I know well the desire to have approval, the boost we get from a genuine compliment.
I also know that asking others for feedback when what we really want is a pat on the head is fraught with peril, asking for trouble, bending over and begging to be kicked.
Some general thoughts and specific comments on feedback:
Feedback is a minefield. Proceed with extreme caution.
Know what level of feedback you seek. Rosanne Bane explains.
Do you really need someone else to tell you whether what you’re writing is what you should be writing? Veteran editor (and publisher of The War of Art) Shawn Coyne says “That’s a recipe for disaster.” Mick Torbay says to avoid the committee like leftover brussels sprouts:
I have found general feedback from readers and writers to be useless. USELESS.
Feedback from a professional editor is golden.
Answers to specific questions can be helpful if
you know exactly what the question is, and
the person you ask is eminently qualified to answer that question, and
the person you ask will tell you the truth, and
the answer actually matters, which should really come before ‘a’ above.
What I’m Doing About It
I’m writing my first scifi adventure. I’m going to share the first draft, ugly and stinking, with a reader who loves Asimov and Burroughs the way I do. All I’m going to ask her is, does this feel right? Does this feel like them?
If yes, good. If no, I’ll ponder whether that matters and whether I’ll do anything about it except perhaps adjust my marketing message. I highly doubt I’ll change my writing because of the feedback. So that’s marketing research, not writing feedback, isn’t it?
Don’t Wait to Be Picked
Marketing guru Seth Godin has been saying it for years: don’t wait to be picked. Pick yourself.
Learn your craft. Know what a good story is, and isn’t. Do your best work, at least, best for now.
Don’t wait for someone else to tell you whether or not you’re good, whether or not to publish, whether or not your story matters.
Once your brain has enough information to get the basics done, it’s your heart’s turn to run with the story and scatter it to the four winds. And hopefully, more than four fans.
My wife Sue provides social media marketing services for authors. I am, of course, her most important client. I’ve asked her to share some of her checklists and tools with you. We’d both love to hear if this type of information is helpful.—Joel
When your fans share your writing with others it carries more social proof than your own marketing efforts because it comes from a third party. Make it easy for them. Real fans are glad to help.
Do you have all the following in place so your fans are connected with you and sharing your posts with their friends?
Connect with your fans on the following social media platforms.
Ask your fans to share your social media posts by doing the following.
Retweet something you shared on Twitter.
Share a post from your Facebook Author page on their own Facebook timeline.
Repin something from one of your Pinterest boards.
Share one of your status updates on LinkedIn.
Comment on one of your Instagram posts.
On Goodreads, recommend one of your books to your friends.
Ask fans to sign up for your newsletter.
Ask fans to share the link to sign up for your newsletter.
Ask fans to subscribe to your blog and to comment at the blog. Write a blog post about how they can support you. (See Joel’s at his author website)
Directly ask them to buy your books.
Encourage fans to buy a copy of one of your books for a friend who they think will enjoy it.
Ask fans to review your books on Amazon.
Let fans know you’d love to hear from them and to send you an email.
Let your fans know that supportive things like reviews at Amazon, comments at the blog, enthusiastic shares on social media and even personal emails help make you enthusiastic about continuing to write.
Sue L Canfield has been working with social media since 2005. She blogs regularly about how to use social media and consults on best social media practices at Chief Virtual Officer. She specializes in helping authors create and maintain their online presence. She currently manages a team of four social media account managers and over a dozen social media clients.
I am not using “machine” in the cool and/or hip sense, as in, your website will magically cause magic to magically happen.
I am using it the sense of a mechanism which does a thing. Because your website is probably an online brochure, limiting, perhaps even repelling, connection. Do these things well, and your site will have the mechanics to allow, even foster, connection. (These are mechanical steps, not social engineering, which is a subject for a different marketing-based post.)
Quick and dirty, not necessarily in order of importance unless otherwise stated.