Happy to report the Kindle version of 100 Days, 100 Grand is now available for pre-order at Amazon! It’s been a long and hard journey, but the (next) finishing line is now in sight. (After which the real work of getting 12,000 people to buy it starts.)
Setting a publication date is like doing exams: there’s no backing out, but knowing you have to aim for an exact date concentrates the mind. Accordingly, and with over 200,000 words in the can, I’ve set a concrete date to get the book into stores.
100 Days, 100 Grand will be available for purchase on Nov 30, 2017.
The completion pathway between now and then includes a long summer lock-in in a property I own … bracketed by a couple of courses I’ve wanted to take for years.
The property you know: 100 Days HQ is a tricked-out garage in London, mostly used as a home gym although home’s now somewhere else. The courses are two fitness qualifications I’ve long wanted to try: the PCC and RKC instructor certifications in progressive calisthenics and kettlebells.
The first, in May, is followed by the lock-in; the second, in Nov, signals its close. (I’m not an instructor, but I do write a bit on fitness at Medium, and doing some professional development might help me know what I’m talking about.) That close means everything: text, typesetting, proofing, visuals, the lot, all ready to go to the distributor.
Of course, I’m taking my own medicine – everything planned for the next six months, with daily tasks and checklists just like 100 Days itself – and unless I’ve made serious miscalculations or get hit by a bus, it should go smoothly.
After all, writing a textbook is much like fitness. You can’t just jump on a bar and pump out 20 reps: you need to start small, progress smoothly, level up when you’re ready. And this summer stint should get me to the finish line.
A blatant plug first: my wife Lynne won our race to publish, and her brilliant cookbook Lynne’s Month of Meals is available from Amazon and bookstores, RRP £14.99. If you like exotic Indochinese food you can cook without being a whiz in the kitchen, take a look; she’s already sold enough copies to be in the top 1% of all indie authors. (Which puts a bit of pressure on me.)
But back to the blog. And a sentence that’s caused me some aggro. It’s in my home page blurbets:
- Win customers 10-20x faster than even pro marketers!
I’ve had some blowback from pro marketers protesting it can’t be right. Pro marketers, by definition, get better results than random freelancers, surely?
Not always. To see why, let’s go where the pro marketers are.
Imagine you’re on an advertising agency’s direct marketing team, and your paying client wants a one-to-one marketing campaign.
Even for bigger agencies, DM is a bit like local radio: that distant cousin you don’t really spend much time with. (Odd that the most accountable medium of all is seen as more arcane than broadcast TV, but I don’t make the rules.) And client budgets tend to reflect this. For a fresh campaign, excluding production and postage, £20,000 would be high; figures like £5,000 are more common. And that money has to buy a copywriter, art director (yes, even plain letters need designing), print pro, and account handling expertise. For one DM letter there might be 7-8 people on the team.
Now, how much of their time does £5,000 buy?
Persuading an agency to spend just two weeks on your campaign’d be a stretch. Ten man-days, max. That’s not much time to understand your customer. Little chance to pinpoint that salient selling point that deserves A/B splitting. And definitely no list-building; they’ll have to buy it in.
Contrast that to the 100 Days approach. Where developing the perfect List and Letter to deliver your offer to the market is the main goal of three month’s work. A few distracted ad agency employees scrabbling around on deadline can’t compete.
And that’s why you can win more customers, much faster.
None of this disses old agency hands. Can you compete with a pro marketer… on a level playing field? No. But the field’s not level. In 100 Days, you’re spending three months working hard, following tried-and-tested rules, with the motivation that every penny of return accrues to you. That’s a resource that lets you understand what your market really is, hone your offer with precision, write from the heart so you’ll close the emotional sale first time. You have a far bigger “budget” to invest in yourself than most clients allow their agencies.
It’s why my campaigns for myself – like this DM letter – reach customer acquisition rates of nearly 20%. (100 Days aims for 1%.)
Which brings this blog full circle. Because to test the 100 Days methods, I’m doing another campaign for myself this month, the first in two years. Yes, I practice what I preach. There are countless marketing agencies out there, including thousands of good ones, but when it comes to marketing yourself your first option is you.
November’s been a good month for 100 Days. (Not least because it’s been a slow month for my other work.) Huge improvements, but the big news is the main text is now hitting 100,000 words… which means I’ve found the edges of the jigsaw.
Why that matters:
In any large project – from a thriller novel to a house build – a big part of progress is “finding the edges”. Recognising where the parameters of the job stop and start. And for most of the last four months I was trying to define them.
The basic ten-part, fourteen-week structure of the book’s been clear since I started writing in July. But the fine detail within it – what the reader does each day, and how those actions slot together in sequence to deliver the broader objective of a £100,000 income – was much harder. Now, after many sleepless nights of blood, sweat, and toil, I believe my jumbled mass of actions and outcomes (over 400 pages of scribbled ideas) is starting to become an orderly series of information and instructions a non-marketer will find useful. And completed chapters are starting to fly out.
Originally I thought 100 Days would be a tract of 40-60,000 words. (After all, it started as just a blog post and Buzzfeed listicle outlining the idea!) As it turns out, there are two sub-audiences: the techie who knows the tools, and the freelancer who’s expert in his own field but not necessarily at marketing himself. The best way to cater for both is to separate informational (concepts) and instructional (methods and tasks) content. So each chapter now starts with a set of information and ends with a list of tasks that put them to use, coming together in a “Do you understand/have you completed” checklist. (Savvy marketers only need the methods; other experts will do the daily Tasks.)
This means an increase in wordcount, and the total’s now likely to break 200,000 words and 1,000 pages. A side effect is that I’ve changed the publishing format: the paperback edition will be US Letter-sized, 21.59 x 27.94 cm, so people have plenty of room to scribble their notes in the margins.
(The ebook editions, as a happy byproduct, now look a lot better! With full-width tables and diagrams and better formatted text and lists. I’m testing the e-version on both an ancient Kindle Keyboard and a swoopy new Voyage and it looks great.)
The mailing list is growing, although there aren’t any updates yet; I’ll be sending out sneak peeks at chapters and diagrams as they harden. Head down again – see you next month!
I put a listicle on Buzzfeed about the habits of Kindle owners. Anyone who knows a heavy reader will understand…!