Encourage Reader Feedback

Writing and publishing your book is not the end of your literary involvement. When readers have questions, authors have a responsibility to respond by email, mail, telephone and in person at book signings and other events.

Use these opportunities to gather material for the book’s revision or your next book. Maybe you were not clear enough in your writing or perhaps the customer is interested in an important area you did not cover. Bernard (Bear) Kamoroff, CPA, of Bell Springs Publishing, displays at book fairs and other industry events for the express purpose of gathering user feedback for Small Time Operator (23 revised editions and 53 printings in 21 years). At one fair, a woman said the business book was not for her because she was self-employed. So, Kamoroff added to the cover: “For All Small Businesses, Self-Employed Individuals, Employers, Professionals, Independent Contractors, and Home-Based Businesses.” Also, due to customer feedback, he has increased the index from three pages to seven.

Oh—I listen more and talk less. You can’t learn anything when you’re talking.
—Bing Crosby (1904-1977), American singer and film actor.

If people are asking questions, they like your work. Note their questions and your responses in a “correction copy” of your most recent edition and keep it on your shelf so you will be able to easily find the updates when the inventory runs low. Put the new information in your next revised edition—and sell the book to them again.

Listen to your readers. Your best customer is one you have sold to previously.

Dan Poynter, the Voice of Self-Publishing, has written more than 100 books since 1969 including Writing Nonfiction and The Self-Publishing Manual. Dan is a past vice-president of the Publishers Marketing Association. For more help on book publishing and promoting, see http://ParaPub.com.