When Julie Isaac shared her frustration about what is and isn’t “good enough” on Facebook, I asked her to turn it into a blog post for us. Julie is an award-winning author, editor, and writing coach who’s passionate about helping nonfiction authors write, market, and monetize quality books. You can download her e-book, 7 Keys to a Successful Nonfiction Book (and Writing Career), at her website.
When “good enough” is not good enough
By Julie Isaac
I recently took an author up on his free print book offer.
I also bought the “upsell” or “order bump” – the special offer presented to me after I completed the form. It was a $20 printed journal (I love journals) based on the book.
While I liked what the book had to say, the journal was another story. It consisted of seven sheets of standard 8½ by 11-inch paper encased in a cover. And of the 14 pages of content, eight were exactly the same.
Price and value
I’ve certainly purchased products before that I didn’t think were worth what I paid for them.
I remember a $47 purchase that I thought was overpriced but would have seemed perfect (to me) at $27. But even though it felt like I’d paid too much, it was still valuable information and I didn’t regret buying it.
This purchase felt different, though.
When good is good enough
I’m a big believer in the idea that quality matters.
That’s because a great book or product creates dedicated fans who want more from you. That leads to long-term success, whether that means they end up buying other books you’ve written or additional products and services related to what your books teach.
So, if perfectionism (or anything else) is keeping you stuck – if it’s stopping you from putting yourself, your books, and your products out into the world – then you’ve got a problem. In that case, if the book or product that isn’t as good as you’d like it to be, but is as good as you can make it at the time, publishing is an important step forward.
Good is good enough in that case.
How “good enough” works in your favor
Even though your book isn’t everything you’d envisioned, publishing it may be just what you need to help you break through a creative or emotional block.
You’ll also gain valuable insight from the feedback you get from readers, as well as from going through the full publication and sales process.
Your next book, product, or course will be better for having had that experience.
When you’re not helping anyone with “good enough”
The free book I received had tons of exercises in it, which the author could have easily used to flesh out the accompanying journal. Yet, for whatever reason, he chose not to.
A longer journal would still have been relatively simple to create. It would have been so much more valuable and supportive of the print book. And, it would have reinforced the book’s primary goal, the outcome it wanted to help me achieve.
For me, this is a powerful example of when being “good enough” is not good enough.
Yes, he got an extra $20 from me, which helped him cover the cost of printing and mailing the book as well as paying for advertising. But he also lost a lot, because I will never give that man another penny of my money. I won’t register for any online course; I won’t pay for coaching.
If he thinks it’s okay to give so little value for “only $20,” will he also think it’s okay to deliver little value for “only $200” or “only $2,000?” Think of all he has lost financially because of that substandard journal.
And we’re in the same niche. While I won’t publicly shame him, I also will never recommend him to my thousands of followers. If anyone ever asks me what I think of him, I’ll be honest.
Content that helps readers makes a lasting impression
To be clear, quality is not about volume. My problem with the journal isn’t about the number of pages.
I’ve known people who’ve sold information that fit on just a few pages, and no one felt cheated because the information was so helpful. In fact, many people teach courses on creating “tiny offers,” but they emphasize making these brief and low-cost products highly actionable and truly helpful.
When you can help your readers solve a problem or achieve a cherished goal, they’ll remember you.When you can help your readers solve a problem or achieve a cherished goal, they’ll remember you.Click to tweet
Learn to recognize the difference
While I encourage you not to let perfectionism stop you from publishing and putting your work out into the world, whether it’s a blog post, a book, or a course, it’s also important to – as best you can from where you are – strive to be helpful and deliver real value.
The idea that “good enough is good enough” is meant to free you from whatever’s keeping you stuck, not give you permission to cut corners and prioritize fast and easy over providing quality content.The idea that “good enough is good enough” is meant to free you from whatever’s keeping you stuck, not give you permission to cut corners and prioritize fast and easy over providing quality content.Click to tweet
It’s up to you to find the sweet spot that allows you to publish valuable content that you feel good about in a consistent and timely manner.
How do you tell the difference between “good enough” and not yet “good enough?” Please tell us in a comment.
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