Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Hooking Readers by Christine DePetrillo

The hardest part about being an author is getting your work in front of readers. Writing the story is a piece of cake compared to finding people who genuinely want to read your books and who will leave reviews that get other people to read your books. I’m not a very outgoing person. I don’t like to shove my work into people’s faces. I can barely get myself to give a bookmark to someone who has already shown an interest in what I write. The one time I did resulted in a bank teller giving me her phone number and saying that she had “experiences” she could share with me that I could write about. Think Fifty Shades experiences, people. Not what I write at all.

And now I had to switch banks.

I’m also not a look-at-me person. I’d rather be the wallpaper in the restaurant than the flaming dessert the waiter has wheeled into the middle of the room, causing everyone to gasp and clap and be wildly impressed.

Yeah, I’m sweating just thinking about that sort of attention.

I’ve done price promotions, newsletters, book excerpts, blog tours, book signings, made book trailers, ran contests… the usual stuff. I’m wondering in this post today what other authors have tried with good results.

I’m also curious about what readers want. What lures you in to try a new author? What turns you off?



SAFE, Book One, The Shielded Series, available now!


Vonnie Davis, Author said...

Finding readers who leave reviews is like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I have a book that sold slightly over 2000 copies on the day the publisher had it on BookBub. Two thousand copies!!! Or so my editor gushed when she emailed me. How many reviews did it have before that big seller day? 23. How many reviews does it have now? 28.

I just keep trying to connect to my readers on a personal level. None of the gimmicks seem to work for me. I keep telling myself I'm writing for me. Then the blues hit as I look around at those who are doing so much better and I wonder "why not me?" I have no answers and probably never will.

Jannine Gallant said...

BookBub is the only venue I've discovered that actually finds buyers. Granted, they're buyers at a 99 cent price point, but I see a huge up swing in sales of the other two books in my series as a result. I also see steady sales in lower numbers of books from my back list that lasts for a month after the BookBub ad. So, while BookBub gets you noticed, you need a series and a back list of quality books to make it pay off for you. My hope is those readers like my books well enough they'll pick up new releases from me as they come out. I guess we'll see. I feel we can blog, tweet, post on FB, etc. etc. all day long, and readers don't see our efforts. Just the same authors who are also hawking their own books. I've no clue how to break out into larger circles on those venues.

Margo Hoornstra said...

I'm with you, Chris, and Vonnie and Jannine. When you all figure it out let me know. My publisher gave my book away once (and still paid me) which was nice. 12,000 downloads got me about 10 reviews. See I'm right there with you. We do this because we love it, right?

Rolynn Anderson said...

I believe most readers don't understand what reviews mean to us. So not only do we need to lure readers...we somehow have to get the message across to them about needing reviews. And begging isn't pretty. Chris, you asked about how to get the attention of readers. I'd add a couple more 'to do's.' Present at a conference. Offer up some topics as a speaker...speaker's bureau...where you can also sell books. Do you have a car magnet? I get readers from that, too. Develop a swag that's a conversation starter for book signings. Good luck!

Leah St. James said...

Rolynn had some great ideas that, I think, can help build a readership over time. (I hadn't thought of a car magnet...must check it out.) I've come to the conclusion that readers won't pay more than 99 cents for a book if they don't know the author, and even then it's tough. You need someone who will tell everyone about your book, and then someone from that group to tell friends, and so on. Word of mouth still rules, I think. Sometimes I also think the only authors finding a lot of readers are those writing books about how to publish and find readers. :-)

Christine DePetrillo said...

Glad I'm not the only one wondering about this mystery of how to get reviews and loyal readers. I did BookBub and yes, if you have a series, it's a GREAT boost.

Andrea Downing said...

I'm wondering too and also trying to emerge from my shell. What really bugs me though is when I give away a book in contest or whatever and the recipient, who has entered presumably wanting to read the dang book, still doesn't leave a review as a sort of thank you.

Diane Burton said...

Sometimes I think other authors are the only ones who leave reviews. We know what's important. Then Amazon thinks we only write reviews for our friends and delete them. Not sure what works. I'm trying to write reviews as soon as I finish a book, but it's hard to keep up. Good ideas, Rolynn.