2 months ago
I sold 100 copies of my book when I had anticipated selling none.
After a decade in large tech, I know how software engineers were interviewed. I've seen outstanding engineers fail interviews because their responses were too vague.
So I wrote Nail A Coding Interview: Six-Step Mental Framework. Give candidates a mental framework for coding questions; help organizations better prepare candidates so they can calibrate traits.
Recently, I sold more than 100 books, something I never expected.
In this essay, I'll describe my publication journey, which included self-doubt and little triumphs. I hope this helps if you want to publish.
It was originally a Medium post.
How did I know to develop a coding interview book? Years ago, I posted on Medium.
This story got a lot of attention and still gets a lot of daily traffic. It indicates this domain's value.
Converted the Medium article into an ebook
The Medium post contains strong bullet points, but it is missing the “flesh”. How to use these strategies in coding interviews, for example. I filled in the blanks and made a book.
I made the book cover for free. It's tidy.
Shared the article with my close friends on my social network WeChat.
I shared the book on Wechat's Friend Circle (朋友圈) after publishing it on Gumroad. Many friends enjoyed my post. It definitely triggered endorphins.
In Friend Circle, I presented a 100% off voucher. No one downloaded the book. Endorphins made my heart sink.
Several days later, my Apple Watch received a Gumroad notification. A friend downloaded it. I majored in finance, he subsequently said. My brother-in-law can get it? He downloaded it to cheer me up.
I liked him, but was disappointed that he didn't read it.
The Tipping Point: Reddit's Free Giving
I trusted the book. It's based on years of interviewing. I felt it might help job-hunting college students. If nobody wants it, it can still have value.
I posted the book's link on /r/leetcode. I told them to DM me for a free promo code.
Momentum shifted everything. Gumroad notifications kept coming when I was out with family. Following orders.
As promised, I sent DMs a promo code. Some consumers ordered without asking for a promo code. Some readers finished the book and posted reviews.
My book was finally on track.
A 5-Star Review, plus More
A reader afterwards DMed me and inquired if I had another book on system design interviewing. I said that was a good idea, but I didn't have one. If you write one, I'll be your first reader.
Later, I asked for a book review. Yes, but how? That's when I learned readers' reviews weren't easy. I built up an email pipeline to solicit customer reviews. Since then, I've gained credibility through ratings.
I wouldn't have gotten 100 if I gave up when none of my pals downloaded. Here are some lessons.
Your friends are your allies, but they are not your clients.
Be present where your clients are
Request ratings and testimonials
gain credibility gradually
I did it, so can you. Follow me on Twitter @imgracehuang for my publishing and entrepreneurship adventure.