“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
One of my favorite quotes and far more apt than we’d like it to be. Whether you’re a reader, an author, or both, you know what moves you, what makes you come back for more. Whether it be a specific author or genre, we have our favorites. In today’s busy world, with a finite amount of time and money, we’ve all learned to hone our skill of selection.
So, as a reader, how do you decide which authors go on your auto-buy list? What makes you take a chance on a new-to-you author? Is it the idea of actually finding a new voice in a genre you love? Or, do you wait for giveaways and hope you end up liking what you get?
As a writer, do you write for the market? Or, do you write what calls to you? All too often, trends come and go far more quickly than writers can write. A few years ago, foodie romances were all the rage. Yet, by the time most of us completed outstanding projects and tried to jump on the bandwagon, the phase was over. Or, at least, dying out.
My contention, and fortunately also that of my editors, is that a great book is a great book. Neither the author nor the reader should be “tied” to a theme. So, assuming we don’t jump on the latest fad, how do we guide the readers in our direction?
I’ve published over twenty-five books and two of those were with Soul Mate Publishing. The beauty of working with a publisher who doesn’t strictly adhere to the latest hot topic is that you can write what you love, or what you feel strongly about.
My two releases, Home is Where the Hunk is and Eye of the Pharaoh, are as different as night and day. Yet, they both came from my heart and both have received great reviews, won awards, and produced decent sales. I’d like to think it’s because I courted the reader and brought them over to something they might not normally read.
So how did I court them? The same way I’d been courted … teasers, trailers, and giveaways. And the beauty of it is, none of these have to cost mega dollars.
Teasers … in the form of excerpts on your own blog, or other authors’ sites.
Trailers … made easily using tools found in Microsoft Office, a good stock site, and with the help of YouTube videos. (Or, you could just ask me and I’ll walk you through it.)
Giveaways … don’t have to be about money. As popular as gift cards are in giveaways, they tend to draw what I refer to as “professional blog tourists”. Most have no interest in buying your book, they only comment for the opportunity to win money. Instead of that gift card, think of something unique, quirky even. One drawing, I gave away chances to have the winner’s name in the next book in a series. I’ve also given away dedications, critiques to aspiring writers, trailers for new releases, and (of course) swag! You know who the serious readers are when they still comment, share or tweet when there’s no money at stake.
I’d love to hear from other authors on how you court your readers. I’d also like to hear from readers on what would entice you to venture out of your comfort zone and try a new-to-you author.
Until my next turn on the blog, stay happy, stay healthy, stay well read.