Case Study: How Nathan Barry Sold $50 000 of His Book in First Month (Without Amazon)


I’d like to share a story I found online about how one non-fiction book author launched a very successful book marketing campaign. He sold more than $12000 in the first day. That was his first book! Without using Amazon or Smashwords at all. I hope this will inspire authors and show how to build up yourself a platform and maybe even do it without support of Amazon or Smashwords (note that he could use it still). Here we go!


Nathan Barry, who is a designer, decided to write a book about Application Design. He was inspired by friends who launched their books before him each topping $5000 on the first day without huge following. So he took a shot at it too. And did better!

Here is his post that he wrote on the launch day:




Some insight on his launch strategy

He scheduled some guestposting posts on blogs that are in his niche or are related to his niche. Out of 15 he intended to have only 5 were approved and posted on the launch day. He used his email list that he built up before launch day and asked some of his friends to help out.

Here is a quote from podcast he did about the book launch detailing his way of building email list before launch:

[quote author=”Nathan Barry”]Nathan: Anyway, I’ll talk about a couple other things that I did with the launch. I talked about I put up that landing page beforehand and started collecting email addresses. From that page, I got maybe 200, 250 email addresses, just from linking to it on Twitter and asking friends to tweet about it. Then what I did is I put an email signup box at the bottom of each one of my blog posts, in my WordPress blog, just on the single.php page. What is was, it was a little book graphic, it said, “The App Design Handbook,” and it had just an email signup box that said, “Sign up to hear when it launches” and a few other lines of copy. Then, basically, what I tried to do is write as much valuable information as I could in blog posts and get those promoted on Twitter, hoping that people would enjoy the post and sign up to hear about the book. One example is I’ve recorded videos of how to design the landing page for a book. Me walking through doing the design in Photoshop and then talking through coding it in HTML and CSS.[/quote]

That was pretty successful wouldn’t you say!


Launching 2nd Book

He released his 2nd book, called ”Designing Web Applications”. He has updated and shared more stats and advice on following post where he shares that he earned $26000 in first day! His result after 3 days was more than $34000. And he was selling $500/a day of the book later on. His recap of it is here:


He followed pretty much the same strategy but this time changed his landing page (book’s website) and improved it, plus focused more on the email list building.


Here are some highlights of his promotion strategy for this book:


[quote author=”Nathan Barry”]My launch strategy came down to three things: posts on my own blog, guest posts on popular blogs, and building an email list (by far the most important of the three). A pre-launch email list was critical to the success of The App Design Handbook, so I knew I needed to build it even more for the new book. That meant I needed a detailed landing page to collect email addresses before the book was ready. You can take a look at the draft page on the right. For The App Design Handbook I built up an email list of 800 subscribers. For Designing Web Applications I built a list of 1,900. The biggest thing that made a difference was the quality of the landing page. For the first book it was just a few screenshots and a signup form. Which is not really something visitors would be that interested in sharing. The second time around, since I knew the value of email subscribers, I put a lot more effort into the landing page. As a result it converted higher and had was shared by more people.[/quote]



I noticed these things different about how he launched his books:

1. No Amazon/Smashwords distribution – he could use Big A but hadn’t. Maybe it would improve his sales. Still, this proves it that if you have your own website, work on it, start building following and write good stuff you can succeed even without Amazon or Smashwords. Usually people are focusing on Amazon and even putting their book for free on KDP Select program. Not on this occasion. This is very inspiring. I’d do the same for my book (which is in my plans).

2. Different pricing – he has packages and provides additional value to the reader by adding video lessons etc. Great idea and his customers loved it. Consider how you can have different price ranges for your book and not just 2.99-7.99 Kindle books. Even for fiction authors it is possible (signed copy of the print book could be 2x the price, maybe you could add a t-shirt with quote form the book too – 3x the price etc). You just have to get creative and resourceful!

3. Book website – his both websites are totally beautiful! Notice different structure than most authors have on their sites. These are very visual, and simple to understand. Copy that for your book too.


If you want to study this topic more here are two audio interviews Nathan did with his friend Sasha Grey about publishing books (they both have published now). First one focuses on market research, topic and pricing. 2nd talks more about marketing. I preferred to read the transcripts as they weren’t greatest at interviews.





I hope you enjoyed this post. If you know someone who would benefit and be inspired by this post please share it with them!