Two years ago, I set out to revise my first book, How to Write an eBook in 40 Days (or less). The first draft was done in 40 days. But, I didn’t release it. I wanted to test this version first, to be sure that the instructions I was giving would work for anyone who bought the book, not just me. I ended up testing bits and pieces of it here and there, but largely shelving the ideas because I wasn’t confident enough to release them.
The Start of a Whole New Idea
But, because I’d already started that journey, when I was looking at moving to Denver, Colorado and found a place I loved that was way beyond what I could afford, I thought about crowdfunding it using a copy of my as-yet unfinished book as a giveaway to award those who donated. Then, I started thinking about what else I could offer. Bigger packages, more value, and eventually came up with an idea of creating a 40 day writer TV show. I never ended up launching that campaign. I felt guilty about asking for that kind of money, felt unsure I could offer enough value to make it worth it, doubted my ability to deliver on what I was going to promise.
The New Campaign
In January of this year, I revived that old idea of a tv series, put together a group of people to help me promote it, and thought I would go ahead and launch it. I was confident I could deliver this time, but I didn’t have the right backers. I was out of my element and was selling a product that wasn’t complete. Needless to say, that campaign did not take off. You can read about that failed attempt on this blog.
The Fruits of that Failed Attempt
Three weeks after that failure, I was pretty bummed. I was disappointed with myself and the outcome and wondering where I went wrong. I stopped to listen to a webinar by Danny Iny from Mirasee.com, a marketing site, on creating courses. That’s where I heard one of the most important stories of my life, a story about his first failed course. He put 2500 hours and a ton of money into developing a program that nobody bought and nobody wanted. As a result of that failure, he developed a method of testing content and developing it through that testing. It made me realize the publishing industry was doing things all backwards. We were developing books before we knew what our audiences wanted or needed from us.
Reversing the process
I applied this thought to my work on my revision to my book. I put together a webinar on everything that was involved in taking your book and making it a business and managed to enroll a few students in a test program. It was essentially an outline to the things I wanted to put into the new book, and I was being paid to test the ideas! Gone was the idea you had to have the book finished to make money from it. The book wasn’t even ready and I’d already made more than I’d made in a whole three years of selling my other book.
The Benefit of Instant Feedback
Working with these students was such a huge help to me. It helped me spot areas where I’d failed to explain myself well enough. It gave me insight into where their biggest struggles were and forced me to think through how to help them overcome their biggest problems, fears, and objections. Best of all, I got the affirmation that what I was offering was amazing and exactly what they’d needed to hear.
I will never write the same way again
I know one thing: I will never write my books the same way again. I will always test the content before I go to the time and expense of writing a book. And when I do finish it, I will have built a loyal fan base that is ready to support it. If you’re looking for help with testing your book idea, here are the links to follow:
Testing Your Book Idea
Testing Stage 1: Listening
Testing Stage 2: Scouting the Competition
Testing Stage 3: Your Unique Selling Position
Testing Stage 4: Finding Your Audience
Testing Stage 5: Collecting Market Feedback
Share your questions and experiences
Do you have questions about testing your book idea? Do you have experiences to share? Let us know in the comments below!