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Saturday, 10 September 2011

Finding your readers

I have noticed a disturbing thing, which is that the e-book and kindle readers consistently rate my novel lower than those who buy the paper version of the book. Have any other writers noticed this phenomenon?

From this, I can take it that those who read on e-readers are not "my readers" - i.e the readers that will love my book. Either that, or that those who buy e-books regard all books as more disposeable, and are quick to give up on a book if they don't love the opening chapter, and are therefore rating all books more harshly than those people who buy paper books. But it is obvious that there is a distinction between the paper book buying public and the e-book buying public at least in my corner of the historical fiction market.

So, it seems to me that finding your reader in this tide of e-books is not as easy as just exposure. It is not just a matter of getting the book to the notice of those who are internet-savvy. People are buying the kindle version or e-book version, but how do I target the thinking reader, perhaps someone who reads literary fiction as well as popular fiction and has a broad diet of reading, not just historicals?

Someone suggested that I should blog about what is of interest to my readers, and this would build an audience for my work. This is dead easy if you are a non-fiction writer. If your book is about horse -management, then you blog about horses. So - blog about history, you might think! And of course I do, but fiction readers are not necessarily as interested in my research as I am, and those of my readers who are also writers are too busy doing their own historical research to want to read mine!

But the thing I like doing the best is discussing books with other book-lovers. I've decided that this is probably the best way to bring my book to people's attention - by simple word of mouth. And I am more than happy to meet readers face to face, give talks to book groups, the WI, libraries or any other place where readers meet. Any takers?!


  1. Just so you know . . . When a potential reader clicks on the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon UK, for the new paperback, three of the first six pages are completely blank, a fourth is the title page, and a fifth the verso title (copyright) page. How many potential readers are going to keep clicking that right arrow? How many are going to think the page didn't load properly? Look Inside should be linked to the first page of chapter one.

    Dee, who'd leave her address if there were a place to put it!

  2. Thanks for this. I'll go and check it out. I don't know why there is nowhere to put your address either - hmm. Must be something odd with Blogger. Off to investigate.

  3. Just investigated. The book is a facsimile of the actual book, so alternate pages are blank because these are the blank left pages on the reverse of the titles etc.

    Apparently there is nothing I can do about this. If you look to the left when you click on "look inside" you'll see you can choose "read first chapter" or "surprise me" as options about which bits you want to read. You can then choose to go straight to the first chapter.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful!