We released Pitching Hacks about 30 days ago. Since then, we’ve sold 280 copies, brought in $4272 of revenue (including almost $1000 from beta testers), and received lots of positive reviews on Twitter. Thanks to everyone who bought the book and spread the word!

Encouraging word-of-mouth

We give everyone who buys the book a $5 discount code to encourage them to tell their friends about Pitching Hacks. It works: you can see people sharing the discount code on Google and Twitter.  We were trying to figure out how to make the book viral and, technically, this doesn’t make the book viral — but it does encourage word of mouth.

More excerpts

Wilson Sonsini kindly published our chapter on Introductions in their Entrepreneur’s Report for Winter 2008 (pdf).

And I put together this two-slide summary of the entire book for Steve Blank‘s customer development class.

Slides: Pitching Hacks (pdf)

Why aren’t you buying site licenses?

A single copy of Pitching Hacks is $19 and a five-copy site license is $29. We have literally sold two site licenses — and one of them was to my dad!

When 37signals published Getting Real, 10% of their buyers bought site licenses. Pitching Hacks is only clocking 1%. Please let us know why you aren’t buying site licenses — I’m interested!

Read more free samples from Pitching Hacks and buy it here.

Topics Pitching Hacks

9 comments · Show

  • Anonymous Coward

    I’d prefer to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

    I am one of the 280 people. I didn’t purchase the site license, simply put, because I didn’t see the need for it. It’s a foreign idea for me to think of purchasing a license to a book — why would I pay another $10?

    If I bought a book I would only have 1 copy, true. But it didn’t seem right that I had to pay another $10 just to have the option of printing out > 1 copy. So I didn’t, and passed the PDF off to my co-founder.

    Note that I wouldn’t have sent the book to anyone outside of my (small) company. But when I bought it for my company, I felt that everyone in the company had the right to read it.

  • Damon

    Do you write something like, “This book was prepared exclusively for [Insert Name]. Please do not distribute – buy a site license if you want to share it.”on each page of every downloaded book?

    Nothing like peer pressure to keep people on the up and up.

  • Peter Armstrong

    I offered site licenses for Flexible Rails when it was self-published on Lulu, and I saw the same rough percentages (about < 1% of sales, and < 3% of revenue) of sales. The hassle in generating and selling different versions just wasn’t worth it, so I scrapped it.

    I think the difference is 37signals started from the position of having a devoted fan base who really wanted to give them money. Or, they were selling an advocacy book which people wanted to use to win arguments, so buying a site license enabled that.

    Or it could just be the lack of watermarking, if you don’t. I didn’t watermark my book.

  • Ryan

    “Please let us know why you aren’t buying site licenses — I’m interested!”

    Didn’t know you were selling them. What is a site license and why would I buy one?

  • Andrew

    Personally I’m a one man company so there was little point in buying a site license – but I really enjoyed reading the book – and learnt a lot so well worth the money.

    Reasons that people probably aren’t buying site licenses:
    1. I bet most of your sales are to small start-ups – they probably don’t have 5 people to give it to
    2. If I had a partner or two partners I am pretty sure we would share one copy – I printed it and would probably just share that
    3. If I had staff that I wanted to share it with then I would have paid for a license – don’t want to look bad!!
    4. Even though it is only $10 difference I am sure most startups that would benefit from the content actually watch costs very closely – $10 is another e-book or some google ads etc so it becomes hard to justify

    From another perspective, the $4,000 you have made is not a lot of money, and one would imagine sales slow after the first month. I assume the point of this site is to raise your profiles, would it perhaps have been better to release the e-book for free or a nominal value and have every start-up wanting to download it and talk about how cool you guys are on Twitter etc etc?? (Personally I think it was a great way to spend $20 – but just suggesting alternative ways to view it).

  • Frederick

    I think you need to encourage sites to promote it more – like with services such as http://www.crowdsend.com and the like.

    Simple, easy and viral methodology to get your product out into the market.

  • Otto Hilska

    Cool, so it seems that I was the other one who bought the site license. 😉

    I usually spend at least $200 a month on books, so paying the extra $10 didn’t feel that bad. And I was going to share it with my co-founders anyway… Now it just made me feel a bit better about myself.

    Thank you for the great book!

  • subbu arumugam

    hi nivi and naval,

    exactly what damon said.

    if you publish the name of the purchaser on the actual book, they (1) won’t distribute it, for fear of being seen as thief, and (2) they would strongly consider purchasing the site license if they were inclined to distribute the book… (37signals does this)

    which brings me to (3): how do i know that i’d be interested in buying more copies and distributing to my colleagues, before reading the book? i need to first read it first before actively endorsing it…

    you should offer those who have already purchased a single copy the ability to come back and pay the difference for a site license.



    ps – it’s an AMAZING book, you guys did a great job, and i actively forward the link and the discount code to anyone i think would find it useful.

  • Martin Källström

    I can tell you the very specific reason why I didn’t buy a site license – I was not aware that you had one. Looking at the page now I clearly see the option but when I ordered I thought the drop down was simply to say buy one or buy five. That the second option said $29 did not register in my mind.

    I think it is because the decision to buy is already made before the user interacts with the drop-down. The information on the site-license is not available anywhere else (to my knowledge.)

    Thanks anyway for a great book. I must confess that I already sent a pirate copy over Skype to one of my board members, thinking that if he liked it as well I would come back here and buy a few more licenses to distribute to my entire board. Had I known there was a site license that certainly would have been my preference.