1. Test-market your idea: Try it out on trustworthy writers, authors in your field, booksellers, and book buyers to gauge its potential against past and future competition.Taking the Guesswork Out of Publishing 11 Ways to Prove Your Book Will Sell by Test-Marketing It by Michael Larsen

2. Test-market your book title, chapter titles, and content: a blog, a website, articles, talks, videos, podcasts, and social media will provide feedback and help build a community of fans eager to buy your book.

3. Test-market your nonfiction proposal and manuscript: Create a community of readers who can give you the feedback as you write and after you’re done to make sure every word is right, and your work has the impact you want. Have your readers grade your work on a scale of one to ten, both as a reading experience and, if applicable, its impact on their lives or thinking. Ask them to grade every part of you want to be funny, moving, insightful, or inspirational, and the whole proposal or manuscript on a scale of one to ten.

4. Test-market your book by self-publishing it: If you can write your book before you sell it, and you can promote and sell the book, you may want to prove it’s salable by self-publishing it, either just as a “Special Limited Early Reader’s Edition” without distribution or marketing that you use for test-marketing, getting quotes and feedback, and seeking bulk sales, or through Amazon for distribution and IngramSpark to get into bookstores. How well you promote it and the number of copies you sell will affect a publisher’s decision to buy your book, and the editor, publisher, and deal you get.

5. Test-market your ability to get a foreword and endorsements: Having a foreword and cover quotes from people whose names will give your book credibility and salability around the country on publication will help you, your agent, and your publisher sell it. You can use your proposal, manuscript, self-published edition to get cover quotes or the commitment to give them.

6. Test-market your website: Make sure it’s effective as soon as you can and attracts as many visitors as possible. Use the sites of authors and professionals in your field as models.

7. Test-market your promotion plan:

  • Share your plan with your communities to help ensure it will enable you to achieve your publishing goals.
  • Once your book is out, test your campaign in your city or the nearest major market to see if it generates publicity and sales.
  • Integrate what you learn from your first city into your plan and your promotion materials to make them more effective.
  • Or start by promoting your book to its core audience. If you’ve written a self-help book that will interest psychologists as well as the general public, consider trying to get psychologists, the core audience for the book, excited about it first, so they recommend it to their patients.
  • Use what you learn from your first city to launch a regional campaign, then, if you can, go national.
  • Create a timeline for carrying out your promotion plan and get feedback on your timeline.

8. Test-market a series with the first book: If you want to do a series, the sales of the first book may determine the fate of the second one.

9. Test-market your brand: Integrate the experience of reading your books and how you speak, dress, act, communicate, and relate to people to create your brand. You need to build a brand that is durable, flexible enough to encompass what you want to do, commercial enough to achieve your financial goals, authentic, and ideally, original. Either you or your books will become your brand. Your brand can become an ever more powerful tool for promoting your work and yourself to old and new readers.

10. Test-market your goals: Evaluate your efforts by determining if they can help you achieve your short- and long-term personal, literary, and publishing goals.

11. Test-market your commitment: These opportunities test your commitment your craft and your career.


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