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Getting Feedback
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When and How to Get Feedback on Your Book-in-Progress
By Melinda Copp

If you’re writing a book, eventually you need to get feedback on your writing skills, the material itself, and whether or not your goals were accomplished in the manuscript. After all, the goal of writing a book is to communicate with readers, and if no one has read your book at press time, you’ll never know whether your message is perceived the way you intend it to be perceived. You can read it yourself over and over again, but you won’t be able to get a sense of how others interpret your book without letting someone else read it.

Luckily, lots of different resources are available for getting feedback on your book, and some of them are free.  After you’ve read it a few times yourself, consider the following places where you can look for help if you need someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to proofread your work, or someone to give you some advice on the organization and actual writing of your book.

Friends and Family—Your Readily Available Test Audience
Friends and family are a great resource when you need some book writing help. It doesn’t matter if none of your friends or family are professional writers or editors, they can still help and support you while you are writing your book. In fact, friends and family make a great test audience for your book. If you can have friends and family read your book, and in doing so gain a clear understanding of what you were trying to convey, then you know that your ultimate goal was accomplished. 

Using friends and family members as a test audience is a great way to get book writing help. However, be careful when asking your friends and family for book writing help, because they love you they might not be as objective as they need to be when it comes to your book. Make sure that your friends and family can be tough on the book if they need to be. Let them know that you really want their objective opinions, and ask specific questions about aspects of your manuscript that you’re not sure about.

Colleagues—Those Who’ve Been There, and Done That
Another resource that you can use to get feedback on your book is your colleagues.  Since your colleagues know your industry or area of business, they can be a great help when it comes to making sure that the information in your book is accurate and precise.  Your colleagues also may have written books themselves, so they can probably give some good advice on the organization and marketing of your book. They might even be willing to help you market the book when it’s published. 

An Editor—A Professional with Experience in the Publishing Industry
Although hiring an editor to look at your manuscript cost money, the investment will be well worth it in the end. An editor can not only eliminate style, grammar, and punctuation inconsistencies and errors, but they can also provide feedback on where your material needs trimmed or expanded to make your book as cohesive and successful as possible. The best time to hire an editor is after you’ve done everything you can to improve your manuscript on your own and after you’ve enlisted your friends, family, and colleagues to provide their insights.

Getting Feedback on Your Book
To ensure your book is successful, you need a few test readers to provide their feedback on your manuscript before you go to print. Start with your friends and family, and then look to your colleagues for their insight. And when you’ve done everything you can to make your book your best work, hire an editor to polish it off and get it ready for press. When you use these strategies for getting feedback on your manuscript, you can be sure your book will communicate your ideas and insights with clarity and success.

About the Author: Melinda Copp is a writing coach, ghostwriter, and book editor who specializes in helping aspiring authors reach their writing goals. Sign up for her free e-zine at www.FINALLYwriteabook.com, and get a free special report!

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