One Reader’s Voice Out Loud With Stephanie M Hopkins

Today we are asking questions to Stephanie about her different opinions of social media, book covers, how author’s promote and what draws her attention to books she might consider to buy. Stephanie, how do you find books and what do you think of social media and books?

I find books all sorts of ways. Books are always on my mind. It’s like I have a radar built inside my head and I can detect them. On a more serious note, I am completely drawn into the world of stories and the people who write them. My passion is to share my love of reading, good reads and my hunt for them. Daily-as a book blogger- I am exploring social media and various book sites for the next great read.. Then there is driving along and spotting a bookstore and having to stop to take a look. Whenever I am running errands, I am always on the lookout. I guess you can say it’s an obsession. Not that it is a bad thing.

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?

Always. Author Websites and their social media platforms are a must. After I have done that, I venture over to Amazon to check out their pricing and so on…. Again, it is a daily occupation for me.

If you search books retail sites such as amazon or B&N, how important is the cover, title and synopsis

I am a book blogger and an enthusiast in the art world. Having said that, I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of books and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover. After all its most likely the first thing to catch a reader’s eye.

I have a bit of an obsession with titles. I love them and they need to tie into the story line. I even have created many titles myself and imagine stories that would go great with them. The title really needs to stand out to draw a reader in.

I have read some bad and uninteresting synopsis before and skipped on the book and later down the road discovered the book is actually a great book. That right there should send a signal to an author that the synopsis is vital. Having said this, since there are so many badly written synopsis and now having worked in this industry for a few years, I read the first couple of chapters of the story first. I have learned to not always rely on what the jacket cover says about the book. But that should tell you something.

Does it turn you off when an author promotes their book on social media a lot?

Yes, and no. It really depends on how they do it. If they are saying nothing but, “Bye my book” then yes that bugs me to no end. I like creativity in how an author promotes their work. Examples of that are when they pull themes from their stories, write about their characters and write up a blog post about them, or do interviews on book blogs and so on. There are so many ways to promote your book without shoving “Buy my book” in people’s faces.

When going to an author’s blog or Facebook pages do you hope for more than just promotion of their book?

Yes. I want to see engagement with readers and as I mentioned above more creative ways in how they talk about their book(s). I also like to see what authors are reading and their likeminded experience that makes a connection to their readers. It humanizes them-if you will. Oh, and book giveaways! Nothing attracts a reader like book giveaways.

Does it make you more interested in an author’s books if you feel like you have gotten to know them a bit more.?

Indeed, it does. It gives me greater insight in why maybe they wrote their story and how their mind works.

If you meet an author in person – at signings etc.-are you more likely to buy their books?

Yes, especially if they sign the book and I can get a picture with them. Ha! On a more serious note, hearing what they have to say about their process in writing the story and why in person makes all the difference.

By offering free short stories or pieces that expand on their characters, make it more likely you will look at the books they offer?

Yes, yes, yes! I am all for this! This is something I have been wanting to see more of for a very long time. I am all about the characters and their back story. Though there is an art to writing backstory. Of course other aspects of the story matter but if you don’t have good characterization, then you have lost me and the story is a dud.

Do you depend on reviews on sites such as Amazon and B&N?  If so are you suspect that they may be padded with friends or members of an author’s writing group?

Since I have worked in this industry for quite some time now and a book reviewer myself, I can spot a fake review a mile away. I usually stick to the reviewers I know and rely on to give an honest report of the book. They seem to be far a few these days…but they are out there. I usually promote them on my website or on Twitter.

Having said that, I still look through reviews. I would venture to guess that a lot of book reviewers do this. It keeps us informed and how people view their opinions of stories. It’s just good to do this.

Another thing I would like to mention and I feel it is very important. I think authors make big mistakes when they receive a review they don’t like it and carry over their complaint to Facebook groups where there are likely readers as members as well and they start bashing the reviewer. What is even more appalling, is that authors on there will tell people on the post to go rate the review down. Then you see all sorts of nasty comments to the reviewer. That is completely disgraceful and unprofessional. When an author does this, they have lost my support or from wanting to read another story of theirs. Authors have no business commenting on reviews, period. If you do, that is the fastest way in killing your brand. This goes for both indie and main-stream publishing authors.

Stephanie’s website

Stephanie tweets at @Layeredpages

Layered Pages Facebook Page

One Reader’s Voice Out Loud

More About Stephanie:

I have been book blogging since 2012 or there about. I first began my blog over at BlogSpot and decided to carry it over to WordPress. The BlogSpot is still pretty active so feel free to take a look there as well. I wear many hats in the book industry. I am on the indieBRAG Team and help promote the B.R.A.G. Medallion, conduct interviews and coordinate blog posts and book events for the site and the Honorees. I was a short list judge for the 2016 Historical Novel Society indie award. I have reviewed books for the Historical Novel Society, I ran the weekly Friday Fun Fiction at the HNS Facebook Page, review for various Publishing Houses, NetGalley and indie authors. I am an avid reader of Historical Fiction, American History, Alternate History, Non-Fiction, Crime Thrillers, and Mystery. I have several writing projects under way and I am always buried in research. When I am not pursuing my obsession of books, research, writing, chatting with fellow books lovers and authors-which is pretty much 24/7-I enjoy creating mix media art on canvas, fitness and I love the outdoors! These days I have no idea what rest is!

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