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In 30 Minutes: Looking back at 2013, looking forward to 2014

By January 1, 2014Blog, Industry

As the founder of i30 Media Corporation, which publishes In 30 Minutes guides, I wanted to write a quick post outlining some of our accomplishments in 2013, and look ahead to 2014.

Although In 30 Minutes guides were launched in the summer of 2012, the company wasn’t launched until the beginning of this year. I started out with a bang in the first few weeks of January 2013, incorporating the company, applying for a trademark, and setting up the other systems that would help get In 30 Minutes guides off the ground. At the time, there were only three titles (Dropbox In 30 Minutes, Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, and Excel Basics In 30 Minutes) but over the next 12 months the family of guides expanded to nearly 10 titles, including LinkedIn In 30 Minutes, Twitter In 30 Minutes, and C Diff In 30 Minutes.

Readers were impressed. You can see the reviews on Amazon and in Goodreads, but I also received emails from people who really liked the In 30 Minutes concept of easy-to-understand guides to mildly complex topics. The tone, the humor, the screenshots, the low price — all of these elements made for a great package that resonated with people all over the world. When I started getting messages from readers who had spontaneously purchased multiple titles, I knew that I was on the right track.

There were other developments. Importantly, the guides expanded from just one author (me) to a total of four. The new authors incude Melanie Pinola, Derek Slater, and Dr. J. Thomas Lamont. I would like to thank all of them for their hard work in getting their manuscripts ready for publication, and helping with various promotional efforts. They proved themselves to be true professionals, not only in their ability to work within the In 30 Minutes format, but also in the creation of high-quality content that helped readers understand mildly complex topics in a relatively short period of time. Melanie even won an award for her efforts (see LinkedIn In 30 Minutes Honored In The 2013 USA Best Book Awards).

Sales of certain titles have been steady. A few of the guides have gotten into the “Top 100” lists in various categories in Amazon, and the company has been profitable since the beginning. Authors are rewarded for their hard work with a generous royalty rate (if you’re interested in learning more, read this post for prospective authors), and the proceeds have helped i30 Media expand into new topic areas (more on that below).

I have to admit not every title has sold well. I’ve written about the struggles with Excel Basics In 30 Minutes elsewhere (see “Using metrics to turn around a failing title” in my PBS MediaShift post How to Boost E-Book Sales by Tracking Marketing Tactics). I have also taken one title out of circulation (iPod Touch In 30 Minutes) and relaunched Online Content Marketing In 30 Minutes. I won’t analyze what happened with those guides here, but I am happy to say that in the case of the latter title, author Derek Slater and I have repurposed some of the content into a new short-read format, titled Content Marketing: Recycling & Reuse – How your best online content can attract and engage new customers. These types of experiments speaks to the Lean Media philosophy I have imbued into this venture, which involves constant iteration, close communication with authors and other stakeholders, and learning from both successes and failures.

Easy Chinese Recipes cookbookWhat does 2014 hold? January will see a slew of new releases, including Easy Chinese Recipes In 30 Minutes and the short chapter about content marketing recycling mentioned earlier. Windows 8 Basics In 30 Minutes is currently being written by a new author, and may come out by the end of the month.

I will also continue the Lean Media spirit of innovation and constant experimentation in everything we do. In the publishing front, I am preparing the first In 30 Minutes title with embedded video (Easy Chinese Recipes In 30 Minutes) as well as expansion into new topic areas. I have some interesting things lined up in the sales & marketing arena, including expansion of educational licensing and an interesting partnership in the works for one title (sorry, I can’t reveal details yet!). I am also reaching out to new retail partners, who I think will appreciate In 30 Minutes concept for their customers. I have also started writing a personal-finance focused title, scheduled for release in the spring.

As always, I appreciate the feedback from readers and observers alike. Post comments below, or email ian -at- in30minutes dot com to share your thoughts.

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