(Note: This post is inspired by the Lean Startup Movement pioneered by Eric Ries)
When it comes to marketing your book, you face problems that are similar to what a scientist faces. Both you and the scientist struggle with uncertainty. Both of you don’t know which of your actions will give you the results that you seek. And both stand to gain much glory if you find the right answer.
So doesn’t it make sense that you treat your book marketing like a science experiment?
Science experiments usually have three characteristics:
1. You have a hypothesis and a prediction which you try to falsify through an experiment
2. You maintain very detailed measurements
3. You learn from your experiments and iterate
How does this relate to book marketing?
Let’s say you read an article that says marketing your book on Facebook will help you sell more books. Rather than accept the article’s advice on blind faith, you will set up an experiment such as this:
“I will commit a hundred dollars towards setting up a Facebook advertising campaign. My prediction is that I should get at least 200 clicks on my ad which should translate into at least 50 sales on Amazon.”
While setting up your experiment you will ensure that you set up the right kind of tracking and analysis tools to track the number of clicks, conversions etc. Once the experiment ends, you will review your results and then make conclusions about whether you should persist with the Facebook ads with some minor tweaks or whether you should try something else.
This kind of a scientific approach to your book marketing makes learning the goal of your experiments and thus allows you to take a less impassioned view of your results. If you blow up a hundred dollars and get no results, rather than lose heart, your brain will be saying, “what can I learn from this experiment?” This mindset is invaluable in many circumstances as the difference between success and failure is often just a thin line.
Also, most advice needs to be tailored to your particular circumstances. Using this kind of a science based approach will help you tweak your marketing to suit your context.
And finally, a structured, measured and systematic approach to your book promotion efforts will ensure that you don’t go off in a hundred different directions at once. You will perform the right action at the right time and for the right reasons.
Good luck and if you find yourself stuck in a no-win zone, remember the words of that greatest scientist / inventor of them all – Edison:
“Results? Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward …”