Thursday 29 June 2017

How do readers discover books?

If you're a self-published or independent/small press published author, you've probably read many blog posts about what makes a reader choose to buy a book.  Is it the eye-catching cover?  The favourite genre?  The catchy blurb?  The price?  The reviews?  Of course, it's a combination of some or all of those elements.  Before any of them, though, comes the greatest problem of all:

In a time when thousands of new books are published every week, how do you get the reader to discover the actual existence of your book in the first place?  

As well as being a writer, I am an avid reader.  I read 99% of books on the Kindle app on my tablet, and download between 1 and 10 a week.  I read, or start to read, between 6 and 15 books a month.  I'm sure you've seen all those graphs showing how most readers discover the books they buy, so I thought I'd do an assessment of the around 300 books I've reviewed on my book blog.  The categories differ slightly from those you see on standard graphs, but I think the results will be interesting for writers and book bloggers to see how an average Kindle user makes her choices ~ particularly for those writers who don't buy Kindle books themselves, but hope to sell their own.

Here goes:

Amazon: chanced upon during an Amazon browse (usually in 'also boughts'), 
or books that have come up as recommended for me by Amazon.

Book Blog: downloaded after reading a review on a book blog, 
or other article about the book/author.

Personal Friend Recommendation.

Twitter, after talking to the author/getting to know them.

Twitter, via a passing tweet.

Favourite author
When I've read one book by an author via one of the other discovery routes, 
and liked it enough to buy another of their books ~ sometimes just one other, but with some authors that initial discovery has resulted in multiple downloads.

Chosen to review from the list of submissions
on Rosie Amber's Review Team, of which I am a member.

Other Review Request: I don't take requests generally,
but on occasion a fellow writer has asked me to review a book, 
or I've read submissions for an award.

Paperback lent to me.

Won the book 
(incidentally, I've since bought and reviewed all of this author's work)

Bought after watching a TV programme or film.

Classic I always meant to read.

Facebook promotion or advert.

Goodreads recommendation.

Sometimes the categories merge, for instance, when I choose a book from Rosie's review team list that I would have bought anyway.  And do bear in mind that I don't use Facebook much, and when I do it's mostly in a non-book/writing fashion.  It's worth noting, too, that I am about 50% more likely to download a book if it is available on Kindle Unlimited.

I'd be most interested to hear how you make your choices 😃

Tuesday 20 June 2017

I am honest caring doctor and have communion in the face and breasts.....

.... I'm talking about the fake profiles that have been following me on Twitter of late!  I get followed by roughly 20 of these per day at the moment, and am writing this so that you recognise them and don't follow them back 😂😄

They target middle-aged women and are clearly made by people looking to carry out some scam or other ~ you never know what you might be clicking on if they send you a link in a DM 😱😲😳.   As Julia has said, in a comment below, it's a numbers game; the people who make these profiles are often run by the master scammer, who knows that if they make enough of them and follow enough people, eventually they'll get a 'hit' ~ someone who is foolish enough to send them money. 


Please click the links and enjoy...

Take a look at @Steven21773017

(Note 2024: Steven has recently had a head transplant)

He is a perfect example; a photo that's clearly taken from photobucket or similar, and a bio in bad English.  No tweets.  They're usually 'medical doctors' or 'bankers' or 'army officers', and claim to be 'simple' or 'humble' or 'love God'.  'Am honest and caring man' is another favourite.  Sometimes the maker of these profiles has taken two pictures from whoever's profile they downloaded the photos from, and used one as a header photo Lucas20Davis who is even tweeting the occasional one!

Harry Smit is a great one - look at his tweets; he hasn't realised you need to leave a gap between words to make the user name link work...!!
@dennisham3131 can't seem to decide how to spell his name and, though a 'military office', cannot write basic English....

... but centre stage must be given to @albertgrandy3
At least this one's tried harder with the bio!  

....although he appears to be the same person as @Drjimwilliam, a man of 'dignity and honest', albeit about 10 years older.....  and @wonderwilliam56

And then there's @willians6643007 who is clearly the identical twin of @Lewis336David!
whose picture is actually that of Dr Steve Jones, NY hypnotherapist (see below).

They target us in the hope that we are lonely, naive and looking for love; they've probably seen all these programmes like 'My Online Nightmare' about women who fall 'in love' with men they meet on the internet, and get conned out of their life savings.  My sister says she gets them popping up on Skype; they're always respectable looking, middle-aged men in military uniform, but have no actual profile.  Those on Twitter are the lowest of the low when it comes to internet scam hierarchy; they don't want to pay for online dating profiles, and aren't even intelligent enough to make sure their English is right and their profiles convincing!

I was followed by one this morning who claimed to be 67, and left the army in 1971.  That would have made him 18.  Yet he was born in 1947, which would make him 70.  Looks like the maths is as bad as the English....

Be careful.  They might con you out of your life savings.  
Then again,  I doubt they'd know where to start.

(Note: Nov 2017.  This is Dr Steve Jones, a New York hypnotherapist.  His pictures are used for many of the profiles.)

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Tipping Point: coming your way on August 7th!

"I didn't know danger was floating behind us on the breeze as we walked along the beach, seeping in through the windows of our picture postcard life."

 Tipping Point ~ out 7th August
Click here to see it on Goodreads

  The facts:
  • Genre: Post apocalyptic, family drama, romantic relationships, dystopian, with a background thread of government conspiracy.  As with all my novels, it's very much a character-driven book.
  • Length: Around 90K words, ie, roughly the same length as The Devil You Know but shorter than The House of York, and Kings and Queens and Last Child.
  • Setting: The fictional Norfolk seaside town of Shipden (based on Cromer), and a fictional village in Tyne and Wear, Elmfield (loosely based on Monkton Village, near Jarrow).
  • Main Characters: 34 year old Vicky Keating and her 16 year-old daughter, Lottie.  Her long-term partner, Dex.  Friends Kara and Phil, and Heath and his teenage son, Jackson.

The blurb
The year is 2024.  A new social networking site bursts onto the scene.  Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all.  Across the world, a record number of users sign up. 

A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it's spreading—fast.  The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme.  Members of undercover group Unicorn believe that the disease is man-made, and the public are being fed lies driven by a vast conspiracy.

Vicky Keating's boyfriend, Dex, is working for Unicorn over two hundred miles away when the first UK outbreak of the virus is detected in her hometown of Shipden, on the Norfolk coast.  The town is quarantined under military lockdown, and, despite official 'no need to panic' claims, within days the virus is out of control.

In London, government employee Travis is working on a bulk data analysis project when he begins to question its purpose, while in Newcastle there are scores to be settled...

Sequel Lindisfarne is set on the island of the same name (click link for pictures) and will be out in September.  An outtake short story collection, Patient Zero, is planned for around Christmas, with Book 3 out in mid 2018.