin6161
    Sweet post man!
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  • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
    The lesson here is - build a list and a brand. Establish yourself as an expert on a topic first. With all the resources you have today - social media, guest blogging, article syndication, video marketing, etc., it's now easier than ever to share your expertise with the masses.

    Success leaves clues and when decision makers can find those clues Online, you have a much better chance of getting a deal. And even if you don't - you can make still a killing by self publishing
    .
    Great post Ron, I gave this thread a 5 star rating in the upper, right-hand corner. I hope the simplicity of the post I quoted doesn't gloss over people's heads. You really laid out what it takes to make it as a self-publisher and then showed them that it's easier to sign a book deal once you've got your brand and list built up.

    What I totally dig about this post is that it also demonstrates that there's more than one way to skin a cat. Some people are doing it your way, others are seeing success on Kindle and Nook, some have super affiliates or CPA networks get all the traffic for them, and others simply buy a s**t load of paid traffic and funnel through an effective sales funnel.

    Man, I love this game!

    RoD
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  • Profile picture of the author Marhelper
    Thanks Ron, you are always right on. Point number 1 speaks right to where I am or at least trying to get to.
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  • Profile picture of the author celente
    Brilliant stuff mate.

    I struggled for years, before I found the secret, and the stuff you learn is incredible.

    For our business it really is about leverage, if you know how to do that, you can go from $0 to 4 figures a month pretty quickly. For the real go getter they could be a millionaire probably within a year or so.

    Great tips but. Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

    Ten years in and millions of dollars later and I'm still here making posts on the Warrior Forum .
    Just in case somebody missed the line above.

    Ron, that's one of the biggest things for me

    For the record: I've met Ron at a WF event: he was already AFTER his big break, TV-shows etc... but as he was talking to any of us "newcomers" to that event, you wouldn't tell. Nothing pretentious or "I-am-the-big-guru"-stuff... Ever since I respect him very much and always read carefully his posts. I wish I picked his brain more when I met him, LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

    All you really need is 500 dedicated customers paying you just $8.50 a month to earn over $50k a year.
    I like the math here. Great post and thanks for the lessons.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaWarrior
    Thanks for the POST!
    I have been up and down and know I can make something BIG happen for my online interests, only to make it my career.

    Your point of, letting others keep trying different ideas to make it big, basically FOCUS on 1 thing.
    ** There was a reason why you first picked that idea to try, and STICK to it. People make livings with 1 simple idea, most would think would never work.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    Ron thanks for sharing. And thanks for sticking around the forum!

    A couple questions:

    1. You mention stick to one niche. However copy cat recipes are for what target market? My point is that you hear so much that developing exercise (or whatever) products for "45+ year old women who aren't married but do have a dog and two parakeets" (or similar tight market/niche) is a necessity for success. But I can see a recipe book like this being attractive to a wide range of people in a wide range of circumstances and economic situations.

    2. Do you believe that the general public (the buyers of your book) would buy into a recurring membership site with all new updated recipes or something like that for $4.95 a month or are they just book buyers you think?

    3. Do the marketing techniques espoused on the Warrior forum work with your customers?

    4. And finally, a tip that I've heard is that one reason to be successful BEFORE approaching a publisher is that if you have a track record you can keep the copyright on your stuff - otherwise the publisher normally takes the copyright from you. Correct?

    Thanks again,

    Mark
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
      Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

      Ron thanks for sharing. And thanks for sticking around the forum!

      A couple questions:

      1. You mention stick to one niche. However copy cat recipes are for what target market?
      I selected a mass market (cooking) and I choose a niche within that market. When you do that, there is a good chance that the product will appeal to both the niche and the mass market.

      2. Do you believe that the general public (the buyers of your book) would buy into a recurring membership site with all new updated recipes or something like that for $4.95 a month or are they just book buyers you think?
      Yes, they already do at an even higher price. I have several different continuity programs.

      3. Do the marketing techniques espoused on the Warrior forum work with your customers?
      Hell yes. They work even better because customers have never seen them and they don't constantly have their guard up. It's like dating a woman who hasn't had a jerk boyfriend that hurt her LOL.

      4. And finally, a tip that I've heard is that one reason to be successful BEFORE approaching a publisher is that if you have a track record you can keep the copyright on your stuff - otherwise the publisher normally takes the copyright from you. Correct?
      Not sure about that. My book says it's copyright my company, but I didn't have to negotiate to get that. However, I did negotiate with them the right to still sell self published books on my site with the same copycat recipes theme. I wasn't willing to cannibalize my existing revenue. Most things are negotiable.

      Originally Posted by makemoneywizz

      Any advice to give on how to write an e-book that sells?
      Write it one word at a time LOL.

      Focus on something that people are passionate about. Research the best sellers list in the Kindle store and in the bookstore.

      Check out hot topics on this site http://www.learningannex.com/

      Be bold, outrageous, amazing, out the box, etc. Have a big promise with an extreme benefit.
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  • Profile picture of the author marlexca
    Thanks to for this post! Im always have a lot of good ideas, but the focus is my problem! Will take this in consideration
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Wonderful story - and advice, Ron. It's good to see you drift through again. Especially with a blast like that. I think it is definitely advice I'm going to be paying attention to.

    You deserve your success. I remember reading your posts a long time back and always knew you had something solid going on in your head.
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    Sal
    When the Roads and Paths end, learn to guide yourself through the wilderness
    Beyond the Path

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  • Profile picture of the author James B
    Wow, incredible post. I just read half way, and had to book mark this.
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  • Profile picture of the author x3xsolxdierx3x
    For anyone struggling online who reads this thread--anyone with a dream or passion to do what Ron has done--it's time to put any pride to the side, and ask any questions you may have. It's not every day that someone, who has sold 1 million + books makes himself this accessible without charging something for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author makemoneywizz
    Very impressive man, over 1 million affiliate sales.

    Congrats, you have achieved what I am shooting for.

    --Wizz--
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  • Profile picture of the author makemoneywizz
    Actually, just read into it a little more and noticed they were your own books, even more impressive.

    Any advice to give on how to write an e-book that sells?

    --Wizz--
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  • Profile picture of the author Victoralexon
    You sharing your wisdom with us is much appreciated. I have been thinking about writing a book (or ebook) in the future. I will bookmark this page.

    Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Ron, good to have you around. That's ALL most of us can say.
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    People make good money selling to the rich. But the rich got rich selling to the masses.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
    Originally Posted by honestbizpro View Post

    Hi Ron,

    Big Fan.

    Email marketing, Virtual Real Esate, Webinars, Site Flipping, Physical products affiliate programs...

    What direction would you point a newbie that was a blood relative that you wanted to succeed fairly quickly and long term?
    Wow, good question. It would depend on their skills and interests. You really can't go wrong if you focus on any of those things. Personally I lean more towards email marketing and webinars because I think I'm a decent email copywriter and webinar presenter. Plus those two kinda compliment each other.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

    ...while working in a one bedroom apartment on an old refurbished computer that I bought from a used computer store for $300.
    So awesome.

    Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

    I was a one man operation when I first started but I was super motivated. Nobody knew my name Online and I didn't give two sh*ts about failing.

    Incredible attitude man!


    Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

    Ten years in and millions of dollars later and I'm still here making posts on the Warrior Forum .
    We appreciate you being here Ron, you're one of the good guys. Its a privellege!

    Thanks so much for posting this Ron. Made my day
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  • Profile picture of the author Onora Oz
    Hey Ron,

    You are sharing highly valuable lessons and great thoughts here. Thanks!
    I've also learned much from your "Publicity Course" and "Write a Cookbook" in the past. Especially the latter was a big motivation. I took action, chose my niche, compiled the recipes, been preparing the book. Plus, I became a recipe reseller and loved being in that business lol

    I was wondering what happened to the Publisher Academy, why still under construction? Are you planning new releases, or updates? Or, are you totally focused on the cookbook series, and the one coming in Aug?

    And, do you use Pinterest? It's extremely popular, and seems like a great meeting point for food lovers nowadays.

    Cheers,
    onora
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
      Originally Posted by Onora Oz View Post

      Hey Ron,

      You are sharing highly valuable lessons and great thoughts here. Thanks!
      I've also learned much from your "Publicity Course" and "Write a Cookbook" in the past. Especially the latter was a big motivation. I took action, chose my niche, compiled the recipes, been preparing the book. Plus, I became a recipe reseller and loved being in that business lol

      I was wondering what happened to the Publisher Academy, why still under construction? Are you planning new releases, or updates? Or, are you totally focused on the cookbook series, and the one coming in Aug?

      And, do you use Pinterest? It's extremely popular, and seems like a great meeting point for food lovers nowadays.

      Cheers,
      onora
      That's fantastic Onora. I'm glad to see that you're taking action on what you learned.

      I do really need to get that Publisher Academy site up . Just not sure what I want to do with it and I've been focused on a lot of different projects outside of the cooking market as well. I'm open for suggestions.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Ron, I usually try to avoid making "great post" posts. I'm making an exception in this case...

        Great post, thanks for sharing! :p

        You mentioned having 500 buyers at $8.95 per month. Given your advice on focusing on one niche, would you advise increasing the "500", or scaling up by multiplying the number of lists (continuity programs)?

        [Would I be close in guessing 'both'?]
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        • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
          Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

          Ron, I usually try to avoid making "great post" posts. I'm making an exception in this case...

          Great post, thanks for sharing! :p

          You mentioned having 500 buyers at $8.95 per month. Given your advice on focusing on one niche, would you advise increasing the "500", or scaling up by multiplying the number of lists (continuity programs)?

          [Would I be close in guessing 'both'?]
          Thanks John. I just threw those numbers out as an example. I'd say do which ever option you can. It's a good decision to have to make. Obviously it would be easier to get more buyers for an existing program that you're already delivering a product for instead of creating something new. But every situation and opportunity is different.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jase1977
    Thanks for this great post Ron. Even as a newbie like me, it definitely motivates me to work that much harder to my success in my online business.
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  • Profile picture of the author drmani
    Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

    3) Focus your efforts on maximizing the potential of one niche.

    Once you find a winner, stop everything else and just focus all your efforts into marketing it. Go hard like you want everyone on the planet to know about it. Turn every stone with your marketing campaign - jv partners, affiliates, SEO, PPC, media buys, press releases, social media, viral marketing, article marketing, etc.
    I've printed this out, Ron.

    Hopefully it'll help me remember it!

    Great post. Thanks

    All success
    Dr.Mani
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  • Profile picture of the author PaulyC
    Hey Ron,

    Thanks so much for sharing all of this!

    Not only is this valuable information, but it made me very happy to see that my methods today are exactly as you've described... I focus on dominating one niche, am trying to simply do things better than 99.9% of everyone else trying to make it, and have that insane drive that you've obviously got.

    You're the real deal, would be great to pick your brain sometime via Skype!

    Thanks my friend!

    Pauly
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    • Profile picture of the author theory expert
      Banned
      Originally Posted by x3xsolxdierx3x View Post

      Maybe you could expound upon this, Ron...

      "I taught myself everything from scratch (html, photoshop, copywriting, niche marketing, SEO, Google Adwords, email marketing, etc)"

      ....what kind of sources did you use? Types of Products? Did you query Google relentlessly for as much information as you could find? Did you buy books to learn from, and which ones?
      Originally Posted by x3xsolxdierx3x View Post

      Were there any particular marketers you "followed" when you first started out, Ron? If so...who?
      You ask some good questions and this thread has been fun to read even if it is not the direction i am taking.

      Ask the right questions ^^^^

      Continue on!!!!!!
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
      Originally Posted by x3xsolxdierx3x View Post

      Were there any particular marketers you "followed" when you first started out, Ron? If so...who?
      Wow, it's been a while. In my first couple of years, I remember studying the marketing strategies used by guys like Corey Rudl, Terry Dean, Yanik Silver and Jim Edwards, Allen Says, Joe Vitale, Marlon Sanders, and Mark Joyner. I'm probably forgetting some people but those are the guys I can think of off the top of my head.

      This industry has really grown and evolved since then.

      Back in 2001, nobody that I can remember was talking about making 7-figures a year or running an IM business from an office with a big staff. If you were doing like $30k a month from home, you were crushing it.

      When I first came here, people doing 6-figures a year with WSOs were the envy of the forum. Now there are Warriors doing that in a week or less.

      I like the fact that this industry is so transparent with success stories that it challenges and motivates Internet Marketers to continually raise the bar and take their business to a new levels.

      Maybe we're just a bunch of over competitive, ego driven entrepreneurs who put pressure on ourselves to stand out from the crowd. But I'd like to think that the increase in earnings is the result of more value being created for more buyers.

      At the end of the day though, it's important to keep things in perspective and not base your success on what others are doing. Plan out the lifestyle you want to live and focus on achieving that goal. And when you do, it doesn't really matter what Joe Marketer makes, you're still a success.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jacqueline Smith
    Thanks Ron.....great post!

    However, I would have enjoyed it more had it come with the brownie, ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream displayed so temptingly on the front cover of your new book!
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  • Profile picture of the author Will Edwards
    Great post Ron - more power to your elbow!

    Will
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  • Profile picture of the author icegin
    Inspiring story with really great tips. Thanks a lot for sharing
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  • Profile picture of the author traficmaster
    this is what i call "WOW"
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  • Profile picture of the author thebitbotdotcom
    Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

    It's been a while since I added something of value to the forum, so I figured I'd share some things I've learned. I'm not as active here as I used to be, so pardon the big numbers in the post title - it's really more to get your attention and give back than to brag.

    Feel free to ask me anything in this post and I'll try to help you.

    So yes, according to my publisher and my royalty checks , I've sold 1.1 million books and ebooks since 2009. This was split between 3 books with a fourth one coming out in August. I guess the best proof I can offer is right here on the unreleased cover of my new book coming out in August there is a label that says "more than a million books sold in this series".

    For those who know me, you know that I started out as a newbie in 2001 just trying to find a niche for an ebook to put on Clickbank. I was working full time for JP Morgan Chase back then and the only time I had was my lunch break, nights and weekends. I taught myself everything from scratch (html, photoshop, copywriting, niche marketing, SEO, Google Adwords, email marketing, etc) while working in a one bedroom apartment on an old refurbished computer that I bought from a used computer store for $300.

    I was a one man operation when I first started but I was super motivated. Nobody knew my name Online and I didn't give two sh*ts about failing. There weren't many long indecisive planning sessions - I was just indiscriminately throwing all my ideas against the wall to see what sticks. I didn't care what anybody thought of me (except my customers) and had that determined newbie energy that I wish I still had lol. I also didn't have a coach or big name mentor and I didn't buy many training courses - I just watched what other successful marketers were doing and I took lots of action.

    Eventually I figured things out, starting making a full time income Online, left the corporate world in 2007, and then got a big break signing a book deal with Simon & Schuster with a multiple 6-figure advance in 2008. Ten years in and millions of dollars later and I'm still here making posts on the Warrior Forum . I really do appreciate this place though - I've been a member here for over 7 years and I've met many good friends and business partners.

    So enough about me, let me share the top 3 lessons I've learned:

    1) Getting a book deal is just like getting JV partners - they will want you more when you're already successful and don't need them.

    Book publishers are really struggling. Their margins are very low and their business models are outdated. Add to that the fact that most of the authors they sign don't even earn back their advance. Consequentially the big publishers are taking on less and less risk. They want books that are a sure bet to sell well.

    What made me stand out was that I was already an established brand Online. Before signing with them, I had already sold over 50,000 self published books and ebooks and I had an email list of over 150,000 subscribers. When I hired a literary agent to submit proposals, we got a deal signed within a few months.

    The lesson here is - build a list and a brand. Establish yourself as an expert on a topic first. With all the resources you have today - social media, guest blogging, article syndication, video marketing, etc., it's now easier than ever to share your expertise with the masses.

    Success leaves clues and when decision makers can find those clues Online, you have a much better chance of getting a deal. And even if you don't - you can make still a killing by self publishing.

    2) All you need is one good idea.

    When I first started self publishing physical books, I didn't know that there were print on demand book printers and fulfillment services. We eventually figured it out the hard way - out of a desperate necessity lol. But before we smarten up, we used to sell a spiral bound cookbook that I'd actually have photocopied at Staples. And we would manually take the books to the local post office to ship the orders. It got to the point where the post office clerk hated to see us coming because we'd hold up the line for like an hour lol.

    You'd think that they would appreciate all the money we were spending, but all they were concerned about was keeping the line moving and finishing their shift.

    During Christmas, we would get so many orders in that we'd go to the 24 hour post office in midtown Manhattan at like 1 am with a car full of boxes. After a while we hated to see new orders coming in because of all the manual labor and stress involved.

    One day while printing books at Staples, a lady probably in her late 50's standing next to me noticed my cookbook titled "America's Most Wanted Recipes" and asked me what kind of recipes were in the book. I told her it was a book featuring copycat recipes from restaurants like Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Cheesecake Factory etc. All of a sudden her eyes lit up in excitement and she asked me to let her see the book.

    I told her that we sell the book on our website if she's interested in getting a copy. She looked at me in disbelief and wouldn't take no for an answer - "just let me see it, I just want to see the recipes!" She then kinda snatched it from me and proceeded to look through the book.

    I couldn't help but laugh at how bold she was, but part of me was flattered that she was so interested in my book.

    The lady gave me $20 on the spot for a copy of the book and thanked me for letting her buy it. Right then and there I knew that I had a winning idea that I should focus all my efforts on.

    So how do you know if your idea is a winner? If it has a such big amazing claim that when you show it to a regular person they immediately become curious enough to ask you questions about it. As long as you can actually deliver the benefits of your claim, you have a winner.

    Now in no way am I telling you to lie or be sleazy. But at the same time, you can't be subtle in communicating the main benefits and value of your product.

    Just look at the headlines of some of the top selling products Online and you'll see that they all have that big claim. And it's not as difficult as you might think to find a winning idea. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, you can just put your own spin on an existing idea to make it even better.

    Build a better mouse trap. It doesn't matter if an idea has already been done, just do it better. For example - Yahoo was around before Google, MySpace before Facebook, Network Solutions before GoDaddy. That didn't stop them from starting their business and eventually dominating.

    3) Focus your efforts on maximizing the potential of one niche.

    Once you find a winner, stop everything else and just focus all your efforts into marketing it. Go hard like you want everyone on the planet to know about it. Turn every stone with your marketing campaign - jv partners, affiliates, SEO, PPC, media buys, press releases, social media, viral marketing, article marketing, etc.

    While everyone else is jumping from one idea to the next without maximizing to potential of any one, you'll be way ahead of them by focusing your efforts. If everyday you just focused on building a list in one market and giving value to that list, after a year you'll have more than enough loyal subscribers to make a full time income.

    All you really need is 500 dedicated customers paying you just $8.50 a month to earn over $50k a year.

    The bottom line is, if you have something that people really want, you'll have the motivation to get it in front of everybody. That is the power of having a big idea and focusing your efforts on it - you can't help but succeed.
    Ron! Dude! You just wrote everything I realized this very week! That is so awesome!

    Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author Blaine Smitley
    I'm new to the whole IM thing and have been doing a lot of research and learning.

    This post just reinforces a lot of what I've already learned. Namely, find a good horse and ride it till it drops.

    Sure! Out the gate you may want to try a couple different horses.. But when you find that good one that you really like and get to know. Ride it as hard and long as you can.
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  • Profile picture of the author gonzotrucker
    Thanks Ron this is why im here to read, learn, and grow.
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