The Power of the Group: The more early readers, the better for your book

The Power of the Group: The more early readers, the better for your book

by Laura Orsini

As often as I come across it, you’d think I might by now be used to the stunning number of authors who approach their book sales and marketing campaigns with poverty consciousness. book in a birdcage.jpgThis is thinking and the resulting beliefs that come from feeling there is not enough: not enough time, not enough money, not enough skill, not enough knowledge, not enough readers/buyers… Sure, we all feel hurried at times, wish we had a bigger budget, know there’s still lots to learn, and are on a constant mission to find new readers – but there’s a big difference between approaching life as if the solutions to these things were inevitable and coming from the perspective that conquering these challenges would be difficult, if not impossible.

Take the question I had recently from a new author. We’d recently had a group conversation about the power of endorsements and the importance of obtaining them early, because the process can take longer than one might expect. My advice on whom to approach for endorsements is simple: shoot for the stars! Go for the biggest names, people who will help add credibility to your book. Even if they say no, you’re no worse off for having asked them. That said, the kinds of people you want to endorse your book are likely busy, so it can take some time – often a long time – to receive those endorsements. Most important advice: start early.

Following this discussion, the author in question emailed me to ask about the timing and formatting of the manuscript for early readers and endorsers. My answer was this:

You have a few options:

  1. Get the manuscript as complete as possible and email only the relevant chapter(s) to the people you would like to have endorse it.

  2. If it’s important to you that it be in “book form” for your prospective endorsers, make up a dummy cover (even plain white with the title and your name would work) and print just a handful of copies through

  3. Wait till the cover is designed and use placeholder text for the places where you will include the endorsements. Use the “lorem ipsum generator” for placeholder text.

Good question, actually. But then this author also asked a seemingly throwaway, but very telling question at the end of her message:

If I email the rough manuscript to people, isn’t there a danger of it getting too far “out there” and available before publishing?

THIS question comes out of poverty thinking. It’s generated by worry that if too many people see the book before it goes on sale, fewer people will buy it later. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that you need pre-readers, and a good number of them.

  • Endorsers. See Paragraph 2 of this post.
  • Beta readers. These invaluable people read an early draft of your manuscript and give you feedback according to your instruction. Here’s a great post from T.M. Williams that explains why and how to find beta readers.
  • Inner circle/crowdfunding supporters. If you will be attempting a crowdfunding campaign, you’ll need a crowd – and happy little perks to offer them in exchange for their monetary support. Crowdfunding expert Jason Nast suggests you give them a choice of early chapters to read, which does two things: (1) makes them feel special and (2) gives you feedback on which chapters seem to have the biggest pull. He also recommends nurturing a circle of 20 to 40 “insiders” who will carry the torch for your book to the ends of the earth by sharing it with their own lists and social media connections.
  • Early reviewers. There’s no denying that good reviews still carry a lot of weight with buyers for whom your writing is an unknown quantity. If you’ll be listing your book on Amazon, do you really want to wait until you’ve launched your book for the reviews to come trickling in? Or, do you want to be able to post a slew of positive reviews the first couple days it goes on sale? The only way to do this is by asking people to read your book ahead of the official release date.

Early readers are a group every author would be smart to cultivate. In the meantime, dump the drama and worry and poverty thinking that frets about your book getting too far “out there” ahead of its launch. The more early readers, the more early buzz.

is a self-publishing consultant who works with authors who want to LO picchange the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Laura is the organizer of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup, creator of the Holiday Author Event, and conjuror of many other author opportunities. She will explore the power of the group in her posts for this group blog. In the meantime, read her regular posts at Marcie Brock – Book Marketing Maven. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.

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