Monday, September 21, 2020

Marketing from Reader Feedback

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Social media, focus groups, beta readers, and online reviews create plenty of reader feedback. Those words provide fodder for marketing.


Beta Reader’s Input

Your first readers as you write the book are helping with editing through their critiques. Use those readers to shape the marketing too. Take the positive comments about the book to find common responses and use those as promotional blurbs. Convert the best ones into memes.


Go a little further and ask questions that can build your marketing.

  • How would you describe the book?
  • What got you hooked on the book?
  • What would you tell a friends to get them to read it?
  • What surprised you about the book?
  • What do you think is the big idea/concept behind the book?
  • How would you describe the reader you think will most want to buy the book?
  • What did you take away from reading the book? How did it impact you?
  • Who do you think needs this book or will love it? Why? 

The answers will provide phrases and quotes to use in marketing. Some responses, like, “__________ needs this book or will love this book” helps define the target audience and highlights reasons that potential reader might want the book. Add those comments to your list of reader benefits. Consider interviewing one or more of those readers as part of your marketing plan.


The answers may also help you with describing the book for the back copy, media pitches, or posts about the book. They may also further define your ideal reader. 


Focus Group Input

Your focus group is not reading the book for editing purposes They are end readers you converse with about the topic of the book. This is done more for nonfiction books. It’ a time to discuss various talking points and see how the reader responds. It helps you understand what matters to your audience. Those responses can show what talking points to emphasize and develop blog post ideas to connect with your target audience’s felt needs.


By identifying what excites the focus group you also discern what will grab potential buyers. Use those responses in marketing. Ask the focus members who they follow on social media related to the topic. Follow those people to see how they reach their audience. In some cases, that could lead to guest posts for you to share about your book.


Share images with the focus group to get their feedback That can help you choose what pictures to use in memes and print materials.


Positive Reviews

Check out posted reviews once the book releases. There may be some juicy phrases or quotes as well as new perspectives on why readers will like the book. Share a link to the review and use the quote to draw followers to read the review.


Take a step back to analyze the best and not quite best reviews. Are there common responses among them that reveals an unexpected reaction or benefit you can post about? When reviewers state they want more from the author note what they liked about the book as that can give you ideas for your next book.


Negative Reviews

Study the negative comments and reviews too. A few may clarify your audience such as dishing the book because it shares the author’s faith actually highlight the faith component for Christian readers. One negative comment of my miniature craft book for younger children made me laugh because the reader complained how even the devotions in the book were mini and she wanted them longer and then she went on to say that seemed to fit the title and theme. Younger readers need shorter devotions. That review defined the book better and let moms of younger girls know it would be a good fit. Sometimes negative comments show that the book is listed under the wrong category such as a thriller when it’s really a cozy mystery, so the book disappoints the readers. A change in the listed category can rectify the problem.


Let negative comments inspire a blog post where you can respond to the reader’s need and hopefully share an insight of a passage or section of the book deals with that need. Other times, you might want to suggest a different book to the reader because your book was never meant to address that need. Or, the negative comment can inspire you to write a new book that addresses the needs expressed in the negative reviews.


Then there are times when a negative reaction reveals the pain and struggle of a vulnerable reader. A negative comment about one devotion in a book of 365 enraged a reader. That was the only one about rape, and disclosed that she had suppressed the pain of a rape in her life and prompted me to pray for her. I believe God let her vent a little of her pain and used it to keep her in my prayers. I will probably never know on this side of heaven how my prayers impacted her life, but God knows.

Using reader feedback lets readers know you listen and value the opinions of your followers. That adds to your relationship with readers and others who provide feedback. It also develops reader loyalty. 


Marketing from Reader Feedback - @KarenHWhiting on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

ren Whiting ( is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-six books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve, uses stories, activities, and chat prompts to help families develop servant hearts and foster strong bonds in families who have members serving the community, nation, or world.

She has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than seven hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Leading Hearts and Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting, Pinterest KarenWhiting, and FB KarenHWhiting


  1. Karen, I found this post so helpful! Thank you.

  2. Very helpful, Karen! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Karen, your writings are so helpful. Keep them coming. I get so much from them.

  4. Your posts are so full of helpful information. Does your brain run at high gear all the time to think of so much? Your highly-motivated writing blesses a lot of people. Thanks!

    1. Lol my mind is like a popcorn popper that pops ideas and a am thankful God uses me to bless others