My friends at Return Path just released a book called Sign Me Up! : A marketer’s guide to creating email newsletters that build relationships and boost sales. We’re really excited about it – Matt Blumberg does a nice job talking about it in his post today. I read the final draft a few months ago – if you care about email marketing in any way, this is a must read.
Writing a book is a bitch. I was involved in one of the first books on the web called Build a Web Site: The Programmer’s Guide to Creating, Building and Maintaining a Web Presence (Practical Programming). I was chairman of Net.Genesis at the time – we managed to get a book contract with a publisher called Prima (who now appears to be part of Random House) – they paid us a whopping $25,000 advance and we committed the book in a few months (three or four – I can’t remember.) I remember the Net.Genesis guys torturing themselves to get this done with a Prima-sponsored writer who had minimal technical chops, but was a good person and forced the beast out. It’s pretty cool to look back and see one of the first web books with a publishing date of April 1, 1995 (no – it’s not an April 1st joke, but it sure felt like one at the time.)
For some unknown reason, the memory of this experience had the same half-life as childbirth, and the Net.Genesis guys wrote a second book called Build a World Wide Web Commerce Center: Plan, Program, and Manage Internet Commerce for Your Company – this one was even more painful (I remember Raj Bhargava and Eric Richard surrounded by piles of paper pulling all nighters as they tried to grind it out in the midst of running a rapidly growing software company) – and I can’t even remember the size of the advance. Its publication on June 1, 1996 was the end of Net.Genesis’ book publishing career (although they went on to publish plenty of software.)
I’m proud of Matt and crew for getting this one out. Matt and his team didn’t seem to lose their minds writing this book – in fact, Matt’s ends his post by saying “boy was the experience we had different than it would have been 10 years ago.” No doubt (and thank “whatever diety you worship, if any!”)