Even if you spend time evaluating your book idea prior to writing and publishing it, you still may lack certainty about its ability to sell once released in the marketplace. If you approach your book as an entrepreneur would approach any new product under consideration and development you can gain additional information. That means employing test marking techniques.
Prior to writing your book, conduct strategic tests to determine market interest. Do this before you begin writing to ensure you target content to market needs and interests. If test marketing shows your original angle or subject needs tweaking, you’ll want to do that before you get too far into the writing process. Plus, if you find no market exists for your book, you don’t want to have wasted your time writing the whole book.
Here are 10 ways you can test market your book idea.
Book Test Marketing Strategies
1. Create a Dedicated Blog
Create and write a blog with content dedicated to the subject of your proposed book. Write posts often and consistently (2-3 times a week for 6-12 months). Watch your unique visitors (real readers) and page views by using a free program like Google Analytics. See if you begin to get some traffic to your blog and if it continues to grow. If it does, you’ll know someone is interested in your topic.
With a program like Google Analytics, you can even see where your traffic comes from—what countries, what search engines, what other websites, etc. This helps you discern your market—and target it with your book.
2. Write a Blog Post
If you already have a blog, write a blog post on the topic of your book. Then track readership for that particular post using Google Analytics or some other analytics program. If your blog readership is higher on the day yo write on the topic of your book than on other days, you know the subject is of high interest to your audience.
You can repeat this test. Write one blog post a week or a month on the topic over six months and track the data. Additionally, you can watch over time if that particular post or posts garners more traffic than your other posts.
3. Blog a Book
Instead of spending the money producing your book—not that it’s that expensive, dive in and blog your book. Map out the content and then break it down into post-sized bits. Then write and publish these mini “installments” on your bog in 300-500 word bits.
Again, track your readership as you write, publish and promote the book on your blog. If your blogged book posts are successful and your readership grows as you blog your book, you’ll know it’s worth moving forward and editing and designing the blogged book for sale as a book.
4. Publish a Shorter Version of the Book
Consider producing a short version of the book. For example, take one chapter and release it as an book. Watch sales; if they are good, move forward with the full edition. Or produce a condensed version; if sales are brisk, expand the content and produce a revised edition.
5. Write an Article
Write an article on the same topic as your book (a bit like a condensed book), and get it published in a major print publication. Watch the reactions of readers. Does this result in more traffic to your blog or website? Does it result in more media inquiries? Does it result in more clients? Any clear positive change after your article is published indicates that book publication is a good idea. Just getting an article on the same subject as your book published in a major magazine can be a good indication that your book is viable.
6. Write an Ezine Article
You can write a short article on your topic and offer it for free to ezine article directories, like EzineArticle.com. These allow you to provide a short resource box with your bio and links back to your website, blog or email list (or wherever you like). Track increased traffic to your site or new email subscribers. Or visit the ezine directory to see how many times your piece was picked up and reproduced. Positive analytic results serve as an indication of market interest.
7. Produce a Press Release
Write a press release on your topic and distribute it widely via a service like PRWeb.com. You will know quickly how many hits it has received. Lots of hits equal lots of interest. These companies offer statistics on how well your release performed.
8. Survey Your Blog or Email Subscribers
If you have a blog or an email list, these people equate to your target market—unless your book is targeting a new market. You can easily send them a survey or poll or put one in a blog post asking questions related to the subject of your book. A survey is an easy way to find out if your readers or subscribers are interested in your topic. You can also ask them what they are interested in!
9. Offer A Free Teleseminar Or Webinar
Webinars and teleseminars are phenomenal ways to gauge interest in your book. Create an event and promote it via your lists and social networks. See how many people register and then show up. If you get high registration for an event based on the content you plan to include in your book that indicates interest in your book! If you get over 30 percent of those who sign up on the call, you’ve done well, and you can ask them questions live, poll them, and generally discover their interests. Also, their registration for the event should be tied into sign-up for an email list that allows you to later contact them when your book is released.
10. Create Social Media Sites and Events
Social media provides plenty of opportunities to test market your book idea. For example, consider creating a Facebook page or group related to the topic of your book and see how easily you gather a community there.
Try starting a Twitter chat using a hashtag (#) related to your topic; every week moderate a conversation on Twitter related to your book that is easily discovered with that hashtag. For examples of such Twitter chats, check out #blogchat or #writechat.
The image to the left provides a glimpse of a #writechat conversation. You can easily start and promote a Twitter chat on the topic of your book to see if anyone is interested.
Try one or more of these test marketing methods to help you decide if your book has a market. However, you might be surprised to discover that one method yields no real interest while another a huge amount.
Consider trying one to three of the methods above before making a final decision. If the first test-marketing method you try provides a landslide of potential book readers, though, you have your answer: You’ve successfully completed your test marketing and can move forward to writing and publishing your book feeling fairly certain it will sell.