The Power of a Reader (And a Poll!)

In my last blog post I let you know that I don’t expect you to feel required to write a review when you read my books. All this unrelenting pressure on the reader to perform a job after reading The End is something to which I do not subscribe. Just read my books and derive enjoyment from them. No book report required. 🙂 This isn’t saying I don’t run into the problem drowning a large number of authors these days, and that’s how the hell do we get our names and our books in front of new readers? How do the people who would like our books actually find our books? Well, according to several well-conducted research polls, it’s word of mouth that does it. That’s right, it’s the power of a reader that spreads the word.

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A reader who swears they never read or even glance at written reviews will perk up their ears if a friend praises a book.

Stands to reason, right? No one knows who those faceless, often nameless reviewers are at Amazon or Goodreads. But friends and acquaintances? They know you. You know them. Strangers can stand three feet from you and yell about how great something is and how you must give it a try, but why in the world would you believe them?

That’s why you don’t see very many posts about my books on my social media accounts. Every once in a blue moon I’ll put something on Facebook. I recently had a post go viral (over 19,000 shares and over 13,000 “likes” last time I looked!) and because of it I gained a lot of new followers to my profile. My daughters asked me why I wasn’t taking advantage of this by posting about my books. Honestly? I never thought of it until they mentioned it. And then I only posted once.

Because I don’t want to be that author.

You know the one. Every single Twitter post is automated and contains a line from one of their books (that just falls flat because there’s no context), a bunch of hashtags about genre or price, a snippet of a review, and buy links. In other words, “BUY MY BOOK!!!!” Might as well just come right out and say it. And all Facebook posts are book-related, or writing related, or book-related again, or they’re just sharing their author page posts, OR they just post the exact same thing on their author page and their profile so it shows up twice on your newsfeed. Even worse? When they’ve linked their Twitter feed to their Facebook feed and FB readers see their replies to tweets in their newsfeeds! And every pin on their Pinterest account has to do with their books. Every. Pin. Look, I’m an author, too, and I understand their frustration, but Lord have mercy, that’s nothing but spam. That’s right, I said it. Unwanted advertising=spam. If I follow/friend an author on social media, I wanna be social. I want to know the author, not be bombarded by BUY MY BOOKS!!!!

But it’s so easy to fall into that trap, y’all. Speaking of spam, you ought to see my email inbox. Twitter for Business. Pinterest Partners. Those are the ones wanting me to bombard you with advertising for my books instead of interacting with you as a person on Twitter or Pinterest. And every time I post from my Facebook author page I get a big ass blue button that tells me I could reach more than Facebook’s designated five followers by paying to “boost” (read: advertise) that post. But that’s pretty much the same thing as a stranger yelling at you. Dang, y’all know I’m an author and that I have books. Talk about preaching to the choir!

Friends telling friends about books, though? That’s what the majority of readers say works for them. A word over lunch with co-workers. At the gym. Over a glass of wine while waiting for the Netflix program to load. Texting during a traffic jam. My younger brother got his bank teller interested while making a transaction one day! Friends telling friends. Word of mouth. From your mouth to the ear of a new reader. The only drawback is having your friend forget both the name of the book and the author’s name, and then forgetting to ask you about it later. After all, your friend still has a long afternoon of work ahead of her. Or she’s about to do kettlebells and she’ll be lucky to remember her own name after that. You know what I mean.

So here’s where the poll comes in.

I don’t mind one bit sending you things you can hand to your friend/co-worker/bank teller/interested party when you’re recommending my books. Something you can pass along and say, “Here’s her name and her website. All her books are listed there, and you can even read the first chapters of each one!” And she’ll put that thing in her purse or her wallet, and hopefully when she runs across it again she’ll check out my books. And then maybe pass that reminder thing on to another friend.

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But here’s the question:

What kind of thing should it be?

I used to have bookmarks made. Great if a print book is handy, not so great if a reader only reads ebooks. Plus, they’re a little big. Would a business card size be better? Or something else? You’re the reader – you have the power to sway a new reader. So let me know how you can best do that. You know what works and what wouldn’t. I will be forever grateful and will go into production immediately!


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2 Responses to The Power of a Reader (And a Poll!)

  1. Sherry Cunningham says:

    Business card would be awesome! I carry several from my favorite massage therapist, my nutritionist, my homeopath-why not my beloved author friend?!?!

  2. Elizabeth Corva says:

    Yes indeed! This is why I have unfriended so many authors in the last couple of months. They are (mostly) one-trick ponies who repeatedly spam my feed with BUYBUYBUY posts and it’s bawww-riiiing. I think you have a good balance of promotion vs. personal posts. Speaking of friend recommendations, one of my oldest ones just messaged me to let me know that her friend is dying for my next book to come out. Talk about lighting a fire under my butt. This lady might be the only reader on the planet who follows my series but hey, one is better than none. =)

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