“You don’t seem that short,” people often tell author Seth Ulinski.
At 5’7″, Seth is three inches below average height. In the introduction to his book Amazing Heights: How Short Guys Stand Tall, he jokes that perhaps he could chalk it up to “really” being 5’7″ and a half. But it’s more than that: an attitude. A posture. A frame of mind. And his book serves as a guide for the estimated 60 million other men in the “short guy fraternity” to gain the same confidence.
“I decided to write the book after I noted that there were limited resources addressing the unique challenges of the not-so-tall,” Seth said. The book “examines society’s height bias and provides ways for readers to build their presence,” including how to shop for height-maximizing clothes, career tips, and advice on dating.
Using PickFu to test ideas
As he was writing the book, Seth tested his concept with his Facebook network. He got decent guidance, he said, but the feedback was limited.
Then, Seth listened to the Authority Self-publishing podcast, where he learned about PickFu. He created three different PickFu polls, each with an audience of 50 males, to gauge reaction to different titles and subtitles he had been considering.
“Initially I was expecting a simple tally of votes to determine whether Concept A or Concept B was best, and perhaps a few notes on why folks made their selection,” he said. But what he got proved much more valuable.
“The results were eye-opening,” he noted. “I was extremely pleased to identify which concept to run with, plus [I got] tons of additional insights and feedback that helped shape my audience targeting and messaging.”
Respondents liked the encouragement they associated with Amazing Heights. “[It] sounds more motivational and positive as the title,” one respondent wrote. Another said that it was “more welcoming and inviting,” than using Stand Tall as the main title. “[Amazing Heights] says the same thing [as Stand Tall],” one respondent wrote, “but starts out more positive.”
The cover re-launch
With confidence in his title, Seth launched his book. Sales began coming in, but Seth believed he could do better. So a few months after the initial launch, he decided to take a fresh look at his cover design.
Once again, Seth turned to PickFu. This time, he skipped Facebook altogether. “I was really pleased with the [PickFu] service,” he said. “The setup process was super user-friendly and seeing the results update in a matter of minutes was an added bonus.”
Inclusivity was a recurring theme in the cover design poll. “[Option] A has images of various career men and not just corporate-oriented jobs,” one respondent commented. “This makes it a more wide open playing field that should be more appealing to the target audience of males seeking to be noticed.” Others offered similar views such as, “The cover gives a great view on shorter men in different jobs and makes me think height does not matter,” and “The astronaut and the guitar player on the cover are really striking and unique.”
In addition, respondents reacted more positively to the artistic background image rather than the plain white background. “I like the mountains in the background,” one respondent said. “They send a subtle message of standing tall.”
Armed with this new information, Seth relaunched the book with the revised cover design. “The uptick in sales has been noticeable,” he said. He now sees consistent daily sales.
“Given the turnaround time and insights that came with the poll,” he said, “[PickFu] was a solid investment.”
PickFu for authors
If you’ve got a book in the works, join the thousands of authors who have used PickFu to test titles, subtitles, cover designs, blurbs, and author bios. Get insights from hundreds of readers in minutes. Try it now!
Also published on Medium.