5 Mistakes I Made in Giving Away a Book (and the new download link)

I recently gave away a book to the readers and I admit that I made several mistakes. Here’s the background…

On my birthday (March 29) I announced that I was going to give away a free book to the readers of this blog. I posted several potential book titles and the readers voted.

Your the readers elected for Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages.

I got to work on it right away. Writing was the easy part. The hard part was figuring out how to ship the book out via email. Along the way, I made a few mistakes. Here’s what happened.

  1. First, I’m very happy with the book itself. I asked for volunteers and received responses from over 300 people. I chose six highly qualified people and we went to work. That “Inner Circle” team was amazing. Where did I mess up? Not enough time. We kept to an aggressive schedule. We went from idea to book in just two months. The final product was great, but I rushed the ending and so the book had a few typos and then a technical difficulty with downloading.
  2. I scheduled the release of the book around the time of my wife’s due date! Baby #7. And wouldn’t you know it, the baby was born on the same weekend as the book release. Talk about stressful! I should have just delayed the book by a week or two. It wasn’t fair to the readers or to my family.
  3. I used Mail Chimp to organize the mailing list. The book was going out to over 7,500 blog subscribers and you can’t use gmail to do that. So I paid $75 per month to Mail Chimp to make this happen. However, I’m new to Mail Chimp. If this hadn’t been a free book, I would have hired someone to run Mail Chimp for me. As it was, I was baptized by fire.
  4. The first 2,000 readers receiving the book pdf via email received it easily and with no problems. Within several hours I was getting feedback from people who had already read the book! They loved it, but noted a few typos and a small missing section. I don’t know how that happened. Horrified, I fixed the book and upload the corrected book pdf file. However, Mail Chimp didn’t like that I had modified the free book pdf file. Immediately, everyone started having problems downloading the file from inside their emails. If you’re stilling having problems, here’s the new working link to download the book.
  5. From the huge response, I’ve realized that I should have had a paperback version printed. I’m getting responses from people who want a real tangible paperback of Thomas Aquinas of 50 Pages. However, if you do the math, that becomes quite expensive:

    printing plus shipping ($7) x 7,500 recipients = $52,500 bucks

    I’m not in a position to spend close $50,000 in a free book give away. I wish that I were. One day…one day…

    So we’re looking at making a paper version available at an affordable price. Of course, you’re always allowed to print it out from your own printer. I don’t have a timeline on this, but there will be a paperback version of Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages one day and be assured that readers here will have the first swing at it.

When I realized the technical problems, I sent out the book again with a new link to all the subscribers.

But to make it easy on everyone: here’s the link to the book. Just click on it and open it up. It’s a pdf of the free book.
Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages download link here.
Again, I apologize to all of you had technical problems. I should have all the bugs fixed for the next free book.

PS: Will be transferring this blog over to WordPress over the next two weeks. This will fix many of the current bugs on this site (and make commenting easier). My goal is to make this site better and better for the readers/subscribers.

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Also, please check out my brand new book The Eternal City: Rome & the Origins of Catholicism at amazon.com by clicking here.

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