How we wrote, recorded and published a book in 24-hours

By February 5, 2016 79 Comments

The lowdown on what’s going down:

Ever since starting the Videofruit blog, I’ve been hyper focused on one thing: list building.

Growing my list. Teaching you how to grow your list.

Lists are fun. I like ’em.

captain-jack-i-love-you-man

But focusing on the same topic non-stop for 2 years comes at a cost. I have to say no to a lot of cool ideas I have. So, in 2016 one of my primary goals is to spend more time creating cool crap.

Not with the intent to sell it.

Not with the intent to do a huge product launch.

But just create stuff for the sake of creating it. Cool ideas that I’ve been stuffing away in an Evernote folder labeled “Make this one day.”

So, every month this year I’m going to block out one day to make something cool. Turn one of my weird ideas into an actual product.

Today I’m going to put on my Jeff Goins hat and write a book in 24 hours.

Maybe people will buy it. Maybe they won’t. Honestly, I don’t care.

I just want to make stuff 🙂

(h/t to Amy and Nathan for giving me this idea)

Table of Contents:

8:00 AM Update:

We have a sponsor!

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know I dabbled around with the idea of getting a sponsor for my weekly newsletter a few months back.

The momentum on that project kinda died. But I’ve still been attracted to the idea.

I’ve just been a little conflicted about how to pull it off without it coming across weird.

But for today’s 24-hour product build I decided to dip my toe back into the waters. I talked to my buddy John Lee Dumas and he agreed to sponsor today’s 24-hour challenge.

Today is the last day of the Kickstarter campaign for his new product, The Freedom Journal. Just like today’s product build, the Freedom Journal is a “passion project” (hate that phrase but whatev) of John’s.

If you actually want to accomplish your goals in 2016, you need a framework. The Freedom Journal is that framework.

Go get a copy.

Note: John’s also suppppppper close to the all-time Kickstarter (publishing) record. It would be really cool to see him beat that, so buy 3 copies. Makes for a great Valentine present 🙂

9:00 AM Update:

Made this sweet timeline:

Probably wasted too much time on this, but this is the plan for the day. 3 phases.

First, figure out the product

Second, build it.

Third, do some marketing.

I jumped on a quick Blab to do a quick rundown of the product I chose to build and give you an idea of my vision for it:

CliffsNotes:

Here is the Google doc I’m working from today (has all my notes and such)

• Name of the product:The Short: The 30 effective growth strategies of 2016 summarized and crunched down into one bite-sized strategy guide (or maybe a dripped email course thingy; we’ll see)

• Timeline is set (see the graphic above).

• Would eventually like The Short to turn into a subscription based thing. You pay $10 or $20 or something and get one new cool strategy per day (that’s not the focus of today though).

11:00am Update:

Goals for the 9 AM – 11 AM time frame:

1. Get all of 30 of the strategies listed out (and source docs together for them).

2. Write 5 of the Shorts.

3. Maybe make a decision on whether these will be delivered in a book format or as a email course thingy that’s dripped out once a day.

Here is what we actually got done:

Set up a Trello board and populated it with all 30 strategies that will make up v1.0 of The Short:

Still haven’t decided if it’ll be a book or an email course thingy. Leaning towards course.

We finalized the first 6 strategy guides.

They are:

  • Check out what Neil Patel is doing to get loads of free traffic
  • Check out how Michael Hyatt is using his thank-you page to get 1,000 shares
  • Check out what Jeff Goins did to get his book to #1 on Amazon
  • Check out what Product Hunt is doing to get 20,000 new users in 2016
  • Check out What Steven Kamb did in his pre-launch to sell a ton of books
  • Check out what Ruth Soukup is doing on her closed-cart page

Here is a sample (tell me what you think in the comments):

Full video update of the last two hours here:

CliffsNotes version:

• Got Amber to help proof read what I’m writing

• Put together a template to work off of for each strategy guide

• Got Sam involved to help draft up each strategy guide based on my notes

• Going to start setting up a few of the marketing assets over next 2 hours

1:00 PM Update:

Goals for the 11 AM – 1 PM time frame:

  1. Get 10 more strategy guides finished
  2. Get Infusionsoft campaign built out
  3. Get shopping cart set up
  4. Get sales page roughed out in ClickFunnels (I’ll fill in copy later)

Here is what we actually got done:

Got 9 more strategy guides written and finalized.

Here is what the Trello board is looking like:

The strategy guides we finished since the last update are:

  • Check out how SamCart is getting their customers to fill out a survey
  • Check out how ClickFunnels allows you to get 100% opt-in rates
  • Check out what Brennan Dunn changed on his website to increase his conversion rate by 10%
  • Check out what John Lee Dumas is doing to get backed on Kickstarter
  • Check out what James Clear did to his newsletter page to get more signups
  • Check out how Videofruit comes up with super-effective subject lines
  • Check out what Living Forward is doing to get more pre-orders for their new book
  • Check out what Ramit Sethi is doing to get more traffic (and Twitter followers)
  • Check out what Steven Kamb is doing to sell more books

Here is a slightly more thorough breakdown of the last 2 hours:

CliffsNotes version:

• I had to shoot the vid twice (yay me) b/c I forgot to hit record.

• Gotta get the remaining 15-ish guides done in next 2.5 hours

• We’ll start pre-selling The Short around 3:30 PM CST (Get on the waiting list. It’s the form in the 10 AM update section)

• I need to figure out pricing and final form of the product.

3 PM Update:

Goals for the 1 PM – 3 PM time frame:

  1. Get 12 more strategy guides finished.
  2. Get ready to do a pre-sale to all the folks who signed up for pre-sale.
  3. Maybe figure out a pricing strategy (hoping this just magically comes to me)

Full update at 3 PM…

Here is what we actually got done:

We got all but 3 strategies written up and completed. Yay!

Only 3 more to go.

Here is the latest on our pretty Trello board:

Amber is out with some personal stuff right now, so she has a bit of a back log to work through when she gets back. Might have to go forward without her. Depends on her timing.

We’ve also recruited Jeff (from the Videofruit team) to take all 30 strategies and put them into one gigantic Gdoc and sort them so they’re easy to use.

Here is a video rundown of everything we did in the past 2 hours:

CliffsNotes version:

• We got 12 more strategies written.

•Decided on the format of the final product

• Only selling v1.0 to people who buy today

• I guess we’ve decided to do an audio version as well.

• Yay! This is fun!!

5 PM Update:

Goals for the 3 PM – 5 PM time frame:

  1. Get the Shorts e-book put together and usable
  2. Finalize pricing and packages
  3. Setup Infusionsoft (shipping page, sequence, receipt, onboarding, workshop, audio)
  4. Send open cart email to pre-order (close tonight)
  5. Record audio (edit)

Here is what we actually got done:

We finished the the book!

Look at that pretty (empty) Trello board!

Here is a full rundown of every strategy guide included in it:

1: Check out what Neil Patel is doing to get free traffic
2: Check out how Michael Hyatt is using his thank-you page
3: Check out what Jeff Goins is doing to sell his book
4: Check out what Product Hunt is doing to get 20,000 new users in 2016
5: Check out what Ruth Soukup is doing on her closed-cart page
6: Check out what Steven Kamb is doing to sell more books
7: Check out what Ramit Sethi is doing to get more Twitter followers
8: Check out what Michael Hyatt is doing to get more pre-orders for his book
9: Check out how Videofruit comes up with super-effective subject lines
10: Check out what James Clear is doing to get more subscribers
11: Check out what John Lee Dumas is doing to get backed on Kickstarter
12: Check out what Brennan Dunn is doing to get more subscribers
13: Check out how ClickFunnels allows you to get 100% opt-in rates
14: Check out how SamCart is getting their customers to fill out a survey
15: Check out how Teachable bundles pre-existing content into a giveaway to get more subscribers
16: Check out how Boomerang uses Facebook Ads to get more people to install it’s Chrome app
17: Check out how Sachit Gupta uses one case study to get more clients
18: Check out how Uber used a surprise discount to get more sales
19: Check out how Grant Baldwin launched his new podcast and got 10,000+ people to listen to it
20: Check out how Law Trades uses a really slick survey to get more sales
21: Check out how Videofruit uses Facebook to get a regular stream of customer testimonials
22: Check out how Clay Collins gets existing customers to upgrade their plans constantly
23: Check out how LeadPages manually reaches out to cold prospects
24: Check out how Bryan Harris write 3,000 word blog posts in two hours
25: Check out this ad that Single Grain is running to get more clients for their agency
26: Check out how DashThis is convincing people to tell their friends about them
27: Check out how Growth Geeks uses a countdown timer for new customers to get them to purchase
28: Check out what Robbie Richards did to increase his conversion rate by 12.41%
29: Check out how Gary V is bartering to sell 10,000 books
30: Check out how Unroll.Me make easy money from their free service

That’s a lot.

But that’s the beauty of the Shorts.

One thing that’s always been a frustration for me is that there is more information out there than is possible to consume. Blog posts, podcasts, courses etc. I just don’t have enough time. And then when I do finally get time I have dig through 5 minutes of podcast intros or 2,000 words of fluff in a blog post to get to the meat.

Here is a more thorough video rundown of the past 2 hours:

CliffsNotes version:

1. We finished the book!

2. We figured out our pricing plan.

3. YAYAYAY! (lots of YAYAYAYAY for finishing in 10 hours)

10 PM Update:

Goals for the 5 PM – 10 PM timeframe:

  1. Send out a private open cart email to those who signed up for the pre-order list
  2. Eat food (been slim pickings today)
  3. Go visit a friend who just had a kid
  4. Come back home
  5. Talk to my wife (not much of that today either)
  6. Netflix and chill? (boy can dream)

Here is what we actually got done:

I ate food for the first-ish time today. It was good. Leftovers, but solid.

I tweaked a few things, added the buy links to this blog post and mostly just chilled while watching an episode of Blacklist.

Sales Update:

  • We’ve had 20 total sales so far.
  • 7 people have bought the Ultimate Package.
  • 13 people have bought the Basic Package.
  • 0 people have bought the Bulk deals (interesting).

re: Bulk deals – I probably should adjust these based on the initial (lack of) results to a one-click upsell post-purchase, but I dunno. I’m tired and the point of this isn’t money.

So we’ll see.

The primary goal now is to HAVE FUN. Which has 100% been accomplished.

Tomorrow morning I think I’ll get up super early to record the audio version of the book (gotta have it done by 7am CST).

I’m also working with a few designers to get the Gdoc prettied up into a nice polished PDF as well as getting a proper landing page designed and implemented. Neither of those are essential. More “nice to haves” than “must haves.”

7 AM Update:

Goals for the 10 PM – 7 AM time frame:

  1. Sleep
  2. Wake up and start recording audio around 5am-ish

Here is what we accomplished overnight:

First, I woke up at 4 AM and recorded and edited the audio version of the Shorts.

I just exported and uploaded it a few minutes ago.

Watch the countdown to completion here:

I also enlisted the help of a few designers to work up landing page and nicely designed PDF of the book itself. Unfortunately neither of those were completed within 24 hours.

No biggie though. They aren’t needed to sell or distribute the core product.

Here is a sales breakdown:

The Shorts Basic: 45 copies

The Shorts Ultimate:  19 copies

(and we had one bulk purchase of 3 books)

Total Sales @ the 24-hour mark = $2,225

giphy (7)

We’ll do one more update on the challenge in the next 24-48 hours with the final sales numbers.

The cart will be closing tonight at midnight, so once all the sales are in we’ll calculate them up and do a full rundown here.

Note: If you want to actually buy a copy of The Shorts, do that today. You won’t be able to tomorrow (info on that below)

Final Numbers and Recap

We’re a few days removed from the 24-hour Product Challenge now, so let’s do a quick recap of the event.

First off, sales numbers:

TL;DR: We sold $6,250 dollars worth of The Short.

Package breakdown:

Basic ($25): 123

Ultimate ($50): 34

VIP ($125): 14

Second, adding in the VIP package was clutch.

We initially offered the $25 and $50 package and then offered bulk purchase options.

But after 12 hours only two people had bought the bulk purchase option. So, we removed those and added in a $125 option that included several cool bonuses (that we had made previously).

This worked REALLY well.

In the first 3 hours after introducing the $125 option, we had 5 sales.

Boom!

Third, this was A WHOLE LOT of fun!

So much so that in a few weeks, I’m going to fly the entire Videofruit team into town to do another one!

YAYAYAY!

Four, how can I buy The Short.

The Short was a one time deal. Just like all of our 24-hour product builds will be this year.

So, keep your head up for the next challenge. We could potentially offer a purchase option of the next product we build and bundle in The Short (or maybe not).

That’s still undecided.

They key is this though, if you want something take action. Quit playing freaking mental gymnastics over everything and pull the trigger when you know something is right.

Love this post on that topic.

..

Ok, peace out. See you at the next challenge.

PS: Do you have any fun ideas for what we could create at durring out next challenge? If so, leave it in the comment section below. I read every comment.