Free Time with Jenny Blake podcast

268: Strategies for Surpassing “The Magic Number” of Book Sales with Todd Sattersten

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What mysterious ingredients make a book launch successful? What number of first-week and first-year sales truly make a difference to a book’s longevity? What can you do to turn lagging numbers around? In a flagship illuminating post for the industry, Todd Sattersten, publisher and owner of Bard Press, shared his findings in The Magic Number. In this behind-the-business conversation from October 2023, you’ll hear him generously talk me through how I could help Free Time get there—with a much-needed morale boost at the end. More About Todd: Todd Sattersten is the publisher and owner of Bard Press, a book publisher that works with authors to create best-selling books in business, personal development and technology. Before Bard Press, Todd served as general manager of IT Revolution and president of business book retailer 800-CEO-READ. He is the author of Every Book Is a Startup and the co-author of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time (Portfolio, 2009). Todd lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Amy and their three awesome kids. 🌟 3 Key Takeaways A book launch is a set of activities to engage people and create momentum, and there is no common blueprint for success. “Each book is different—in its approach to a problem and delivery of solution. Each author is different—in what they bring to the launch. And the world itself is different every time you bring a book into the world.” The Magic Number: The data says is that if you can get into the 10,000 to 25,000 copy range for first year sales, you have a 42% chance of selling more than 25,000 copies in lifetime sales. If you get past that 10K mark, there is a 4 in 10 chance of getting beyond 25K copies sold. Endorsements should triangulate the reader to think this book is for them. Who is the highest comp author? A practitioner (someone doing the work or even a related recognizable company), a reader who demonstrates utility. 📝 Permission Put your ego down. Remember, you want your readers to be better, to improve their lives. Our job is to find more people to help, and there are still so many opportunities for that. You don’t actually have to stop promoting the book after it’s launched—there is nobody stopping you! ✅ Do (or Delegate) This Next Send a survey out to your readers and community, ideally 90 to 120 days after the book comes out. Check out the one Jenny sent here—and please take it if you can at the same time! 🔗 Resources Mentioned Todd on the web, IG, X, LinkedIn Publisher: Bard Press Take the Free Time reader survey Jenny sent here, whether you’ve read the book or not! Bard Press Articles: The Magic Number and The Few, The Many, and the Reality of Power Laws Net Promoter Score (NPS): Technology Adoption Life Cycle: Innovators → early adopters → early majority → late majority → laggards BookBub and The Fussy Librarian for ebook promotions Jenny’s Author Toolkit and Free Time Leader Kit 📚 Books Mentioned The One Thing by Jay Papasan and Gary Keller Atomic Habits by James Clear Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl Free Time: Lose the Busywork, Love Your Business Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One Life After College 🎧 Related Episodes Self-Publishing School: The Engineer Approach to Millions of Copies Sold with Todd Sattersten Billion Dollar Creator: 018: How to Write a Book That Sells for Decades with Tim Grahl Free Time: 249: Systems for Selling Over One Million Books and 012: Generating Personal MBA Momentum with Josh Kaufman 117: Tiny Marketing Actions with Pamela Slim Pivot: 207: How to Develop Your Book and Big Idea (Part 1) and 208: Your Book and Big Idea (Part 2) 49: The (He)art of Book Publishing Excerpt: Land a Traditional Publishing Deal — Q&A with My Editor at Portfolio/Penguin Random House 📝 Check out full show notes and share: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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