Bela Lampert

Optioned Screenwriter / Yoga Instructor

How To Know If Your Book Will Be Successful

A caveat upfront.

This might now work in 100% of the cases, but it will work in some way in many more cases than you thought.

So, here it goes.

This is nothing that I invented, by the way, it’s actually a pretty common way in marketing to test products (at least for the ones who know what they’re doing).

If I remember correctly I learned it from Bob Bly, one of the greatest living American copywriters.

And what he said makes so much sense and once you know it, it’s so logical that you will never forget it, but still, most people don’t do it (especially writers), and it is something that can hurt your success badly.

It works for screenwriters in some form also.

Here it goes.

In order to know if your product, book, screenplay, … (Replace with whatever you like) will be successful, market it before you produce it.

That’s right, let me say that again: market it before you produce it.

I already hear you protesting but let me explain.

If you produce something, especially something that is so much work as a book or a screenplay, you want to know you’re not leaning against the wrong wall.

So, you want to find a way to test market demand or at least market response.

If you write a book, that can be creating a sales page that looks just like the book did exist, and then at the bottom it says something along the lines of “the book is still in the works but it is about to be finished soon and if you want to be informed once it’s ready to go, put your email address in the box below” and you put an email signup box there.

That would be one way to do it.

Another way to do it would be to create that sales page and ask people in the target audience if they like it.

Pitch the concept of the book in broad strokes to your target audience verbally and see how they react. Or give them several pitches for several stories and see to which they react the most. This also works for screenwriters.

I don’t know if at the moment of this writing Amazon permits this, but you could even draw up an amazon page for your book and have people pre order it. And once you reach a certain number you write it. I haven’t tried this myself yet but I heard that others did it some time ago.

Anyway, you get the gist.

Before you decide to put in 6-12 months of work into a book or a screenplay, make sure it’s going to work for your target audience.

And for that, do what the marketers do: create the marketing materials BEFORE you create the product. And then when you see it works you create the product itself.

You’ll be a much faster and more successful writer that way!

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