This is a quick update to let you guys know that I’m retiring the Personal Excellence Book. (Update July 1, 2016: The book is now officially retired.) The Personal Excellence Book is an ebook compilation of the best articles on PE. Over the years, I have released 2 volumes (so 2 ebooks in total), with each volume having 101 articles each for a total of 202 articles. These articles were published between 2008 and 2012. PE Book is the first product I’ve ever sold on PE and it’s one of the best-selling products in our lineup. We have sold over 3,200 ebooks to date!
Why am I retiring PE Book then? Truth be told, it was getting very exhausting updating the product. I have never publicly mentioned this but I spend several hours, sometimes a few days, updating PE Book every month, ever since it was launched in 2010. Because I’m always making changes to the articles on PE, be it grammar updates, image changes, minute text updates, and so on), that means that the material in PE Book needs to updated as well. While at first I’d make the changes immediately, subsequently I switched to batching, where I would track all the little changes in a text file, after which I’d transfer them to the two ebook volumes once a month. This whole process is incredibly micro, where I had to hunt for the article using the Control+F function, look for the changes in each 1,000-page ebook, edit them, arrange them nicely, export the PDF (which takes a while because it’s a large book), login to my product server, and then reupload them. As you can tell, this becomes very tedious very fast. And I have been doing this for 6 years.
Some of you may wonder: Why not just continue selling PE Book without updating it? While I can do that and it’s certainly the easier way out, I don’t want to. Since PE Book is meant to be a compilation, I’d prefer that it accurately reflects all the content live on PE, at least at the point the customer buys it. I feel it’s the right thing to do. And while I suppose I can hire someone to do this, there are usually many minor changes that are difficult to relay to a third party without there being some sort of miscommunication or misunderstanding. It then becomes a cumbersome process of trying to spot and correct mistakes of what are really small changes to begin with. Not to mention, hiring someone means additional cost, which needs to come from somewhere, be it raising the product price or otherwise. The question then comes to, “Should I even be allocating resources to an activity that is highly micro with little output?” It became clear that it’s a “no.”
There’s another reason too. Since releasing PE Book Volumes 1 and 2, I have written about 400 new articles. Originally my plan was to create a new volume of PE Book every 2–3 years so that readers have the option to purchase my best articles in each time period. But after seeing all the work required to maintain Volumes 1 and 2, I held back from releasing Volume 3 and eventually scrapped it. Given that PE Book is meant as a compilation of my best articles, but I’m only putting my best articles from 2008 to 2012 in the books, I eventually felt a disconnect selling the product. It’s not that the articles in PE Book aren’t good — they are, all 202 of them, covering golden topics of personal growth and the result of my blood and sweat of my first 4 years of PE. It’s just that I also have other in-depth articles, building on what I’ve written in my first 4 years, that I’d want to sell in a compilation too, but it’s just realistically not feasible after seeing all the back-and-forth with the first 2 volumes. And I believe this disconnect would only become bigger as the years pass, when I have more and more new articles not inside the compilation, while I need to spend all this resource and energy maintaining something from so many years ago when I could be doing something else.
At the end of the day, I think the idea of a compilation book is great as it’s useful to have a handbook of the best articles in a blog, neatly organize in a beautifully designed ebook that one can read on the go. Many customers of PE Book have told me that they found PE Book very useful. In fact they have read articles in the book that they didn’t even know were on the site — because the PE website has so many articles that it’s easy to get lost in the site sometimes!
But in terms of implementation, it’s not feasible as it’s a compilation of content that is updated almost every week. One thing I didn’t expect is that I would update my articles and old articles so often. While most blogs would post content and leave it as that, I believe in regularly revisiting my articles to keep them timeless. This means having to update PE Book every few weeks/month, which makes me feel like I’m forever stuck tweaking a product from the past as opposed to moving on to other, bigger projects. If there’s a way to automate this process, I’d have done, but there isn’t (not that I know of).
So it’s time to say goodbye to PE Book as I pull it from the PE product lineup this month. It’s sad as this is a product I have put a lot of sweat into creating and maintaining, perhaps more so than some of the products, but I think retiring it and letting it go will pave the way for other higher value products to come. I have just updated the ebooks for the last time before I officially pull it off the shelf.
Revenue-wise I’ll be cutting away one good revenue stream (just like when I retired Blogging Success Program and Passive Income System), but I think this is something that has to be done as I focus on new plans.
Update July 1, 2016: Thank you everyone for your final purchases before the retirement of the product! Many of you have shared very nice comments, thank you! Here’s a note I got from reader Joan,
“I have been your fan for years….. so glad to get the whole works…. worth every penny. Love ya…” Joan Sheldon, Calif ♥
Thank you and your support means the world to me. I believe that this will free up more mind space for me to focus on creating more higher value products for all of you. Love you guys!