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This post is the second part of ‘how to write books that sell’. In Part One we covered research. This included how to find a profitable niche within your market, how to out-write your competitors and how to gauge interest in your book before you’ve even written it.

In part two we are exploring ways to test your idea so that you can validate it faster.

Small but mighty

Create a minimum viable product

In the business world, a minimum viable product, or MVP, is the easiest, quickest and cheapest version of your product you can produce. That might be a novella if you’re publishing fiction. It might be a series of blog posts if you’re writing non-fiction.

An MVP is the simplest version of your book. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you can give it away for free or charge a small amount for it.

Your MVP is likely to be an e-book, as this is the cheapest and quickest way to get your book to market.

Ask your readers and what they like about the minimum viable product, and what they would like to read more about. Take that feedback and put it into your next product.

The faster you put something out, the faster you can get feedback. This concept is called failing forward. Don’t expect your product to be a success, instead, treat it as something you can learn from.

The purpose of your MVP is to test a product idea before you invest time in writing a whole book. If it does well, you can expand on it, either making a slightly more elaborate version to test again or writing the whole book.

Learn to change direction

Publish and pivot

It can take decades to become an overnight success. Sometimes it takes multiple books to find one that is profitable. Don’t give up. Use each book as a learning experience and analyse what went well and what you could improve on. And remember that the beauty of self-publishing is that you can go back, edit, and republish.

Gather feedback from those who read your book. What do they want to read more about? Is there anything they felt was missing? Take this feedback and use it to make your next book better.

This is also a good opportunity to go back to that list you made at the first stage. Consider how your book stacks up next to the top books in your category.

Practice makes perfect

How to improve if you’re still not seeing results

If, after several books, you’re still not seeing the results you expected, consider investing in further help. This could come in many forms, including:

  • Education, either in your niche or on writing
  • Hiring an editor, which is advisable anyway
  • Investing in a better design for your book
  • Paying for some writing coaching or mentoring
  • Getting your manuscript professionally assessed

Sometimes, you just need a fresh pair of eyes on your work. Getting objective feedback is invaluable.

Keep going!

Final thoughts on writing a book that sells

After reading this you might be thinking that publishing a book that sells seems like an awful lot of work. You would be right. Having written one myself, I know this to be true. But, if you do the research upfront and learn to adapt and pivot as you go, you are far more likely to write a book that will sell and make you money for years to come.

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