RSS Feed

Tag Archives: writing books

Getting into More Shuffles


There is an over-saturation of self-published, or “indie authors.” I know this because I am one of them. Many are good and the changes in the publishing industry can be seen as a blessing for us getting our books out into the world. However, there is an unfortunate number of these authors who really aren’t any good, like the train wrecks we see audition for American Idol and wonder how they could possibly think they had a chance. There are also some who have great potential, but they lack polish and editing. These last two types are bringing us all down, and the good ones are getting lost in the shuffle. People are afraid to take a chance on an unknown because they may have been burned by one already.

It’s all about who you know, the supporters you have, and self-promoting savvy, apparently. I am sadly lacking in these areas, and I’m shy about my work when I am face to face with people. I imagine most writers are introverts, as I am. After all, that is the nature of writing. We tend to be great at expressing ourselves through the written word because we are more internal thinkers. If we were extroverts, we probably wouldn’t take the time to write it down, but would just blurt it all out verbally. Of course, I know there are exceptions, but you get my point, right? So I need to get more extroverts on my side.

When I published my first book, Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages, on Kindle 2 1/2 years ago, using the free giveaway option was a great way to get a book noticed, get readers, get reviews, and get more sales. I tried this a few times more recently and didn’t notice any new traffic or increase in sales. I certainly got no new reviews from it. Why not? So many authors are just giving it away now in the same desperation I had in getting noticed, that even in that, we get lost in the shuffle.

I have been published exclusively through Amazon in order to take advantage of the KDP benefits such as the free giveaways and the countdown deals, but I have come to realize that if I’m going to get lost in the shuffle anyway, perhaps I just need to get into more shuffles.

Every 90 days, my books were set to auto-renew into KDP, but I was able to recently rescue book 2 from the exclusivity trap. Book 1 will linger there until mid-April. I have now made book 2 available through Smashwords and Nook as well as Amazon, and book 1 will join as soon as it can. It’s a bit awkward to only be able to offer the second book in a series through these two new formats, but I have hopes of more shuffles.



The Top Three Reasons Why People Read the Books They Read


I made it my most recent mission to find out the top three reasons people are drawn to read the books they read.  After all, I figured uncovering this information would give me insight as to how I can get my book out there and read by the masses. (Here’s one subtle hint… read Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: the Middle-ish Ages– nah, subliminal messages are not in the top three, but check it out anyway!)

1) Someone recommended it, perhaps over and over again

2) You read at least one other work by the author and swore you would read everything else this person ever wrote

3) You were just browsing, but the cover and title of the book looked awesome

By the way, I did absolutely no solid data gathering or official research for this, so you are warned, but you’re also thinking, That’s a good list.  Maybe I should see what else she has to say.  She is obviously quite smart and beautiful.  So maybe I added the last part, but keep reading anyway.  My list was carefully constructed by my own experiences as a book nerd and by observations of other people.  I love observing other people… but not in that creepy, restraining order kind of way.  No worries.

Back to number one (by the way, these are in no particular order of importance).  There are many ways a book may be recommended to you.  Perhaps a friend read the book and just knew you would love/relate to it.  The name of the book just kept popping up everywhere you went, on everything you watched and in everything you read, and critics loved it.  Maybe you know or once knew the author and wanted to either be supportive or to find something wrong so you could knock him or her down a peg, finally!  In rarer instances, you may have found yourself forced into it (school assignment or a gun to your head).  But the bottom line is that recommendations do work, so I know I need to work on my marketing with word of mouth or buy a gun.  I’d rather go with the first (and I know some hippie tree hugger is going to find my sense of humor off on the whole gun thing, but then that person really needs to lighten up and go eat some granola).

Number Two.  I know from experience (and all the posts I see on Facebook, which are sure to be good research) that once I read something I love, or sometimes even just like, I suddenly want to read everything that person ever wrote.  Sometimes this leaves me feeling hollow inside and disappointed to the point of tears (I read the entire Twilight series because I was a high school English teacher and I wanted to see what was warping the minds of the girls in my classes, but please don’t tell anyone. I still have nightmares about sparkling vampires), but it’s usually a good investment of time.  And then, of course, a good book series (not Twilight) can pull us in to the point that we’re just not sure what we will do with our lives once we’ve read them all.

And then number three (hold on, let me scroll up to see what I wrote for that).  Ah, yes, the book cover.  “You can’t judge a book by its cover” is a load of poop.  We all know if the cover looks boring we do not want to read the book.  It’s a really nice idea to use for learning to get to know people before we make decisions about them, but there are way too may books out there waiting for me to read them to waste my time reading them all.  If I find myself in a situation where I do not already have the next book I want to read or I’m at my local public library that hardly ever has anything on my want to read list, I browse.  If the cover gets my attention, that’s a good start.  Then if the title is intriguing, I will read the back of the book or the book flap.  If I’m not hooked, I’m not going to read it.

So, there you have it, my not-so-scientific research list of why we read the stuff we read.  If you don’t agree, come up with your own list.