Ravi Jayagopal is an entrepreneur and eight-time author. Originally from India, he moved to the United States as a young adult, and after a stint in New York, he now lives in San Diego with his family.
For Ravi, coffee can’t be strong enough. The darker the roast, the better. And if the roast isn’t dark enough, he mixes it half-and-half with chicory powder for an extra bitter taste.
In his long career, he’s sold ebooks, courses, coaching calls and much more. As one of WordPress’s early adopters, he also sold several successful WordPress plugins with his wife. But his true passion is podcasting.
And so he writes about podcasts, publishing ebooks and online marketing. His latest book Dogpoo & Dosaa is, unlike its name suggests, about the online promotion of subscription-based products.
The early days
Back in 1997, Ravi wrote and published his first book: A baby names book. Back in those days, he was still living in India and selling a book to an international market was close to impossible. Most payment processors found it too risky to work with someone from India…
When he finally found a way to sell his book, he became the first Indian solopreneur to sell a physical book to an international market. Although he’s not 100% positive about this record, he has never found any counterevidence.
In recent days
Since that first book, Ravi Jayagopal has written eight more books. He launched the first seven of those on Amazon, but he created a new website for his most recent book and launched it there.
Of course, Amazon is the easiest way to reach a larger audience, but after years and years of selling online products, Ravi felt that his existing audience was large enough to launch Dogpoo & Dosaa on his own terms.
Moreover, there are more benefits to controlling everything.
For starters, Ravi dislikes that Amazon conceals the email addresses of your buyers. That makes it impossible for you to create an email list with a funnel. You can’t do any upsells or offer future books to them.
He tried all sorts of things to get a hold of those emails. For example, on the first page of his book, he offered links* to free downloads on his website. Despite the free offer, fewer than 1% of his readers chose to do download those bonuses. Sounds surprising? I’ve seen the same when I launched the Coffee & Pens magazine. No one clicked the links to get discounted books…
On your own website, however, you get an email address with every sale.
But there’s more, you can also control the look and feel of the landing page, add a video and place a deadline timer for promotions, for example. Finally, this allowed him to offer three pricing options neatly on the same page: Audiobook only, ebook only or both.
In the end, he did publish it on Amazon too. But there’s only one reason: So no one could steal it and sell it under another name.
*If you want to publish an ebook with external links, keep in mind that those links may expire over time. www.permanent.link by Arvid Kahl fixes this problem.
His source of inspiration
Ravi’s parents were a huge source of inspiration for him. In India, his father had an extraordinary life. As a poet and songwriter, he worked from home in the seventies and eighties. It was something unheard of at that time.
This lifestyle allowed his dad to spend time with family and work at night. He could write songs anywhere, anytime. All he needed was a pen and paper. Ravi also wanted this type of life, and after years of work in the USA, he finally reached this goal.
For example, he is so in control of his time that he goes to sleep at 5 am and wakes up just after noon. This interview was recorded between 2 am and 3 am for Ravi.
Unfortunately, Ravi didn’t inherit his dad’s way of mastering the romanticism of the written word, but he did get his insane focus and concentration to switch off and zoom in on work.
Choosing a remarkable book title
Ravi Jayagopal’s first seven books had an informative title: They told you exactly what you would get from the book. That’s also what other writers like Rob Fitzpatrick would advise you to do.
But then Ravi came up with the title: Dogpoo & Dosaa. Why?
He wanted to create a pattern interrupt between all the informative books. When people see a title like this, they stop and question it. Of course, it will also scare off some people, but he believes the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
And besides, the meaning of these acronyms is in the subtitle: Do Once, Get Paid Only Once and Do Once Sell Again and Again.
People tend to see more than the title; they see the entire thumbnail of a book cover. So if the acronym is clear and the design is supportive, everything should be fine.
How Ravi starts a new book
During the day, Ravi takes many notes. He gathers all his ideas in different folders with Microsoft To-Do. After a while, he’ll start noticing a pattern of ideas, and that’s when he starts thinking about a book.
He’ll put the central idea in the middle of a mind map and start brainstorming different chapters and subtitles around it. When he has a good foundation, he copy-pastes this into a text processor like Word.
Then he starts writing the content for each chapter. When he comes across a new idea, he just adds it to the table of content.
While writing, he moves freely between chapters. When he feels stuck, doesn’t want to continue writing about something, or needs to do a fact check, he puts “xxx” and moves on. Later, he’ll search for those “xxx” in his text and continue with that section.
Ravi’s Jayagopal’s writing tips
When you write, you can’t worry about everybody. You can’t please everyone, so focus on attracting the people who like your style.
Don’t worry about perfectionism either. So many people preach perfectionism and tell you to hire professionals for everything. That’s not right.
“Shoot first, aim later”
With this, he means you don’t need to be perfect from the start. Publish your good ideas quickly; you can always optimise things later. What he doesn’t mean is that you can just publish anything. Aim to be consistent with quality rather than with quantity.
So when you write, start with a brain dump. Type fast or use voice transcription. Don’t worry about grammar checks.
And finally, use your book to build an audience. You can either share your process as you go or give the book away once it’s finished. But never forget to collect email addresses.
More from Ravi
You can find all of Ravi’s books on www.subscribeme.fm/books.
But of course, Dogpoo & Dosaa has its own website.
And the book that may be the most interesting for you, Krush it with Kindle, is free to download on www.onedayonetime.com.
For more about Ravi Jayagopal himsel, go to www.subscribeme.fm, the home of his podcast.
1 thought on “Advanced Audience Building as a Writer with Ravi Jayagopal”
Incredible questions, terrific conversation, enjoyed it thoroughly as your guest. Also, this is easily the very best show notes ever written for a podcast that I’ve been on!
Thank you Kjellv. Hope your listeners find some value from what I shared.