I read recently that readers needs to see your name and book titles an average of 7 times before they will sample your writing. One of my publishers is running a survey right now about readers' buying habits (through the end of August) that will earn you a code for a free download of any book on their site. I have 3 novels there, so you could check out my writing for free: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e804im22hkc4fcp3/a016thkeecm35/greeting .
I also have an entire contemporary inter-racial erotic romance novel in my Reyes Family Romances series as a free download on Smashwords: Prescription for Love--http://www.smashwords.com/b/18367 . The cover was done by my then- teen-aged daughter, so it's not professionally done. But the heat level in the book is a scorcher! My hope was that readers would like the free book so much they'd want to read the other books in the series...or at least check out my website. I get lots of traffic on my website, but other than when I do blog-hops, I usually don't get many comments.
Next week I'll be a part of the Long and Short Reviews 6th Anniversary Bash. Does any of this translate into sales? The jury is still out on that. But other authors do things that I'm not interested in trying because of my long learning curve with new technology, as well as my lack of time since I work 2 jobs. If I want to have time to write, and I need to do that to quiet the "voices in my head", then I can't deal with Twitter or Tiberr, and I rarely go on my author Facebook page...I've never even been able to figure out how to get a page there that readers can "like". That learning-curve thing.
I've got a Goodreads page, and I've done give-aways there, but they require paperbacks, and you have to pay for the books, and the postage, and if you forget to limit it to US readers, the postage overseas can end up costing more than the book! And even then you might not get a review from the winner. I also have an Amazon page and a Manicreaders page, and I'm on lots of loops yakking with contributors about things other than my books usually, hoping that my name becomes familiar enough for that "rule of 7" thing to kick in. I read about a survey with the results that most readers don't care that much about reviews, but still I send out my new books to a plethora of review sites, once again trying for that "7 views" thing.
So how about you? As a reader, how do you choose books for your TBR pile? And as an author, what works for you? And if there's a disparity between those two, then there's no rhyme or reason to becoming a writer who gets regular royalties checks, and I'll have to continue to rely on hope and prayer!
Find me at: www.fionamcgier.com, where I offer info about all of my books, that free short story, as well as from-scratch pie recipes, because that's one of my specialties that I gave to the heroine in my latest release, For The Love Of His Life. And when the sequel comes out, I'll run a contest involving identifying which pies were featured in the book.