Saturday, August 15, 2015

Discover New Authors and New Books

How do you find new books and new authors? As you answer this question, consider your own writing and books. What action steps are you taking to be in these places where you are finding books?

The answer to this question of discoverability for books continues to change as our world and culture change. Some people find new books through Goodreads.  Over 40 million readers are on Goodreads. If you are an author, you need to check out this inexpensive teleseminar then apply the lessons to your own books. It will boost the discoverability for your books. Several months ago, I had registered for Goodreads but didn't even have my picture on my author profile (a big sign of my lack of activity on Goodreads).  I changed my involvement on Goodreads and now I have 5,000 friends on this site (which I learned when I hit this number is the maximum for friends). I believe my activity on this site is boosting discoverability for my books—and it is not taking much of time. 

Word of mouth continues to be the best way to discover new books. I commonly take recommendations from friends when we speak together. While many have tried to study word of mouth, to most people, it remains a mystery how to use word of mouth to promote or spread the word about books.

I find new authors and new books at my public library. The recommendations of librarians and the displays at libraries have influence with readers.

I receive a number of electronic press releases from publicists and through reading those releases I learn about new authors and new books. It's another method that I use to find new authors and books.

I read trade magazines and online newsletters like Shelf Awareness or Publishers Weekly and find new authors and new books to read.

Also I go into bookstores and browse books. While I do this process, less than I used to do, I still enjoy this experience of holding the book, reading the back cover and learning about different authors. I hope you saw the news about Family Christian Bookstores coming out of bankruptcy last week. I was pleased to learn over 200 bookstores will remain in business.

I encourage you to study the Christianity Today article and you will see that the bankruptcy of Family Christian has had a domino effect to other areas of the Christian publishing world. The old-long established publisher Gospel Light which filed for bankruptcy. As the CT article said, “It was a contributing factor in our need to seek court protection,” Gospel Light CEO Dave Thornton told CT. “We had to write off $143,000 in expected income, and we’re a smaller, family-owned Christian publishing company that didn’t have deep enough pockets to sustain that, combined with other unexpected losses this spring.” It makes you wonder what other things are going to happen from the Family Christian bankruptcy.

Recently I heard a podcast from Susan Meissner. I have known Susan for several years but not read any of her books. During the podcast, she mentioned her historical novel, Secrets to a Charmed Life. I found my local library had this novel so I got it and began reading it this past week. I can see why Susan Meissner  has a growing fan base for her work. It is evident from over 580 customer reviews on Amazon for this book which released in mid-February. I've not completed this novel but find the story spell-binding. As I've read this novel, I've become a fan of Susan's work.

There are many different ways to discover new authors and new books. If you are an author, I encourage you to:

1. Make sure your book is available in as many different formats as possible. For example, some people only read Ebooks while others prefer audio books or print copies. You want to reach a variety of readers in these diverse markets.

2. Be aware of where your book is being sold online and in the retail market. For example, I learned one of my Morgan James author's books was not available on a certain Christian online site. I called it to the attention of our marketing department and they are investigating it—and trying to resolve it. If I had not been reading my email and responding to it and others on the Morgan James Publishing team, we would be unaware of it and working toward a resolution. It takes a team and you need to be using your team. If you are self-publishing, are you gathering a team to create this synergy?

3. Be telling others about good books that you read—in emails and in person. If you read a good book, when you finish, take a few minutes to write a few sentences of honest review on Amazon and Goodreads.  Use your social media and other connections to spread the news about good books and excellent authors.

We live in a complex world but you can spread the word about good books to others and encourage others to help you spread the news about your books. We need each other.

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