Using gumroad to quickly test an ebook’s appeal

We’re in the middle of writing our first book and that means it’ll be new territory for us when it comes to marketing. There are a ton of payment options available for selling digital goods, but there is one service that appeals to us. gumroad.

Testing the Market

When the book is finished, we’ll need to test to see if people want to buy it, etc. gumroad lets us create simple for sale links that we can insert onto our blog network.

They are relatively new to the payment processing business, but they have a few features that are very cool:

  1. Quickly sell through a link. All you need to do is use their service to create a link to a for sale page.
  2. Easy to understand. Describe your product and upload it/link to it.
  3. Inexpensive terms. 25 cents and then 5%.
Through a few weeks we’ll be able to see how the book performs.

Long Term

We won’t use gumroad long term since we’ll offer the books on Amazon, iBooks, etc. gumroad allows us to easily gauge the market and see if we need to tweak our offerings.


The new economy the internet provides

One of my favorite things to do post workout is to steam. The Y I work out at has a very good steam room that runs on a 3 minute 20 second cycle. I’ve regimented the process of the cycle so my thoughts focus on various topics. Work, family, tennis and more are run through three cycles of steam.

Internet Changes It All

The consumer internet has been around for a long time. Back in 1993 or so I was getting online using a SLIP driver and Windows for Workgroups and even then I saw the changes to the economy the internet would bring. Through each of the phases of the internet economy I participated:

Domain names – My first foray into the new economy was domain names. It was happenstance, but when I sold the first domain I was hooked. Back in the day there was only one registrar and they were a pain in the rear.

Mailing lists – I quickly saw how the free flow of information is something people craved. Email was new and exciting for everyone from university students to AOL users and I found myself in the middle of it. I wish I kept the records, but at one point the only listserv list that had more subscribers was The Wall Street Journal.

Hot topic sites – For a period of time, pre-Google, the thing to do was create a site based on a hot topic of the week and slam it full of banner ads and pop ups. I shudder to think how many pop ups my sites generated.

SEO based sites – Once Google hit the scene it was game on. You couldn’t rely on simple algorithms to beat. No, you had to go total war to stay ahead of Google. There was a good three-year run where I felt like I was the Google Whisperer. Alas, Google is a resource that keeps growing and the eyeball attraction became harder and harder.

Blog networks – Well, if I cannot get one set of specific eyeballs, why not try to grab all of them? In the early-2000s I started a sport blog network that covered all major teams and sports. Seriously. One domain for each site and off we went. What a glorious six months. lol

Each of these steps allowed information creators to reach an audience and make money. The problem is that each step brought a smaller and smaller amount of attention and money.

I’m Creative Enough

We have a saying around the house, “If the Egyptians could do it, we can do it.” We utter this when faced with what we think is a hard task is home improvement. Ok, who am I kidding? We lower the bar to say it for opening pickle jars, too. Still, the thought is if an ancient culture could build the pyramids think what we can do now with the tools and knowledge we have.

In my steam room thinking time I commonly tell myself I am smart enough to make a living on the internet. I wistfully think of the things I have done in the past, the reason they didn’t make the jump and how to avoid the pitfalls again. There are three things that convince me a creative person can make a living on the internet:

Quality – Looking back at what I did in the past, only a few of them were what I would consider quality work. Work that gave value to those consuming it. The other ones were just money grabs. Quality is a necessity in today’s internet economy.

Tools – The right tools are paramount. For instance, when I was involved in the mailing lists I had to create email programs to handle various tasks that software of the day couldn’t handle. The proper tools also make sure you are compensated for your work. Imagine trying to pay for something before PayPal or any other electronic payment service.

Simplicity – Your creative efforts have to be streamlined and simple. No unnecessary steps and nothing complex. You have to be able to show your value and your proposition quickly and easily to potential customers. Simplicity also plays a roll in your home life, too.

Doing It

All this is moot if you don’t actually do something, anything to move forward. This is where I find myself at this time and am looking forward to the journey.

My goal is to transition my wage living from off the internet onto the internet. Let’s see what happens.

Proving the Creative Class can Make Money

I am horrible at clearing out the tabs in my browsers. For instance, take a look at the tabs open right now:

Full Google Chrome tab bar

This is a light day for me.

Really, I keep tabs open for a long, long time. One that has been open 6 months now is from Salon and references an article titled, “The creative class is a lie.

The premise of the article is intellectual property creators cannot survive thanks to the internet. The internet should have enabled more IP creators to make a living, but it hasn’t turned out that way.

What is the Creative Class

The article defines the creative class using writers, editors and film makers as examples, but the truth is it anyone who creates something of value that isn’t a physical good. Content creators is a good term.

How can the Creative Class Make Money

I don’t know if there is a formula for success each and every time, but I do know people can succeed. Will it be as marvelously easy and successfully as in the past? Nope.

Everything has Changed

Long gone are monolithic corporations that anoint winners and losers. The replacement is what some people call the long tail and user generated content. It is an ocean of content that people can bob in looking for what appeals to them. This means there will be less sales and income across many, many more content creators.

Launchplex is where observations and stories about furthering content creators making money on the internet.