What Reader Feedback Means to Self-Published Authors


What Reader Feedback Means to Self-Published Authors

Authors have always enjoyed hearing from their fans, but now, they appreciate feedback more than readers may realize. I regularly encounter both readers and new writers who haven’t heard of self-publishing. In the last six years there has been a massive shift in the publishing world. Modern technology, the easy availability of knowledge, and the platforms to sell directly to customers, have allowed an alternative for people who want to write a book but are overwhelmed by the hurdles of traditional publishing. This alternative is self-publishing. There are many advantages to self-publishing, but one that is seldom mentioned has totally changed the author’s appreciation of reader feedback. This advantage is the ability of an author to almost instantly make changes to their book.

Publishing your own work has a number of perks, the biggest being that the author retains all rights to the work. In addition, the author calls all the shots. Cover design, picking a title, back cover, editing, marketing, promotion and price are all under the control of the author. The price, in fact, is one of the easiest ways to tell if the author is self-published. Most self-published fiction ebooks are under $5.00, whereas, most traditionally published ebooks are over $8.00. With the pay structure for self-publishing, the royalties can be much better, paying the author more per book, even selling it at a lower cost…a win-win for both readers and authors.

One of the best advantages of self-publishing is the ease of fixing mistakes. We all make mistakes, whether traditional or self-published. It happens. Even with editors, beta readers and professional proofreaders, the occasional mistake can still make it through to the final copy. With the traditional publishing route, once a book has been sent to printing, it’s too late. The same mistake will appear in every copy printed (unless there is a future reprinting).

Most self-published authors who sell in paper, do so using a service called print-on-demand or POD. With this technology, when an order is placed, the book is printed, bound, and shipped, arriving within days, looking just like a store-bought book. The beauty of POD is an author using it, can easily fix an error. Once the book is corrected and uploaded, any future purchases, either paperback or Ebook, will have the updated version. To make the situation even better, if the author felt strongly enough, they could request that previous Ebook purchasers be notified that a free updated copy is available.

Self-published authors, especially enjoy feedback

I think it’s fair to say, most authors enjoy getting feedback, particularly in the way of good reviews. They also like hearing from fans directly. Because of the ease of making changes, self-published authors now enjoy reader feedback even more. Words of encouragement from readers, listing what was liked, and asking when the next book is due out, are all great, but if there is a mistake, whether it is a typo, a misused word, a double word, or something worse, most writers would want to know about it. All the reader has to do is copy or type out the line, or any distinguishing part of the error, and email it to the author. Most self-published authors have a contact me tab on their website. Once the email is received, the author can easily use their word processor to search for the sentence or phrase, finding it in minutes or less, and make the correction.

As you’re reading your next book, keep in mind, the author would likely really appreciate hearing from you, even if it is to point out a mistake…especially, if they are a self-published author. If you are an author and you get feedback from a reader, be sure to thank them for their time and effort. We should all strive for perfection…any mistakes that are found just bring our work closer.

I once had one of my favourite authors offer to send me a bunch of his books for pointing out a few errors before he did a big giveaway-promo of it. Do you have any stories of helping an author or being helped as an author?

Silas Payton

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5 thoughts on “What Reader Feedback Means to Self-Published Authors

  1. I’ve had authors contact me about errors, just as I’ve contacted other authors about theirs. Most are understanding, just as I am with constructive feedback. It’s better to be supportive than judgemental (whether as a reader or an author).
    I’ve seen traditionally published books with cringeworthy errors, so as you say, it’s not just an indie issue. But at least we have the power to fix ours.
    I also love being contacted about what was liked about the book and what was not. As authors, we love getting lost in the world we created, and I could answer questions about my books and characters all day long.

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    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Kayla. I love getting feedback from readers, and when it comes to mentioning errors or negative opinions about a book or parts of it, I’d rather hear it than not. I don’t think many readers know how easy it is to fix a mistake. We may not always act on all suggestions or dislikes, but it allows us to watch for patterns and learn from it. I hope any readers who see this might be a bit more inclined to get in touch with authors they’re reading.

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