I never started thinking about writing a book or selling it. It was an unexpected result of applying a relatively common marketing concept, namely blogging.
The SenDesign website goes through a complete transformation once in a while. I launched the first version in 2015, the second in 2016, the 3rd in 2018, the 4th in 2019 and the 5th in 2021 (in progress at the time of writing). With the 3rd version, in November 2018 I decided to approach several marketing methods to attract traffic. The most obvious being blogging. It’s light, easy and only takes time.
The idea was to write articles as often as possible, and their content to be SEO optimized to occupy a high position in Google. That’s why the first article was SEO Optimization. I did not intend to make art from this blog, but to publish good, useful content that could be easily indexed whose level of quality did not necessarily have to shine. The last remark completely disappeared from my repertoire with the second article.
After writing about SEO optimization, I chose the topic of updating content on the website, because from my own experience, people do not apply it. There are dozens of websites representing important companies and institutions whose content has not been updated since time immemorial. That’s how I realized that I can bring something extra to these articles, a critique or a tool (depending on the case) that can change the market and the old-fashioned mentality that takes over the market even at the moment.
I started to like it. For the third article I wrote much more. I offered the job: what a good website should look like. We have structured all the details in 5 great techniques that once applied you will have a clearly superior result. And so my articles became more and more bushy. I addressed the issues I was facing with my clients through these writings. Later, offering them as an early reading at the start of the project.
In the summer of 2019, after the launch of the 4th version of SenDesign.ro, I decided to extend my marketing efforts to email campaigns. But I was missing the bait. That something you offer a visitor to subscribe to. Exploring the endless internet, I saw that many blogs and websites offer a free PDF book when you subscribe. The idea seemed very good to me because it didn’t cost me anything and I already had a good portion of material written on the blog. I intended to compile it into a small guide.
This idea made me thirsty for knowledge, so I searched the internet for specialized books. Apart from blogs, I did not find any publication, regardless of language, that addresses the subject of an online business from A to Z. So I decided to write it myself. I asked my then-fiancée, who was a graphic designer, to make me a cover. And very quickly I wrote a series of chapters that did not exist in the blog (some will never exist). The goal was still digital, but for my personal pleasure, I wanted to print 30 copies to give as a gift to loved ones. Conveying this idea to Professor Iustin Priescu, dean of the faculty of computer science at Titu Maiorescu University, I was encouraged to publish it and sell it. He wrote my foreword and so from a few blog articles I ended up writing a book. In November 2019, I had the final version of the book ready.
It took me longer to publish the book than it took me to write it. The Romanian market suffers from a morbid frivolity, especially in the case of publishing houses. Indeed, reading the printed material is no longer what it once was, but that is a cheap excuse. Initially I wanted to publish in Agir publishing house. I entered through a recommendation of Professor Iustin Priescu, and I had the discussions at the beginning, remaining to send a presentation by email. After 5 emails, I still haven’t received a reply. No other publishers bothered to respond. With another recommendation, I reached the Hoffman publishing house, which left a very good impression on me at first. But from September to November I only received postponements.
On November 9, 2020, I finally published the book. The quality of the material was good, the quality of the workmanship left much to be desired. Those who bought the first edition know what I’m talking about. It looked more like a pamphlet that had been printed … up to the spine. And the cover was completed with a purple stripe where the design ends. All of this could have been corrected if anyone had bothered to ask my approval. Instead, I received the reply “Did you see what the edges look like? Next time, leave more space.” I will not mention the rest of the defects. I incurred the production and distribution costs, so I had no advantage, quite the contrary! Phenomenon that I explain immediately.
I love the first edition, it will always remain the most important for me being my debut and the proof that it is possible. It came out late, at a time when it was needed and in a format made carelessly. Even so, I sold the entire print run in 2 weeks. Having pre-orders, I contacted the publishing house for an extension of circulation. Once the postponements resumed, I gave up. I was in the position of having orders without being able to deliver anything and without being able to meet any deadline. So I ended the collaboration and left on my own. Which I recommend to all writers because the level of seriousness at the moment is below any criticism.
I already had the relationship, ColorCube, which I recommend this way. With them I made some graphic materials that I was happy with. Once I got my mind off any possibility of a distribution network provided by the publisher, I went to them. They understood my needs very quickly, they corrected the cover and the second edition is something completely different. From the material to the realization, the second edition is what I really wanted.
As I said earlier, my association with Hoffman was not favorable to me. There are some insects on the market that live on tricks and scams. Somewhere between the 2 editions, 3 days after I appeared on Libris.ro, I woke up with the book on another website, Delfin Library. Because they had a general a contract with Hoffman, they’ve decided to list my book for sale, without my consent (sole distributor and producer) or the publisher, at a much lower price. I did not receive a favorable answer by phone. Operators blaming the publishing house. After long threats, I managed to be contacted by the person in charge of the maneuver and to get and apology. Even to conclude a distribution agreement. I haven’t heard from them since. I could no longer contact them by phone or email, proof of their great profesionalism. But I managed to get my book out of their website.
The maneuver was as follows: they index the Libirs.ro website, and all the books from the publishing houses they have contracts with, they list them without their consent, on the website at a much lower price. If they have orders, they go straight to the publisher. If they can deliver all good and well, if not, let the buyer will be left hanging. And what a surprise, they’re not the only ones. The donkeys from domo.ro and cel.ro (same devil, same owner, but with a different name) who still sell the book or at least pretend to. I resigned myself to the free advertisement the whole thing brings, because they can’t be reached without a foot in the neck. When they receive an order and can’t deliver it, they just don’t notice you. You can wait for the book a good whole bunch. Ditto for complaints.
This is one of the reasons why I’ve actually released a second edition. I needed another ISBN to stop me from being associated with Hoffman. I wrote 2 new chapters and added a glossary, took advantage and made a series of corrections, and sent it to the national library.
Because we don’t. Even if you want to publish, you have nowhere to go. That’s why I wanted to open a publishing house. I had all the documents ready, I had even made the plan of the titles I wanted to write in 2021. The last necessary approval came from the national library. I sent all the documents but my application was rejected. To be a publisher, you must publish at least 10 books / year. A bright idea someone had. How could you attract authors for 10 books, given that you do not classify yourself as a publishing house? It is a cycle of vices. I do not give up the idea, I just put it on hold until I solve the bureaucratic problem.
With adventures and without any initial intention, I ended up publishing a book. The third edition is underway and will be launched at the end of this year. Most likely November?! Or maybe I’ll keep the place of honor for another release. The sky is high, I won’t stop here. I started many education projects. I publish content on YouTube, on the SenDesign blog, on the Facebook group SenDesign Community and not only that, but the rest is a surprise.
The Online Business Guide Edition II can be ordered from Libris.ro, Cărturești.ro, and the SenDesign Store, where you can request an autographed edition. The first edition can only be bought from Constanța, Tic Tac Bookstore. Enjoy reading it!