On May 27 I turned on my computer as usual and visited the website of Amazon. I was blown away when I saw that my book was number #1 one best seller on Amazon in object oriented design and It remained number one #1 almost the whole day. For the next few days it became number #2 two best seller, which is also the wish of many authors. That was a dream that I couldn’t imagine that some day could happen in the reality. Here below is the screenshot of that.
In this article I would like to share with you my experience of how my book from failure became a best seller on Amazon in “Software engineering” generally and specially in “Object Oriented design”. From the category is clear that the book is a technical book, but there are similarities that you can apply to your book no matter to which category it belongs.
It is clear to me that following the traditional path and reading from internet only enriches your knowledge but doesn’t necessarily lead to make your book the best seller. That is because that information is available for everyone and everyone can apply them, but only one book at a time can be the best seller among hundreds of thousands of books in its category.
When I wrote my first book, my real intention was to spend my free time on something I truly love. At a time, I knew very little about publishing books and how to do that, but I had an idea in which I believed that it would help students to learn programming fast.
I started to do some researches on internet regarding publishing and how to reach readers, because the book was about to finish. Different articles and many new authors mentioned that writing books is the worse you can do to yourself and your time, because no publishers publish books of new authors. Many others made it clear to forget earning money from your book.
The last one didn’t bother me much, because money was not on my mind as a return value for my book. Please, don’t understand me wrong! I know that money is important, but I have another sort of income besides, I enjoyed writing and offering a new idea for students. However, the first one disappointed me, because at that time I hadn’t any idea about self-publishing.
By the time I started to do more researches regarding publishing and my goal became reaching as many enthusiastic readers as possible. When the book was almost finished, I started to approach different publishers. One of them reacted very quickly and tried to make an appointment as soon as possible. He even told me that I could choose where to meet him.
When I met him in his office, he was enthusiastic about the idea of my book, but he arranged another meeting with other professionals in that specific brunch. After that, he offered me a contract for the Dutch version of the book. It wasn’t exactly what I wished for, because I wanted to spend time on the English version and finish it. Anyway, I signed the contract and started to translate the English version to Dutch. I must admit that I have learned a lot from the whole process of publishing with a professional publisher. Besides he financed all the costs and even paid me when the manuscript was finished.
The following is the cover of the first Dutch edition.
When I later finished the English version of the book, I tried to approach publishers, most of whom from the United States, because most of the visitors of my website (sarmaroof.com) are from the US. Two publishers were interested in my book. One of them offered me and even sent me a contract. My point was to give them the author’s right of only the English version and to keep the author’s right of other possible languages. Therefore, we couldn’t close a deal.
The other publisher was interested in the quizzes and the assignments of my book and asked me many questions about how I determined the programming levels of the assignments and the quizzes. He only wanted the author’s right of the quizzes of my book and for some reason we didn’t reach any deals.
After my researches about self-publishing, I have chosen to publish my book on Amazon. I have financed all the costs. At last, the time was coming to publish it.
The following cover are the covers of both the main book and the work book of the first English edition.
Months passed, but only a few copies of the book were sold. It was boring to see that the rank of my book was so low that I couldn’t even remember the huge number. Then I thought that it is hard to write a book that resonates with the heart of your readers. I have done what I could to make some differences for example, I have changed the price of the book many times to see which price works better. The low price that I offered wasn’t a problem for me, but it is important to realize that some users don’t buy cheap books. The price indicates somehow the quality for some readers.
Changing the price didn’t improve the results, therefore I ignored the book and decided not to spend too much time writing other books. After almost a year one of the readers shared a positive review about my book and gave it five stars. That gave me some hope.
It is important to mention that before writing this book, I have posted a lot of articles on different business pages on Facebook, Dzone and this website (sarmaroof.com). Many people now a day focus to learn from the available knowledge on internet and ignore buying books. I had many messages from followers of my Facebook pages that they couldn’t afford to buy the book. They said that even that low price was too much for them. That was for me a good opportunity to offer it free of charge therefore, I decided to use the free promotion on Amazon which is only allowed for 5 days.
One of the Facebook pages at that time had more than 100 000 followers. I sent the administrator of that page a message and informed him the date that my book would be free on Amazon. I am myself a manager of four other Facebook-pages and one of them is the page “Easy-java” which is my own page. Each of those pages have thousands of followers. With all my efforts when the day came that my book was free, I believe that almost 300 copies where downloaded during the five days free offer.
That was again disappointing, because I have spent so much time on that book, and I believed in its content. After a period of researches I started to realize some of the reasons why the book was not popular among readers. Therefore, I started my next attempt and spent time to implement my new ideas for the second edition of the same book.
Please, leave your questions and comments to share your experience with our readers!
|Sar Maroof is a professional software development teacher, gives master classes and publishes technical articles. He is also an expert software developer and worked for several big as well as small companies and later as a freelancer.|
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