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Some of you guys may remember that way back when (seven weeks, people!!!) I asked readers to share their perspectives on what types of promotion by new-to-them authors has worked for them, as readers.

What motivates you to give a new author a try?

How does often that translate into the discovery of a new “waiting to check out new releases asap” author?

So far, most of the responses to the original post were from authorsand while it’s true that writers are readers first, it’s my opinion that being published (e or print) colors their view of what truly works.

As emily veinglory said (at some point in the past over at ERECsite, I’m paraphrasing here), there’s many a new author who was completely unaware of even the existence of promotional materials (bookmarks, character cards, what have you), let alone the need to have any, until after they joined a professional writers’ organization. And once they did, they were told that these things a) are essential and b) work.

But do they? For Jane Ordinary Reader, do they really work?

So, I’m going to ask againeveryone, regular posters and lurkers who are readers:

Please post, either in this thread or in the original one, telling us what has worked for you. (If you are shy, you can always tell me privately at azteclady1 @ gmail.com)


  • Mary Beth
    June 6
    8:14 pm

    I decided to come out of lurkdom to give you my two cents on this because I think I might be different from many of the regulars on this site. I’m a reader, not a writer.

    I almost never (maybe once a year) buy a book for myself without having read it first. I read a lot–usually a book a day, sometimes two. There’s no way I could buy or even store all the books I read, so I am a library junkie. I’m at the library several times a week and I always check the new books shelf. If I read something from the library that I love, then I buy it. Even then, I get some of those books at library sales or similar events and Half-Price Books.

    Sites with reviews like Karen’s, Dear Author, AAR, Mrs. Giggles, and Smart Bitches help me decide what to order from another library if mine doesn’t have it or what to request my library buy. I have a loooong list of TBR books thanks to those reviews!

    So what kind of promotion affects me? How do I find new authors? Favorable buzz on the sites I just mentioned are very important as they are my primary source of info. I do get to bookstores on occasion, and then it’s a matter of what appeals to me visually (cover or spine depending on shelf placement) and then content (back blurb and skimming the beginning).

    I am also influenced by author websites. If I like a book, I usually check out the author’s website to see what else she’s written. Infrequently updated, poorly written, difficult-to-navigate sites irritate me and predispose me unfavorably to an author. If the author does appear online other than her own site, how she behaves influences me.

    If I like a book, I will read everything I can by that author. I will recommend the book and author and give new copies as a gift to friends and family.

    In my experience, new authors could save their money on bookmarks, character cards, etc. That money would be better spent on sending out review copies and maintaining an interesting website.

    In reading this over, I realize that I am probably not the type of reader/buyer that writers like! I will say that in the last year or so, since discovering the abovementioned sites and others, I have made a greater effort to buy books new as I’ve read how it affects authors.


  • I agree with Mary Beth. Even though I don’t agree with reviews, or even read every single one written on DA, SBTB, AAR and other blogs, I keep their excitement in mind. The most effective pre-release buzz an author could have is a well designed, regularly updated website with blurbs, excerpts, and general recreational activities. It’s why I continue to visit the websites of Kathryn Caskie and Julie Anne Long, among others, even though they’ve been hit and miss for me.

    While book giveaways are fun, I really dislike cover flats and bookmarks because I could care less about covers and rarely use bookmarks. Other promotional items like pens, magnets, pins, etc are good ideas when an author hands them out to readers at book signings and conferences, but through the mail? Not really.

    I guess I’d rather authors today write excellent books, focus on their websites, get involved in author blogs and reader blog interviews, and submit their books to the proper review channels–if not have their agent talk about their books (I pay attention to Kristen Nelson’s clients since she mentions them so often).


  • Teresa
    June 7
    4:01 am

    I hate to tell you, but promotional items for me are a bust. I don’t go to signings or conferences.

    Occasionally, if I see a bookmark at my UBS, and I need one, I will pick it up if the picture is cool. Most times, I couldn’t even tell you what book the mark was for.

    Websites are another bust for me. I have gone looking in the past, found a bad website that expects me to hunt and look and guess where the info is. Now, I don’t even bother going to an author’s website.

    I do have a couple of blogs I keep up with, but those are few and far between.

    Reading an authors interactions online (at SBTB mainly) does intrigue me sometimes, but more often than not, I don’t even realize the poster is an author.

    Clueless? Yep, that would be me. I am the most unobservant person you will ever meet, and it takes a sledgehammer to get my attention if I am not looking specifically for a book. I find my books in the store, or online (for e-books), or from my sister’s book pile.

    As for reviews, if there is any chance at all that I will read a book (or see a movie), I won’t read a review. I am so suggestible, that if a review says the book/movie is trash, I believe it, even if I like the premise/idea of the book. This tarnishes the book/movie for me if I do go ahead and read/see it.

    Not much help, am I?

    What will get my attention, especially for a new to me author, is a sample chapter on the website where I will buy the book.


  • Reporting in from Lori Foster’s Get Together, where promo materials abound.

    I have to agree with the other posters. I’m a reader and I couldn’t care less about the gazillion million bookmarks, plates and other pretty glossy items.

    Does that mean that I will never check out a book that I saw advertised this way? Probably no, but will the vast majority of them just gather dust because they are for all the genres I don’t read? Yes!

    I’m on several lists where authors regularly post excerpts and if I find one that’s interesting, I’ll check out their website and the publisher’s website to see if more excerpts are available. If I like what I see on those websites, and I agree with the pricing, I’ll buy the e-book.

    For print books, I mostly wait for what my favorites are putting out, and read reviews on about 3-4 different sites for possible new authors. I’ve also found new books via the library and online library.

    And I’ve just bought a Kalen Hughes book because of a discussion thread over at SBTB.

    Overall, I would say, excerpts are the most reliable way to get me to buy a book, followed by the all important price. The website needs to be up to date. Nothing more annoying than reading an excerpt and not finding any further info on the author’s site, or worse, the link to the publisher given in the excerpt email doesn’t work.

    I think authors should either find a way to target their bookmark and similar promo materials to readers who read in their subgenre or dispense with them overall in favor of accessible, user friendly websites and excerpt distribution.

    I know some are using promo companies to do this, but I find I’m less likely to read those than the emails sent directly by the authors. I’m not sure why, but since we are mentioning what works, I thought I should admit to that.

    Anyway, having lots of fun at the Get Together, got to meet lots of authors and other folk so far and there’s all tomorrow to look forward to, too.


  • behind the smoke and curtains
    June 7
    10:14 pm

    I don’t “always” read like many do; I go in spurts, but I do remain loyal to certain authors whose worlds, characters, and stories make me yearn for more.

    I used to do inter-library loans to try to read a series in order — OMG that is hard and frustrating to do! That’s when I go into ‘down time’ as far as reading, because of the frustration, and watch TV/Movies and surf for entertainment.

    I recently discovered reading and author blogs, and subbed to so many, and got caught up in contests for a while, until I was reading series out of order again, sigh! Plus if it was an author’s contest (as opposed to a reading blog’s contest), then I felt beholden to the author, whether I loved the book or not (and they had my email address, and possibly snail had I entered any BOOK contests through an author’s site). I slowed down my contest seeking a LOT recently.

    And like the others, if I haven’t read you yet, I could care less about anything other than a book, preferably the FIRST ONE IN A SERIES! So if you have a lot of books already published in a series, why not allow readers to read your first book for free without us having to submit email/snail addresses?

    If your first-in-a-series snags me, I will buy more. If not, someone else probably will love it and do the same. What’s the loss of one sale of a book published years ago, compared to snagging in new readers to a series?


    Another thing I want to mention about author sites:

    Please put each series in a clearly numbered order with a synopsis/pitch paragraph/description for each book, and linking each book to where we can buy it at a few places might help both of us. Author sites’ book lists are so friggin hard to figure out most of the time; I end up going to other sites just to figure out what order to read them in.

    Thank you for asking, I feel a little better now ;-P


  • shirley
    June 8
    12:48 am

    like the others, all that fancy stuff is wasted on me. I have school picture bookmarks of the grandkids when they were smaller so getting one from an author – I could care less.

    Hmm, excerpts work for me and so does a good blurb for either market, e or print. I buy ebooks like I buy print books – based on the blurb and the looksee. Even better if I can get a look at the first chapter. If I’m hooked there, I’m buying.



  • DS
    June 8
    11:29 pm

    If you can get me to read a first chapter and I like it I am hooked. I have also been charmed by pretty covers, but that is very rare.

    Amazon in their Kindle section offers downloads of a sample, a percentage of the text. This has been a truly effective way to get me to buy the book.


  • Jakes
    June 9
    4:17 pm

    I’m a long time reader dating back to the first books of NR, EL, LH, LF and Suzanne Brockmann. If I had to rate what works for me (and that is what you’re asking) I would have to say:

    Author Interaction (spoiled by SB and authors like Catherine Mann and Virginia Kantra) either at writers weekends or on their websites. Author’s with social skills and the desire to use them are golden for me.

    I’ve met author’s in the past who I’ve enjoyed reading and after meeting I will never read again.

    The contests, freebies, book marks etc are wasted on me. In the past I’ve returned from conferences and weekends loaded down with them and they end up being given away — again.

    I do not read reviews (Azteclady being the exception to the rule!!!) I have NEVER agreed with anything posted on AAR, or written on Ms Giggles, I do not read blogs as a rule, so SmartBitches does nothing for me either.

    I get my reviews on new authors from other readers whose opinion I trust.

    So — interaction and reader reviews the rest is wasted on me!


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