Apparently, Barnes & Noble is still feeling the effects of Sandy’s wrath. According to my contact, everyone has been working remotely, and they hope to be back in the office today. We’ll see what that does to Deadly Bones in the Nook First program.
Meanwhile, I remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, having a book promoted on schedule is barely a blip on the radar when considered against all those still dealing with the aftereffects of the storm. Having lived in Florida for over thirty years, I’ve seen the kind of damage Mother Nature can do, and hope everyone in the path of the storm had a plan in place and is safe.
Quality: It’s critical. Make sure your book is well-formatted. And indie authors aren’t the only ones with poor formatting—I’ve seen traditionally published books in digital format that don’t translate well to my device. Your book has to be memorable so that readers remember YOU, or you’re starting from scratch with each new book.
Covers: Given the emphasis on buying books, either print or digital, on line, the idea of cover art has changed. What works in print doesn’t translate to digital. In print, the cover used to get across the entire concept of the book. Now, most people are seeing thumbnail images, so detail doesn’t show up. Also, consider what your cover looks like in black and white, since many e-readers don’t display color.
Readers browsing for books are absorbing information much faster. Unlike a book store, where a reader attracted to a cover could pick up the book and check out the back cover information, on-line shoppers will make a decision to click on the book or move on in less than 2/10 of a second.
According to panelist Lou Aronica, the most important thing a cover has to convey given the tremendous number of choices readers have, is “This is a Real Book.” That’s especially critical for indie authors. And your name is important. Make it visible. This includes looking at all the different e-stores to see what it will look like. Note that Barnes & Noble “turns up” a corner of the cover for their “read instantly” feature.
Engaging readers: The digital age has made the reader-author connection much more powerful. Any reader can email an author rather than mailing a physical letter care of their publisher. Social media have a major impact. It’s important for authors to engage readers, BUT, it’s not critical that you reveal personal details of your life if you don’t want them made public. And, as one panelist pointed out, you don’t have to be totally honest. It’s okay to have your profile persona be different from your true identity. (Note—I’m always honest here!)
Selling books: Naturally, with an impending release, I was very interested in this discussion. I don’t think I learned anything truly new, but it’s always nice to have one’s ideas reinforced. You can’t force people to buy a book. What works best is word of mouth. As an example, I’ve had one of my books, Nowhere To Hide featured on the Indie Author News website. Part of the feature includes tweets about the book. Although I’ve seen lots of these tweets, plus lots of retweets, they’re still “marketing” and I haven’t noticed any real uptick in sales. However, one can’t measure results; people could be downloading samples, or just remembering the book.
What has been shown to work, however, is for Jane to tweet or post on Facebook: “Just read Nowhere To Hide by Terry Odell and you absolutely have to check out Graham!” And I think there’s a caveat there as well. A lot of writers will be on Yahoo groups and request that others copy and paste their tweet. That becomes obvious and turns the tweet right back into the kind of promo people dismiss.
One way around this was discussed by a group of authors who have formed a “Lifeboat Team.” More about that another day.
So, readers out there: how did you find a first book by a new to you author?
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society