JDSLAB Dr Jon’s Writer’s Laboratory for Self-Publishers
The Science of Self-publishing- Dr Jon’s JDSLAB Podcast Ep3
The science of self-publishing. Writer communities do not always understand that self-publishing has a scientific dimension. Writers will often spend time on creative content generation in the manuscript stage but not be aware of how scientific methods can test your likely audience type and response.
This article and podcast takes you through the scientific method and how it relates to audience reach through scenario testing.
Self-publishing starts after the manuscript creation stage and involves both an entrepreneurial activity and a series of scenarios that are tested. The testing of scenarios is an act of scientific investigation.
However when we say ‘scenario’ it is about how the ‘book topic’ is tested in the market place prior to any significant investment.
It is a time to pause and use the wonderful creative content of the manuscript for marketing purposes before attempting to produce the book itself.
Congratulations, because when you pause to test your creative idea and mature them based on audience and market responses you have suddenly entered the scientific process. In fact you are a scientist.
The scientific process has two main concepts related to book production and self-publishing. They are
Creating a minimum viable product (MVP) through a micro piece.
Scenario testing of your book prior to production.
In the scientific and business world MVP involves the creation of virtual prototype products that are tested prior to the creation and full investment in the product which requires capital and investment.
Scenario testing involves the creation of versions of the MVP and testing it in the market place.
Lets have a look at each in the context of self-publishing.
Creating a minimum viable product (MVP)
In Dr Jon’s self-publishing laboratory JD SLAB, he mixes these two methodologies and uses micro pieces of writer’s work to test the likely commercial response by using scientific methods and the principle of minimum viable product or MVP.
As an analogy, before creating a new car model, a manufacturer might create a simulation of the car’s performance on the road in certain situations in a virtual environment.
Previously an actual mechanical prototype might have been made which involved considerable expense with a high risk and uncertain return. Thus the difference between traditional prototypes and the more recent MVP.
In the writing situation an MVP involves the creation of a micro-piece. A micro-piece is a small representation of a book.
As examples it might involve a social media post with a teaser blog article, a short story version of the book, a podcast introduction to the book concept or a brief teaser video (like in the movie previews).
You will note that different media types are considered from written to audio to audio-visual. This is because of the different access levels that are involved to the potential reader.
However self-publishing is an act of testing scenarios as if you were in a laboratory. A scenario involves creating one of a number of creative content versions.
Scenario testing involves the creation of a series of alternative versions to your micro-piece which you test in the market place using a simple media strategy.
The strategy is to test each version of the micro piece for audience response.
Lets look at an example.
Let’s say you have created an mvp micro piece in the form of an fb blog and a teaser article about your upcoming book on your web site. The article would have a summary of the book and a pitch to a particular audience.
It might be your great new idea for a book on house sitting. Which has a humorous slant because it is actually about pet sitting! The title might be:
How to house sit (or love other people’s pets)
A great title and you are ready to launch it in the world!
The missing link however is your likely audience response levels. Social media has immediate response with likes and comments so that is a good start,