Self-Publishing: Lessons From the Nimble Nonprofit, Part I

We launched The Nimble Nonprofit: An Unconventional Guide to Sustaining and Growing Your Nonprofit close to two months ago, and I wanted to share a few of our early lessons and observations in this self-publishing experiment:

1) Sales numbers in a given week seem to correlate to the amount of time we spend promoting the book that week. There may be a viral moment out there somewhere where sales numbers start to grow faster, but we haven’t found it. Effort = sales.

2) Guest blog posts have been awesome. Folks like Maddie Grant, Amy Sample Ward, and Katya Andresen published posts on their blog that were either excerpts from the book or just posts related to themes in the book. Hugely helpful.

3) Facebook and LinkedIn have been really helpful but so far limited to where I’ve got pre-existing relationships. So far we haven’t found them to be useful with things like LinkedIn groups.

4) Twitter has been helpful, too, especially tied to the guest blog posts, but it’s not clear how much Twitter is driving sales. The conversations have been fun, though, and I’ve digitally met a bunch of interesting people thinking about nonprofit issues now that I didn’t know before, which has been cool.

5) Great reviews on Amazon (of which we’ve had a ton!) are very helpful but on their own don’t translate to sales. It’s just one piece of a good strategy.

6) The verdict is still open on whether it made sense to make a free .pdf version of the book available. Since one of our goals was distribution, I think it will have made sense, we’ll understand that more I think through the summer.

7) Ditto on the decision to go digital only. Based on our conversations over the past couple of months, I have the sense that there are a lot of people who would have purchased the book had it been available in physical form. That’s another issue we’ll evaluate a few months from now.

8) And it’s been really fun … the blogging, the conversations with other bloggers and nonprofit folks, talking to people about the themes we tackled in the book.

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