A few months ago, Dave Chesson, creator of Kindlepreneur.com, received an email from Galaxy Press. Galaxy Press is the publishing company of famed sci-fi author L. Ron Hubbard, and the email asked for Dave’s help in writing a new book description for one of Hubbard’s most famous books, Battlefield Earth.

A step-by-step approach to writing a strong book description

Feeling honored, Dave approached the task methodically. First, he returned to basics and reviewed some trusted books and articles about what makes a good book description. Next, he scoured the web for book reviews, including professional blogs, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes. “The best strategy for writing a description that makes people buy is not only knowing the book, but also finding out what people say was their favorite part of the book, and expanding on that,” he writes.Continue reading

Pamela Wilson and Jeff Goins host the Zero to Book podcast where Jeff, an established author, walks Pamela, a newer author, through the process of launching a book.

In this episode, the hosts discuss the importance of a book’s title. Jeff calls it a book’s most important marketing asset – more important than the content itself, at least in terms of marketing. A book’s title, after all, is the most succinct way to communicate what it’s about.

The title should be judged on its appeal to new readers. Your existing fan base might already be inclined to purchase your book, no matter what it’s called. But the title is the thing that could potentially entice or dissuade new customers to join the fold.

Jeff guides Pamela through a process for ideating and testing book titles, including using PickFu. He talks about our wide-reaching demographic pool of respondents (no, it’s not a room of interns in Soho – we’re in California, anyway). He also talks about how affordable — and even addictive — testing ideas can be.

“The results are sure to surprise you,” he says. We hope you agree.

Ready to give PickFu a try? Start here.

Recently, a new customer signed up for PickFu and told us he’d discovered our service in a book. That book was Launch Tomorrow: The Non-Designer’s Guide to Using a Landing Page to Launch a Lean Startup, by Luke Szyrmer.

In it, Szyrmer outlines a method for defining an audience, validating an idea, and quickly taking that idea to market. PickFu is featured as a means of rapid market testing “in order to figure out which concepts grab attention, tickle tastebuds, and leave people wanting more.”

“The implications of PickFu,” he writes, “are enormous… If you can find out how people react to a certain color or shape or logo or byline, you have a much better chance of choosing something attractive.”

Szyrmer emphasizes PickFu’s affordability and speed. He recommends using PickFu polls to create an attractive offer and to make important branding decisions. “By choosing a brand and a style that already evokes exactly the feelings and associations that you want in your target market, you construct a unique experience which can’t be found anywhere else. With PickFu, you can test these associations out within minutes.”

The author is honest about a drawback, too: “Declared behavior isn’t the same as actual behavior. This is a big problem with branding, traditional advertising and market research. Just because people say they’ll be happy to buy something often doesn’t mean that they actually will. As a result, you can’t be certain that the declared results will directly correlate with sales. Nonetheless, PickFu’s inexpensive and fast. If you want to put some numbers to help you prioritize a list (of for example bullets), then it’s a great first cut to weed out the more attractive options based on consumer opinions.”

If you’re curious about Szyrmer’s other tips for aspiring entrepreneurs, check out Launch Tomorrow on Kindle or @LaunchTomorrow on Twitter.

99designs is a great site for startups and small businesses – for just a few hundred dollars, you can launch a design contest for a logo, WordPress template, PowerPoint deck, signage, and more. Graphic designers around the world compete to win, you provide feedback, and after seven days, you pick a winner.

Here at PickFu, we crowdsourced our own logo using 99designs. Once the contest began, however, something became clear: even though receiving over 350 designs was valuable from a cost perspective, choosing a winner among them all was beyond overwhelming.

“We’re programmers, not designers,” said Justin Chen, PickFu co-founder. “Other than my own visceral reaction, it was hard to judge the value of all the colors, typefaces, and icons.” Continue reading

A short while ago, I wrote about Twitter’s new polling feature. I was excited when the feature was rolled out to me so I could try it myself.

Now, I’m not the world’s biggest Twitter user. I’m certainly no celebrity. But I’ve been active on Twitter for over five years and at the time of this writing, I have 423 followers. (Want to boost my ego and add to the total? Follow me @kimkohatsu!) My 400+ users are comprised of professional contacts, brands I’ve mentioned or contacted via Twitter, and some friends and family. According to a 2012 study (the latest I could find), the average Twitter user has 208 followers. I’ve got over twice as many — not bad, right?Continue reading

Last week, Twitter announced it was rolling out a feature that enabled users to create polls. Polling isn’t totally new on Twitter; brands sometimes would tally retweets, favorites, or hashtag instances as informal votes. With this new feature, however, Twitter users can compose a poll, present two options, and get an answer.

It’s a fun idea. Some sample questions Twitter used were, “Did the ref make the right call?” and “What should I name my dog?”

But when it comes to business ideas, there’s some very distinct differences between Twitter and PickFu that you should consider. Continue reading