Monday, May 18, 2015

Screenshot 2015-05-18 at 14.50.24.png

Craft Your Cover
Part 1 - Form Your Core Team
Part Two - Choose a Method and Craft Your Email
Install VIRALITY: The James-Bond-Evil-Professor hack
Hit the button! — and monitor pre-sales and sign-ups.
BONUS SECTION - Other methods and examples
Bonus Method #1 - Facebook Page

Hello my friends,
here is your gift for from the weekend! I know I’m late, but quality takes time right? This is the complement to last week’s How To template.

At the end of this tutorial you should have:
1.    Your “core” launch team.
2.    One of the best validation techniques for a book.
3.    An awesome weapon to foster virality.
4.    Better understanding of Inkscape and making your own razor sharp covers – for free dammit!
5.    Broken your procrastination and come out of your “safe” zone.
6.    Learned to fail forward.

We’re going to be using Inkscape and Gmail to craft an Ebook launch mail with virality built in. Here we go...


Craft Your Cover


  1. Install Inkscape - Download Page For Inkscape
  2. Download the template - BookCoverTemplate.svg
  3. Then open your BookCoverTemplate.svg file with your newly installed Inkscape program.
We are going to get familiar with inkscape, it is a Vector Graphics Editor, and the best way to get razor sharp graphics.

  1. Once opened you will see your book cover and some other names.
    1. If not, use the “-” minus key to zoom out or the “all objects view”:

  1. Replace the name with yours (unless you are Patrick of course.)
    1. Select a name with the mouse and just drag it on/off the page.
    2. Center it with the tool:
marketing-secrets-screenshots (1).jpg

  1. If your name isn’t already in the file, make it:
    1. Click/select one of the names and then hit F8 for the Text Tool.
    2. Then write your name, it should take on the style automatically.
    3. Experiment with different fonts! I only used the boring fonts so that I would be sure it works with all of your machines.
    4. Drag it near the position you want, then center it with the centering tool (as above).

  2. Now export your new cover:
    1. Use key combination ctrl+shift+E, or use the pulldown menu in the upper left:
Screenshot from 2015-05-17 23:07:30.jpg

    1. In the next screen make sure PAGE is selected.
    2. Then type in the field 90 dpi.
marketing-secrets-screenshots (2).jpg

    1. Hit EXPORT.
      1. If this is the first time you use Inkscape you have to choose a folder to export to.
      2. If you are using MAC or LInux make sure to append the file type with “.png” every time! Otherwise it will not save correctly.

Now you have your cover for the next step!


  • Download the software and template.svg file.
  • Tweak the cover to fit your needs.
  • Export at 90 dpi.
  • Task Time ~ 30 minutes.



Q: Why do we do validation? What the heck?! I’ve never heard of “validating” a book!
A: Validation is the most important part of the process. This step ensures that people actually want our book — and will BUY it. It is a reality check to see if anyone else likes it as much as we do.

“Take the emotion out of it” — you often hear the best entrepreneurs and project managers say.

If your book does not pass validation — do not make it.
You either have to do Plan B: use a different validation method, or  Plan C: change the product. Sometimes all you need is a different cover, or a small change of the title.
This is an art, and the reason why we are doing this. You are most likely not going to get it right the first time, so tweak, change, and modify your product and validation method until it fits!

That’s the point.

The customer should be grabbing your book out of your hands,
It should be “flying off the shelves…”

Part 1 - Form Your Core Team

First, decide who your “core” team is. Which friends and relatives and acquaintances can you count on the most and are most willing to help? Which ones would like this kind of book?
Make a list of these friends and relatives: your “core team”.
Compile your list anyway you want, on paper or a spreadsheet, just so that you have something to cross off when you are sending the emails.
Some say it is a mistake to get feedback from your friends.
Let’s make no mistakes here, we are not trying to get feedback, we are trying to SELL.
That’s why the paypal link or sign-up form is there, to separate the wheat from the chaff. We are practicing here, and if we can’t make the sale to our friends, it’s going to be much harder to sell to customers.

Part Two - Choose a Method and Craft Your Email

We are going to validate our book now by sending an email to these friends with our new cover attached. But before we do that, we have to decide on our method. There are two methods which I recommend for starters:
  1. Go for the sale, or pre-sale straight up front:
“Hey friends,
I have a killer idea for a book – check out the cover. You can pre-order it now for 2.99 – that’s half off the list price of 5.99!  If I get 10 orders I’ll finish the book!
PayPal me[your paypal address] .”
  1. Go for email sign-ups:
“Hey friends,
I’m writing a killer book, if you sign-up now you can get it for only 2.99!” (Or FREE, incentivize you friends!)

Some people think asking for money in the first mail is like hitting them on the head with a hammer.  A more “softer” validation technique is to ask for email sign-ups instead. If you choose this method you will have to set it up first:
    1. Get a free blog at,, or .
    2. Install a contact me function or:
    3. Install a mailchimp form.
      1. See a quick video here YouTube link
Here I part with conventional wisdom; I do NOT recommend in this case.
I know everyone is cringing and calling me a heretic right now. But there is a good reason for this:  does not allow SCRIPT.  So if you decide to run with this book and build your landing page into something more … you can’t.  For example if I want to install a pop-up; I can with the free versions of Blogger, Jimdo, and even Tumbler. I cannot with .
If we want full functionality with Wordpress, we have to move to their platform at and buy a domain name, buy a provider, and buy all sorts of stuff just for one single little validation! This is a LARGE LEARNING CURVE  and is not conducive to learning quickly for beginners.
I want you to learn to validate and get your book out there, NOT how to set up a website and buy a domain name with server space.  This would be bad hassle map thinking.  
I want to show beginners how to get their book up and running as fast as possible, so they can make mistakes, and learn, and fail forward to that successful awesome book!
When you are done crafting your email, you send it to your friends and then you wait and see the reactions to your email, but…

…before we send that mail, we are going to add our James-Bond-Evil-Professor hack, proceed to step three.


  • Make a list of your “core” team.
  • Decide if you want sales or sign-ups.
    • If necessary, make a free website with a form to collect email addresses.
  • Craft your email with the cover attached.
  • Task Time = 30 minutes, add more if you don’t have a blog.
  • Some examples of free sign-up pages:


Install VIRALITY: The James-Bond-Evil-Professor hack

And now, finally, the good part:
How do you enable “virality”.
How do you make a multiplyer?

In order to get anyone to help you, you need to:
  1. Incentivize them.
    1. For example you offered the book for free, or half-off.
  2. Solve the hassle map for them.

You have to make it ridiculously easy for them to share your mail,  I mean ONE-CLICK-EASY.

Luckily there is a simple tool to make sharing an email one-click-easy. It is the widely available, but mostly forgotten “mailto” link that is a standard .html command.  That means we can put it ANYWHERE, including our emails and websites — super easy.
Watch what happens when you click this link:
Now I’m going to show you how to build it.
  1. Simply go to this website:
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and input your text – done!
  3. Copy and paste the Hyperlinked Text, and put that in your email.
Paste the “Send to a Friend” Link in a new email, then test it.
Simply click on it and a brand new email should pop up with all of your stuff in it:
Screenshot 2015-05-17 at 18.47.03.png
And just in case, here’s a video:

Like a good landing page, you want one, and only one option on that page, or in your mail.
“There can be only ONE.”

You only want ONE CLICKABLE feature — anywhere.
Your entire mail has to be a masterpiece of psychology crafted and pointing to only one thing: your clickable mailto link.


  • Go to a mailto link generator website.
  • Make your mailto link and email with your webpage or landing page included.
  • Copy and paste the mailto link in your email.


Hit the button! — and monitor pre-sales and sign-ups.

Now is the moment of truth: send your email, then monitor all channels:
  1. Email
  2. Mailchimp
  3. Sign-ups
  4. Facebook and Twitter etc. etc.

Be ready to answer quickly – strike while the iron is hot!
Timing is everything...

If your book title and cover capture the imagination of your target group, you will have a seller, = “Validated” — make the book!
If the response to your email is crickets and radio silence ... = “Not Validated”proceed to plan B, C, D, etc. .

Q: So how do I know if it is enough? What if I only get five sign-ups or pre-sales?
A: You have to set your own threshold. If it was 10 pre-sales or sign-ups, and you got nine, well... that’s wishy-washy. If your threshold was 10 and you got 100: that’s pretty damned clear.

Validation should be clear cut. It should cut out the wishy-washy “feelings” and “judgement calls”. It should be abundantly clear that you hit the need.


  • Send the Emails to your core team.
  • Monitor responses, pre-sales, and sign-ups.
  • Timing is crucial, be sure to respond quickly!
  • Take the emotion out of it: Did it pass validation?
  • The hard part: Change validation method or product.

BONUS SECTION - Other methods and examples

Bonus Method #1 - Facebook Page

Now that you have a cover of your new book, you can also test it on other platforms. Platform #1 is of course Facebook.  It is better if you have your own Facebook page for this. Some page owners might consider it too “spammy” if you post pics and ask for pre-sales right away, so be savvy about this. Here is one example:


Screenshot 2015-05-17 at 20.jpg

Q: Do you consider this validated?
A: JEIN, (Jein  = Yes & No in German, Ja+Nein = Jein).
Here we see one person has flat out stated „YES!“ and there are some likes and even a share. BUT - zero - email sign-ups.
Book Validated? = NEIN, NO!
This particular Facebook group is 1,200+ members. So I would seriously consider making this book and leveraging this group now for email sign-ups. When the production of the book is almost done, switch over to the pre-sales technique. Also, I would not make such complicated questions but instead leverage URGENCY. For example: Last Call! You have one more day to sign-up and get this book for free! Click Here and be a PATRIOT etc. Then if I get my required amount of email sign-ups:
Book Validated? = JA , YES!
A direct email from friend to friend trumps a Facebook share by about one million percent.[tweet this]
This underscores again the reason that direct emails from friend to friend beat Facebook shares and likes 1 million to one. With email you get direct feedback and clear sign-ups or pre-sales or not. With Facebook you get indirect yes’s. That’s like the difference between YES and MAYBE.   Now it’s up to you to work the Facebook page, and it can be done; but that’s another tutorial…

To be continued...


And now my friends, can you do me a favor?
If you think this tutorial helped you and added value to your authoring process, please click on the link and tell a friend!

(see how that works? Easy innit?!)


  1. Inkscape
  2. Book Cover Inkscape .svg file
  3. Mailto: Link
  4. Mailchimp
  5. The Art of Hassle Map Thinking

I can sense it already:

Oh my god! Why is Eric doing this to me!??
Simple my friends, this is your personal reality check, and it accomplishes 4 things:
1.)   It gets you off your arse.
2.)   It makes you think, “Who are my friends? WHO IS MY LAUNCH TEAM?”
3.)   It makes you publicly declare your goals.
4.)   It makes you get used to trying and failing, and failing is good.
But what if I fail?
You are supposed to fail.
This exercise is not supposed to launch you onto a million dollar book campaign. (— although that would be awesome, and it can.)
It’s supposed to get you used to the PROCESS of validation and marketing.
Practice with your friends first, see how many you can actually get to go to your page and subscribe, or even PRE-BUY your book!
1.)   Make a list of all of the friends you are going to send your first mock-up cover to, your first launch team!
2.)   Do the steps above to finish your mock-up.
3.)   Make your mailto: link.
4.)   Send the mail.
5.)   Validation is FUN!
6.)   Observe: where your website, email system, and writing skills FAIL.
7.)   Improve the fails in the next round.
That’s what you are supposed to do with this mail.
Get used to the process and use your fails to learn, grow, and get better.
If you cannot take this small risk, then you cannot be an author.

Those aren’t my words, those are Rocky’s, so you’s(sic) better do it!


Here's to your success,
Do it now, fail forward,


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