Why I Treated My Book Launch Like a Startup Minimum Viable Product

When I self-published my book in March this year, I approached the project the same way I would launch a new startup.

I published a minimum viable product version of the book.

If you’re not familiar with startup jargon, you’re probably like, “A minimum viable what?”

According to techopedia Minimum Viable product =

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product’s initial users.

Now you’re probably like, “What the heck does that have to do with writing a book?”



I had a hypothesis that people who are Parentpreneurs are grinding harder than people who are only a parent, or only an entrepreneur, and that Parentpreneurs need inspiration to keep going, and that they need to know they are not alone on their journey.

I believe Parentpreneurs need to know that they got this. They CAN do it. No matter how difficult things may seem.

Being a parent is rewarding, yet challenging. And being an entrepreneur is balls hard. But being a parent and an entrepreneur, or Parentpreneur, is next level crazy.

It just is.

So I cobbled together a bunch of words from myself and other people that I thought would inspire Parentpreneurs.


The MVP Process

I used feedback along the way to create the book content. A year after I launched my business I started this blog with the intention of using its content to inspire a book. After writing blog posts for two years, I knew what content resonated with people based on their comments and their sharing on social media.

I also used crowd sourcing to get feedback about proposed covers for the book. I shared the cover iterations in Facebook groups (this is a great FB group for entrepreneurs) and on my Facebook wall, then decided on a final cover based on feedback in those groups.

This first cover was shot down as too cartoonish by nearly everyone who saw it:

Then I paid someone $35 on Fiverr to create a more mature version of the cover (and changed the word “I” to “You”). And this was the final result, which most people liked well enough:



This is the key moment right here. It’s the point where the startup MVP approach shines!

I know that final cover is not amazing. And this matters because people DO judge a book by its cover.

But I don’t care.

In true MVP fashion, I assumed it was good enough to validate my aforementioned hypothesis about Parentpreneurs.

One of my favorite quotes from the book, Do More Faster, is (paraphrasing):

If you’re not at least a little embarrassed by the first version of your product, you waited too long to launch it.

I know this quote is anathema to the control freaks in the audience, but it works for me and many others. It allowed me to inexpensively and quickly self-publish a book on the Amazon platform and get feedback from readers.


Hypothesis Validation

Turns out I was right. Parentpreneurs do want inspiration.

How do I know?

Because on my own, I sold over a hundred copies of the book, the reviews exceeded my expectations, and I got the following nice PR hits for the book:



What Now?

Now that I’ve validated my hypothesis, and since I don’t know dick about selling books, I’m ready to find a publisher to help get proper distribution and blow out book sales.


Bottom line:

If you have an idea for a product, launch it already.

Don’t over analyze it.

Don’t wait for it to be perfect.

Or as my friend Kaywanda says, “Do it anyway.”



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P.S., if you’re a Parentpreneur and think my book sounds interesting, you can cop it here:


8 thoughts on “Why I Treated My Book Launch Like a Startup Minimum Viable Product

  1. When I see an email from TrepLifeDad, I stop and read. Inspiring. I have a friend that promotes herself and does great. I’ll speak with her and I’ll email you some of her ideas. Congrats. Much success in all you do!!

  2. Awesome insight into how you launched your book. At work we have started the process of being “Agile’ being more productive by presenting ideas/ projects in 1.0 stage vs. waiting for total and complete perfection. Solicit feedback, and then work to improve. 2.0, 3.0 etc.. Great article James!

  3. Well said indeed. Btw…this concept works well in the typical corporate environment when launching an idea or trying to implement change…socialize it to elicit feedback and to at least show some timely initiative. Waiting too long appears to lack confidence and almost always the best ideas are made better when nutured with a little collaboration. That’s for those of us who need a safe environment to exercise our creativity and a smaller audience to play like an entrepreneur… better yet a Parentpreneur!

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