Yet again, another old blog post resurfacing on my new blog. Apparently I thought I’d be able to stick to a blogging schedule, but maybe that’s a 2016 thing.
Getting folks to buy your books is stressful—trust me, I know. I see a lot of promotional faux pas on social media these days, and thought I’d offer a reader’s perspective about why I personally buy the books I do.
Genre and Subgenre
Sorry, but if your book isn’t in a genre that I enjoy, I probably won’t take a risk and give it a shot. There are so many books in the genres/subgenres that I love, and I want to read those.
Romance (paranormal, contemporary, erotic, some historical)
Romance (Western, most historical) **
YA (mostly the ones with descriptions that say the main character isn’t like ANY OTHER GIRL OUT THERE)
** trying to change that and enjoy more historical romance, but it’s an uphill battle
I know people say you should be adventurous with what you read, but it’s very rare that I go outside my comfort zone. Sorry.
Let me be totally honest here: if your book is strictly five star reviews, I get suspicious. A lot of unscrupulous authors will pay people to shower their books in five star reviews, whether or not the person has read the book. I get it. We’re all desperate for reviews. We all have that sign that says WILL DO WEIRD STUFF AND PROVIDE FREE THINGS FOR HONEST REVIEW. But just know the number of five star reviews means very little to me, so if you’re somehow trying to pitch me your book, know not to lead with 1 MILLION FIVE STAR REVIEWS TO DATE!!, because… no.
All that aside, I do pay attention to the overall reviews of your book. I personally like seeing a book with a lot of 3 and 4 star reviews, because I know people are being honest, and there are elements that don’t magically appeal to everyone. That’s good. Having a mixed bag is GOOD, because you are reaching out to a broad array of readers, and they are offering feedback honestly.
If your review is skewed somehow, there’s still a chance I’ll buy it. I purchase everything on Amazon.ca most of the time, and there are almost always less reviews there than the American site. So, sometimes, when I follow the links to my Canadian version, the book has 1 or 2 stars. Of course, I immediately check out the reason for such a low rating, especially if I thought the book sounded really interesting, and then go check the site with more reviews. Generally, things balance out.
Reviews don’t dictate whether or not I’ll buy a book, but they help. It’s nice to know people, in general, enjoyed a book that I think I might like too. I don’t need to see oodles of 5 stars everywhere, because it doesn’t strike me as super realistic. I mean, yeay you if you earned all those 5 stars legitimately, but I’m somewhat jaded because I know people are out there buying 5 star reviews for a couple of bucks.
Some people just ruin it for everyone. This is why we can’t have nice things.
I read a lot of books. A lot. My Kindle is full of hundreds of books I want to read and just haven’t had the time to yet. I’m also broke. Broke AF. I love to feed my need to read. I mean, being an author, it’s almost sacrilegious if you don’t at least make an effort to read a little during your week. That being said, I just don’t have the money to fork out on five $4.99 books a day. I just don’t.
I would LOVE to buy books at their full price. I believe in supporting fellow indie authors to the fullest extent that I possibly can, and I want to make sure traditionally published authors know that their work is being purchase and it’ll stick around on shelves. I want to do all of that so. hard. But I can’t. I used to pay full price for books (and music), and then found I was spending a couple hundred dollars a month I really just couldn’t afford to.
So, I subscribe to BookBub and The Fussy Librarian, and I get the majority of my books there. Usually I get the free books that fit with the above categories. Occasionally I’ll spend anywhere from $0.99-1.99 if I’m reaaaally excited. Authors I’m in love with… Well, I tend to wait for sale days, but if I’m just too amped about a sequel in a series (generally the only time I’ll do this), I’ll pay whatever they’re asking.
Author friends are the exception to the rule. If we’re pals, yeah, I’ll probably buy your book, but I always enjoy a bargain. One of the main reasons I will buy a friend’s book is because we’re actually friends (duh) and pal around about more things than book promotions, and I know they’ll do the same for me. Or equally promote my stuff. Or leave a review. All of that factors in.
So, struggling authors, consider promoting the heck out of your freebie days and your sale days, because I’m waaay more likely to pick up your book then than any other time.
I’m like a magpie, not gonna lie. I love shiny things, and gorgeous covers are like catnip to me. If your cover looks like you made it in Paint, I’m out. Superficial? Yes, but before I read any synopsis, any blurb, any reviews, I look at your cover. If it’s stunning, I may barely read your blurb before making it an instant One-Click. If the cover is poorly done, I’m generally moving on to the next pretty cover in my email.
It pays to pay for a cover designer. I promise.
What do you look for when you’re shopping for your next read?