February 23, 2019

Dogfooding “The Book Book” hypothesis

Sent by Jonathan Stark on February 24th, 2019

A few days ago I sent a message to you here on the list where I talked about validating a hypothesis before investing any significant time or money into it.

At the end of that message, I added a “dogfooding” postscript asking folks if they had ever thought of writing a book, and if so, what questions they had about it.

In case you missed it, here’s what I wrote:

P.S. Speaking of book proposals, I’ve got a question for you... Have you ever thought about writing a book? Writing a book in your area of expertise is probably the best thing you can do build your authority, but it is a major undertaking and not something to undertake lightly. I’ve authored a half-dozen non-fiction books, both self-published and traditionally published. Is this something you’d like to learn about? What questions do you have? Hit reply and let me know 😊

This message went out to 5645 people. According to my email provider, 1487 people opened it. Of the 1487 people who opened, exactly 10 people replied to my call for questions about writing a book.

That’s less than 1% of the audience.

What does that tell me?

It tells me that I shouldn’t write a book about how to write a book.

I’d love to write “The Book Book” because it’s a topic that is near and dear to my heart AND I know that writing a book is something that almost everyone would benefit from doing.

HOWEVER it’s clear to me from this quick test that there is virtually no demand for such a work with the people in this community.

To put it another way:

Even though I believe that there should be demand for a product like this, there simply isn’t.

I could ignore this finding and spend six month writing “The Book Book” anyway, but doing so isn’t going to create demand.

Sure, I could try to create demand while writing The Book Book or I could try to promote the idea to people outside of this list, but… why bother?

I can think of bunch of other things that I KNOW y’all here on the list would be interested in learning. How do I know? Because every time I email about these topics, I get a pile of email in response. Selling advisory retainers, for example… everybody seems to want to know more about that.

Am I bummed that almost nobody is interested in The Book Book? Yes. But not as bummed as I’d be if I’d wasted six months writing it first.