This chapter explains how to transform your self-edited manuscript into a finished manuscript. A high-quality book requires extensive testing and copyediting. You can get these processes done without a traditional publisher, but you cannot eliminate them. Your goal is a book that looks and feels as good as any book from a big-time, traditional publisher.
On the Internet, there’s a community for everything, and this includes authors seeking feedback and readers willing to give it. If you don’t have a large social-media following, you can join these communities and ask for feedback.
First, search for keywords on Google+ and Facebook that describe your genre and join these circles and groups. Then ask the people who seem to share your sensibilities to read your manuscript.
For example, if you were writing a book about self-publishing, and you were looking for people interested in this topic, search for “self-publishing” on Google+. (Note: do this search inside Google+, not a regular Google search of the entire Internet.) You can do the same search on Facebook to find people, pages, and groups that are relevant to self-publishing.
After you find people who share your passions, start commenting on their posts and mentioning them in your posts. When you see a way to help them, seize the opportunity to create a relationship. You cannot expect strangers to jump at the opportunity to help you, but you can expect people to reciprocate because of what you’ve done for them.
While we’re on the topic of reciprocation, allow me to digress and provide two power tips I learned from Robert Cialdini, the author of Influence: Science and Practice. First, when you’ve done something for someone, and the person thanks you, the optimal response is “I know you would do the same for me.”
In other words, let them know that they owe you. Second, when people owe you, give them a way to pay you back so that they can clear their debt. The constant exchange of favor and reciprocation builds very strong relationships.
Back to niche communities – there are also standalone writing communities that focus on feedback and collaboration. For example, Wattpad http://www.wattpad.com/about
helps writers and readers build relationships and exchange feedback. It emphasizes novels and poetry. Writers add 500,000 stories and poems to the site per month.
also enables writers to share their works with readers. By facilitating this sharing, it helps readers to discover new writers and helps writers to obtain feedback. Figment’s emphasis is on teen fiction.
Other sites to check out include:
Guy Kawasaki has written 12 books, 10 of which were traditionally published. His newest book is APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book, which helps people understand how and why to self-publish.
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book, by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, is available as an eBook ($9.99) and in paperback ($24.99). Visit http://apethebook.com/