Thursday, March 08, 2007

How to Test if There's a Market for Your Book Idea

By Diane Eble

One of the biggest mistakes authors make is writing their book before they have any idea whether it will sell. They may spend years writing a book, only to find out that nobody is interested in buying it. What a waste of time and energy!

It's not true that "if you write it, they will read it." If you want to make sure people will want to read your book—and boost your chances of attracting a traditional publisher—you need to find out if there's a market for your book.


One way is to write an article on your book's topic, and publish it in the various ezines/newsletters on the Internet.

Let's say you want to write a book on getting organized. Now, this is a big topic, and it's been done many times before. So your first task is to determine your particular slant. Perhaps you are someone who has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and you've always had a problem with organization. But you've developed or discovered some cool tools that work for not only you, but others you know who also struggle with ADD.

Write an article between 500 and 800 words on the subject matter. In this case, perhaps it would be "10 Tips for Getting Organized Even If You Have ADD." You send it out to the various article directories, such as These directories publish your articles, and allow you to include with your byline something about you and what you do.

So you call yourself someone who "helps people who have ADD to overcome their problems with organization," and include a note to the effect of "If you would like to be notified when the book, Getting Organized Even If You Have ADD is released, send a blank e-mail to ."

You collect these names and add them to your database. You can then send these people other tips (get their permission first), and presto, you both build a list of people you know are interested in your topic who may well buy your book.

Besides articles, you could use a blog to do the same thing. You can invite readers to comment. Readers may suggest angles you have never thought of. You can also ask them to either go to a special web page to sign up for notification of your book, or send you an email.

Finally, if you already have a list of some kind, you can send your article as an email and ask people to reply if they want to get on your notification list.

With these tactics, you can quickly gauge interest in your topic. Now you have several options:

• You can create an e-book and sell it to these people, creating profits quickly.

• You can self-publish a book and sell it to these people.

• You can use the response as leverage to get a publisher to publish your book. One author I know received more than 950 reservations for her book long before she got a literary agent. The number of reservations she received from this approach convinced a New York publisher to publish her book.

Don't waste your time writing a book that no one will read. Get reader input! Your book will be better—and much more salable—when you take these simple steps.

Diane Eble has 28 years experience in the publishing industry as an editor (magazines, fiction and nonfiction books), author (11 published books, more than 400 articles), and copywriter. She is now a book publishing coach as well, helping people to write, publish, and make money with books and other information products. This article was excerpted from her free "Your Book Publishing Coach" newsletter. Diane's latest book is the downloadable coaching session, Jump Start Your Book: 12 Questions You Must Answer Before You Write Your First Word.

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