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Writing In Public, Three Days In - No Pre-Orders, One Email

I announced my first non-fiction book here a few days ago. We’ve now entered day three of the process with promotion across my social channels and IndieHackers, and the results so far have been...underwhelming.

It’s a long game, so I’m not worried. But it is interesting to see the wallet test in action when writing a book. When building software, you can’t ask someone if they’d pay for something because there is no real pressure to buy. Instead, ask them to pre-order the software or pay to get early access or whatever. That is the real test of whether they’ll pull out their wallet.

Same applies for writing books. When I first tested the waters and asked people online about the idea, I got a solid response. There were the promises to pre-order, the encouragement, etc. that’s natural, of course.

Now, after announcing the actual start of the writing process and opening pre-orders, the crowd has gone quite. Much of this could be attributed to social network algorithms and post visibility luck. That’s seems to be the case on IndieHackers too.

But, again, it’s still early in a long process. Let’s see how this plays out over the next few months.

  1. 2

    We'll see, I'm sure you'll get more notice soon!

  2. 1

    Are you only relying only on social media traffic to inform folks who have already expressed interest?

    If yes, you'd be better of putting these folks into an early bird wait list and then informing via emails that you're ready to start writing and collecting pre-orders.

    The other thing is... without money involved people typically say nice things to you so they don't come off as rude. They don't want to disappoint you, so they could very likely say nice things you want to hear.

    What I'm trying to say is asking them for pre-order payment is a better measure of gauging people's true interest. You could offer them a heavily discounted price for the pre-orders.

  3. 1

    Interesting book topic! How did you come up with the idea? Imposter syndrome is real in the tech industry. I hope your book gets traction soon.

    I've written five [non-fiction books] (https://eisabainyo.net/weblog/books/) and one thing that I noticed that if a book solves a particular problem, eg, in my case, interviewing well at tech companies with Nail That Interview book, it tends to do better than a bit more generic book like The Accidental Remote Manager.

    1. 1

      Honestly, the topic is just based on my experience. I've written bits and pieces about my journey and they have been well-received. Though, my biggest concern is really highlighted by what you said here:

      I noticed that if a book solves a particular problem, eg, in my case, interviewing well at tech companies with Nail That Interview book, it tends to do better than a bit more generic book like The Accidental Remote Manager.

      My writing has always been about story-telling. I do a ton of tutorials and content that solves problems, but the writing I'm excited about spending time on a whole book on is likely to be story-telling based. That said, it feels a lot like building an app that doesn't solve problems just because you like the idea...

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