Indie Authors: Gathering Data and Marketing Your Work

You may already know, but I’m a big fan of data. It’s so useful, and can help streamline and make book marketing so much more effective, among other things.

One great way to collect data is to do surveys. One great example of how survey data pays off is musician Jim Bianco’s album, Cookie Cutter. NPR reported that all 17 songs were inspired by a fan who filled out his 69 question survey. Fans shared intimate answers, and Bianco got back “stories about reunited lovers, runaway pets, ballerinas, brain cancer survivors, Jesus Christ and — everyone’s favorite — death.”

Two of my favorite survey tools are:

  1. Google Forms
  2. SurveyMonkey

Here are some ideas for how to use surveys:

  • Figure out topics to write
  • Learn which book titles grab people’s attention the most
  • Ask which book cover is most compelling
  • Get fans to vote on what passages or storylines are more enticing
  • Pull a Jim Bianco and write a short story based on a fan
  • Decide what works as a book description
  • Learn about your fanbase, such as demographics and preferences (and target your marketing towards them)

What do you think? Any other ideas for how to successfully use surveys? Please share in the comments!


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