Here’s exactly how I did it.
I joined a group on GoodReads that featured threads for Authors. As a book blogger, I decided to get out of the book blogger threads and into the AUTHOR threads. Why? Because authors are focused on finding help for authors. They’ve been in book writing mode and now they are switching gears to marketing mode. And they aren’t thinking clearly just yet. SO I went to them.
I found threads in which I could be helpful and not go beyond the bounds of my expertise and did my best to give answers and feedback. I discovered a beta-thread and read some of the responses. Honestly, they were kind of spammy and icky and I realized I could come off more professional. I was already reviewing some manuscripts so when I had an openining in my calendar for more books, I joined a thread that was title Betas seek Authors and Authors Seeking Betas. I announced in both threads that I was offering 2 free spots in my Beta Reading Service that was normally .0001/word so for 30,000 words that was $30.
I had created a specific landing page that laid out my Beta-Service benefits, set author expectations, listed my prices and answered FAQs. Because I use Squarespace, I was able to design a long Inquiry Form that integrated with a Google Document to help me track the applications, their inquiry responses and whether or not I had responded to them.
I used that Inquiry Form as a filter for genre, plot lines I would be interested in, length of book, their goals, and other things to be sure that I would be a good fit for them and their baby. And by baby, I mean manuscript because that thing really is your baby, isn’t it, writers?
Here's what one gal had to say:
I made sure that I was the most professional and the secret tactic that got the response was LIMITED AVAILABILITY. I wasn’t lying. I only had enough space in my schedule for doing 2 solid reviews. But scarcity makes people move! That’s a little lesson I learned unintentionally but it’s a valuable one.
Sometimes you will see people who don’t really know the etiquette for forum and thread behavior. You might unintentionally be one of them. Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know.
But here’s a rule to follow that will make you friends fast. Be more helpful than you ask for help. There’s the 80/20 rule. Give answers 80% of the time, ask for something only 20% of the time.
I gave away 2 major services and I did my best, most professional job on them. The testimonials I got in return are worth more than the cash I’ve made on all the other reviews I’ve done. Why? Because word of mouth is powerful.
Sometimes threads can start to feel cluttered and full so I’ve taken the time to create and moderate a group so you can specifically connect with authors as bloggers and beta-readers or as bloggers to authors. Get in there! Share your site! Be helpful! Swap services. The whole reason we get into the blogging world is to make connections. So go connect and make relationships.
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Well, maybe that’s not totally true. We pretty much do it for the books.