I recently announced the launch of the fourth edition of the book on hacker news. This re-launch was significantly less successful than the initial launch from January 1st. I’m a little disappointed from the whole experience, but I think there are lessons to be learned here.
Was it bad timing? I worked until late the previous night to update the website copy, but I left some things for this morning, which meant I was only able to post at 11:30AM. The “best practices” suggest 9AM–11AM EST, so I was a little out of that range.
Should-I have chosen a better title? I went with the “No bullshit guide to math and physics, v4.0” since this is basically what I was announcing. Should I have mentioned the 34% off deal on the eBook?
The interesting take away for me is that, while extremely useful, hacker news cannot be my main channel for promoting the book. I need to come-up with a repeatable and scalable strategy for attracting members of my three target audiences to the webpage. I’m now playing with google AdWords and Facebook advertisements. Let’s see if spending some money will lead to a good return on investment.
I also posted the /launch40 URL to several channels on reddit where it was very poorly received. The redditors protested the advertisement-like nature of the post. I see their point. Though, honestly, I think my book could be genuinely useful to the students at McGill and UofT. Exam season is coming after all, and I know some students could use some help! The next time I post to HN/reddit, I post the updated mechanics tutorial: useful, educational, and fun, but ending in a little advert for the book.