So, offer to meet with them over coffee or have a Skype meeting or a phone conversation. Ask them the questions you have prepared and try and find out what they liked about the summary (our minimum viable product, or MVP), what they did not like, and what they feel would be the best thing or things to change, remove, keep, and so on. We are not yet close to the end of the equation, as your job is to then take that criticism and begin writing. In Lean Methodology, various iterations of a product are developed, often releasing and updating by the day. This allows you to maintain contact with the early adopters, and every time you make an adjustment they should be reached out to for more input on the additions and the direction the book is heading.
If done right, you will be speaking with your early adopters many times,
modifying the book every time someone propositions a judgment.
Get Feedback, Then Write
You get the feedback and then begin writing, and as you slowly do so you will be sending regular updates of the work to them for input. Then, you take that input and use it to add to or fine-tune the content. This is a standard process of the Lean Method, and it is advantageous due to the fact that you are quite literally building a product for those early adopters, of whom represent your future target market (not a specific niche market but a demographic of people who are potential readers). You may also learn who your niche market is based on the early adopters. If they do not like the idea, try another round of people that are 100% different than the first group. This allows you to switch up your audience. The theory is, rather than change the color of a button on a website, change the home page altogether.
This is common in most branding situations.
If they find it worth participating in, then that is your niche market. In the process of writing to meet the wants and needs of your adopters, you are eliminating what Ries called “waste.” The theory is that you do not build a product simply because you feel it is sell-able and marketable. Instead, you find out what the customer would want, and then tailor everything about the book around their requests. If they are pleased with the final product, give them a free copy of the book and credit them in the liner or end notes within the interior of the book. Heck, even a t-shirt or a mug with a cute dog on it will do. Other times, you will find you have a book that does not require the Lean Method, but it never hurts to share your work in small bits and pieces with others.
Feedback is crucial in the starting phases of a book – whether fiction or non-fiction, you need to know you are going to be able to sell your book (if that is the intent). Otherwise, you are writing for yourself, which, to be painfully honest with you, is not always a bad thing. But that is a discussion for you and I later on in the process of this eBook. I will end with this: write for you, publish if you’d pay. That is the best way to look at it, in my opinion.
The Think Tank Story
There is another way to successfully proposition a book for sale without relying on your own opinion. Take my company, “Circle 5 Publishing,” which stemmed from “Creative Waves” – a creative works think tank I formed back in 2014. I located a number of heads, from marketing professionals to sales wizards, entrepreneurs and of course: other authors. We put our heads together and something became rather omnipresent: most authors are not marketers or born businessmen. Though marketing may be a creatively-minded variation of business, there is a big difference between the written arts and creative business. This will be explained shortly. So, you have to put on your “business” hat and remind yourself that this is not about art; this is not about sharing your experiences or unique stories with the world.
If you want people to buy your work, you have to remember your book is a product and should be treated as such. Unfortunately, it is not always that easy. Even with great marketing (and enough of a budget to support ad placement) you are still an undiscovered gem, and this is why so many authors release poor quality books just to saturate the market, upping the chance that one of them will be readable (or will get lucky), and thus, will lead others to their former, albeit, atrocious work. I would, however, take advantage of social media marketing. Set up a Fan Page on Facebook and you will be able to get tons of Likes with a simple $35 ad. Then, whenever you post a promotional offer those individuals are notified because they Liked your Page.
Do not post unwisely, or they will “Unlike” and that’s worse than getting the finger!
[Does the Lean Method seem like a good idea to you? Comment below!]