I made $1,579.50 in pre-orders launching The Magic Visual—a digital product about design.

Here’s everything I learned along the way.

First of all, some context.

1. I’m a professional designer with 15 years experience.
2. At the time of writing I have around 4.5k followers on Twitter.
3. It’s my fifth digital product in a year.
If you want to make a product that you will put your name to you should take the process very seriously.

Make something that helps people and adds to their lives, not some shitty 10 page PDF of regurgitated free advice.
Just because it's a digital product doesn't mean you get the opportunity to cut corners.

Take pride in your work.
This comes easier for me as I'm a designer. It's a natural thing for me to be concerned about. I wanted to make sure the book looked like a "real" book. Not a Word document.

I leaned on @vellum180g to create a beautiful ebook that will shortly become a real book.
Make a digital product about your lived experience.

Write about what you know.
You don’t NEED to be a professional to launch a product about a thing, but it helps massively.

It’s easier to share your learned experience than it is to learn things then share them.

It also makes it more battle-tested.
Prove you're worth spending money on before you ask anybody to spend any money.
I launched my first digital product too early and to an audience I hadn't proved myself to.

I launched The Magic Visual just at the right time after spending a year proving myself as a visual creator.
First digital product launched at 1.5k followers:
$849 all time sales

The Magic Visual Launched at 4.5k followers:
$1579 just in pre-orders
The follower amount matters less in this scenario. 1.5k followers were undefined and I released a product about productivity which nobody expected.

4.5k followers are defined and I released a product about design which everybody expected.
There's nothing passive about passive income.

I've spent the last year building the ability to make "passive" income.

I made several visuals every day on @_unobvious for an entire year before I released the book.
I spend hours each week writing tweets, making videos, recording podcasts, making visuals, replying to people, running a visual community, having zoom calls, booking guests for the podcast.

Does that sound passive?
How do you make people aware of your product?
Promote yourself.

How do you promote yourself?
Make content.

How do you make content?
The promotion is constant. You don't get to do it for a short amount of time like actors promoting a new movie.

You'll have to promote youself every day for the rest of your life.
The promotion really begins once the product is released.

- I'm on podcasts talking about the book
- Writing content about the book
- Writing threads like this about the book
- Writing tweets about the book.
The easy part is creating the products.

The daily grind is promoting yourself and finding new ways to say the same things.
Turning up daily and promoting yourself is a pre-requesite to releasing a product.
Getting somebody to pay for what you know only happens because you've shown them what you know.
You need to share everything you know for free before anybody is willing to buy even a sentence of your work for actual money.
The simple digital product promotion playbook:

1. Share what you know for free
2. Share more of what you know for free
3. Release a product about what you've proven that you know
Distilling and boiling your knowledge down to a format that can be consumed is more important than just dumping your knowledge onto a page.

Make it easy for somebody to learn from you.
I pondered the structure of the book for a long time. I wanted to structure it in a way that would appear like a framework that somebody could follow.
I organised the book into 3 sections: The Fundamentals, The Principles and The Patterns after chatting a little with @jmikolay.

This structure gave the book an easy way for the reader to follow the formula.
What will I do differently next time?

I'll set a stricter time limit to get the book done and dusted.

I was going to release March 1 and ended up releasing May 1.

The majority of the writing happened in the last week.
In other words:

Write fast and write hard.
I'll also promote the book better next time.

I barely spoke about the product for the majority of the pre-order phase. I could have got much more pre-orders if I had.

I had too many other things going on during the time.
Once the pre-order goes live start promoting the hell out of it.
I'm very pleased with the pre-order numbers. Despite these things I did poorly:

1. Bad sales page
2. Bad pre-order promotion
3. Delaying the pre-order by 2 months
This is just the beginning now. It'll be my focus alongside @daily__visual for the foreseable future.

I'll share more figures and numbers when I know them.
If you enjoyed this thread and think it might help others please share along the first tweet.

Thanks for reading!
Is there anything I missed here that you want to know more about?

Let me know.

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More from @craigburgess

19 Apr
Here’s how to build better things.

A thread.
Work hard.
Be nice to people.
Read 4 tweets
29 Dec 20
How to be a better designer.

A thread.

Visuals from @_unobvious. Image
Favour foundation over decoration.

Train simple and timeless skills well so you can be an expert at the fundamentals.

Fundamentals don’t go out of fashion. Image
Prioritise creating timeless work.

All work eventually ages. But bias your work towards timelessness instead of creating work that is of a time. Image
Read 26 tweets
21 Dec 20
5 twitter accounts that were vital to my suuccess and self improvement this year.

I couldn’t have done it without them.

Thread 👇
@sellingamirror taught me that even when you're trying to run from your reflection it is biologically impossible.
@stateoflinkedin taught me that there is actually no human beings left on LinkedIn.
Read 7 tweets
21 Dec 20
After seeing @jamierusso’s excitement of writing a book, I wanted to write a new one.

Introducing The Magic Visual.

(read to the bottom to find out how you can help)
Visual Twitter is such a small corner right now. But there’s lots of things out there already that we can use to learn from.

My 100-tweet thread was just a teaser.

I have a lot more to say.

For people who want to make high-impact visuals on Twitter, social and other platforms there is next to no documentation.

Aside from @jackbutcher’s How to Visualize Value, there is nothing else.

And this medium is here to stay.
It’s expanding daily.
Read 7 tweets
19 Dec 20
A @threadapalooza on visual metaphors, my 5 top rules for visualising concepts and being prolific.

Let’s do a 100-tweet thread on how to make visuals that get noticed and get shared. Image
Before we discuss visual metaphors and how to make things cut through the noise, we need to talk about why.

Why do we want to cut through the noise?

Why do we want to simplify our visuals?
When people make visuals for Twitter they assume that they are making something that will be viewed in an art gallery.

The assume their visual will be treated carefully and considered. That the viewer will sit back on a rocking chair and thoughtfully browse. Image
Read 101 tweets
24 Nov 20
If you want to get better at making visuals I strongly believe you need a daily visual project.

It needs to become a daily practice.

And I think I’ve worked out how I can help you develop it and find your way through this. Image
I’ve got an idea I want to get some feedback on.

A community for learning how to make visuals like the ones on @_unobvious.

We make daily images together.
You get my feedback and the community’s.
You get tutorials. Image
You get direct actionable advice like this tweet.

Read 6 tweets

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