Gumroad Library for iPhone

Sahil Lavingia on September 30th, 2014

We’ve been growing pretty fast. There are now more than 10,000 individual filmmakers, musicians, authors, artists, designers, developers, and other creators around the world selling via Gumroad, with hundreds now making their entire living doing what they love.

There are two questions that we ask ourselves every day here at Gumroad:

  1. What do these creators spend their time on that’s not making things?
  2. Can we do that for them?

Over the past 18 months, these two questions have prompted us to build and ship feature after feature (after feature) for creators and their customers alike. Audio streaming, video streaming, inline reading, gifting, subtitle support for films, recommended products, customizable galleries, pre-orders, subscriptions, give more, buy again, pay what you want, offers (and offers again), and many more.

Today, we’re excited to share the latest thing we’ve built — our first mobile app. Available on iOS 7 and above (Android coming soon), the app serves as a mobile version of the Gumroad Library. It offers native experiences for watching, listening to, and reading mobile-friendly Gumroad products.

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We built the Gumroad app to help the audiences of our creators have the best mobile experience possible. As of this morning, more than 8,000 films + videos, 35,000 books + comics, and 15,000 music products sold via Gumroad are mobile-ready.

Many Gumroad creators make their living entirely from selling what they make to their audiences via Gumroad, and each month we’re seeing more and more creators pass the six-figure mark on the platform. It’s been exciting to help make it possible for people to spend their lives doing what they love.

Weekend Reading

Travis Nichols on September 26th, 2014

From Netflix-binging tips to a stack of New York Times best-selling authors to gadget performance at home and (way, waaay) abroad, here are your weekend reading recommendations from the Gumroad team. We hope yours is the perfect balance of productive creativity and recharging relaxa-ti-on.

Home

How to Tell When a Robot Has Written You a Letter (Medium)
Handwriting robots are here, and they’re learning the subtle art of irregularity.

The Only 15 Netflix Hacks You’ll Ever Need (Vulture)
For your binging this weekend.

Work & Creativity

Neil Gaiman: ‘Terry Pratchett Isn’t Jolly. He’s Angry’ (The Guardian)
Assumption vs. really knowing someone.

Chris Guillebeau on his New NYT Best Seller, Writing, and the Road (Gumroad)
Questing, getting started, and staying motivated.

17 Bizarre Jobs Our Ancestors Did That No Longer Exist (Business Insider)
Will your job exist in 100 years?

10 Strategies for Selling Art Tutorials (That Can Work for Any Product) (Gumroad)
New York Times best-selling author and illustrator James Gurney on his latest release in this awesomely in-depth case study/interview.

Some Advice from Jeff Bezos (Signal v. Noise)
On people who are right a lot.

Stuff and Things

iPhone Camera Evolution: How Does the iPhone 6 Camera Compare to Previous iPhone Cameras? (Snap Snap Snap)
From macro to lowlight.

Lost GoPro (Swissmiss)
After a year on the ocean floor…

On a Shoestring, India Sends Orbiter to Mars on Its First Try (New York Times)
Go, MOM!

Odds and Ends

Researcher Shows that Black Holes Do Not Exist (Phys.org)
So… we might not get sucked and squished into an inescapable point of spacetime after all?

Loyalty Nearly Killed My Beehive (Nautilus)
On gently nudging and tinkering with nature.

10 Strategies for Selling Art Tutorials (That Can Work for Any Product)

Jessica Jalsevac on September 25th, 2014

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Art tutorials are so hot right now, with creators from Dominic Qwek to Will Terrell inspiring thousands of budding artists to create their own work.

Naturally, we needed to take a closer look into the art of selling them as well, so we enlisted the help of James Gurney, author and illustrator of the New York Times best selling Dinotopia book series.

James has produced three art tutorial videos: How I Paint Dinosaurs, Australia’s Age of Dinosaurs, and Watercolor in the Wild. Each tutorial follows paintings all the way through from start to finish, with every step thoroughly documented and the author’s voiceover explaining the thinking behind the paint brush.

"’How I Paint Dinosaurs’ by James Gurney is a superb adventure into the world of hands-on professional illustration; using dinosaurs as the vehicle, it packs an entire art school into one engaging, thoroughly entertaining package."

—Terryl Whitlatch, creature designer and concept artist

In this case study, we focused on the launch of his most recent tutorial, Watercolor in the Wild, so you can see, step-by-step, how he got the word out. Enjoy! 


What are the main tools/networks you use to reach your audience?

Although as a painter I use traditional, hand-made media like watercolor and oil, I have eagerly embraced some digital tools, such as blogging. I’ve written over 3,000 posts on a daily basis since for my blog, GurneyJourney.blogspot.com.  On Facebook, I have 4800 friends on my personal FB and 10,700 likes on the public page, but I only use Facebook promotionally to echo blog posts.

On YouTube I’ve posted 118 videos, with 770,358 Views and 10,016 Subscribers. I regard YouTube mainly as a promotional ecosystem and as a testing ground for new ideas. I don’t do Twitter, Instagram, or any other social channels, and haven’t yet set up an email marketing system.

audience at a glance


What were your main promotional strategies?

1. The build-up

I tried out Nathan Barry’s suggestion to announce early and build awareness over time. However, I’m starting at a bit of a disadvantage because I don’t have an email marketing account in place—I’m more of a MailChump than a MailChimp.

But thanks to Gumroad’s Customer Update system, I was able contact the 400+ people who had purchased my two previous videos. About two weeks before release, I sent an email to my Gumroad gang telling them what was coming. On my daily art blog GurneyJourney, I did a detailed blog post about a week ahead describing the upcoming release.

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 2. Launch day

The launch day was a Monday, a day that Google Analytics told me that my blog gets quite a bit of traffic. On Monday I released the two-minute trailer, which introduces the video and gives some excerpts. The Gumroad sales page actually went live the night before for my Gumroad customers with a 10% launch day discount.

3. A week of blog posts

I scheduled a “Watercolor Week" on the blog, set to kick off on the day of the launch. I created a week’s worth of posts that went deeper into each segment of the video. The purpose of each day’s post was to entice new customers, but I didn’t want to pitch too hard. I also wanted to deepen the experience of the paying customers and foster a sense of community among them.

On the day before Watercolor Week began, I showed a stack of all the YouTube thumbnail designs so people could see what was coming up. People said stuff like I’m so psyched for this! I can’t wait to place my order! and Really looking forward to the videos on Youtube :D (poor art student, so free is good right now :) ) That last person who can’t afford the download at the moment is just as important to me as the paying customers.

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4. Blurbs and reviews

I produced a physical DVD to be ready when the Gumroad download launched. That gave me something physical to send to potential reviewers and blurb-writers. I had advance copies of the DVD in hand a couple weeks ahead of launch day.

I sent some out to a few artist friends, inviting their feedback. Fortunately, the first review came out a day before the launch, so I was able to include a link to that along with the kickoff announcement.

I also used Gumroad’s offer code feature to distribute about five digital review copies to magazine reviewers in other countries.

5. Value-rich content for free

On Tuesday I released a video excerpt about suggested art supplies. I embedded that video at the head of a long, information-rich blog post about the materials. Blog posts are better than videos for conveying such detailed information. I wanted people who had bought the video to be able find this information, so I captioned that section of the video with a search suggestion so that they could find it.

I released two other five-minute excerpts of the video, totaling about 25% of the for-sale content. Each video ended with links back to the Gumroad sales page. I also put live links in the YouTube description panel. Within two weeks of release, these videos have racked up a total of over 20,000 views. 

Each sample clip has intrinsic value as a stand-alone video, but it also serves as a promotion for the full video. While it’s hard to make any income directly from YouTube, even if you create viral videos, it’s a great promotional tool for Gumroad creators, referring 11% of my sales, more than Facebook generated.

I also ran a poll asking blog readers to vote for their favorite watercolor pigments. I shared the results of the poll later in the week. This involved people in the blog, and they kept coming back to learn more, plus I learned something from my readers.

6. A bonus product

In addition to the main 72-minute feature, I produced a second video for sale on Gumroad that was a “Bonus Features” collection. It had some exclusive new material, and some remastered YouTube shorts with added voiceover. It was a fun collection of extras that I called “bite-size inspiration” for people to own in HD video.

As with the main feature, I let people download the MP4 video file, knowing that some people will copy the video without paying. But I’m not worried about that. As long as I keep my prices fair, the non-paying customer today will likely decide to become a paying customer tomorrow. At the head of each video, instead of a threatening FBI warning, I put a little a message thanking people for buying the video, and reminding them that their support allows me to keep creating more cool stuff.

I used Gumroad’s helpful feature of permitting multiple files in a single offering by uploading PDFs of additional articles to add value to the Bonus Features offering. Even though the sales volume of the Bonus Features was only 15% as large as the main feature, it was well worth doing, and it added a bump to the sales six days after the release. 

7. Focus on the customer’s creativity

Something spontaneous happened late in Watercolor Week. After I published a blog post and a Facebook update where I talked about ultra compact watercolor kits, people started sending me images of the custom compact watercolor kits that they created. I jettisoned my planned content and put the spotlight on their achievements instead. The blog became a forum for a lively exchange of ideas against the backdrop of the Gumroad release.  

8. Reinforce in print

I wrote an article for an art magazine called International Artist scheduled to come out a month after release. The article zeroed in on the same artwork that’s in the video. Captions with little play buttons directed readers to watch the free excerpts and the trailer on YouTube. Gumroad’s custom titling feature allowed me to rename the URL as “gum.co/watercolor” making it easier for a print exposure to bring in potential customers.

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9. A thank-you video

I shot an exclusive thank-you video for Gumroad customers in my workshop. In the video, I showed some updates to the painting gear I had talked about on the main video, and I told them about some of the projects that are coming up, with news that I haven’t announced publicly elsewhere. 

I also sent individual thank-you emails to customers who chose to add $10 or more to the “Pay What You Want” base cost of $15.

Here’s the text of that email, which I customized for each person:

“Dear ________. I just want to take a minute to thank you for your generous donation above and beyond the asking price of my new Gumroad video. When I chose the “price-plus” option, I never anticipated that so many people would extend a hand so givingly. I’m really touched by your gift, and will invest the funds in the tools I’ll need for making more and better videos in the future. Enjoy the video, James Gurney”

10. Demo the methods

At the end of the week, after talking so much about techniques and materials, and answering lots of questions from people who had bought the download, I thought I should practice what I preached. So I took my watercolor kit to the county fair and did an impromptu portrait of the oldest carnival worker, and posted about it on the blog and Facebook.


How it all came together…

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Let’s take a look at some results…

traffic by channel

conversion by channel

James’s main channels - his blog and YouTube - both performed well in terms of views and sales of his products. His strategy of reaching out to friends and influencers in the art world paid off too. While he didn’t get as many views from these reviews as he did with his owned properties, the conversion rate was very high, showing that people trust a recommendation!recommended products

In addition to the promotion strategies shared above, James also turned on Recommended Products in his Gumroad account. This allowed Gumroad to suggest his products to people who bought similar items from other creators. Recommendations had an extremely high conversion rate of 36.8%pay what you want and offer code results

James’s experiment with allowing people to pay $15+ instead of a flat fee worked out quite well, with 14.5% of people paying more than $15. His launch day offer code also effectively introduced a sense of urgency, and encouraged many people to purchase on the first day. 


Any final thoughts to share?

My background is as a painter and a writer, not a marketer or a sales guy, so all this is kind of new to me, and it’s fun. Instead of working with a big publisher that keeps all this info to itself, I get to work all the levers.

I’m grateful to Gumroad and its community of artist-publishers for sharing information to help me succeed with self-publishing.

What I come away with is that the new digital arts economy is different in several fundamental ways compared to the old one. These differences are suggested by the following four paradoxes:

  • You have to give something away in order to sell it.
  • People will pay more if you let them set their own price.
  • Promote others if you want to advance your career.
  • Share your trade secrets and you will benefit.

These principles seem counterintuitive to someone like me raised in the pre-digital arts economy. The differences arise because people buying digital content understand that they’re directly supporting the personal vision of the artist. They’re not just buying a product; they’re buying into a relationship.

Chris Guillebeau on His New NYT Best Seller, Writing, and the Road

Jessica Jalsevac on September 23rd, 2014

We’re thrilled to host a small event in San Francisco on September 29th with author, entrepreneur, and modern-day explorer Chris Guillebeau. Chris’s new book, The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life, recently debuted at #3 on the New York Times Best Seller List. 

We’re going to talk quests, happiness, and leading an unconventional life with Chris live, but in the meantime, we wanted to know how his writing has evolved, how he stays motivated to complete a writing project, and why he’s constantly on the road meeting with readers.

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You wrote an article for your blog in 2012 entitled How to Write a Book - what’s changed, if anything, now that you’re on your third book? What are you better at, and what do you still need to work on?

I think that post is still mostly relevant in terms of the how-to. I did struggle quite a bit with writing the new book, in part because it’s my most personal work yet, and also because it took some time to really figure out the universal lessons of quests and adventure. I was four months late in delivering my manuscript—something that’s never happened before, but hopefully it made for a better product in the end.

I also struggle at times with writing on the road. I get overwhelmed with a lot of projects and sometimes neglect the essential craft of creating. I’m in five or six cities each week and it occasionally becomes tiring. These are good problems to have, of course. I have a great life and am fortunate to be able to write and travel. But there’s still a long list of things I need to improve.

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So many people say they want to write a book, but so few do. What do you think holds most people back and how do you personally overcome that?

Well, I think the biggest challenge is that tackling a book project from start to finish involves a lot of steps. Even when you just consider the writing and editing (let alone the publishing and marketing aspects), it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed at not knowing what to do next.

I’ve always said that my most desired superpower—after the ability to fly or be invisible, of course—would be to always know exactly what to do next in any particular endeavor. I don’t have that superpower yet, but when it comes to books they do follow a fairly logical order of devising a structure, creating an outline, drafting, and revising. I try to adapt habits that support book writing. For example, I usually write 1,000 words a day no matter where I am or whatever else is happening. I know that if I do that, over time I’ll eventually be able to write more books.

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You have a chapter in the book on “Defining Moments.” What was the defining moment when you decided to definitely write this book?

I was coming to the end of my journey to every country in the world. I’d traveled for ten years and seen much of my life changed throughout the journey—so naturally, I wanted to write about that. However, I didn’t want to just write a memoir or collection of stories. I knew I wanted to do something a bit deeper. As I thought through my experience over the past decade, and as I interviewed many other people who had undertaken a quest or grand adventure, I realized I wanted to tell the story of modern-day quests. I wanted to present an agenda: that a quest can bring purpose and meaning to your life, and here’s how you craft it.

How do you stay motivated to complete a book? Do you approach it the same way you would any other quest or are there peculiar challenges?

In some ways it is indeed a lot like a quest—though hopefully not one that requires ten years. Any good quest has a destination or goal. It has clear milestones or stages along the way. There’s a certain amount of struggle or challenge. Usually, the hero is changed or transformed at some point. All of these elements carry over into book writing.

When and how often do you ask for feedback? Who do you ask?

Feedback in life? Often. Feedback in writing books? Not so often. For the last two books I’ve worked with a fantastic editor, a guy who’s spent thirty years editing Jeffrey Archer and Condoleeza Rice and many other authors with much more stature than me. He gives me feedback, and I listen. A few other close friends and advisers give feedback, and I listen.

Otherwise, though, I think it’s the author’s responsibility to write the book. You don’t always need input and opinions. A good book presents a clear argument, and your argument can get bogged down if you’re constantly trying to please everyone and respond to all feedback.

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You’re on the road now, visiting 40+ cities in your Book + Reader Tour. You’ve travelled extensively on past book tours as well. Why are live events so important for you?

I’ve done more than 150 book events and gatherings and have no plans to stop! In fact, once I started hosting meetups with readers in various cities, it changed the whole trajectory of my project. I began to understand much more about the people who read my blog or followed me online, and I don’t think this would have happened without the live component.

As you mentioned, I’m now back on the road for the new book, hearing from interesting people every night. Their comments and ideas and stories help me think about how I can improve and what I’d like to do next. 


Meet Chris. Chris Guillebeau will be joining us for an intimate discussion on happiness, quests, and living an unconventional life on September 29th at San Francisco’s Cookhouse. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

Want to Help Design Gumroad?

Travis Nichols on September 22nd, 2014

We’re thrilled to announce our participation in Designer Fund’s Bridge program. Bridge is a professional development program that connects experienced designers with top, design-forward startups in San Francisco. We’re excited to join our friends at Pinterest, Dropbox, Remind, and Asana in this extraordinary partnership.

Design is foundational to everything we do at Gumroad. Our CEO and founder, Sahil Lavingia, is first and foremost a designer. Our mission is to empower people to make a living selling what they make, and we’re building the future of commerce for these creators. We need more great designers to help us get there.

In addition to working on a product that could impact millions of filmmakers, musicians, authors, artists, designers, and other creators around the world, as a Bridge designer at Gumroad you’ll have access to our creative team for mentorship and Bridge’s weekly workshops. Oh yeah, plus great compensation and benefits, relocation expenses, and all the tools you need to get the job done.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Gumroad design team and Bridge, check out http://designerfund.com/bridge. Apply early by October 5th or before applications close on October 26th at http://app.designerfund.com/bridge/.

Feel free to contact bridge@designerfund.com with any questions.

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7 Ways to Engage Your Audience on Instagram

Emmiliese von Clemm on September 18th, 2014

Did you know that entrepreneurs in Kuwait use Instagram to sell sheep? Or that a vintage clothing store in Vancouver sells out of items on Instagram before they even hit the shelves?

Since its release in 2010, Instagram has been growing and evolving in wonderful (and sometimes strange) ways. Today, with more than 200 million monthly active users, Instagram has become a viable business tool for many creative entrepreneurs.

We talked to Dan Luvisi and Victoria Ying, artists who have both used Instagram to promote their painting tutorials to their audiences. Here’s what they had to say about Instagram:

“The response [to my efforts to promote my painting tutorials on Instagram] has been very positive and I feel Instagram is a fantastic platform to advertise off of… It’s a wonderful way to connect and share, let alone build your identity.” 

Dan Luvisi

“I think that a lot of my followers wouldn’t have seen my process painting available on Gumroad if I hadn’t posted it on Instagram…Instagram is such a fast and visual medium that putting links to Gumroad tutorials is only natural and welcome.”

- Victoria Ying

To help you make the most of Instagram, we’ve compiled 7 best practices for engaging your customers on the platform. These strategies and tips range from building your Instagram audience to promoting your work in the platform. Read on to learn how Dan, Victoria, and five other Gumroad creators use Instagram to connect with their audiences and to promote their work.

1) Post often 

Post photos regularly to grab the attention of new and existing followers. Posting a photo daily is a good place to start. Just remember that Instagram is built around beautiful and creative photos. When in doubt, “quality over quantity” is a good guideline to keep in mind.

If you’re in need of inspiration for what to post, try having fun with a project based series of photos. For example, Victoria Ying started 7 Days of Color. Every day for four weeks, she posted a painting that was a different color of the rainbow. The project was a great way for Victoria to stay motivated and it gave her audience a story to follow.

“Project based posts are always a great way to get attention and build participation amongst your community! With #7daysofcolor I was shocked at how many other people started to participate in the project with me! It was so much fun and I felt like it was a great way to get connected to other artists.” 

Victoria Ying

2) Post consistent content 

Develop defining elements of your account. If you’re consistent with the content of your photos, the filters you use, and how you caption your photos, you’ll start to be seen as a leader in a particular area. Use hashtags to help users interested in your content focus discover your Instagram feed.

The Instagram feed of professional wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas consists entirely of breathtaking photos of wild animals, making it a great account to follow for anyone interested in wildlife or photography. To help users discover his photos, Will uses popular hashtags such as #nature and #safariphotos in his captions.

How to Sell on Instagram

3) Deliver value to your followers through your posts

This value can be delivered in the form of inspiration or education. If you’re an athlete, post photos of your progress towards a fitness goal or post a video showing proper push-up form. If you’re an artist, give followers a glimpse of your artistic process or post a short how-to video.

Lina Saber, the creator behind bysaber (an Instagram account dedicated to all things health, skin, and nutrition), has gained a massive following by using photo captions and videos to share delicious recipes with her audience. Plus, because Lina’s followers see her account as a place to learn, she was able to very successfully launch a product, The 40-Day Skin Clearing Detox, on Instagram.

4) Post relevant content leading up to launch

Let your followers know about what you’re working on before it launches. Use Instagram posts to get your audience excited about what you’re working on. The goal is to convince your followers they want to buy your work ahead of time.

Blogger Abby Lewis used Instagram to periodically updated her followers on the status of her book Building a Framework: Everything I Learned My First Year of Blogging. A month before launch, Abby started by announcing a “secret project”. Throughout the following weeks, Abby shared additional information and posted progress photos. By launch day, Abby’s followers were excited to finally be able to purchase her book — and knew exactly when and how to do so.

5) Use descriptive photos and captions

Use pictures that highlight exactly what followers will get from your product. If you’re an author, show your book’s cover or use a photo of someone reading your book. If you’re a chef, post a photo of the cake that follower’s can bake if they buy your recipes. If you’re a filmmaker, use a still from a scene in your film. In your photo’s caption, be sure to include the essential details: product name, product price, and where to buy the product.

When sharing his painting tutorials on Instagram, Dan Luvisi uses Gumroad product page cover images. Dan’s photo captions include each tutorial’s name and price, as well as the URL of the product page.

6) Link directly to your work in your Instagram bio

Because the majority of Instagram traffic occurs on mobile devices, it’s especially important to make it as easy as possible for your followers to get from the Instagram post promoting your work to a page where they can actually buy your product. A great way to do this is by linking directly to your product page in your Instagram bio (since your bio is the only place where hyperlinks are allowed). If you choose to link to your website instead of directly to a product page, keep in mind that minimizing clicks is the best way to maximize conversion rates.

Krista Stryker, creator of the 12 Minute Athlete, added a direct link in her bio to make it really easy for her followers to access her new training program, Pull Up Mastery.

How to Sell on Instagram

7) Use limited-time offers

Setting up offer codes can be a great way to thank your Instagram followers for their support of your work. They can also serve to encourage your followers to go through with a purchase on launch day, or be used to market your work and boost sales post launch.

Brandan Schieppati, founder of Rise Above Fitness, periodically sets up offer codes to give his followers discounts on particular training programs. Rather than promoting offers on launch day, Brandan uses offers to drive sales months after releasing his training programs.

That’s it for today. We hope to see you putting these strategies into practice on Instagram soon! 


Looking for more advice on how to make the most of Instagram? Stay posted for an upcoming interview with creator Lina Saber, who has grown her Instagram audience to more than 220 thousand followers.

Thinking about promoting your work on Instagram? Already using Instagram in ways we didn’t mention here? We’d love to hear from you.

Gumroad Picks: Films

Emmiliese von Clemm on September 11th, 2014

gumroad for films

This month, we’re back with another round of Gumroad Picks, aimed at showcasing a few of the many wonderful creators and projects on Gumroad. This time, we’re highlighting five awesome films worth a watch.

Film-specific features like subtitle support and streaming on any device make Gumroad a powerful tool for filmmakers. In addition to filmmakers using these features, here are some of the trends we’ve noticed:

  • Pre-orders: Filmmakers Muris Media and Emily Diana Ruth offered their audience the opportunity to pre-order their films. Pre-orders of The Water’s Fine helped Emily Diana Ruth finish the production of her film and fund entry into film festivals. Muris Media is currently using a discount to incentivize pre-orders of their new film, Maker.
  • Screeners: Viewers who want to host a screening of Design and Thinking or The Hooping Life can purchase the right to do so. Design and Thinking offers both educational and corporate screening products. The public screening version of The Hooping Life gives buyers the right to charge admission when screening the film.
  • Bonus Content Bundles: Along with their film, the team behind The Hooping Life offers viewers merchandise and bonus content. Bundling items together can be a great way of reaching super-fans. For example, in the case of The Hooping Life, aspiring hula-hoopers can choose The Hooping Life Bundle Special, which includes a “How To Hoop” DVD and a collapsible hula hoop.

Now grab some popcorn, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy these five awesome films, all available on Gumroad.

Design and Thinking

Design and Thinking, produced by Muris Media, is a documentary that explores how people are changing the world with their own creative minds. The film explores the meaning and power of design thinking, as told by social change makers, businessmen, designers, and other influencers. Featured individuals include David Kelley, founder of Stanford d.school and IDEO, Zachary Rosen and Matthew Cheney, founders of Mission Bicycle Company, and Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America.

The folks at Muris Media are about the release a second film, Maker, which looks at the new wave of “Do-It-Yourself” and “Do-It-Together” culture. Viewers who loved Design and Thinking can pre-order Maker on Gumroad today.

The Big Picture: Reframing Dyslexia 

The Big Picture, directed by James Redford, is a documentary about the dyslexic experience. Through interviews with dyslexic children and their parents, iconic leaders with dyslexia, and medical experts, the film clears up common misconceptions about dyslexia, painting the condition as an obstacle that can be overcome.

Digital downloads of The Big Picture are sold through Gumroad. Viewers inspired by the The Big Picture can visit the film’s website to learn more about taking action and helping to reframe dyslexia.

The Water’s Fine

Written and directed by Emily Diana Ruth, The Water’s Fine is a short film about a young woman’s return to the family cottage where she spent her childhood. After years of family estrangement, Josie expects a big family reunion at the cottage but instead gets a series of disappointments.

Production of The Water’s Fine was initially funded through an Indiegogo campaign, with pre-orders of the film sold on Gumroad after crowdfunding ended. While making the film, Emily built and engaged with her audience through a video blog series. All 14 episodes of The Making of the Water’s Fine can now be watched on YouTube.

The Hooping Life

Hula-hooping is back, according to The Hooping Life, a documentary about the rise of modern hula hooping subculture. Filmed over six years and introduced by Shaquille O’Neill, the film documents the early days of the hula hooping movement and how individuals are transformed through commitment to the hoop.

In addition to selling a DVD of the film on their website, The Hooping Life team offers premium content and merchandise for super-fans.

The Boy Who Flies

The Boy Who Flies, a documentary by Canadian paraglider Benjamin Jordan, tells the story of Benjamin’s trip to Malawi, where he meets Godfrey, a young man who has always dreamt of flying. Together, the two set off for Malawi’s highest peak to attempt a flight that will make Godfrey Malawi’s first paragliding pilot.

The Boy Who Flies was featured at numerous mountain and adventure film festivals, including the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Digital downloads of the film (in both English and French) are now sold via Gumroad. Today, Benjamin and Godfrey are channeling the success of The Boy Who Flies into raising funds to build The School of Dreams, Malawi’s first paragliding school.


Want help selling your film directly to your viewers? Email us and tell us more about what you’re working on. You can also check out Gumroad for Films to learn more about the features we’ve added specifically for filmmakers like you. 

When compiling the Gumroad Picks lists, we look for creators who have had recent launches, lots of sales, or success using Gumroad in an exciting way. From there, we hand-pick creators whose work is especially innovative or creative. We hope to see you on this list in the future!

Discover Meteor Case Study: Making $300,000 From a Single Programming Book

Jessica Jalsevac on September 10th, 2014

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In May, 2013, authors/developers Sacha Grief and Tom Coleman released their book, Discover Meteor.

Like many products, they had a pretty big launch day, but we’ve been keeping an eye on them and noticed something pretty cool. They’ve figured out a way to sustain high sales for more than a year and a half.

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We wanted to know how they did it, and luckily they were willing to share their strategies. We’ve put their exact methods in an in-depth case study, which we’re excited to share with you. 

Download the Case Study

We hope you gain some insights into creating your own sustainable sales strategy. Let us know what you think, and enjoy!

How to Use Webinars to Build Your Audience

Jessica Jalsevac on September 5th, 2014

You have a lot of options when it comes to producing content: blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, newsletters…the list goes on. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide which ones to focus on.

We’ve noticed an interesting trend among several successful creators lately: they’ve been prioritizing live webinars as one of the cornerstones of their content marketing strategy.

Why webinars? We asked Brennan Dunn, author of Double Your Freelancing Rate to help us get to the bottom of it.

Brennan has hosted several successful webinars recently with partners such as WooThemes and Clients from Hell. On average, 20-30% of the people who attend one of Brennan’s webinars end up buying a product from him - not bad!

In this video, Brennan walks us through:

  • Why hosting a webinar is a great way to engage with your audience.
  • How to structure the webinar.
  • What tools to use to put it all together.
  • How to follow up after the event.
  • How to work with partners to widen your audience.
  • What goals you should focus on.
  • How to get started if this is your first product and/or you don’t have a large audience.

 

Episode Resources:

Renaming and Reordering Files

Travis Nichols on September 2nd, 2014

You run a tight ship. Your condiments are arranged alphabetically. Your books are ordered by dominant spine color in the ROYGBIV spectrum. You eat out of sectional plates. Everything is in its right place, and there is peace in your world. But then you upload your novella and accompanying music tracks into what was intended to be a tidy multi-file product, and your life is turned upside down.

Thankfully, Gumroad has just launched two features to put your life back together again.

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What’s your favorite song on the new EP? Is it 06_DCoSA? 02 In_Hammocks?

That’s not going to work at all. To change the name of an uploaded file, simply click on the name. Make your changes and click the checkbox.

Nonononono. You accidentally uploaded your chapters out of order.

You can remove all of the files and get them back up properly, or you can take a deep breath and simply drag and reorder your files.

Save your changes and you’re all set. Your buyers will see a perfectly organized array of files, and you’ll be able to sleep soundly.

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And there you have it. A two-in-one feature update that will save you time and bring things back into balance. You are a beacon of tranquility. You are a glowing, symmetrical starfish, unfazed by the swirling sea of chaos around you.

Let us know what you think of these new features here.

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