There are several authors who involve their readers through games and surveys. One author who stands out in my mind is Janet Evanovich. For the Stephanie Plum series, her readers are asked to submit their ideas for the name of the next book. Another successful author gives away free copies in exchange for feedback. Then there’s the “find your readers” sales funnel.
I think this is brilliant marketing as well as a great way to involve your reader in future publications.
Every time an author (who by default is a marketer) faces the next stage of publication and distribution, a new era of learning presents itself. Having decided to give away a free copy of my first novel, The Supernatural Prodigy, to anyone who helps me out with a survey, I then had to learn the mechanics of such an endeavor.
Where do I get the surveys? How do I give away the book? How many completed surveys will I need?
Google came to my rescue once again. Not only do they have free surveys in Google Forms, but they also let you import pictures for each question. The survey I used is called “Customer Feedback.” A wonderful tool for anyone wanting to test a product.
Here are some of the amazing benefits of this survey:
- Collects the email if you request it so you can send the person his/her reward or more information
- Several options for the answers (short text, paragraph, multiple choice)
- Make it a required question, or not
- Add a progress bar so they know how close to the end they are
- Add a picture (automatically formatted including size) as a header
- Add a picture (product, book, etc.) on each question
- Choose or upload a background picture
- Choose the color of the invitation
- Option for the answers to go directly to an excel sheet in Google Docs
- Easy edit which is automatically saved
- Easy setup with little to study
- Did I say easy? Try SUPER EASY!
- Links to Facebook, Twitter, email, embed code, or link for easy distribution
- Includes a “Thank you” message (editable) for instant reward or redirect
- Has an option for the person to see the real-time results
- Oh, and I did mention it is COMPLETELY FREE!
Here are some examples of how the responses look:
To see my design, CLICK HERE. As you can see on that page, the survey can be imbedded into your website. It can also be sent by email, posted to social sites and more. I’ve chosen my book cover but please fill it out anyway to see how professional Google makes them. I’ll still send you a free copy of my book.
I recommend getting about 100 responses to find out what you want to know. Good things to survey are book cover designs, hook messages for ads (an absolute necessity), and anything else you’d like to know.
I highly recommend using this tool to find out what your public is thinking and what they want.
If you have other ideas for saving money or helping authors, please add them to the comments.