Writing a 40-page ebook is one of the hardest things I've done this year. I barely wrote anything before that, let alone a book. I made a lot of mistakes during the process, but there are two that I find particularly memorable.
The first mistake I made was a lack of communication. I made a website to pitch the book idea, showcase some relevant articles, collect emails and take preorders. I got 23 pre-sales before actually releasing the book, but I only made three sales after publishing it.
My marketing strategy was just consisting of writing posts about the publishing process: how I got the idea, what tools I was using, how I was structuring the content, etc.
The problem is that I didn't really distribute those posts: I just wrote them and hit publish. Except for a few ones I cross-posted (one of them hitting the front page of Hacker News), most just remained on my Twitter.
I should have spent more time sharing the links in different communities and experimenting with new marketing channels. I also completely neglected to send out the articles to the readers who pre-ordered the book.
Just like in any digital product, building an audience before the release is key, but I didn't know it yet.
The second mistake was underestimating the editing process.
I wrote the book in about 5 months. I've been researching and writing the first draft from December the 12th to March 19th. I've only been editing till April the 1st.
My deadline for the release was March 15. Even though I postponed the launch to March 31, I still felt completely rushed. I’m still not happy with the end result obviously.
When you write a book, you are really writing two. The editing part should take almost as long as the initial draft. When you write a book in 3 months, I think you should be editing for at least another 3 months, or at least till you feel satisfied.
I'm not going to downplay the fact that I felt like a total fraud for some time. It's been 7 months already since I published this book, and I thought of giving up on it entirely.
Fortunately, I feel ready now. I've learned a ton about myself and the craft, and my writing skills improved a lot. There is still a book in me waiting to see the light of day, it's time.