And that's how she decides what she wants to write.
This kind of A/B testing reminds me of the TV model of releasing a pilot, and the game model of play testing early builds. Nice to have some assurance the audience is responsive before committing to the full book.
This is an interesting idea. However, I think you would have to be an established writer with a sizeable loyal following for it to work. I doubt an unknown writer is going to find people willing to take part in such a program (especially if it required them to recruit friends.)
I have been able to get a handful of people to read my second novel in progress and give suggestions. But they were already fans of the first novel in the series.
But, as always, very thought-provoking.
Fascinating stuff. Doubt this would work for me, though. Once I've started something, I have to see it through. I couldn't just write a few chapters and drop it if nobody liked it. But I can certainly see how this would fit well with the "write to market" technique.
Elle, I'm trying to become a paid subscriber, but it says the account is no longer active . . .
Another great interview with an author who is trying something different. Sounds like publishing on a serial fiction platform could provide similar testing benefits. I also wonder if you could A/B test with your Substack subscribers by segmenting your list and sending one version to each segment.
Hmm, really interesting! It's a fascinating approach and I'm glad Mary noted at the end that it feels like it's given her *more* freedom, rather than constraining her. Data should only ever help, rather than hinder, I feel.
On the one hand I can't imagine giving this much control to readers, but then by the time I start writing I tend to be very clear on where I'm going. I don't think the A/B testing would work for my particular style of writing. But that said, I do write and publish as I go, traditionally on Wattpad and now on Substack - and that, in a way, is similar to what Mary's doing here. The feedback I get during that live writing helps to shape the book, so while I don't go all the way to A/B testing variants, there is still an organic connection between me and my readers.
Thanks for sharing!
This is a very interesting concept! I'm kind of in the same boat with having too many stories in my head to choose from and have been going solely off of my internal drive to pick the next story. A/B testing would be neat. I like the website, too. Brilliant!
Just fascinating. Like all your interviews, I love this one too -- not least because it gets down into the details of how this author is actually working (and selling) her books, and skips all the bland platitudes that are so common in pieces on how authors work in other places. Great stuff, Elle!
I was so intrigued by this process. Thanks to you both for taking the time to explain how A/B testing works. It's fascinating.