Six years ago, I launched this blog.
Two years after that, I started working on an ebook to accompany it.
Fast forward to today, and IT’S FINALLY HERE.
If you just want to read our killer pay-what-you-want ebook, be my guest.
But if you’re wondering what it took to get here (other than the obvious coffees, pains aux chocolat, and occasional meltdowns)…
And want to see what I learned, then keep reading.
It All Started with Seasonal Jobs
I started this blog after getting many questions from friends and acquaintances about how I was finding all these cool opportunities for seasonal work.
… How easy is it to get a job in Colorado?
… Where should I move in Alaska?
…. Where did you find your teaching job in South Korea?
And rather than continue to answer each one individually, I launched Travel Junkette. I wrote about things like when to apply for seasonal jobs and how I ended up in Alaska, and also interviewed many of my seasonal worker buddies.
Over the years, the blog evolved, but my passion for seasonal jobs did not. They changed my life, and the lives of countless others — yet few people are aware of the opportunities they offer.
Birthing an Ebook
So, since the beginning, I’ve wanted to create a resource for seasonal job seekers.
I didn’t know if it was going to be a website or a jobs board or what — but finally, I decided on a comprehensive guide. (Since I am good at writing… and not at coding.)
My new book would contain more information than I could ever fit into a single blog post, and would answer most of the questions I received in my inbox on the daily.
So I got started. I wrote an incredibly shitty first draft incredibly quickly. And then life happened: I experienced loss, moved to a new state, started a new job. The ebook got lost in the shuffle.
But it remained on my mind. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but “finish ebook” was at the top of my yearly goals list for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017… andddd 2018.
What I learned: Things don’t happen overnight. Even for those of us who pride ourselves on getting shit done, getting shit done can take a ridiculously long time. So be patient, and stay persistent.
Joining Forces With CoolWorks
In late 2016, after “finish ebook” had landed on my list for the third year running, I got an email from Kelcy at CoolWorks.
For those of you who don’t know, CoolWorks is the mecca of seasonal jobs sites. It has the best job listings, tons of resources, and a great forum.
I’d declared my devotion to the site loudly and proudly for years: sharing its content on my social media accounts, including it in blog posts, basically professing my love every chance I got.
So when Kelcy asked if there was a way we could collaborate, I got super excited. I told her about the ebook collecting cobwebs in my Google Drive, and she got super excited.
Over the next few months, I edited (ok, basically rewrote) the years-old draft. Then, for the past year, we went back-and-forth on copyediting the book, adding CW “Field Notes” sections to include their advice, sourcing interviews with other seasonal workers, and finally getting it all put together by CW’s talented graphic designer.
I don’t know if I ever would’ve gotten it out the door without CW’s help, so I am incredibly thankful to them for reaching out, and for being the best co-authors a girl could ask for.
What I learned: Always be effusive with your admiration — it might just come back to you someday. And if you’re stuck, ask for help.
How We Marketed Our Ebook
This part is for those of you contemplating publishing your own ebooks. (If that’s not you, skip to the next section.)
Here were our main marketing goals:
- Get affiliates who would sell our guide at a 50% commission (goal: 5, actual: 13)
- Publish guests posts promoting the guide (goal: 3, actual: 0)
- Get two press mentions on external sites (goal: 2, actual: 2, ClarkNorton.com + GoNomad)
- Land ourselves as guests on podcasts (goal: 2, actual: 6, Nomadtopia)
As I quickly discovered, it’s become way harder in the past few years to get guest posts published on any websites that are worth a damn. Most places want you to pay for a sponsored post, which is totally fair.
On the bright side, it’s way easier to get on podcasts than you might think. I simply approached travel and millennial podcasts that I listened to, and also looked up a few new ones online. Just by sending an email, I became a guest. Who knew it was that easy?! Besides, it was way more fun than writing guest posts anyways.
What I learned: Just ask. With many of these podcasts, I doubted myself, wondering why I was even pitching them. But, as it turns out, they’re eager for guests, too. As always, I’m glad I took a chance.
Why Is It “Pay What You Want”?
Because Radiohead did it.
And because CW and I wanted this ebook to be as accessible as possible. As we were talking about the price, we realized that neither of us were going to measure success in how much money we made — but rather, in how many people we helped.
And to help open the world of seasonal work to the most people, the price point had to be whatever a reader could afford. We didn’t want money to prevent anyone from having access to our cumulative knowledge (and the adventures that could ensue).
Not to mention, pay-what-you-want products often earn more money than their pricey counterparts. Because people give what they can afford — whether that’s more or less than your target price — and nobody is shut out.
So, yes, the book really is pay what you want, and we’ll be delighted with every single purchase, whether it’s $1 or $10. (BTW, I’ve loved Gumroad as a sales platform because it gave us this option and many others.)
What I learned: Generosity is always the way.
OMG It’s Finally Ebook Day!
As you can see, getting here was a long process — and there were many times I wanted to give up. I wasn’t sure if all the work, all the unpaid hours, were worth it.
But over the last few weeks, as the finish line approached, I got fired up again.
I had written a book!
Ok, it’s more like a “guide,” and it didn’t go through a formal publishing process, but it’s certainly the longest thing I’ve ever written.
And, to be honest, I think it’s really good. It’s 80 pages packed with actionable information, personal anecdotes, beautiful original photos, inspirational quotes, and tips from the CoolWorks staff.
It also has a dozen interviews with rockstar seasonal workers — which is probably my favorite part!
Lastly, because I love a good list, it comes with a workbook that has 10 pages of checklists and worksheets to help you with everything from brainstorming gigs to prepping for interviews to packing.
In Closing, Thanks
Whether you’ve been around since the beginning of my blogging journey or are just joining now, THANK YOU.
Over the years, the support of this community — during both the good times and the bad — has been tremendous.
I would never have started my blog without you, I would never have had the courage to write a book, and I would never have had the opportunity to help others enjoy the magic of seasonal jobs.
I also owe huge thank yous to Kelcy and Matt at CoolWorks for their boundless positivity, creativity, and hard work; their designer Ker’en for making the guide look more beautiful than I ever thought possible; and my mom, for giving it multiple edits with her eagle eyes (and for just being awesome).
Ok, enough with the Oscar speeches.
Suffice it to say I am really proud and grateful to be sharing my book with you today.
If you know anybody seeking adventure, would you share this link with them? It’s perfect for anybody seeking a change — whether that’s a fresh college grad, a mid-career professional, or a recent retiree. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s YOU who could use an adventure.