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Testing Stage 1: Listening

Listening Is the First StepLast Thursday, I promised you that I would be going into more depth on each stage that I use to test my book ideas before committing time and effort into them to be sure that they have sales potential. Today, I’m going to outline the process I use to figure out whether or not anyone might be interested in the kind of book I want to write.

What Questions Are People Asking?

I get out there and I join groups that address issues that will be covered in my book and I look for the questions people are asking in those groups. If I see that these same questions come up frequently and I know that my book could help them understand their situation better or provide answers they need, my idea is worth pursuing.

What Frustrations Are People Experiencing?

I also listen for their frustrations and the hurdles that seem to crop up frequently across multiple groups. If my book idea can help people get past the hurdles or resolve those frustrations, I have the confirmation I need that there is a group of people out there who need what my book has to offer.

What Are Their Fears or Worries?

People are often full of anxiety, fear, and worry. So I listen for these. If I think that my book idea could help reduce their anxieties, relieve their fears, or eliminate their worries, then I know that it’s worth pursuing.

How Many Are Seeking It?

Google’s Keyword Planner can help you get an idea for how many people are searching for the kind of material you plan to provide them. It will also suggest to you areas where you might focus your attention to impact more people. It can be very useful, but you will need a gmail account in order to access their keyword planner.

Fiction Writers: This Process Is For You, Too

I get it. You’re writing fiction. You aren’t solving problems. But you are. You are providing glimpses of a better world for people in need of hope. You are providing alternative perspectives for people in search of new experiences. You are providing caution signs for those who are heading into choppy waters about what may be coming if they keep going.
You are painting a picture of a healthier marital or family relationship, sometimes by showing it and sometimes by showing what it isn’t. You are drawing portraits of tomorrow, and you can use these steps to help you adjust the image a little so that what you draw is more complete.

You Have Anecdotal Evidence. Now What?

You have collected evidence that there is a potential need for your book. The time has come to scout out your competition and find out what you are up against. In the next article in the series, Testing Your Book Idea, I will talk about how to shop your competition, figure out the strongest competitors, and find a way to make room even in the most crowded market spaces.

Your Homework

If you don’t already belong to some groups that might find your book idea relevant, I want you to identify some that you could join and join them. This can be done on Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, or any other online site, or in your city. If you need help finding a group, let me know. I’ll be happy to help you.

Questions? Feedback?

What did I leave out? What would you like me to discuss more in-depth? Leave your comments and let me know.

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