Recently a man I've never met, and who hadn't read or even bought my novels, emailed me asking for (free) advice on how to promote his self-published book. Overlooking his faux pas, I told him I have several consulting options available on my website and sent him a link for his review.
However, I wasn't super busy that morning, so just to be nice I took a quick look at his author bio online. Unfortunately, it was filled with typos and basic grammatical errors. This of course made me wonder what his book must be like, and it certainly didn't make me want to read it.
I decided to help him out. I copied the bio into a Word document, then pointed out the errors in tracked changes. I emailed it back to him with a nice note explaining that if potential readers can't get past his bio, they are probably not going to purchase his book. The email was professional, respectful, sincere, and free.
I normally charge a fair amount for this type of work, so I would have thought he would appreciate the gesture. However, he wrote back that he didn't think "a couple typos" are important and that no one reads author bios anyway.
He clearly missed the point, which was that I was a potential reader, and that I had read his bio first thing. It made a negative first impression. But he was completely closed to hearing any constructive criticism, and as a result I would be willing to bet he hasn't sold very many books. I know I didn't buy one.
Just remember, all feedback, positive or negative, is helpful!
Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2012 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.