Everything began with a question. From spiritual gurus to self-publishing’s most renowned names, all they did was ask. And it’s not just seeking answers from yourself, but getting feedback from the very people that will make your works come to life. So, with no book, but a fiery idea, or maybe unfinished, but there’s barely an audience, how can you earn early interest?
If you’re asking this question right now, then you’ve already began. Keep asking and learn from these pros.
Your blogged-book readers are highly likely to engage with you and your book. They might leave you comments about your book—especially if you ask them for feedback in a call to action at the end of each post. If you don’t want to blog your book, blog about the subject of your book.
The classic way to get early feedback on a book idea or manuscript involves asking a select group of people to read your manuscript and offer suggested improvements. The beta readers “test it” by reading the manuscript. Then they tell you if it has any glitches or bugs. They also tell you what parts work well. - N. Amir
Pick the strategy that works best you and your project. If you are just starting out and have not written a word, test your idea with a course, a blogged book or a blog. If you have a manuscript, give it to beta readers, blog about your book, or create a course around it and use it as the required text.
Discover what they need, want and value.
By providing content that your readers crave, you get people to buy into “brand you.” Your early supporters – those who see the diamond in the rough – often become invested (and sometimes pivotal) in your future success.
Start building relationships with other writers, bloggers and industry influencers. Add to the conversations on their blogs and on the social media platforms they’re active on. Share or review their work when appropriate. - K. Grabas
That’s why starting early is so important: trust can’t be rushed or expedited. It is also why not having a book published yet is somewhat irrelevant. You need to be absolutely clear on what it is you have to share (define your author brand) and identify the group that will benefit from it the most (your ideal audience).
Should you incorporate every idea and bit of feedback into your writing? Nope. It’s your work, you decide. But learning what your readers want, the words they use to ask for it, and even where they go to find it, will make marketing your book – when you do publish – infinitely easier.
Ask them anything.
Many people relish the opportunity to express themselves in public. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. It’s human nature. Take advantage of this urge to rant, rave, gloat, and glorify by taking a poll of your audience. Ask them anything. They’ll appreciate the fact that you care more about their thoughts and interests than your own self-gain. They’ll be glad to have the forum. - B. Cargill
Another way to elicit a response from someone is to pique their curiosity. Challenge them with a question they’ll feel compelled to answer. Tease them with a piece of trivia that’ll make them think twice. If you can tie the content back to your brand, even better. Any new knowledge you can impart to your audience is bound to be appreciated.
The secret behind launching (or growing) any business is people.
Build a launch team of early adopters. This can be anywhere from 20 to 200 people who get a free or low-cost sample of the product to use and then share. I do this every time I launch a product, giving them an advance version of whatever I want to sell. Then I’ll ask them to leave a review on their blog or Amazon or wherever is most appropriate. - J. Goins
Ask for influential endorsements. Some will, of course, say no. But some will not. And you never know until you ask, right?
We care about what other people care about. That’s what an email is about, what Amazon referrals are all about. Call it “social proof” or whatever you like, but the bottom line is we trust what other people say. Not advertising or marketing says. Just people.
Ask follow-up questions.
Avoid the temptation to comment on every question. Sometimes I like to see how many questions I can ask in a row without commenting. It’s amazing what you can learn when you do this. - M. Hyatt
Ask open-ended questions. Questions that can be answered “yes” or “no” are closed-ended questions. They don’t generate discussion and they rarely yield any insight. By asking open-ended questions, you get far more interesting insights.
And it makes your comments or decisions much more informed. Often you don’t get to the real meat of an issue until you’ve gone several questions deep.
Start with the reader.
You might not realize it, but the place to begin is right in front of you — it’s the reader you’ve had in mind since you began your first draft. That reader is talking to you, and if you can figure out exactly what he’s saying, he can act as your guide in the revision, or self-editing, process. - MacLeod and Douglas
So start with the reader — the reader can direct you to the problem spots in your work, if only you’ll listen. Not only that, but careful attention to what the reader is telling you can help you improve your writing.
Where do you find readers? Well, there are your beta readers, and there are reviewers. Both are giving you feedback about your work. The point is, the information is out there. But you need to learn how to use it.
Get your timing right.
Often we’re not seeking feedback but approval. We want the pat on the head that tells us how great our story is, and then we’re completely demolished when the person giving feedback shreds our writing, pointing out not our brilliance, but how much work there is still to be done. You didn’t get good feedback; you got decimated.
Be clear about your motives for soliciting feedback. Do you want ego stroking or a genuine critique? Give your work (and your motives) a thorough once-over before handing it off to someone else. - C. Morris
Seek Feedback from the Right Sources. Spouses, parents and children may not be objective enough to give useful comments. Seek trusted creative peers, mentors, or teachers who have your best interests in mind. I have hired editors to give me feedback, knowing that they had a certain level of professionalism and would give me straight, constructive feedback.
Constructive commentary is an essential part of creative success, and if you’re interested in improving your work, you should be seeking feedback regularly. But it doesn’t have to decimate your work and your creative dreams. Do it right and feedback can build, not destroy, your creative dreams.
You release ARCs (Advance Review Copies) to get early book reviews.
The whole idea is to build up reviews before your official release day, since more reviews = more sales. After all, you want to start your book release off right. So how do self-published authors get reviews on distribution sites before their official release? It’s actually pretty easy. No foolproof, but easy. - S.M. Boyce
Until Amazon lets self-published authors do pre-orders and schedule book releases the same way as traditional publishers do, here’s the answer:
Mention in the description that this is an ARC copy and add the release date, all in the first line.
Make the price higher (and add in the description that it will be lower on release day).
Don’t link it to your author page until release day.
The key, and this is what traditional publishers do, is to have these ARC’s printed well in advance of your publication date.
The more work you do to promote your book before the publication date the more people will already know about it, and that means more sales! Pre-editions include advance(d) reader copies (ARCs), galleys, salesman’s editions, proofs and sometimes manuscripts. - D. Heilmann
The key, and this is what traditional publishers do, is to have these ARC’s printed well in advance of your publication date in order to distribute it to book reviewers, at trade fairs or book festivals approximately 8 – 6 months before your publication date.
This gives reviewers enough time and you as the author-publisher can add the reviews to the book layout, while the reviewer can add their writing to your book retail websites or author pages, and write an article about your book to their blog or website. Additionally you can use their original comments for book fairs or book signings.
What kind of feedback helped your book gain early interest? Let us know in the comments section below.