This week Meet and Greet Monday interviews Jennifer Bowen, ‘Queen Bee’ (CEO & Founder) of BookHive, an online  service that provides focus groups for authors who want to test finished manuscripts in target markets. Jennifer is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts and writer of the YA trilogy, The June Awakening Series. Her creation, BookHive combines target audiences with authors looking for feedback on their work.

Where did the idea for BookHive come from?

I’d been working on my first Young Adult novel. After a year of writing and getting feedback from my writers group in NYC, I was curious what a fifteen-year-old girl would think. While the people in my group thought it had promise, they were all in their 30s and 40s, and I wondered if I had my finger on the pulse for my target audience. So I cobbled together a group of teenagers to get feedback. I took that feedback and it truly informed my edits that next year. When I retested it a year later with a new group of teenagers, it tested much stronger. That’s when I knew I might have something that could help other authors.

How do you feel BookHive provides value to the writing community?

It’s an organized, vetted beta-reader process. We provide responses from eight-to-ten targeted readers where the author can receive fresh, unbiased feedback.

What is the most successful genre(s) for BookHive? Why?

Right now we test Fiction of all kinds, YA/Middle Grade and Memoir. Thus far, all of these genres have been successful.

Tell us a little bit about what happens when a Beta Reader is assigned a manuscript. How long do they have to read it? What does feedback look like?

Our beta readers are first vetted when they sign up. We gather their basic demographics (age, gender, region) as well as ask for a writing sample, how many books they read a year, if they are in a book club, and the types of books they enjoy. When a new manuscript comes in, we reach out to our beta readers with the synopsis and make sure it’s a book they would normally gravitate to. They have approximately three+ weeks to read it. The survey is both qualitative and quantitative, and the author can add two to three personalized questions to address any specific concerns. The results are a 35+ page report full of feedback, along with a two-to-three page analysis by a BookHive representative. The results are then discussed with the author over a phone or SKYPE call.

How has BookHive evolved since you began? Did it take any surprising directions you didn’t expect?

Mostly that it’s been effective thus far and the authors are happy. Who knew? I mean, I knew it worked for me, but I was glad it worked for others. A few times the beta readers have pointed out an issue that later the author will tell me someone else has previously mentioned. That gives me reassurance that we are on the right track.

Find My Audience is interested in the differing opinions that individuals have when defining the idea of an “audience”. How would you define “audience”? As an innovator of the publishing world, what does audience mean to you?

I think the audience for my authors are those faithful readers who love their style and, ideally, become life long fans. By letting the beta readers into the process a little earlier, we hope to create a culture that promotes everyday consumers being more valuable. We will never replace editors and are not looking to do that. But before authors hand over their manuscript to a very small group, or even singular person, for shaping the whole thing, I think it’s smart to get a read on their true audience, those folks who will actually be buying the book one day.

 

JenniferBowen_BookHive

 

 

Jennifer Bowen
QueenBee (more fun than CEO)
BookHive Corp.

https://www.bookhivecorp.com

Tweet me: @bookhivequeen
Facebook me: BookHive Corp

 

 

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

 

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