The writer-publisher – part 32

Date coincidence – a handy tool for the self-published author

You have at least two choices when you self-publish:

1. You can spend years reading all of the books written on self-publishing and you can go to seminars, classes and so forth in order to gain the knowledge that will allow you to self-publish successfully.

2. You can skim through a few good books and decide to make the rest up as you go along.

The only problem with approach number one is that the self-publishing game is evolving almost faster than you can read about it. Seminars and classes can be helpful if you select carefully, but you will have to know what is actually going on in order to decide. You learn what is going on by experiencing it yourself.

Approach number two is what I have done in almost any field I have entered, and it has worked well in areas as diverse as computer design, product marketing, and consulting. Naturally, I chose this path when attempting to write and to self-publish. I have written most of this down in the earlier posts in this series, but I failed to mention the underlying element that allows you to be successful when you charge out on your own.

If you are creating a new activity, you may not know everything necessary to be successful at first, but you can adjust your efforts and course of action to achieve success by keeping an eye on date coincidence of actions and results.

This is not the beginning of a long treatise on managing your life, but it is an observable fact that bad and good results don’t just happen, they are caused. If you look carefully at any change in statistics, you will find that some change occurred previously which caused the change. By date coincidence, I mean that an earlier act caused a later result. The communication lag is between the cause and the result tends to remain constant for any given communication medium, so once you determine the lag you can monitor results and track back to whatever caused the change.

Here are some examples of how this can work:

Recently, I revised a blogad by adding quotes that made the ad more interesting. The traffic to my book site increased within 24 hours. This was obviously a good thing, so I let the change stand.

Encouraged, I "improved" the text on the book site to make it more interesting and the order rate dropped.

Looking over the site, I found the text to be more readable and more interesting, at least to me, but I realized I was no longer "asking for the order". This is a classic error. My attention was on capturing the customer’s interest, but the copy did not call for action. I corrected the copy and the order rate increased that day.

In a dead tree medium, this process might have taken weeks or months, because of the time it takes to get something into print and then distributed. On the internet, this took only one day. On a really high traffic site, this might have taken less than an hour because the results of a change show up immediately.

This works as well in almost any field. Date coincidence is a handy tool for the self-published author, but it is vital for the entrepreneur. Here is a suggestion on applying it.

Instead of having to know "everything" before you start a new venture, learn enough so that you can make some intelligent choices and can recognize good indicators vs bad indicators.

There is little chance that you can learn all of the causes of good and bad results, so concentrate on producing the best quality product or service you can manage and take notice of changes in your vital statistics like sales, money collected, and customer complaints. Track down the source of these changes by date coincidence and reinforce the good actions and eliminate the bad.

If you are alert enough, and quick to respond, you will find yourself in a better condition as time goes by. You will also learn what really makes your business results improve and this will give you much needed certainty in a challenging world.


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