Our readers are the foundation of what makes indieBRAG unique. They not only select the books to become the next B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree but give feedback to our authors. This feedback is important not only to the authors but to the reader as well. Readers carry a lot of weight in what we regard as quality in self-publishing. Not only that but how readers see author’s platforms and performance on social media. Today, Melissa is haring her thoughts about promoting books o social media and much more!
indieBRAG: How do you find books and what do you think of social media and books?
I usually find my print books by visiting my local book stores and browsing the shelves. I tend to find my ebooks by browsing Goodreads. Social media and books isn’t something I’ve grown accustomed to yet, but that’s probably because I spend so much time on my computer for work that I’d rather get out of the house and explore.
indieBRAG: Do you go to an author’s website or social media when looking for a book or do you usually pick a book based on a search, on sites such as Amazon?
I don’t actually search Amazon for books. I will go in with a title in mind (if I can’t find it locally) and then make my purchase. I do look at Goodreads recommendations though. I enjoy visiting websites for author’s I’ve discovered the old-fashioned way (and just so you know, I’m not even 40 yet!) or checking out authors who’ve found me via my review blog to delve deeper into who they are and what they’re writing.
indieBRAG: If you search book retail sites such as Amazon or B&N, how important is the cover, title and synopsis?
I don’t use those sites, as mentioned, but on Goodreads all of the above is essential in grabbing me as a potential reader. If even one of those elements is “off”, I’ll move on to the next possibility… because, quite frankly, there are so many to choose from these days.
indieBRAG: Does it turn you off when an author promotes their book on social media a lot?
Yes. I much prefer to hear about something related to their characters or a concept from their book instead of seeing those “buy me now” ads. I’m the type of person who tends to ignore them. However, if you have a cool book cover and entice me with a question that peaks my interest and draw me over to your author website for more info on that interesting idea… you’re more likely to have me check out your book page.
indieBRAG: When going to an author’s blog or Facebook pages do you hope for more than just promotion of their book?
Without a doubt. I want to see a curious and engaged author who is just as interested in me as I am in them. It doesn’t pay to be a narcist these days… and a free gift for stopping by is always a nice surprise (a chapter excerpt, prequel story, illustrated images of characters, settings, etc.). People are nosy by nature… lead a path with breadcrumbs – it’s subtle but effective.
indieBRAG: Does it make you more interested in an author’s books if you feel like you have gotten to know them a bit more?
Yes, to a degree. If they write about fantastical places, people, and creatures, I’m less likely to want to hear about their 2-year-old child or their dog; but a conversation about why harpies are their favourite fantasy creature or why the picture they took of a certain spot in the woods inspires them to write… that’s interesting to me.
indieBRAG: If you meet an author in person – at signings etc.- are you more likely to buy their books?
Yes, but only for the fact that if I’m there (out and about at a location which sells books), I fully intend to buy something that day. If the author is there and they write in my preferred reading genres, I’m more likely to buy their book than a random one from the back shelves.
indieBRAG: Would offering free short stories or pieces that expand on their characters, make it more likely you will look at the books they offer?
Yes… IF they write in the genre I prefer. This allows me to cozy up to the worlds they are creating without needing to make a commitment right away – kind of like online dating for books 😉
indieBRAG: Do you depend on reviews on sites such as Amazon and B&N? If so, do you suspect they may be padded with friends or members of an author’s writing group?
When I read a review on Goodreads I can tell if the writer honestly enjoyed the book or are paying lip-service to a friend/family member—there are certain apparent “tells” that give this away. It’s hard enough for authors to find someone to take the time to write a review and even if it’s a family member (same last name, etc.), if the reader is truly passionate about sharing their experience, it’s worthy of my time to consider it. How else does “word of mouth” work if authors don’t have those closest to them helping to celebrate their work?
I do, however, take the time to compare reviews and I will look critically at both good and bad reviews. A lot of times I love a book that someone else didn’t and then I see those key words: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. To me, that means this reader wouldn’t necessarily have read the book if they hadn’t been enticed by the free nature of it. If the review is less than appealing, that generally means it wasn’t the kind of book that reader was truly interested in. Also, if I read several reviews that talk about how the book “has a great plot” and “interesting characters” yet the reader felt it necessary to mention the sentence structure or grammar weren’t quite to par, then that tells me loads about the book.
I think all reviews are helpful, you just need to know how to weigh them as a dedicated reader.