Friday, July 23, 2004

28 July Update: Extreme Focus Group Testing

I decided to do a focus group testing. The idea is to get selective people to read the book so I would get a rough picture of how well would the book sell.

And the results were great! 50% of Readers LOVES the book. She loves it so much she won't mind marrying the author. While The Other 50% only looked at the manuscript with blank eyes, said "Eh. Eh. Eh." And then threw up. We'll just have to wait until The Other 50% has passed babyhood first.

Okay, so I was only able to get two people as testers. And their credibility is questionable.(1) But hey, there's no written manual that says it can't be done.(2)

But in the meantime, the results are clear: This book will place itself among its readers' hearts! (Hopefully not in the way a wooden stake does to a vampire.)

1: It'll go something like this...
Q: Are you credible?
A: Yes/Eh/(throws up).
Q: Okay, then.

2: Actually there was, but I fed it to The Other 50%.


Some days have passed without blogging because my book project's finally made a progress. Before you start calling the local authorities to scream "Book? How could you let this guy's thoughts come out in print!?" let me assure you by telling that it's a humor book. Okay, I see that doesn't stop you. Don't worry, you're not the only one.

Beginning since last year, the project's been going through what the Beatles called "the Long and Winding Road." Only one month in composition, the draft took three months of self-editing until I decided "That's enough!" There's no stop to feeding the self-critic. So I went to a certain publisher to sell it.

Like I said, it's a humor book. A collection of short essays where comedy is about life, observation and playful thoughts. So there goes the biggest challenge: the publisher's never handled this kind of book before. They were baffled. They didn't know the market value of this thing. However, they chose to believe in my writing. And I respect that.

But believing is one thing. Making it published is another thing. I had to help the marketers define what my target market would be. Thank God I'm a copywriter. Then after some hewing and huffing and occassional yawning, they figured my idea can sell. So I got a contract. This process already took months.

Then comes the editing part. This went on roughly at the start because my humor is influenced by Robert Benchley, Dave Barry, Dennis Miller, and Jerry Seinfeld. And the publisher's never read that kind of humor in Bahasa before. I don't blame them. I haven't either. The editing went on quite long that I managed to add some updates to the book. Some materials were even rewritten because they were getting old. More months passed.

After editing is the layout and setting. Again, I had to brief the person in charge because in humor, presentation is as important as the material. Even a sharp material, if presented badly, will bomb.

Between the process, there were events that held the project back. The publisher's anniversary, other BIG BOOKs launching, change of personnels, and so on. Then one day disaster struck. The setter had an accident that injured both of her hands. At this point, I finally got the point. There was absolutely a particular reason why I had to endure all this while many other writers have produced three books. I could choose to be angry. Depressed. Or even wallowing in self-pity. But I chose to proceed with my life.

Until the morning after the birth of Aza--the child of donna and me, when I received the call. The publisher told me they've finished the proof of my manuscript.

God does have a sense of humor. She has perfect timing and delivery. I had a hearty laugh that day.

The book may still have a long way to go to hit the shelves. But at least it's in progress. So stay tuned for updates!

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