Have you ever done something about publishing or marketing your book and later regretted having done it? Or wished you could change part of what you did? If so, you learned that the most expensive thing in the book business can be a mistake. It could be printing too many – or not enough books. Perhaps pricing your book too high or low. And it could be relying solely on social networking to promote your book or bookstores as the only way to sell them.
There is a way you can minimize mistakes in producing and marketing your books. And this one simple step can help you become more profitable. It is not difficult and can even be done for free. The one step is test marketing – asking people to comment on your title, cover design, page layout, one-sheet, press release, media performance, sales literature, or even your sales presentation. If you experiment beforehand with different ways of accomplishing a task, you can reduce errors and make the result more successful in generating revenue.
Test marketing does not have to be an expensive focus group (although it can be if you so desire). For example, you could get feedback on potential titles, content and pricing from your colleagues at a meeting of a local APSS chapter or your local association of authors and publishers (find one near you: https://bit.ly/3qO9IHX
). By sending your book out for peer reviews and posting different cover designs on your website or Facebook page and then requesting feedback. You can even join related groups on LinkedIn and seek feedback. Make a sweepstakes out of it by offering a free copy of the finished book to people who respond.
Be careful from whom you seek advice and ask only people who understand what a good cover, sales literature or marketing plan should look like. Regardless of how you do it, experimentation before implementation yields success-acceleration. Here are several benefits of test marketing:
1. Discover manuscript improvements (peer reviews can offer excellent insight)
2. Get product-placement ideas (exchange a brand name for a generic name)
3. Sell rights (foreign, movie, electronic, serial)
4. Publish books with better cover designs and page layout
5. Win more award competitions
6. Get more testimonials and endorsements (from peer reviews)
7. Build buzz (pre-publication exposure may greater awareness and sales)
8. Increase the size and involvement of people in your platform
9. Build brand recognition among prospective buyers in your target markets (are you addressing the right target markets)
10. Predict life-cycle stages, and plan strategies for each
11. Improve your website
12. Determine if you have the resources to succeed (personal, financial)
13. Increase traffic at your tradeshow booth (these are starting to open up again)
14. Come up with a better title for your book
15. Test order-fulfillment processes
16. Make promotional campaigns more productive
17. Improve media performances (perform locally on low-stress shows and hone your media skills)
18. Create a more realistic timeline for putting your promotion plans into action (Do you have the proper mix, timing and implementation of publicity, advertising, sales promotion and personal selling?)
19. Determine the applicability of content to current trends (Can you help remote workers be more productive?)
20. Limit your financial risk (Should you proceed at all?)
21. Test your overall marketing strategy (Do you have the proper mix of the Four Ps: Product, Place, Price and Promotion?)
22. Generate new sales opportunities among non-bookstore buyers
23. Build strategic partnerships and possible joint ventures
Without too much effort or expense you can generate some valuable feedback that yields significant benefits. The more information you have in advance about your product launch, the more successful and error-free it can be.