I recently had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Guy Kawasaki, a popular speaker and author of 10 books, including Reality Check, The Art of the Start, and Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. I told him about this blog and asked if he had any words of wisdom for my readers. With a sly chuckle, yet also speaking seriously, he said the following:
"Don't be paranoid."
I asked what he meant, and he said that authors, both traditionally and self-published, are often afraid to try anything unconventional. They think someone is going to come along, tap them on the shoulder, and say, "Hey now, you shouldn't do that."
His attitude is, "Why shouldn't I?"
An example he gave was for his most recent book, Enchantment. When he finished the first draft, he sent out a Google+ message to his hordes of followers and asked for volunteer beta readers willing to provide feedback. Several hundred people replied, and you know what Guy did? He emailed them the entire manuscript.
Yes, he emailed his entire unpublished manuscript to hundreds of strangers. For "security," all he did was ask them to check a box saying they promised not to forward it to anyone else. A simple promise, nothing more.
What happened? He got a lot of thoughtful feedback that helped him improve his book, and those who provided that feedback became emotionally invested evangelists, eager to see the book succeed. In fact, dozens of them posted positive Amazon.com reviews the very daythe book came out.
Guy's idea worked out pretty well, don't you think? I may have to try it myself.
Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.