Tiny Design Lessons is an ebook for indie creators which I created as a side project in 2020.
Looking for a personal challenge, I set myself the task of creating an info product of my own. However, instead of just creating whatever I wanted to make, I decided to work out what the overlap was between my design knowlege and actual needs in that area. That meant following a process of validation, however small.
My plan and goal through the process was to avoid wasting my time creating the product or content, unless I had a high degree of certainty it would sell.
I didn’t actually start out with the plan of creating an ebook. I first wanted to understand the problem I was solving, before deciding on a format. To start research, I gathered insights from the indie creators community which I was already part of.
First, I researched tweets that validated my idea, for initial insight. Then, I reached out to community to find interview candidates. I planned and conducted about 15 initial interviews via Zoom, using a script to get the right insights. I plotted those insights in a large table in Notion, tagging patterns and common wording. That gave me enough insight to come up with potential solution ideas, and settled on one format to explore further - an ebook.
The next step was to create minimal viable content. I drafted a simple sales page and created a prototype, which consisted of 3 example ebook pages. With that, I set up simple user testing Zoom calls with the original interviewees. I gave them my prototype and observed them going through the pages. This gave me insights on their feelings on the content, the value it gave and the usability of the format. I asked for pre-orders from those that gave positive feedback.
That process gave me enough validation (25 pre-orders) to create the full product. It also gave me valuable feedback to make adjustments to the format and style.
The book launch did very well, and to date I’ve sold over 100 copies. I firmly believe much of this was down to doing proper research at the beginning, rather than taking a chance – independent ebooks can be notoriously hard to launch or sell, and often fail. It all made the process slightly longer, but in the long run it was worth it.
Along with sales, I was also able to build a product mailing list of 350 subscribers, 300 Twitter subscribers and got featured by Airtable, a tool I used in the content creation. You can find out more about the book on its website tinydesignlessons.com.