I recently contacted several Amazon and GoodReads reviewers to obtain a blurb for the cover of a new book in a series. Most of the reviews were very complimentary but then I got one back that stopped me in my tracks. In that email the reviewer pointed out some flaws in both the writing and the cover. There was inconsistency in what the writer said and what the cover designer selected. Furthermore the reviewer pointed out that a couple of the characters were ‘formulaic’ and ‘underdeveloped.’ She mentioned a few other things but you get the point. And so did the writer, who thanked me and the reviewer for taking time to point out these flaws and gladly made the changes…before it was published.
The point? Imagine if you could get not one, not five but 50 people to read your book before it was published and give you some feedback? Would you want that? I know that most writers would jump at the opportunity.
Well, there is a new service offered by my friend Clark Covington that offers in effect a ‘crowd sourcing’ critique of your manuscript.
The service called ‘Collective Intel’ doesn’t shield you from the feedback, they encourage you to embrace it, and use it to get better. The service uses a simple equation to create the Collective Intel book score.
Here’s how it works: They’ll have 50 people read your book cover-to-cover. Who are these people? They are avid readers of books. Some are highly qualified editors, English Majors, proofers and even authors. They love to read books and they know a good one when they see one.
Then, they have each person fill out a ten question survey ranking satisfaction of each question. For example, on a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the rate the way the author wrote about the setting in the book? On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the relatable nature of the characters in the book, 1 for you couldn’t understand who they were, and 10 for feeling like you’ve known them all your life?
Then they take your total score (out of 500) and divide it by 50 to get your mean book score, or Collective Intel score. You are then given a total score, and a breakdown of your scores by each question so you can see how you are performing in each area pertinent to being a great writer, like setting, plot, tempo, etc. If you have a collective intel overall score of a 9, you probably have a bestseller on your hands. Conversely if you’re a 3, it might be time to get back to the drawing board. This data is awesome for so many reasons, because it helps you break down what you do well, and what you need to work on, which as I’ve illustrated above is often totally out of sight to hardworking writers.
In addition to creating collective and Question-by-Question mean scores for your book, they also provide you with each survey individually, and the notes from each reviewer on what they liked and what they didn’t when it came to your book, and most importantly what they want you to work on.
Think of this service as the ultimate focus group, a way to get honest feedback on your book, learn to be a better writer, and understand your audience better.
Let’s face it, if you have your friends, family and workplace acquaintances read and comment on your book, are you really going to get the feedback you need to create a best-selling well rounded book? I don’t think so. That’s why this service sounds like it could really be a useful tool for all authors.
Learn more and sign up here