One of the keys to marketing, which so many people seem to miss, is having something worth marketing in the first place. Sure, you can market junk. People do it all the time. It often requires deceit or a hard sell approach, but hey, if you’re unscrupulous enough to be selling junk in the first place that doesn’t really matter, does it?
So, let’s assume you’re not unscrupulous. Let’s assume you don’t want to sell junk. Let’s assume you are a writer who wants to be an artist, a craftsman, and a businessperson. Let’s assume you want to do this right.
How do you know if what you’ve written is junk or if it’s really saleable? Simple, you need to test market your work.
I said simple, remember, not easy.
Like anything else to do with writing, successfully test marketing your work often requires a bit of creativity. After all, what’s junk to me might be an invaluable treasure-trove of wonderful to someone else. So, one of the first things you need to do is find a sample to test market your work, a relevant sample. You can start with family and friends, but eventually you’ll need to move beyond them.
As things were, testing marketing used to be limited in strict ways. For example, if you write fiction you might test market your novel by getting a short story version published in a magazine. If you write non-fiction you might test market an idea by writing an article or giving a speech about it.
As technology changes how we write and how we reach our audiences, new opportunities are opening up. We can offer samples of our actual product online and see what kind of responses we get. We can even use test marketing to raise funds to support our work. We can write short versions, promote that, and see how well it does. If the need is strong and the response to our product is good, we can expand the short version into something more comprehensive.
These forms of test marketing, if you are open to feedback, can provide you with essential information about the success of your work that can improve the final product, instead of waiting for feedback on your product to improve the next project.
So, before you rush your work into independent distribution, test market it. See what kind of reception you get. Then, if you need to, go back and improve your product before you put the whole thing out there for the world to see.