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Writer's Circle > Is it proper to contact your readers with the goal of getting some feedback on your content?

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message 1: by David (new)

David Baron (davidbaron) | 4 comments I'm currently writing the 2nd edition of my first book and I would like to contact the readers that have left me ratings for the previous edition to ask for some general feedback and what would they like to see in the 2nd edition.

My goal is not to do any promotion but understand what worked and what went wrong with my 1st edition so I can fix it. But I wonder if it's proper for me as an author to contact my readers?

I know that I should never contact someone that gave me negative reviews as to avoid getting into a flame war. But is it ok to attempt to contact those that gave you positive ratings?

Any feedback will be welcome, cheers!


message 2: by Eric (new)

Eric Westfall (eawestfall) | 178 comments David wrote: "I'm currently writing the 2nd edition of my first book and I would like to contact the readers that have left me ratings for the previous edition to ask for some general feedback and what would the..."

I'm absolutely no authority on the "rules of the game" relating to GR policies about authors contacting reviewers. But as a writer, I suggest not doing it.

First, whatever they put in their positive reviews is presumably the entirety of what they wanted to say about your book.

Second, you're asking them to do work for you: "Please, kind reviewer, go back and look at my book again/think about it after X amount of time since you finished, and answer these questions..." (I fully realize you're unlikely to be phrasing it that way, but it seems to me that's the essence of what would be happening.)

Third, the only way for your request for information would make any sense is if you tell the reviewer you're revising the book. And, respectfully, no matter how you phrase it, the mere fact you're saying you're going to be publishing a "new and improved" version of the book might easily come across as "You liked the first one, you'll like the new one even better...hint, hint, hint."

My apologies if I've caused offense, as none was intended.

Just my USD .02.

Eric


message 3: by David (last edited Jan 27, 2020 10:51AM) (new)

David Baron (davidbaron) | 4 comments Eric wrote: "David wrote: "I'm currently writing the 2nd edition of my first book and I would like to contact the readers that have left me ratings for the previous edition to ask for some general feedback and ..."

These are very good points, I had a similar feeling that my intentions for contacting a reader could be easily misinterpret.

Thank you!


message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic Authors should never attempt to contact readers directly or indirectly. Input concerning a work-in-progress should be obtained by interacting with the professionals whose job it is to provide it: copy editors, conceptual editors, layout design artists, and graphic design artists.

If being a published author is to continue being considered a profession by the general public, authors must strive to act professionally at all times, including self-published authors.

The odds against anyone achieving commercial success within this extremely competitive field are great. That said; some have. There is no reason why you could not eventually become one of them. I wish you success.


message 5: by David (new)

David Baron (davidbaron) | 4 comments Jim wrote: "Authors should never attempt to contact readers directly or indirectly. Input concerning a work-in-progress should be obtained by interacting with the professionals whose job it is to provide it: c..."

Thank you for the feedback, these are good points.


message 6: by Diana (new)

Diana Drakulich | 3 comments As a `Whale Reader' I have no problem with an author contacting me about a book I read. I would be happy to give feedback.

You are fortunate if you are able to contact with your readers. With 7 MILLION kindle ebooks on Amazon, books often sink to the ratings depths. The Amazon is wide and very deep.


message 7: by David (new)

David Baron (davidbaron) | 4 comments Diana wrote: "As a `Whale Reader' I have no problem with an author contacting me about a book I read. I would be happy to give feedback.

You are fortunate if you are able to contact with your readers. With 7 M..."


That's a really good point but it's always worrisome that some readers might take it well while others might find it strange or annoying.


message 8: by Jim (last edited Jan 30, 2020 04:11PM) (new)

Jim Vuksic David,

To receive sound advice regarding this or any other aspect of author/reader relationships, I strongly suggest that you seek it by researching the many books and literary periodical articles written by professional authors and publishers who have already achieved notable and consistent commercial success. Most are available for free in public libraries.

There are also lectures, classes, and presentations conducted by such professionals at little or no cost during which aspiring writers may address any subject or question pertaining to the field.

Professional advice is much more likely to be accurate if obtained from professionals rather than others who, though well-meaning and sincere, may have little or no more experience in the field than yourself.


message 9: by Belle (new)

Belle Blackburn | 55 comments Feedback is good in an author's group, if you can get it. Otherwise you can make a post on facebook or instagram and just ask those people that have read your book if they have any suggestions about what they would like to see happen, things they liked or didn't, etc. That way it is not so targeted and does not feel like pressure. It also gets a nice group discussion going.


message 10: by Richard (new)

Richard (smashed-rat-on-press) | 33 comments Since nobody has yet quoted the scriptures, here's a reference to the GR Author Guidelines: https://www.goodreads.com/author/guid...

Down in the 9th bullet point of the page:
Don't contact members who have shelved your book or a related work. We consider this spam, and it will result in Goodreads members flagging your activity for review.

In other words, here on GR, let readers come to you. Use your author page to help readers find you and learn that you're a super-friendly person who loves to hear from readers. Maybe post on your author blog when you're looking for beta readers, for example.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 137 comments Speaking as a longtime user of this site: don't. It tends not to turn out well. People who buy your book are not supposed to be beta readers.


message 12: by Wmba (new)

Wmba Dams | 44 comments David wrote: "I'm currently writing the 2nd edition of my first book and I would like to contact the readers that have left me ratings for the previous edition to ask for some general feedback and what would the..."

I would not. The reviews should have noted shortcomings.

But a second edtion of your first book makes no sense unless it is a non fiction book and something could have changed in the time since it was published.

A second edition requires significant changes otherwise it is still just an updated first edition.


message 13: by Wmba (new)

Wmba Dams | 44 comments Jim wrote: "Authors should never attempt to contact readers directly or indirectly. Input concerning a work-in-progress should be obtained by interacting with the professionals whose job it is to provide it: c..."

I have to disagree. Knowing what readers want is key to writing a book that will sell better. And if you have written the book then many people use beta readers for just that sort of feedback.

If you self publish then you do not have all those professionals you seem to think exist to use. Now if you VANITY publish then those so called 'professionals' are there and will be glad to vacuum money out of your wallet with their 'services' you dont need and is often low quality.


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