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Book:  Perennial Seller

Author:  Ryan Holiday

Purchase:  PrinteBookAudiobook

Citation:  Holiday, R. (2017). Perennial seller : the art of making and marketing work that lasts. London: Profile Books.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. In addition to the cost of your product, don't forget there's also the cost of the buyer's time to consume the product - there are all the things they're missing out on by choosing to consume your product. When we say "hey, check this out" we're really asking for a lot from people. Especially when we are first time creators. Why would anyone do you think this favor? Why should they trust you? You need to make the whole process as easy and as seamless as possible. The more you reduce the cost of consumption, the more people will be likely to try your product. (pg. 128)

  2.  An email list is something that you build up over the years, composed of real, hard-core fans who know the real story about you and are never going to abandon you as long as what you make continues to be good. Right now, it's the single most important and effective way to communicate with your potential audience and customers. The list you are building can become, over time, incredibly valuable. So start building now. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing. (pg. 185)

  3. There's another reality of creative businesses that we need to consider: Most of the real money isn't in the royalties or the sales. For authors, the real money comes from speaking, teaching, or consulting. (pg. 212)


Other Key Ideas:

I'm alarmed at how many creators gloss over creating. They fritter away their time on Twitter and Facebook - not killing time, but believing they are building up followers to be the recipients of their unremarkable work. They have well-crafted brands and develop strategies for products they haven't even made yet. All this may feel productive, but to what end? (pg. 18)

The difference between a great work and an idea for a great work is all the sweat, time, effort, and agony that go into engaging that idea and turning it into something real. That difference is not trivial. If great work were easy to produce, a lot more people would do it. (pg. 22)

What is the most important thing that writers do when they finish a draft? They hand it to an editor. This does not mean you send it to a friend for some thoughts. It's ultimately the editor with whom writers collaborate. A writer submits a manuscript to an editor. In order to create something truly great, you must submit yourself to this feedback process. At some point, the work must leave your hands. (pg. 69)

We discover things by word of mouth. Between 20 and 50 percent of all purchasing decisions happen from some version of word of mouth. A "high impact recommendation" - an emphatic endorsement from a friend - converts at fifty times the rate of low-impact word of mouth. (pg. 118)

According to Amazon, the cheaper a book is, the more copies it sells (and the more money it makes). It's true for almost all products, especially when you're launching something. The cheaper it is, the more people will buy it and the easier it will be to the market. You can always raise the price later, after you've built an audience. (pg. 137)

Principles to fall back upon are better than instructions and "hacks." We can figure out the specifics later - but only if we learn the right way to approach situations and circumstances. (pg. 170)

Kevin Kelly - the founder of Wired Magazine - says that any creator needs only to acquire 1,000 true fans to make a living. With one thousand true fans - people "who will purchase anything and everything you produce" - you're more or less guaranteed a livable income provided that you continue to produce consistently great work. It's a small empire and one that requires considerable upkeep, but an empire nonetheless. (pg. 178)

Once a month for four years I sent an email of book recommendations to subscribers. This list grew from ninety original sign-ups to the five thousand people to whom I announced my first book. By the time my next book came out two years later, the list was at more than 30,000. Today it's at 80,000. (pg. 189)

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