A book will be a huge asset to your blog and your business. It will help you build authority in your niche so that you can become known as a thought leader in your area. It’s definitely worth putting in the work to get your book published. But, what if you put in all of that effort and no one buys your book? If your primary reason for writing your book is to add a stream of revenue to your business, you need to figure out if it will sell. Here, I’ll walk you through some basic ways to figure out if your book will sell.
Before you put a lot of effort into planning your book, ask yourself these questions:
First, you should figure out if there’s a demand for your topic or niche. If no one’s reading free stuff about that topic, they’re probably not going to pay for it. Next, you need to figure out if that topic or niche can be monetized. There are some topics that people love to get free information about, but they may not be willing to pay for it. It’s important to make sure that people are willing to spend money before you put in a lot of time working on your book.
Once you know there’s general interest in buying products and services related to your niche, then it’s time to investigate your specific topic. Take the time to think through the topics that you might focus on when you write your book. Ask yourself: what pain points or struggles would a book help solve? When your book solves a problem someone has, they’re more likely to buy it. They’ll see how the investment in your book can help them improve their lives.
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It’s okay if you start with a list of several ideas. Just spend some time thinking through which one is best for your audience. For example, if you write a gardening blog, you might narrow down possible topics to how to take care of houseplants and how to plant a vegetable garden. From there, decide which focus you think your readers will want to invest in. (You can always go back to the other one if your first idea flops.) In this example, you could decide to go after the vegetable garden focus because you know your readers are interested in saving money by growing their own veggies.
Once you’ve settled on a focus for your book, it’s time to start surveying your audience. I’ve definitely made the mistake of assuming that my audience would want to invest in a program, only to see it completely flop. That’s why it’s important to actually ask your real followers and readers what they want before you spend a lot of time working on your book.
Ask your readers if they would buy your book across all of your platforms: blog, social media, and email list. I usually phrase things like this: “I’m working on my first book, all about [how to make a vegetable garden]. I need your help! Would you pay [$10] for a copy of this book? Please let me know in the comments!” I like to ask if they’d pay a certain price for the book. This can give me a good idea of whether my target price is a good one, in addition to whether my book would sell in general.
Be aware that there will be a lot of people who will say that they’ll buy the book, but when it comes to book launch time, they never put their money up. I’d say about 10-20% of the people who said they wanted to buy my first book actually did, and that number is about average. So, plan accordingly. If you only get a handful of yeses, you may want to try another book idea. But, only shelve an idea after you’ve posted about it at multiple different times on multiple different platforms. Sometimes you’re not getting yeses because people just haven’t seen your post.