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I start by telling you that the Writing Style Guide Starter Kit is now available to buy. I didn’t follow the exact Small Product Lab (SPL) guidelines in the last couple of days, but I did launch my product bang on time.

Day 8: Launch plan?

This was the day that everyone taking part in the SPL was supposed to sit down and plan how they would tell the world about their creation. I got home from work, put the kids to bed and ate dinner with my wife. Then I sat down to make my plan and immediately thought, when am I actually going to create the product?

Almost every day of the SPL is taken up with tasks that mostly involve packaging and marketing your product. I’d been sticking to the instructions pretty rigidly. But with launch day just around the corner, I knew that I would have to think about turning my style guide template into something that a) makes sense to other people, and b) I could sell.

But what about the launch plan? Well, if I’m honest, I’m still wondering about that now and it’s the day after the ‘official launch’. Essentially, I decided to make and start selling the style guides in the 10-day timeframe. Having a detailed, planned launch was not something I was going to be able to do. But that was all right. I could call it a soft launch. A light launch? Something like that.

The good news from day eight was that I did indeed manage to complete my Starter Kit template. I created sample content and made sure all its internal links and functionality worked as it should.

Day 9: Partner up

I pretty much skipped this step too. The idea was to find someone else taking part in the SPL, partner up and review each other’s work. Instead of doing that, I spent all evening on day nine writing the documentation to go with the Starter Kit.

I could have just launched a version one without the instructions, as it is pretty self-explanatory. But I felt it really needed that extra level of support to make it a product worth paying for (which it is!). It took me a few hours in Clarify to create a series of screenshots and accompanying explanations. Never used a writing style guide before? Not a problem. I’m glad I did it.

While I was pleased to have a complete product ready for launch, I was aware that I’d started to drift away from both the SPL guidelines and community. On the Facebook group, lots of people were partnering up and a few people really helping others out. I’ve not been able to help in the same way. I’ve dipped in and out of the group and contributed to plenty of threads, but I’ve not made the most of the group element of the project.

If you decide to do the SPL yourself when Gumroad announce the next round, I’d say throw yourself into that Facebook group. If like me, your full-time job makes that tricky, then fine. But if you can really engage with others and get stuck into the community spirit, you’ll get far more out of the process.

Day 10: Reach out

A similar story. Apart from family life, a full-time job and writing my second novel, I also take on occasional freelance work. That’s what I was doing for the best part of day 10, when others were reaching out to their pals and mailing lists to tell people the product was on its way. On the plus side, I’d received six pre-orders and was over halfway to my $100 sales goal.

Not that I did no reaching out at all. I got in touch with a couple of pre-order folks and sent them an early version to look at. They in turn tweeted and shared the link to the Starter Kit on Gumroad. I also sent another email to the people who’d kindly signed up to a special pre-launch mailing list. And I posted as much as possible in the SPL Facebook group.

All the time though, I knew this wasn’t exactly the all-singing, all-dancing product launch that it could have been. But at the end of day 10, I did press publish and the product is now for sale. As the time pressure took its toll, I had to make a few adjustments to the plan, but I did get a previously non-existent product to market in under two weeks. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. And going through the process was very valuable.

What next?

Well, it’s now the weekend. I still need to let people on my main mailing list know that the Starter Kit is on sale. There is so much more I could do to launch the product properly. But I think I’ll give it a few days and go back to day eight, where I was supposed to do a proper launch plan. Then I’ll have a good go at sharing what I’ve done with a wider audience.

For now though, if you are a writer or company owner who works with words every day, chances are you use or need a style guide. May I heartily recommend taking a look at the Writing Style Guide Starter Kit. It will save you time, energy and a whole lot of unnecessary Googling.