3 things Authors and Publishers ignore, which they should not

  1. How they choose to interpret things
  2. What readers actually mean when they give feedback
  3. Which readers to listen to

Let’s delve into each of these

How to Interpret Things

There are three stages during which you will get feedback

  1. While you are writing the book/creating the book
  2. The first year after launch
  3. The years after that – when your book is becoming a back list book

While you are writing your book it is very important to focus on everything as – What to Improve AND How to Make Your Book Better

Instead of getting frustrated if something is taking longer or if unexpected roadblocks come up, interpret everything as – A Way to Make Your Book Better, More Time to Polish My Book, A Lesson in What Not to Do in the Future

The First Year after Book Launch – is just the market telling you

  1. Is there a market for this book? Whether it is selling or not
  2. Is the writing very good? What percentage are leaving reviews. 1% to 10% leaving reviews means it is a well written book. Less and you have work to do
  3. Is your marketing good? Can you sustain sales, or do sales start falling off quickly

You must interpret each correctly. Keep your emotions out of it and focus on what the market is telling you

The years after the First Year

During this time you will basically find out whether

  1. The market is an evergreen market where your book keeps selling. In that case write more books for this market. In that case keep marketing the book
  2. The market only has sales for the first 3/6/12 months and then sales die out. In that case consider switching to another market
  3. The book has tremendous power and even though other books die out within 3 to 6 months, your book is selling for years. In this case you must market more and also write more books for this market

Throughout, you have to be very dispassionate

What Readers actually mean when they give Feedback

Readers will only give feedback if they care

  1. Good reviews and good feedback is very good. Listen to what they are saying and see if you can strengthen those strong points
  2. Bad reviews and bad feedback are also valuable. Those people cared enough to give you feedback. Figure out WHY you are getting bad reviews. Most often it is a case of – writing for the wrong market; not making it clear that some readers are not a good fit for your book. It is your responsibility to make it clear to readers if the book is not right for them
  3. Indifference is the most dangerous thing. If your book is not getting feedback you really, really need to assess your writing skills and the book category you have chosen to write in

Readers are basically telling you

  1. This is what I need to be happy
  2. This is what you need to do to get more sales from me

Listen to them and you will do much better

Of course, one outlier are troll reviewers. If it’s political reasons, then just ignore. If it’s someone being a troll, then it is most probably a competing author or someone who is mad at you. In that case leave a polite reply specifying your stance/belief and leave it at that, or just ignore

Remember, bad reviews that claim outrageous things are not bad. Most readers are reasonable and understand when someone is being a troll. It is important not to get pulled into a mud wrestling match with a pig. The pig loves it. You just get dirty

Which Readers to Listen To

Only listen to readers who actually buy your books. Only listen to readers (people who read books) and never to people who don’t read books

These rules apply to any business

  1. Avoid people with a sense of entitlement who are not your clients and will never be your clients. Yet, they want to tell you how you should run your business
  2. Avoid people who are unhappy or have victim mentality. There are some people who are just unhappy with life. They will sometimes latch on to you randomly – try to blame you for their own unhappiness. Their feedback has no value
  3. Do not listen to people who don’t buy books. Often, especially in politically sensitive topics, your book will draw a lot of reviewers and people who do not even read books. Their feedback is completely useless. Yes, you should avoid inciting such people. No, you should not listen to them at all
  4. Do not listen to readers who write bad things, or do personal attacks. Any reasonable person would not attack you or your book. If they want to give feedback, they would just give feedback. If they are attacking you, under the guise of ‘a review’ then it means they bear ill intent and listening to them does not benefit you in any way

Here is who you should listen to

  1. Above all else, listen to your LOYAL customers who buy your every book. They are your bread and butter and as long as you keep them happy you will be set financially
  2. Listen to your actual clients, who might not have bought every book, and still are buying many/most of your books
  3. Listen to people who have bought at least one book

Most importantly, if someone has not bought any of your books/products, then do not listen to them


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