1,687 Beautiful People Can’t Be Wrong (or What You Can Learn From The Most Successful Minimalist Product Launch In Internet History)


OK, so I don’t have facts to back up that statement. Find me a minimalist book launch that sold more than 1,687 copies at $27 each in 72 hours ($45,549 gross sales) and I’ll retract. ;)

I’ve done a lot of 5 figure launches in my time, but this one was the most successful. Not in personal profit (which I’m not revealing, but believe me, it wasn’t much, relatively speaking), but in every other respect. Mostly in straight up satisfaction. It was really fun, from start (when I began writing Luxury of Less) to finish (last Thursday at 10am). Even when things went a bit wonky and my site broke it was all good. :)

I got a lot of e-mails asking how I pulled this Minimalist Book Sale together. Besides “holy crap thank you for doing this!” type e-mails, the “how did you do this?!” e-mails were most common during those 72 hours last week. Actually, maybe “holy crap thank you how did you do this?!” was the most common. :)

Note: It was so fun I’m putting together another 72 hour sale for late November/early December in the business niche. Get on the notification list here.

There were a lot of factors involved in pulling this together. I’m going to do my best to explain them.

1) Education Is Important

If it wasn’t for my background in marketing I would never have thought of doing this sale.

And by “background in marketing” I don’t mean I went to business school. I actually know how to generate revenue. Find me an MBA who can say the same and I’ll give you a hi-five for finding the needle in a haystack. ;)

My business “school” was spending every waking hour of my life from ages 18-24 reading, thinking, and doing. Then, as you may have already read in The Luxury of Less, life got a little bit fucked up and I stopped caring. The point is, while most college students were drinking and smoking weed every night I was holed up reading life changing books. (I did my share of drinking as well, just not very often.)

Name a book on business or marketing and I have most likely read it. Especially if it was written prior to the year 2000. And especially if it was written before I was born. Name a business idea and I’ve probably tried it as well. eBay, content sites, info products, affiliate sites, pay per click, etc … along with a handful of offline business attempts. This is called “putting in work” which most people are just unwilling to do.

In the words of Detroit’s very own Trick Trick:

“Let’s work. You don’t work you don’t eat, I don’t wanna hear it’s hard on these streets motherfucker. Let’s work. If it’s money to get, get off your motherfucking ass and go get that shit. Let’s work. Live life on the grind, I ain’t trying to get yours, I’m just trying to get mine.”

It’s much easier to suck down quarter pounders and watch Lost than actually do something useful. Everett has been writing a lot about this lately so go check out his last ~10 articles.

This minimalist book sale is a variation of what is known as a fire sale in the direct marketing world. It’s used in tons of different ways. Offline direct marketers used to use fire sales to sell old stock or “gently used” stock (such as customer returns) at incredible discounts.

Everything about this sale can be learned from marketing classics such as The Robert Collier Letter Book (released in 1937). All I did was put it online.

If you’ve read my recommended books in the article 9 Essential Books For Bloggers and Freedom Seekers (or How To Save $50,000 On An MBA) then you already know this. If you haven’t read those books then … well … your loss. ;)

2) Mastermind Groups Are Important

In the book Think & Grow Rich Napoleon Hill writes extensively on the importance of mastermind groups. I’d spent the past 10 years trying to form one to no avail. Thanks to blogging I was put in a position to join a 4-person (including myself) mastermind group earlier this year that has helped me beyond belief.

I wanted to launch a $9.99 book, The Luxury of Less, with a bang instead of a thud. I had the idea for the sale, discussed it at a couple of mastermind group meetings (Skype conference calls) and achieved clarity of vision.

The most difficult part of the whole launch was writing the book. And that was only difficult because I’m one of those people who throws away 20,000 words and starts from scratch. :) But seriously, I love writing, so this wasn’t actually difficult. So let me rephrase: it was the most time consuming part of the launch.

3) Competition Is In Your Head

At Chris Guillebeau’s Book Tour in Ann Arbor a couple of weeks ago, a group of us were talking about how awesome the blogging community is. We all support each other (well, many of us do anyway) and competition really isn’t competition. This is known as expanding the pie. There is room for all of us. Yes, even you. You just have to be willing to take your slice. Don’t worry, feel free to take it, we’ll bake a bigger pie.

Yes, there are a lot of minimalist ebooks on the market. And there will be many more in the coming years. It’s all good. There is room for all of them.

4) Genius or Action?

A lot of people called me a genius during and after the launch. As long as I can remember I’ve also called myself a genius, but that doesn’t come from a place of cockiness. I say it because we’re all geniuses at something and sometimes we need to talk ourselves up a bit in our own heads. But I really think genius is misinterpreted (by myself and everyone else) as fearless action.

I tweeted last week: “The difference between genius and stupidity is action.” A real genius would’ve thought of a better word than “stupidity.” ;)

The point is, I’m not a genius any more than you’re a genius. I was simply willing to take action on an idea by asking a bunch of friends and acquaintances if they’d be interested in being part of something fun. And to be honest, I was actually a little bit afraid to send those e-mails because they could’ve been met with resistance. Then I remembered, fearless action. I also set sending the e-mails as an accountability goal with my mastermind group. I had no choice but to do it or face their wrath. :)

Going back to no competition: every single person I e-mailed wrote me back almost immediately with a “yes.” I didn’t get a single “no.” Everybody was happy to support the project.

To be completely honest, I personally didn’t really have to do much to make this sale a success. You made this happen by spreading the word on twitter and Facebook. Thank you sincerely for that (380 Facebook Likes!). And so did my partners in fun. Thank you again to Leo, Baker, Everett, Tammy, Joshua, Henri, Sam, Charley, Brett, David, Annie, and Meg for being so amazing.

5) The Real Secret To My Success and I Want You To Steal It.

I’ve failed more times than you.

That’s why I’ve succeeded more as well.

Your mission is simple.

Go fail.

Specific questions? Comment below and I’ll turn the answers into another article…


  1. This is an excellent article, and I’m glad I found the How to Save $50K on an MBA because I was desperately looking for great marketing books to read, and you gave them to me.

    And this article, well, what can I say, you’re a genius ;)

  2. You make it sound so easy!

    The Book Sale was definitely an attention-grabber. What a phenomenal idea–and I’ve been enjoying reading my way through the package (though I have a loooong way to go yet.

    Congratulations on the successful memorable launch, and thanks for sharing these details about how you put it all together. Super helpful.

  3. Karol,

    Care to share who is in your mastermind group? (just curious) I’ve been pushing to set up one for a few months, any suggestions so it doesn’t take me 10 years as well :) especially for someone not in the blogging community. I’ve made a list of the smartest people I know, the most actionable people I know, and the most likely to say yes to a MMG group, but none of those groups intersect unfortunately.

    Thanks Brother

    • I’ve mentioned it in a roundabout way a few times and they have all mentioned it on their respective blogs. So we’ll leave it at that for now.

      Mastermind groups don’t have to be full of members in intersecting businesses. I think it’s actually beneficial to have outsiders and people in different niches.

  4. Karol, good stuff, congratulation on the Launch. So if there is so many motivational books out there why only 2% people succeed and others fail. Why Karol Gajda makes money online and is successful and others fail, because Karol gets shit done! when others are dreaming about it and do nothing, or maybe read some more motivational books. Karol SHIPS the product. There you have it,

    Good job man,


  5. That list of books is really gold. I´m in my second choice of the list: Influence – a life changing book for sure, thanks for the tip Karol. And congratulations on your success (and lots of failures to back it up).

  6. Hi Karol,

    This “Go fail” message has been coming at me big time from the Universe. It’s easy for me to be stuck in my head; much harder to bring it down into the real world. Thanks for giving me the message one last time loud and clear. I hear it!

    As you mentioned, it’s really great that the blogging world (in whatever field you’re in) is so open and helpful. I really do believe there’s room for everyone and by lending a hand to someone, another hand will be there for you when needed.

    I enjoy reading your blog – thanks for all you do.

  7. I love point number 4. So true. We admire people who get it done. And all of our celebrated geniuses tend to be prolific. Which means they were also prolific failures. But no one ever calls them that. Hmm…interesting how we see the glass overflowing with we look at others but only see if half-empty when we look at ourselves….As always, you spur good thoughts – thanks!

    • You got it Elizabeth. I’ve mentioned it before, but people don’t write about their failures, only their successes. So others never learn about all the failures and think certain people have the “midas touch.”

  8. Go Fail.

    Best advice I’ve heard in a long time.

    Congrats on such a successful launch and for putting together an awesome deal for so many satisfied customers :)

  9. You’re a stud.

    Congrats man, that was one helluva week, and a fantastic launch. I’m also on the market for more reading material, so I’ll be checking out the marketing books you’ve recommended.

    Talk to you soon, I’ll be bugging you on Skype.


  10. Karol,

    Even thought I had already read some of the ebooks in the minibook sale, I bought because of the ones that I had read yet, and the price was too good to pass up. Great value at $27 and I’m sure those who didn’t get in on this one are waiting for the next one in Nov/Dec.

    Great job for everyone involved. $45K is awesome!

    I hadn’t come across your 9 Essential Books article so thanks for pointing it out. There are so some interesting picks there.


  11. Great post.

    Just one question: What was the revenue split with the other authors?

    (I asked you this on Twitter and you said you would post about it – will it be in the next post?)

  12. ‘Twas brilliantly fearless my friend. Plus, like i mentioned in our call…it’s really helped fill in a LOT of gaps for my interviews – and opening up some big doors in my brain – so thanks again man…

  13. “It’s much easier to suck down quarter pounders and watch Lost than actually do something useful.”

    Seriously awesome quote. ;)

    You know, when I started reading stuff from you and your peers, for about 10 seconds, I thought–“wish I’d done all of that instead of going to grad school 15 years ago.” Then, I quit my whining and started (trying) focusing, and I actually met with a non-profit person who gave me advice to get started today. (Go, me!)

  14. I was thrilled to see this great deal on books and didn’t take too long to decide to order …not one of those things you can put on a list and wait 30 days:) Thanks! Looking forward to the next one. I have read several of the books already and am reading Luxury of Less this evening. Thanks, Karol. and thanks to all the authors who participated.

  15. I am a big advocate of the power of a mastermind group having recently realised just how awesome they are.

    I have a few for different aspects of my life. In my business one we set forfeits for the end of each month and if goals are not achieved then the videos are taken and up on Facebook they go. Very motivating indeed.

  16. This is my first time commenting on any blog, ever :) I’ve been reading you and Leo for quite some time now and I just have to say that this article inspired me to take action (even if just in the form of a comment). I’m in the process of starting my own small business (as a holistic health counselor) with the hopes of using my own blog, info products, and affiliate network to support my goals. I have been facing some serious self-doubt recently. The information you’re sharing is so inspiring, though. Just reading this made me tell my negative thoughts to f*ck off because I CAN do this, look at all the brilliant people who have…..

    Many thanks!

    • Wow, thank you so much Dana! I’m glad this article spurred you to comment and I hope it also spurs you to take action on your business plans.


  17. Hi Karol,

    I have failed more times that I recall :) and spent $10,000+ at it :)
    Now I have decided to come into the blogging world and aim to turn to success.

  18. Nice to see the host beneficiary relationship in action… I think that’s the right term anyway.. only just started reading up on marketing.

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