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Getting Your Book Discovered

I’ve just discovered a real gem of an article by the CEO of Goodreads regarding the best way to get your book ‘discovered’.

In a nutshell, here are the best ways to get your book noticed:

  • Word of mouth works. 79% of Goodreads members report discovering books from friends offline, and 64% find books from their Goodreads friends. And simply finding out that someone is reading a certain book is enough to get another person interested.
  • Pre-launch buzz. You can’t start too early. Giveaways on Goodreads pre publication are a good way to get early reviews up and start people talking about your book.
  • Build a tribe by building relationships with your books. An astounding 96% of readers say they’ll read another book by an author they like. There’s the vague remark that ‘very few’ people read books they hear about on Facebook or Twitter, but I suspect that’s a tiny bit partisan! I for one find an awful lot of books through Twitter in particular, so by  no means discount that as a way to get known about.
  • Video chats are an effective way to reach a large audience.
  • The main ways people discover new books on Goodreads are: search; registration; recommendation engine; friends’ updates; genre browsing; author and series; lists; mobile; giveaways, and other.

Read the full article here. Plenty to think about there. I know I shall be acting on Otis’s advice, and very soon!




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Tweet and Buzzr Power

I’ve only just discovered the ‘view stats’ feature on Smashwords. (I’m not very tech savvy I’m afraid.) And I’m glad I have because it’s providing some useful info.

Now, I launched Oh Auntie for the princely sum of 99 cents on the world via Smashwords on 30 July. I Tweeted and blogged about it a lot and got a good initial response. Then on 14 August I joined Bookbuzzr and Oh Auntie’s cover and a hangman game I  made up using words from the book was included in their Freado book games. And then, again belatedly, I found that I could use Bookbuzzr to issue a daily Tweet about Oh Auntie, so I signed up for this on 11th August. As you can see from the stats chart below, Oh Auntie is getting plenty of regular hits.

Now let’s look at Oh Gran, which I put up for free on Smashwords on  11th September. Again I Tweeted and blogged at lot the first couple of days. That gave rise to the initial surge. I’m still Tweeting about it, but not regularly.

Now here’s Beat the Hackers that I admit I have rather neglected.

Again, an initial surge of people viewing the book, but it’s dwindled away, quite a contrast to Oh Auntie and Oh Gran, and this book is very temptingly priced at 99 cents.

Now, I appreciate that there isn’t such a demand for children’s books on ereaders yet, and that my Oh series books don’t include illustrations. The printed copies did, but since I don’t have the copyright for the illustrations, I can’t use them. I’ve had new covers done but it would be a prohibitive task to get new pictures for inside the book. So that’s a disadvantage to them. I’m putting them up at a very low price, or free, mainly to establish an e presence.

However, it would appear that Tweeting gets people to at least look at your books and download a sample. I’ve still yet to sell a single copy via Smashwords. People are getting samples of all the books, and helping themselves to the freebies, but reluctant to shell out for the 99 cent stories. And also it seems that Bookbuzzr has been useful in getting people to my books too. So, for what it’s worth, perhaps that’s a fairly good course of action to follow.











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Twitter, Tweeps and Big Egos!

OK, so which groups of Tweeps are the most egocentric? First of all, for those of you not hooked on Twitter yet, Tweeps are people on Twitter.

Following John Locke’s advice, I’ve set up a Twitter account solely to promote my upcoming book, Something Fishy. It’s a fishing mystery story – honestly, it’s far more exciting than it sounds! Anyway, I’m writing it under the pseudonym of Rorie Stevens as it’s a bit racy in places, and I’m known so far as a children’s author. I need an image change. So, I’ve brought Rorie S to life. Like me, he/she (I’m being vague on purpose) is a fishery owner in France, and, less like me, a keen carp and trout angler.

So, I had to find followers for Rorie. To get followers, you have to follow. Over the course of a few nights, I tracked down prime targets to follow, and I duly added them to my ‘following’ list. I put up a good few fishing related tweets to show willing. But certainly to begin with, I got less than a 10% rate of follows back. That’s improved slightly now – 11 followers to 70 following – but it’s not great. However, it’s typical of the fishing fraternity. They aren’t keen on following other anglers. They want to be followed. I was rather surprised by this egotism, but it’s definitely out there. It’s also odd, since surely Tweets are about information sharing. It’s hard to share if you insist on one-way communication. You see, only people following you get your Tweets. Unless you follow them, you don’t get their Tweets. Anglers, it seems, are happy to preach to others but not to listen in return. Shame.

This is in stark contrast to writers. Almost everyone in the authoring field follows a lot more people than are following them. They’re open to advice, hints, encouragement, tips from others. They’re friendly people who are delighted to make new Twitter friends. In a lot of cases, they’re working to build a platform for themselves and their books, but then everyone who Tweets is looking for attention. Picking three people that I follow from my @Booksarecool23 Twitter account and we have one author following 1340 with 998 followers, sample 2 following 1,998 and followed by 1,663 and sample 3 following 75 and followed by 49. (One of them is me, but I shan’t say which one!)

Let’s take scientists as well. They put even anglers to shame. Prof Brian Cox, for example, has nearly 400,000 followers, but only follows 94. Now that’s pathetic! An American scientist, Sean Carroll, has 8,000 followers but follows only 100.  Ed Yong has a slightly better 10,000 to 700 ratio, so Jonathan Eisen with his 6,400 to 1,500 is a quite a breath of fresh air.

So it would appear at a quick glance that the more creative you are, the more generous you are in the Twittersphere. And the more you get out of Twitter.



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I’m learning a lot these days as I prepare to become an ebook author. My latest discover is #samplesunday on Twitter. It’s an indie author thing. Enter #samplesunday as a search term and you’ll find links to samples of writing by people intending to self-publish. I shall be joining in from next week.

Two great websites I’ve recently discovered are Kindle Obsessed and Writinghood. These are packed full of info and tips. Check them out.