Testing Your NonFiction Book Ideas With Your Target Audience

by janbking on December 11, 2007

Many people are capable of writing a book, but will it be a book that has something significant to say, and will it be marketable—can it be profitably sold to a large enough audience?

It would take a crystal ball to answer this question right 100 percent of the time. Some books catch on that professional book-watchers would never predict, and others don’t. You can count on the bell curve: Write the most saleable book you can—given what you know about the audience and the book market—and then let the readers have their say. Revise as necessary.

Many authors have developed their ideas over time out of their work with individual or corporate clients. Other authors develop their ideas alone by writing them, thinking about them, and rewriting them.

Whatever your style, you really don’t know whether your ideas will be widely accepted or at least interest a large group of people until you test them. One of the critical mistakes made by authors is to think that because family, friends, and a small group of clients admire your work that such support will translate to a wide public acceptance.

One way to get used to writing and testing your ideas is to write short articles that can be submitted to ezine data banks. While the articles themselves are not a source of income, they are great practice in writing your ideas, they can create a following for your work, and they give you an opportunity to compose chapters of your ultimate book.

It can be hard for writers to see their ideas clearly, so starting with ezines is a good way to get some coaching and an outside perspective. You can write about more than one topic in a book, and some ideas may lend themselves better to shorter articles than books. Go with your strongest ideas first, and write what you are passionate about. Sometimes these questions will sort themselves out as you actually begin the writing process.

Another simple way to test your ideas and get feedback (positive and negative) is to make audio recordings. Depending on your material, you might consider putting together a short workbook as a companion piece for the audio or as a stand-alone. If you wish to avoid the cost of inventory, create a downloadable audio product and a downloadable eBook for sale on your Web site.

Testing your ideas with your audience is a great way to make sure you are on the path to your best selling book.

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