Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Catching the reader’s eye

This has been the plague of many a new writer, as well as those more established. The trend seems to be go bigger and it’s all better. I’ve watched as we’ve moved from small “giveaways” of a new book, to gift certificates, and more recently I’ve been looking at blog tours that offer eReaders and $100 gift cards to winners. So, is it the prize or is it the author/book that is pulling in the reader’s interest?

I have to be honest here, and I only speak for myself of course. I don’t make enough money to be able to offer up prizes like that, even after almost ten years in this business. So where does this leave new writers? Or writers who honestly can afford to offer their readers the big prizes that are becoming so commonplace? I was curious, to hear from readers, and perhaps other authors–do you think it’s becoming harder and harder to meet the rising odds in this business? For those established, there’s the advantage of having built an audience who will quite probably stay with them throughout a career, but what about the newcomers who are struggling so much to have their voices heard/read?

We all love to get things for free, hell that's human nature, but do we have to buy reader loyalty? It seems to be the new trend, especially in the ePublishing business where everyday there’s a new publisher vying for a piece of a rapidly shrinking market. In some cases those publishers aren’t even people with any experience of the business, and their authors equally inexperienced. In this day where anyone can put up a website and “start a publishing business” you don’t have to wonder why there is so much on the market that even ten years ago would never have been accepted–by legitimate publishers and, perhaps more importantly, by readers. Love it or hate it, ten years ago the publishing world would never have allowed a book like Fifty Shades of Grey to be released, and not because of the story content–which makes me wonder if the standards we expect have really diminished because there is a lack of quality, or if we’re getting resigned to mediocrity in our jaded world?

Slick marketing can make any book a success, if you have the money to invest it the campaign to get it seen. But does that make it good, or even “right” when so many truly excellent stories never get the chance to be seen? I don’t think I’m jaded enough to believe success has to be bought, I’d like to think there are still discerning readers who value authors who work hard to consistently produce a good story. What do you think?


The shock of the cool chair against her bare skin sent another shiver through Cinthya. But before she could recover completely, Rick had most of her clothes off and was halfway through tying her ankles back to the legs of the chair, this time to the back legs, leaving her thighs spread wide.

Her heartbeat doubled when his fingers began a slow, barely perceptible pattern of caressing her legs, starting at the back of her ankles and gradually moving upward. The room actually did a crazy spin when Rick bent his head and started following the path of his roaming hands with his lips.

Cinthya squirmed with renewed urgency as she tried to free herself from the surprisingly strong bonds. Rick’s tongue barely touched the wet folds between her legs, but the featherlike contact created a spasm of reaction in her. She shuddered and gasped, the sound becoming a tiny moan when he repeated the gesture with a slow, lingering sensuality. Then he leaned back to look up into her eyes.

“Why…?” She wasn’t even sure what it was she wanted to ask as the words got caught in another trembling twitch. His fingers were smoothing gentle touches on the inner skin of her thighs.

“Because I love you, Cindi,” he answered around a huge smile, supplying his own meaning to the gasped query.

She looked down to watch his hand brushing over the dark-gold thatch of hair between her thighs and tried to thrust into the contact. Frustration played through her when he refused to accommodate her.

“Rick? Do you think maybe you could love me a little faster?” The words were expelled like a choked breath of air and her face warmed with the heat of her embarrassment as well as her passion.

“How fast are you thinking, sweetheart?” His grin was on the verge of dissolving into laughter.

His finger finally delving into her wet heat effectively cut off any attempt at an answer, her hips again shifting into his touch. He probed deeper into her and started a slow, gentle rhythm, his own breath becoming audibly strained when her head fell back and her lips parted with a breathy sigh.

BIG NEWS - the stunning Kayden McLeod cover for my novel OUT OF THE PAST is up for an award. I need votes for this amazing cover, so PLEASE, if you would, drop over and vote. Voting closes next Monday, and all you have to do is register at the site, confirm your email, then vote - nothing more: http://indtale.com/cover-contest - THANKS SO MUCH!!


Tina Donahue said...

You can't buy reader loyalty. I suspect the majority of individuals who show up for a book launch are there to win the freebies. I also suspect that few of them ever consider buying the book. The only thing that sells a novel is that it strikes a chord with readers. Giving away $100 GCs or ereaders isn't going to do it. IMO, it's a waste of a writer's money. I give away backlist ebooks, that's it. I want new readers to sample my work. I don't want them taking a GC and buying someone else's novel.

It's like the free samples you get at a supermarket or at a restaurant in the mall. If you like what you were given, you'll be back for more. If not, you won't.

Denysé Bridger said...

That's long been my standing on the matter, as well, Tina. The most I've given away is a $10 GC from one of my publishers to bring new people to their website. It amazes me when I see readers and huge Amazon GCs being offered... I wondered if it was just me?

Tim Smith said...

Denyse, it isn't just you. I've wondered the same thing. Ten-plus years in this madhouse makes me agree with Tina - if it's good, they'll find it. When I do a launch party or book festival I'll have a drawing for one of my backlist books, but I don't kid myself that the winner will suddenly say "Hey, I need to check out this guy's other books!"

I suspect most of them take the money and run.

Denysé Bridger said...

Thanks, Tim. It's getting harder and harder to win even the tiniest share of reader attention, but with so much honest crap out there - the battle gets harder by the day.

Aaron Speca said...

I can't tell you how much I struggle with this question, and the more general one of how to reach more people. So I just do what I can and write as best I can and let the chips fall.

Denysé Bridger said...

Thank you, Aaron. Good attitude to have, in the end I think that's all any of us can do.

James L. Hatch said...

I'm not sure what works, but I don't think contests and giving things away is the answer. I've decided the best approach is:

(1). Review books written by lots of people. In signing off on the review, you get your works out in front of others you might never reach.

(2). I post jokes on FB every day but, of course, I've been writing comedy for a couple of years. I know people read the jokes, and a few have purchased my books.

(3). Write the next book. I believe more books give a person more exposure, and have even read that your next book is the best advertisement.

(4). Face-to-face sales are most effective. Go to book fairs and the like.

I'm not at all sure much else works, including blogging (although I am a regular blogger on this site). I did notice one of the authors I reviewed last year just released a new book. She offered 100 copies of her new e-book in exchange for a commitment to review it (I took that offer--Melissa Foster is a really good author). That means 100 people will read her book at the start, and likely help her hype it. I might try that for my next release, "The Training Bra." I think it's a great idea. I'm not sure how you get 100 people to do what they say they will do, though. That's a different problem.

As always, best of luck to you Denyse.

James L. Hatch

Tim Smith said...

James, you just hit on another issue that's a sore point with me, and I suspect others. When I've given away a book I usually get a promise from the recipient that they will give me their opinion, either in person or via an online post at Amazon, etc.

I'm still waiting for the first one to appear. As you said, getting people to do what they say they will is a problem, and when someone tells me this, my reaction anymore is "R-i-i-i-ght!"

jean hart stewart said...

A truly constant problem that is getting harder and harder to solve. I long ago resolved to keep writing and hope. I give away books and some t-shirts with my cover on it, but that's all.

Kelli Scott said...

I usually only give my books away as promo, trying to hook readers with my writing.

Denysé Bridger said...

We have a universal problem here as writers, and you've all given some wonderful and thoughtful replies to this quandary. As always, we can only keep writing and doing our best, but your ideas and insight are wonderful - many thanks everyone!!

Anonymous said...

I've done big and small contest and have found out it's the books that keep them coming back. I now only do a big Christmas giveaway.