When you shower a new book writer with bouquets, you risk assisting at the birth of an infamous author’s ego.

But praise and feedback are vital to a sensible author who learns to assemble them into a bedrock for later sales.  Here are ways I’ve used for you to try too:

How to Make a Readers’ Comments List

1. Just say thank-you and smile until you have something in writing from someone you know who has read the book.

2. Don’t destroy any messages that come in from or via your first buyers. These will be from family, friends and others they lent their copies to.

3. Open a readers’ comments file in your computer. Enter all email messages and scans of letters that contain solid feedback.

4. Acknowledge all messages and include the phrase, Do you mind if I  quote you on that? People don’t mind, as long as they are quoted exactly and with no gaps. They are glad to be helpful and supportive. (If you absolutely must omit something in mid-sentence, insert three dots in its place:  “. . .”)

5. Delete salutations and personal sentences from entries, keeping the most articulate, focused excerpts. Here’s an example of the format I use:

“My flight out to CA was made all the more enjoyable because I read A Book of Kells on the way. I thought it was very well done – a very good read. It has real potential for a wider audience.” Chris Delmar, Westport, CT

For clarity, I substituted the name of the book for “your book” in the original.

Where to Distribute Your List Widely

6. Submit a few of the comments to your Amazon page, under Create a Review. This must be done by someone other than the author. My husband and I share an email address but our passwords differ. The  review on amazon.ca is honestly entitled  ‘Comments Received Directly by Publisher’.  These are serious, freely submitted opinions from legitimate sources.  For whatever reason, the writers were not able to send them in on their own. To take a look at what I’m referring to, click on this link and scroll down to the second review:
<a href=”//”>http://www.amazon.ca/product-reviews/0969914210/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt/191-8917817-4165524?ie=UTF8&amp;showViewpoints=1</a>

This review has been a placeholder until I received independent reviews.  Now I  can remove it, as I did the ones on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk.

7. Print out a copy of your list and bring it when selling at bazaars or book fairs. Browsers will enjoy its gossipy interest. No one wants to be the guinea pig buying the first book. After reading the list, they’ll take the plunge!

8. Open a comments page on your own website. Run the whole list, broken down into sections (e.g. year received, reader’s country) to make it easier to  read. It contributes to the aura that lots is going on with the book.

9. Choose a snappy quote from your list to give your next book  promo, tweet or advertisement a relevant, authentic punch line.