How Do Readers Find Books They Want to Read?

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You can’t wait to read the next engaging book. How do you find that novel?

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In today’s world, whether authors are traditionally published or self-published, we must invest time and money in promoting our books. It would be helpful if we could put out resources into activities that help readers find books they want to read.

 

 

I’d like to know how you go about finding novels you want to read. I’ve created a list of possibilities below.

 

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If you would be so kind, would you write the list numbers of the two or three you mostly use into the comments section and post the comment? Or write in ones I haven’t listed that you use. That would be helpful also.

 

 

 

In a future post, if I have enough responses to tell us something, I’ll share the results from the comments.

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How I Find Books I Want to Read

  1. Peruse bookstores
  2. Attend book fairs
  3. Find recommendations in newspapers or other publications
  4. Act on recommendations from other readers (word of mouth)
  5. Investigate books announced through emails from authors about new books, or deals on old ones
  6. Subscribe and use suggestions from authors’ newsletters
  7. Investigate books mentioned in authors’ sidebars on their blogs or websites
  8. Read mainly series and get the next book in the series
  9. Click on “Customers who bought this book, also bought …” (Amazon ads)
  10. Click on “Sponsored products related to this item …” (Amazon ads)
  11. Click on Facebook ads
  12. Click on Twitter ads
  13. Click on Goodreads ads
  14. Look at reviews and recommendations on Goodreads
  15. Peruse reviews & star ratings on online bookstore sites (Amazon, CBD, B&N)
  16. Attend Facebook parties to receive free giveaways
  17. Comment on blogs with giveaways to receive free books
  18. Belong to book sites that report deals in your genre (BookBub, Libroso)
  19. Belong to KindleUnlimited or a similar program.
  20. Go to Online Libraries
  21. Look for books on publishers’ sites
  22. Look for books by my favorite authors
  23. Investigate books promoted on Twitter
  24. Investigate books promoted on Facebook
  25. Subscribe to blogs that review books
  26. Belong to a site where I choose free books to review (Authors Cross-Promotion)
  27. Purchase box sets looking for new authors

Help learn how readers find books they want to read. Click to tweet.

Please share the way you locate your next fiction read in the comments. Thank you so much for participating.

Amazon Link

Amanda Larrowe’s lack of trust sabotages her relationships. The English teacher and award-winning author of middle-grade adventure books for boys has shut off communication with friends and family to meet her January 2 book deadline. Now, in the deepest snow accumulation Richmond, Virginia has experienced in years, Camden Lancaster moves in across the street. After ten years, her heart still smarts from the humiliating aftermath of their perfect high school Valentine’s Day date. He may have transformed into a handsome, amiable man, but his likeability doesn’t instill trust in Amanda’s heart. When Cam doesn’t recognize her on their first two encounters, she thinks it’s safe to be his fair-weather neighbor. Boy is she wrong.

What a Writer Can Learn From Reading Book Reviews

On the premise we can learn about an author’s audience from reading book reviews, I studied reviews for a Christian contemporary romance I had read. I became more intrigued by the relationship between reviewers’ issues and their star-ratings than the author’s audience.

The book had 262 reviews with a 4.7-star average.

  • 5 stars = 202
  • 4 stars = 42
  • 2 to 3 stars = 18
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Gabriela Pereira advises us to read 3- and 4-star reviews only (“Alpha-Blog Soup” Writer’s Digest May/June 2018). Pereira says, “5-star reviews are often too glowing to be useful, and people who leave 1- or 2-star reviews have an axe to grind.” She thought seven was the “magic number” of reviews to read to know an author’s audience.

I read sixteen 4-star reviews, breezing through story descriptions and slowing to a sloth’s-pace when the reviewer gave opinions about anything.

I’ve compiled stats below of what reviewers said about different aspects. Remember, these sixteen reviewers rated the book as “very good.” I believe the reviewers genuinely explored the story in honest reviews.

About the Author

  • Writes good banter, humor, and dialogue
  • Willing to introduce risky subjects

About the Reviewers

  • Loyalty to series/author. Regardless of whether they had problems with the story, twelve reviewers (75%) said they’d read the first book in the series, one or more of the author’s other books, and/or planned to read the next book in the series.

Opinions About the Story

 

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 Theme. Seven reviewers (44%) mentioned a theme. Five went with Theme 1 and two chose Theme 2.

 Plot. Eight (50%) shared their opinions on the plot. Four labeled the plot, and they gave the same plot name. Four mentioned they liked the fresh story twists; three weren’t impressed with the plot, and one gave no opinion on her plot feelings.

 Authenticity. Six (38%) said they were pleased situations and characters were realistic.

 Morality. Seven (44%) voiced concerns over moral issues in the story.

Lessons learned. Six (38%) remarked they appreciated learning from the situations.

Spiritual thread. Ten (63%) mentioned this aspect and gave positive opinions.

 Opinions About the Characters

 

Likeability of Main Characters. Eight (50%) cited problems with liking them. Some warmed up to them later in the story, and two said they enjoyed the story in spite of not caring for the main characters.

Secondary Characters. Seven (44%) mentioned liking the secondary characters. For one secondary character, three loved him and one disliked him.

Character arcs. Seven (44%) mentioned seeing the growth in the main characters.

What struck me was that seven reviewers respectfully voiced their concerns with moral issues, three disliked the plot, and eight had problems liking the hero and heroine, yet they gave the book four stars. These opinions came from ten reviewers (63%), some having concerns in more than one of these three categories.

My exercise showed at least 75% of the sixteen reviewers were loyal to the author/series. And 63% said they were happy with the spiritual thread. This may suggest the importance of

  • authors gaining loyal readers in their genre and receiving a loyalty “mulligan” when one book disappoints, and
  • writing series.

Try reading several 4-star reviews for a book and learn from the commonalities. Click to tweet.

What thoughts can you add to this exercise?

COOKING UP KISSES – has earned an Amazon #1 bestseller ribbon in two categories!

Five scrumptious e-book romance novellas, all for $0.99 or free on KindleUnlimited. Here’s the link.  Here are the blurbs:

 

 

 

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN IN A RED DRESS BY ZOE M. McCARTHY

Candace Parks lives a passionless life in Richmond. The computer programmer returns to the empty family home in the Blue Ridge Mountains solely to evaluate her job, faith, and boyfriend. Her high school crush, Trigg Alderman, who barely remembers her, visits his Gram next door. Sorting her life out? How about nothing of the sort!

 

LOVE ON A DARE BY MARY MANNERS

Alana Mulvaney’s life is in a holding pattern. Consumed by day-to-day operations of the family business, Alana has no time for fun or romance. But a little fun and a whole lot of romance is just what Alana’s sisters have in mind when they learn childhood friend Donovan O’Reilly has returned to town.
Donovan O’Reilly has loved Alana Mulvaney since he moved in next door to her at the age of five. But he broke her heart when he was forced to leave town, and now that he’s returned home to Winding Ridge he has a second chance to prove himself. But is it too late to earn her trust…and her love…again?

HUMMINGBIRD KISSES BY DELIA LATHAM

Toni Littlebird believes that when she meets the man God created for her, she’ll know—and she’ll love him in that very moment.
But then Dax Hendrick roars into Hummingbird Hollow on a noisy, crippled Harley, stinking up the air and chasing away her beloved hummingbirds. One look into the intruder’s eyes and her heart sinks. He’s “The One.” She’d been right about knowing, but wrong about something far more important: She will never love this man!

HEARTS ON THE HARBOR BY ROBIN BAYNE

Cara Peyton is content with her life, her trendy Baltimore bookshop is perfect for her. But when her ex turns up to remodel the store, asking for a second chance, she’s torn and unsure about risking her heart again. Can he convince her to trust him, and God, before the job is finished?

 

 

HIS VALENTINE PROMISE BY DORA HIERS

Another Valentine’s Day and Quinn Randolph prefers to spend it with her sweet rescue lab. Who needs men and their broken promises? Especially Pierce Karson’s! Years ago, his desertion shattered her. Now he’s trying to steal the property she targeted to expand her florist shop! Pierce only wants to belong…and for Quinn to choose him. His Valentine Promise…

32 Marketing Ideas to Promote Your Book

“People are in such a hurry to launch their product or business that they seldom look at marketing from a bird’s eye view and they don’t create a systematic plan.” —Dave Ramsey

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve pursued many of these marketing activities for Calculated Risk. Decide which you have time for, would enjoy, and can afford.

For any of these ideas, search online for help on how to do the activities well and for testimonies on their effectiveness.

Marketing Ideas

 

1.  “About Content” – Update the content about you on all your social networks. Include interesting tidbits about your book.

2.  ACFW Fiction Finder – Check requirements to add your title to this American Christian Fiction Writers listing for people looking for fiction.

3.  Ads – Join multiple authors in magazine ads. Newspaper ads for author events. Some blogs will display your cover in sidebars.

4.  Amazon Author Central – Set up an account and author page.

Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5.  Announcements – Build email lists now. Send your promotion postcards to readers and libraries.

6.  Audience Analysis – Define your audience and where members gather. Join their online groups and build relationships.

7.  Blog – Post regularly. Display your book cover on the sidebar. Publish book-related posts around your release date. Guest-blog on others’ blogs.

8.  Blog Tours – Find bloggers willing to host you during a set period.

9.  Book Clubs – Include a website tab. Offer free bookplates to groups that discuss your book. Offer to attend meetings through phone or Skype.

10.  Book Launch Party – Plan a celebration at a local bookstore or a community center.

11.  Book Signing – Hand out bookmarks. Join multi-author signings.

12.  Book Trailer – Put your trailer on your website and other sites, such as Amazon’s Author Central.

13.  Drawings – Hold drawings for a book or basket of book-related items at book signings and local businesses.

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

14.  Conferences – Offer books at the center’s bookstore. Leave book promotional materials on appropriate tables. Build relationships.

15.  Contests – Enter respected contests. Winners can add “award-winning author” to their bio. Runner-ups can mention that fact.

16.  Consignments – Approach local gift shops to sell your books on consignment.

17.  Email Addresses – Collect them on drawing entry forms or in your guestbook at author events. Ask participants to subscribe to your newsletter.

18.  Endorsements – Include them on your website’s Book Page, promotional materials, press releases, and author pages.

19.  Excerpts – Choose book excerpts for your website, interviews, and speaking events.

20.  Facebook Author Page – Post regularly. Share book news.

by MrMagic
by MrMagic

21.  Festivals, Fairs, and Craft Shows – Set up a book table and chat with people.

22. Goodreads – Hold book giveaways. Participate in Goodreads groups.

23.  Influencers – Gather people to read your advance reader copies, write honest reviews, and promote your book on their social networks.

24.  Interviews – Obtain interviews on blogs, websites, and other media.

Image courtesy of chanpipat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of chanpipat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

25. Library Events – Contact local libraries and plan fun meet-the-author events.

26.  Newsletter – Produce a newsletter periodically with content exclusively for subscribers.

27.  Press Release – Send releases to local newspapers and the content to library and bookstore coordinators for your events.

28.  Promotional Materials – Order bookmarks, business cards, postcards, posters, car magnets, banners, and book-related giveaways.

29.  Reviewers – Request book reviews from bloggers and professionals who write reviews.

30.  Speaking Engagements – Prepare talks to use for various types of events.

31.  Virtual Parties – Host an online party with book-related blurbs and giveaways.

32.  Website – Maintain a quality, updated website.

Peruse these marketing ideas & start promoting your upcoming book now. Click to tweet.

Add to the list. What are other marketing ideas?

Calculated Risk by Zoe M. McCarthyHere’s a plug for a marketing idea my publisher is doing: 

For the entire season of Lent, all e-books in the Pelican Book Group store are free. Yes, free–all e-books in the catalogue–from 18 Feb to 2 April. Calculated Risk is included in this promotion.