Do You Have a Focus Group?

A recent BookCrash reviewer wrote the following in her review of a children’s book:

The premise of this book is lovely…There are a few things in the book that are a little puzzling, such as sentence structure, and capitalizing the first word of each line… Random words are also capitalized throughout the story for no apparent reason… I also feel flirting, dating, and marriage are too advanced for a children’s book. .. I feel this book is a little complex for a children’s book.

Focus Group

Here is a book that would have benefited from a focus group before moving to production.

A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards a product, service, or idea.

Organizations use focus groups to gather information before launching or revising a product. The purpose of a focus group is to give the business data that helps them enhance, change, or create a product or service targeted at a key consumer group.

Had the author of this book used a focus group, the issues this reviewer raised would already have been addressed by the focus group and corrected by the author.

A critique group can double as a focus group for an author. Critique groups are great for helping authors with weak plots and inconsistencies in the story line. However, by going one step further and asking a few questions of a critique group, authors can gain valuable information on making their book conform to the expectations of their target audience.

Asking pointed questions can ferret out issues around content that is inappropriate or too complex content for a certain age group or audience before the book is published.

I find that too many independently published authors rush their book to publication. They don’t take the time to do many of the steps that traditional publishers do to ensure a book is marketable. One of these steps is having knowledgeable people that can discern whether a book’s content works with various audiences. Having a focus group that provides an honest critique of your book is important.

Don’t rush your next book to production. Take the time to seek out people who will provide you honest and thorough feedback. You want your book to shine, not just be published.

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2 thoughts on “Do You Have a Focus Group?

  1. Good advice. My book is non-fiction. I did try to get my manuscript reviewed by several people for suggestions on improving it. But I found it difficult to find people willing to do this! They were just too busy, or not interested, or said they would do it and then failed to do so (the last example was the most frustrating!). Thankful I did find several willing people, whose input did help improve my book. But several more would have been ideal. Any tips on how to find people willing to do this for you????

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  2. Yes, finding people to help is always difficult. I think belonging to a local writer’s group is one good way to find people. That way, it is one of those “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”. Other than that, finding people who are passionate about your subject is my other suggestions. Good job working hard to find input before publishing your work!

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