Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Making Surveys Work for You

Here’s a great tip from author J.D. Petruzzi. He is using Survey Monkey to ask Civil War enthusiasts which book they would like to see next in the “Complete Guide” series, following his popular book The Complete Gettysburg Guide.

It’s a free service and easy to use. J.D. posted the link widely, on Civil War sites, his social networking accounts, and on The Complete Gettysburg Guide Amazon discussion page. The number of votes and comments have been overwhelming, sometimes surprising, and many people are taking the time to write some thoughtful suggestions for the series that J.D. and cartography Steve Stanley are taking into consideration.

Feedback is very important to us too. We appreciate every email we receive about customer service, every suggestion we get on how we could improve our monthly newsletter, and thoughts on what titles our readers want to see. Stay tuned for our first survey question in an upcoming newsletter.

Authors, what survey question could you ask around your new or upcoming book? And don’t forget to cast your vote on J.D. Petruzzi’s question.


J David Petruzzi said...

Thanks Sarah. It has indeed been very, very interesting. As of tonight, 135 folks have answered the survey, and a majority have left comments - quite thoughtful ones. I think it may be due to the anonymity of the survey; folks may feel more free to express themselves. In all cases, each response have been extremely helpful, and given us a lot to think about.
The choice results has also been a bit unexpected. We knew and anticipated the popularity of a guide on the 1862 Maryland Campaign (that one is next, and has received about 40% of the votes) but the popularity of the other choices surprised me a bit. For instance, Appomattox turned out to be less popular than I anticipated; the 1863 cavalry battles moreso. It's interesting watching the 1862 and 1864 Valley Campaigns "fight it out".
In all cases, the comments have been the most helpful. One respondent reminded me of a small skirmish during the Maryland Campaign I'd completely forgotten about, for instance.
The survey has to be one of the most helpful tools I've stumbled across, and I will be using it a great deal in the future.

Sarah Keeney said...

Thanks, J.D. It's so interesting to get this feedback.