Thursday, May 28, 2015

What Works in Book Marketing, and What Doesn't?

My publisher has asked me for suggestions on how they can best market the next book in the Sebastian St. Cyr series. I've come up with a few ideas, but I thought I'd ask what you think works.

Time was, publishers pushed their authors to be active on Facebook. But now that Facebook only shows an author's post to 3-10% of the people who follow her, even publishers are admitting it's really not very effective. (I'll swallow the rant I'd like to insert here.)

I usually make a book video for my books, even though I doubt anyone has ever watched one and bought the book because of it. I make them because they're fun and because they make my publisher happy because it looks like I'm doing something to promote my book. Which is a really stupid reason to do something, but the truth is, I suspect a LOT of what authors do falls into that category.

I have asked them to drop the price on What Angels Fear and run a Book Bub Ad right before the next book's release. They don't seem too enthused, but I plan to keep pushing the idea.

I just had the book tour for Who Buries the Dead, so that isn't in the cards again, at least not this soon. I did a virtual blog tour last March, but I'm not sure how much good that did and it took a lot of time to write all those posts. Who saw them? Did anyone try the books because of them? Who knows?

I am in the process of revamping my website, but that is more because after eight years I'm tired of looking at it myself, and because Google is being a pain (swallowing another rant here; if you don't have a special page for mobile devises, your site's ranking is now knocked way down on a Google search).

So, any suggestions? What makes you decide to buy a book--other than having someone whose tastes you respect say, "I read a great book you should try!" What have you seen authors/publishers do to promote a book that actually worked?



J. Cheney said...

I'll keep coming back to check on this and see what kind of answers you get. This is one of the things I've been contemplating since I got back from RT. I have three book drops in the next 8 months, and I have no idea what will be the best way to promote the things!

(And I, too, wonder about the efficacy of a blog tour. Despite that, my publicist is setting one up for me now, mainly because I don't know what else I should do!)

cs harris said...

J. Cheney, I personally don't think the blog tour did anything. I could be wrong, but.... All I know is it took a lot of time away from my writing. I suspect the things that really help--like an interview on NPR, or a TV miniseries!--are the things you can't just make happen.

Alice Abel Kemp said...

Candice,,I sure don't know. My editor says keep writing good books. I only just the week got my author page up on Amazon.
I buy yours because they' re good, interesting and I enjoy a good mystery.
Good luck with this latest one.

Jan Seale said...

Hi, Candice--For me, when I find a book series I really enjoy as much as I have enjoyed reading and re-reading your Sebastian St. Cyr series, the first thing I do is go to Amazon, type in the name of the book I like and then browse through the section *Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought* for similar books. Probably much to your Publisher's dismay, this is how I have found most of my books that I have purchased. If I had to pinpoint any one source of communication from you, it isn't "advertising," it's the quality and content of your blog. I check your blog daily and enjoy reading about how life is going for you. I look forward to reading your next book!

Magdalaena said...

I buy Your books, because I have liked earlier parts of the series. The first one was found by me by chance at local library.

Sometimes I buy books written by the authors, whose blogs I follow. I do it partly as a "thank You" for free read. So maybe You could write a compelling short story and publish it online to attract future readers.

Sissy said...

I have several genres that I love to read. Mysteries and historical romance. Your books combine history and mystery. I preorder every time the link goes live. I really can't recall how I found your first book but I know I've been reading them since the beginning. I find new authors the same way as one of your other commenters by scrolling through the similar book list on Amazon. Sometimes I will find a recommended book list on an author page on Facebook and I will download some samples. I've never gone to a bookstore for an author meet and greet signing. I'm 61 and I've been reading nonstop since I got my first pair of glasses at age seven and realized that blur in books was actually a story. I rarely go to bookstores. I'm a kindle addict and read 20 to 30 books a month.

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

I am very much like Jan Seale. The quality of your work drew me in and keeps me reading. If I want something similar I check what others bought; if the author is new to me I check out a title from the library. Your blog, far and away, is the best sort of communication with us, I feel. Although I couldn't get that recent interview with you, posted on Soundcloud, to run, I really like the idea of that sort of exchange. In the end, though, it is all about the writing, the story, and you have never let that suffer. A huge Thank you!

cs harris said...

Alice, thank you. It is such a puzzle.

Jan, that's interesting! And now I feel bad because they've had me focusing on Facebook so much I have been neglecting my blog of late.

Magdalaena, I wish I could write short stories. Unfortunately, my imagination doesn't seem to run along those lines.

Sissy, I've found nonfiction books by the Amazon "people who bought this book" list, but I'm not sure I've ever tried a novel from that. Interesting. And your story of your glasses reminds me of my husband's--I think he was 8 when he got glasses and realized spelling tests weren't pop quizzes; the list of words was written on the board every week.

Anonymous said...

Your first book in this series was recommended to me by a friend that knows I love history and mystery, as soon as I read the first one I was hooked! Because of this I recommend your book to friends and people in my book discussions, I have lent mine out and given copies as gifts when I find something I like I am loyal and really have no problem giving good reviews as that is how I found you and several of my favorite other authors. I don't know how this helps you but I think word of mouth does some good!!!!!!!!!!!!

SandyH said...

i like your idea about Bookbub. That is a good way to get noticed. If they could cross reference your books as mysteries and historical romance that might broaden your audience.

I also think if you could get interviewed by Smart Bitches for one of their podcasts it might be good publicity. Not sure how wide their audience is but I download the podcast and listen when I travel or exercise. Are there any other interview tours you can do?

I love your St. Cyr series and have every one of the books as hardbacks. I also buy them as gifts for my friends.

cs harris said...

Anon, I believe that nothing works as well as word of mouth. Thank you so much for all you do. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it; it really is important.

Sandy, I am really pushing for the Bookbub ad; it's an important way to tempt new readers to give a series a try. I don't understand why they don't think they work because I've seen them work for self-pubbed friends. I have done a few interviews, but I'll ask them to look into the Smart Bitches. And thanks so much for your help!

Sphinx Ink said...

I subscribe to newsletters of authors I like, so I'll know when they have new books coming out. When I like books by authors new to me, I look for their websites to see if they have backlists of books I can buy. I like reading authors' websites and blogs (unless their content is sheer relentless self-promotion). I enjoy reading about their creative processes, their thoughts on writing and the publishing industry, and more personal info -- I like authors' cat pics, travel pics, pics of their personal libraries or offices, discussions of their hobbies, etc. I don't care for Facebook because it doesn't allow scope for much information in the individual posts, plus I hate FB's attempts to control/limit what readers see.

I find books by authors new to me through recommendations from people whose judgment I trust, as well as through e-newsletters such as the Kindle Daily Deal and Book Bub. (I receive 4-5 of those newsletters daily.) I do look at the Amazon ribbon showing what other buyers of a book have bought; if any of those books looks good, I go to its Amazon page to "look inside the book." I've never bought a book without reading the beginning paragraphs or pages to see if I like the author's style. Since my buying in the last few years has been almost exclusively digital, I rarely go to book-signings unless the author is someone I really admire or is a friend. Those have been the only print works I've bought in the last few years. (I'm trying to reproduce my print library in digital format, so a lot of my buys are digital versions of print books I already have.)

I think the Book Bub/Kindle Daily Deal approach of offering discounted books by authors is great. I'm not going to pay a "big" price for a book by an author who's unknown to me (e.g., not only have I not read her/him, but also haven't heard of her/him). For me, a big price for an ebook is anything higher than $5.99.

Beth said...

I am actually usually looking for new authors, because while there are a lot of them out there, there are only a few that I like. For me, the first thing I look at is the genre. Then I look at the back cover copy -- the short description of what it's about. It is also helpful to have a low cost way to get into it -- kindle unlimited or a $1.99 promo of a book in the series, that kind of thing.

I do look at the book bub selections each day & also at the kindle daily deals. I'm fine with buying a book for $10 if I am confident in the author, but I like only a few of the ones I try, so I try to keep my tasting low cost. Yes, $10 isn't a lot of money, but I am a book addict & it adds up. [Yes, I have a lot of books in my pile that I haven't read & I still search for new ones. ;-) ]

This doesn't necessarily tell you how to reach other people, but maybe others are like me. FWIW, someone I know recently asked me what I was reading & then went & got one of your books based on what I told her & said she liked it. Word of mouth works too, though that was the first time it happened on my recommendation.

I don't use the Amazon ribbon as much for fiction, because after a while, the same authors come up & I have already decided yes or no for them.

So, for the things you can control, to me the biggest is the blurb & the second is the low cost trial.


cs harris said...

Sphinx Ink, thanks for this. Much food for thought.

Beth, thank you. I think I'm going to collect and send my publisher all these answers from people saying they like to get a low cost trial for unknown authors. I don't understand why they don't get it. I myself tend to try authors I'm interested in by picking up their books at the library sale, if I can find them, mainly because I'm old-fashioned enough to like to thumb through the book in my hand. But I have also bought a couple I've seen on Book Bub. Yet even then, it's usually authors I've heard of, first. So thank you for your word-of-mouth help!

jerri said...

I have been reading your series from the beginning and can't wait for the next one to come out. I read on my Kindle most of the time now. I find new authors on Goodreads and I like to try new authors with a low cost introductory book. If it is an author who's work I like I will buy all their books. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

I think book specials are useful, especially e books. I'm inclined to try first in a series from authors I don't know when they're free or pretty inexpensive. I also watch kindle daily deals, promo codes from kobo, and iBooks specials. Some authors seem to be pretty effective with social media - tie ins with other authors, special events, interviews, blog posts, raffles, etc. I love teaser chapters and getting periodic email updates in anticipation of new releases. I'd love to see a Sebastian ebook bundle. I have them in print and the thought of repurchasing as books is a little daunting if full price. Tours are great but I don't often see authors I follow in Milwaukee and am usually disappointed by the limited number of cities scheduled. I recommended you as an author to invite for the annual Barbara Vey Reader Luncheon here.

Lynne said...

Interesting suggestions. Like Jan S., I do a lot of poking about on Amazon even when I don't want to buy. As you know, I use the library a lot because the house can't hold many more books. But Amazon's Daily Deals, Countdown Deals, etc. are a good way to get people hooked. (Think several of your books for .99 for one day only...or 1.99...) Our library always puts new titles out on the front rack for several months to entice people, whereas only some bookstores do that. To be honest, I think I found your first book through either Tracy Grant's site or Lauren Willig's. Similar genre writers often get us from one writer to the next just by word of mouth. And never mind don't want me to go there:).

Anonymous said...

Your books stand out from the crowd because of the way you develop your characters.
Some (like Lord Jarvis and Lovejoy) leave the reader with questions and could be developed further. I'm sure you must have plenty of loyal readers by now and they can be counted on to alert their friends to a good read that is more than just another whodummit. Please keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

C- i think ive said before that i got hooked on your books via a friend who passed one on to me. and like others here - i rely on amazon reviews from people who have read books that i read. and while i hate to sound cheap what will often get me to try an author or buy another book of someone i liked - is when it goes on sale. i know, not what most people want to hear. but if an eBook for example is 9.99 and goes to 5.99 that will often get me to take a chance. especially with hardcovers - since i literally have no room left in my tiny apt for any more books. and like hearing interviews with authors as well. of course id love if you had a book tour near the big apple but i know that's not likely. not much help sorry. Best, Ali

J. Cheney said...

To add a data point, Amazon sent me an email suggesting your work when I was on a historical mystery reading binge.

After reading through all these comments, it seems to me that the most effective thing of all -is- to promote via Amazon. ::sighs::

Anonymous said...

I echo the others - 1. Friends and 2. Amazon, "if you liked this, you'll like that" type recommendations and if something is on special or promotion I'll try it. Again, like the others, I usually get books from the library unless it is an author I love or unless it is on a promotional price (I don't like to go more than $1.99). I also look at the 3. recommendations on Goodreads based on my reading preferences and enter a lot of their 4. giveaways. I think the giveaways get a lot of new readers that might not normally try a book. I know I've won a book or two and started following that author in a genre I normally would not read (Anne Bishop/The Others series). It is a fantasy and I usually don't read these kind. I won a free arc and fell in love with her story and now follow her. Sabena

Charles Gramlich said...

good food for thought

JustWingingIt said...

I have to agree that word of mouth is huge. Getting recommendations from other readers whose tastes mirror my own is probably the top way that I find new books and authors. A low price for an early book in a series is another big plus, especially for a series with hardcover new releases. That allows people to try out a new author without too much financial investment. For myself, once I love an author's work I have no qualms about paying full price. For example, you are one of only two authors where I buy the books in all their formats. I buy the hardcover to read right away, then I buy the mass market paperback when it comes out and that's what I use for my re-reads (have to keep the HC pristine). But I also buy the audio books for those times when I want to revisit the world but have no time read - great for my work commute! And, of course, the ebook.

All that said, I think things like Facebook, blog tours, twitter, etc. are rather like chicken soup. Hard to tell how much they help but they don't hurt either. And it has the benefit of letting readers feel like they know you a little better, at least on some level - and people are even more willing to get out there and proclaim the merits of their "friends". To save time on your blog and Facebook, you can always just cut and paste your blog link to your Facebook wall. I know a lot of authors who do that. That way you are not doing double the work.

And I take it then that there won't be another book tour next year? That's a shame. I really enjoyed your stop at Murder By the Book in Houston earlier this year. I have to agree with the poster who suggested broadening marketing towards the historical romance crowd. Not that the focus should shift to all romance, but I also read a lot in the Urban Fantasy genre and many, many of the UF books/authors that get represented at, say, the yearly Romantic Times conventions are not straight up romances. They are saving-the-world plot heavy but have romantic elements to them. Just a thought.


Anonymous said...

I found your first book by the cover on the library shelf, looked at the jacket copy, and decided to try it. I liked it enough to decide to buy the series. I look at book blogs and everything else to try to find new authors. But the library is the way I most often find books I like and then decide whether I want to buy them.

Denise said...

I am probably echoing many comments here, but the BookBub/Kindle Daily/Nook Daily approach has gotten me to read authors that an unknown entity to me. I actually read the third book in your series first having picked it up and reading the back jacket at the bookstore. Loved the book and went back to get the first two. I loaned the books to a friend who loved them and now buys her own copies. I now buy your books as e-books (sorry but my eyes really like when I can adjust the font) and I will get your books as soon as they are issued.

So, word of mouth and a bargain on an ebook are ways to promote your work. Loved the last one. Now I have to wait until 2016 for the next chapter!

Thanks for hours of entertainment.


Susan J. said...

I found out about your books on a site listing historical novels. I'm a historical novel reader rather than a thriller fan but I'll read thrillers if they are set in periods I'm interested in. I loved the Sebastian character in the first book I read and had to read the rest after that. I think you should try to get more exposure in Britain and Europe somehow, I'm sure there's a market here, if only people could find out about your books. I notice that the publisher Piatkus publishes lots of historical novels in Britain that were previously published in America, why do you not get your agent to approach them? There seem to be lots of Regency blogs on the Internet, why don't you approach the people running these and get them to promote your books?

Jana B. said...

I get recommendations on based on what I have previously bought. I look through them once I have finished a series and am looking for a new one. I can't wait for your next book in the St. cyr series! Keep writing great books!

Essex said...

I found your books when surfing Amazon. I read a lot of historical mysteries, and I think It was Where Serpents Sleep that was recommended by Amazon based upon other titles that I had purchased. I used the "try a sample" option, and was hooked.
That being said,I am not a fan of social media so FaceBook etc has no effect upon me. I rely tremendously upon word of mouth and I religiously surf Amazon and GoodReads to find new material. Part of the problem is that it seems to me that the younger generation doesn't seem to like books like mine did- many of the people with whom I work haven't read a book for pleasure for years, and they are the most connected generation in terms of social media .
I do read books based upon interviews- when an author gives a particularly interesting interview, it does make me more inclined to pick up a book. I also like reading blogs, so I think your blog is very helpful for your readers and interesting to me- gives insight into the way you think etc. Since I do spend a lot of time online, a personal website is a plus- a combination of your blog along with links to your books etc- though some websites seem overly produced (some of those mega-authors come to mind who use tons of ghost writers). Your website is nice because it feels more intimate and connected. I also think that if you could get a BBC SERIES( fingers crossed), you would attract a huge number of additional readers . Or maybe even Masterpiece Theatre etc! I can always hope!

cs harris said...

Jerry, thanks; so many people are saying the same thing about the lower price intro book! I wish my publishers would listen.

Anon, thanks for this. I agree some people are better at social media than others!

Lynne, I wonder how many people still go to libraries?

Anon, I do have plans for Lovejoy; what happened to his wife and daughter is coming soon! And Jarvis is going to see some MAJOR changes in his life.

Ali, I've been thinking of taping some interviews; maybe this summer after I get back from London. And I must admit I feel the same way in terms of wanting a new author's book cheap, mainly because I dump so many less than half way through, I get really cross if I paid full price for it.

cs harris said...

J. Cheney, that's interesting! Thanks.

Sabena, that's interesting. I must admit I stay away from Goodreads except for my blog that posts there (I hate to read negative reviews), so I'm not familiar with exactly how it works. For Who Buries the Dead, they gave away 75 books on Goodreads, which I thought was really excessive, but maybe not.

Charles, yes, a lot of good feedback.

Veronica, I think you're right that social media helps readers feel closer to the authors they follow. My problem with Facebook as a timesink is that I now get on it and follow my friends in a way I never did. So it's another way to waste time (which I'm really good at) while somehow convincing myself it's writing related. I have suggested marketing toward the romance crowd--it took me years to get them to try the Sabrina Jeffries quote. I even suggested they do a book give away at RWA this year. Crickets. I'm going to pass your suggestion on to them!

Anon at 1:04, thanks for this. I do think libraries are overlooked these days as a source of new readers.

cs harris said...

Denise, thank you for this! I am planning to send all of these replies to my publishers and say, SEE; a Book Bub ad and price reduction does help!

Susan, thank you; I will pass that on to my agent.

Jana, thanks!

Essex, yes, you've touched on my dream; if only! And I agree that the people who use social media the most are the ones who frequently don't ever read books, which may mean that the push to get writers active on social media is more of a time sink than anything else.

Lynne said...

Shame on you, Candice Harris. You can hardly get to the counter in our libraries unless you go before school is out in the afternoon. And Saturdays are a madhouse. Maybe we're unique in Spokane, Candy, but I can guarantee you that our libraries really get used. And if I don't put my name down for one of your books about 4 months before publication, I get to wait about that long. I think libraries are still very popular and well-used. They are also how I discover new books...just as much fun browsing as the book store.

cs harris said...

Lynne, I can't tell you how happy I am to hear this. I don't visit our library nearly as much as I used to. Usually I go on a Saturday morning and it is never very crowded. I wonder how much of a regional variation there is?

Susan J. said...

Libraries, a sore point here in England at the moment. Closures everywhere, damned Tories, I hate them! How could ordinary working class people vote for them? Ugh! Load of upper class twits from Eton, what do they care for the education of ordinary people? You have no idea in America of what we have to contend with here, even in the 21st century, nothing's changed since Sebastian's time, only in name. I'm angry, angry, angry! Who said the English have no passion?

Molly said...

As much as I freakin' hate to give Amazon the credit - quite a bit of what I read "next" is due to them. Book deals and "customers who liked this also liked..." encourage me to try new authors without going too far out of my comfort zone.

Another big influence is my cadre of author blogs that I read. I get book recommendations or am introduced to new authors on those quite a bit, and I pay attention. In fact you had a post on Steampunk a few years back, and that's how I discovered that genre. (For which publishers should be sending you a thank you note: geez I can spend a lot of money...) The way I see it, this is already an author I like well enough to keep up with between books, why wouldn't I trust their recommendation or at least give a chance to an author they like?

Elaine P. said...

I can't really add anything new except to echo all of the suggestions already mentioned above. It's really a combination of things that help me find authors and books. I don't use Facebook very often to keep up with authors unless they don't have a website or the website is out of date. One great resource that I use to find mystery and suspense books is the website "Stop, You're Killing Me". It has an A-Z index of authors and numerous other ways of finding books.

JoAnne said...

I am also one who discovered the Sebastian St. Cyr series at the local library. I loved the cover of "Where Serpents Sleep" and since the genre is one I read, I checked it out and never looked back. Now that I am a librarian, I always suggest the St. Cyr mysteries when someone asks me for recommendations for historical fiction + mysteries. Our library is large and modern and busy, busy, busy!

Put in an appearance at your local library! I'm sure they'd love to have you :)

paz said...

Amazon is my source. It used to be the bookstore, but I live in NYC so we have few of those anymore LOL. The two that are sort of around me are geared toward an academic market, or highbrow lit/travel/lifestyle whatever. I do dream of those homey book and coffee shops I hear exist elsewhere... Libraries in NYC are sooo overused I don't even try my luck with them for contemporary books. I can afford to buy The new fiction books I read, so I choose not take up space in the book cue

vp said...

I've been librarian for 20 years, and have many friends who are writers and publishers, so this topic is often discussed. I have to say that in this day and age, nothing gets my attention as much as a free or cheap entry point on the first title in a series. I have discovered more "new" writers this way than any other. That is saying something since, as part of my job, I read almost every review journal there is. I do make notes for personal use as I read through Kirkus, PW, LJ, and other sources, but they still do not influence me (in terms of personal reading) as much as an email from Amazon alerting me to an inexpensive title.

I'm very willing to take a chance on a new series, when the price to jump in is only a couple of bucks. I can name at least ten writers that I have discovered through this method and now they are pre order status for me.

Friends in publishing HATE hearing this, but it is really a wonderful way to market a series. I also pass these alerts on to the followers of my blog/FB site and they respond with enthusiasm to these suggestions.

I would encourage writers to attempt to make some personal connection with their readers. It can be on FB, a blog, a newsletter or appearances, but I can't tell you the amount of loyalty and goodwill this generates. A reader who connects with a writer on this level often becomes a real advocate for the writer and happily spreads the word about their work. I understand that this is difficult for writers, who really just want to write, but it is part of the business these days and I think is well worth the time and effort involved. As a librarian, I do a lot of reader advisory and a new part of that is providing information about a writer's communication efforts. I talk to readers all the time who want to know if their favorite writers have blogs, FB pages and such. For many readers, this extra component really enriches their reading experience.

I would also suggest that you encourage your readers to review your books on Amazon and Goodreads. I am constantly reading through reviews on both sites and, even if a review is negative, it may strike my interest. What one reader dislikes, I may enjoy, so these reviews can be very valuable when a new reader is considering your books.

paz said...

I should say, btw, price reduction is not a factor. Ebooks are generally within my "affordable" range. It's great when they are on sale, of course!

Susan J. said...

I just sent a Tweet to Piatkus publishers asking if they 'had never considered publishing the wonderful Sebastian St Cyr series of Regency thrillers by C S Harris, in the UK?'. Don't know if it will be noticed but it's worth a try! I see they are on Facebook but I'm not on it, so maybe other people on your blog could contact them through Facebook? If you could get the books published in the UK then maybe they would come to the notice of the BBC.

JustWingingIt said...

On the subject of low entry prices, I received an email from Book Bub that the first three books in the Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy Sayers were on sale as a bundle for $1.99 so I snatched it up.


JustWingingIt said...

Susan J - I will gladly tweet and Facebook Piatkus about publishing the series in the UK. And now that you've given me the idea, I will tweet/Facebook/email both the BBC and Masterpiece Theatre (PBS) about considering adapting the books for a television show. It can't hurt.


Random Michelle K said...

I picked up your first book because I fell in love with the cover, and then fell in love with the book.

As a reader who has surrounded herself with other readers, I have recommended your books to other readers, and loaned the books out (though that is much harder for me to do now that I read primarily ebooks).

How I currently find books is 1) through recommendations from friends 2) recommendations on book blogs (I find a lot of recommendations from book blogs) but most importantly, 3) finding the first book in a series on sale, cheap. I check the daily ebook sales, and if a book looks interesting, I'll try it for $0.99 or $1.99. A first book has to come with a high recommendation from friends (or bloggers) whose opinions I value before I pay anything more than $5 or so for a book from an unknown author.

Also, if a book I love is on sale, I'll let my friends know both the sale price, and that I loved the book. Also, my friends and I are delighted when an author's backlist goes on sale, because we tend to be completists, and often won't read a new book until we've read the previous books in a series

So, I think price is very important for getting into a series, along with a good cover (mind you, I read fantasy, so I will buy books with terrible covers, but those books have to work harder to grab my attention).

I'm not sure if this goes for everyone, but as a voracious reader, I can't afford to keep myself in books if I don't buy them on sale. And I should go to the library, but I just never manage it.

Random Michelle K said...

Not necessarily on topic, but I regularly loaned your books to my grandmother, and she would always ask if a new book had come out when it seemed like it was getting to be that time. I loved sharing books with her, and having a series we both loved was something marvelous. I sometimes still read books and think "Grandmom would have loved this" and when you have a new book in the Sebastian series, I'm always a little sad she isn't around to share it.


Liz said...

Here in Canada, one of the best ways to get publicity is to be interviewed on CBC Radio, especially by Shelagh Rogers on "The Next Chapter" or, better yet, to be selected for "Canada Reads" (although unfortunately mystery authors don't get chosen for that--Louise Penny has ranted about that!) When we lived in the US, I learned about Elizabeth Peters from an NPR interview. So, I recommend radio. Radio listeners might not make up a huge segment of the population, but they tend to be devoted readers.

cs harris said...

Susan, I feel your pain. Have your heard about our governor, Jindal? He just cut LSU's budget by 82%!

Molly, thanks for all this. I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon, too.

Elaine, I hadn't heard to them. Thanks.

JoAnne, I have been roundly taken to task for asking if people still use libraries much. I'm so glad to hear this.

Paz, yes, the death of the cozy bookstore is so sad.

cs harris said...

vp, thanks so much for this. I am going to get really, really strident in my efforts to get NAL to permanently drop the price on ANGELS.

Susan, thanks for this! It's always so frustrated me that my books aren't sold in England.

Veronica, I saw that, too. And thank you!

Random Michelle, thanks for your input. I don't think I appreciated how much people follow book blogs until I asked this question. My sympathies on the loss of your grandmother.

Liz, what I wouldn't give for an NPR interview. My husband is always buying books he hears about that way.

Susan J. said...

I have not heard about your governer but I watch C-SPAN Washington Journal on Sundays, it's broadcast live on our BBC Parliament TV station at lunchtime. I've been quite surprised at how angry people are in America at the moment over everything. Some of the people phoning in sound almost Socialist in their views! I would never have believed it of Americans, things must be getting really bad over there. They had a brilliant bloke on the other week, he ran an Internet site called 'Young Turks' or something and he seemed to be saying all the right things. Have you ever watched this, I think it's on very early in the morning in the US? I like the presenter who is called Steve and is always so calm and polite to everybody.

cs harris said...

Susan, yes, I have seen it. Both sides here are getting very angry. Not sure what those in the middle think about it all. Or maybe they don't think?

Susan J. said...

Sadly so many people 'don't think'! They walk about in their own little cocoon and only shout about things when they or their families are affected. It has always been thus and probably will always be so.

cs harris said...

Susan, so true.

Suzanne said...

Like Jan and Lynne I have found new authors for the past few years either from Amazon's "people who bought these" ads or mentioned on other author's websites. When I get a recommendation of a new author from Amazon (I found your books after buying one of Imogen Robertson's)I read the reviews and that usually gives me a good idea about whether or not it is the sort of book I might enjoy. I have also found some really good ones that were recommended by people I have gotten to know on your website and several others; the same people seem to pop up on a lot of them and we have become friends. I have read some really good books from their recommendations. Your books get favourably mentioned a lot out there on websites by authors such as Lauren Willig, Tracy Grant and Deanna Raybourn.

hope said...

I'm late to the party, but I want to chime in on the importance of a personal website. I, too, have found authors I want to read from the Amazon and also Audible suggestions of books similar to ones I have ordered, but more often they're touting books that are being pushed for whatever reason (do publishers give kickbacks?). I more often find books mentioned in the review section of books that I like. Some reviewers are so insightful, and there are conversations that go on between reviewers who have similar tastes, and pan or recommend books to each other. So I often look at the comments section of reviews. Additionally, on Amazon, if you find a reviewer who you like, you can go and see what other books they've reviewed and enjoyed. One of my favorite reviewers of historic romance is OLT, or Old Latin Teacher. She reads and reviews a lot and I've found her reviews to be very informative and useful, and she's funny.

Also, I go on a fairly regular interval to the websites of my favorite authors and some of those will review or recommend the work of other authors. Not always totally reliable, but usually worth looking at. I do enjoy hearing a bit about the writing life, and it makes it easier to wait for the next book if you know it's coming and what else the author is thinking about.

I'm not fond of most book review blogs. I have gotten some good ideas from the Smart Bitches website but I'm pretty frustrated with most straight out romance novels these days; it's all about billionaires and dukes and pseudo alpha men and playing at BDSM and more sex than the plot calls for. I'll often go to YA fiction to cleanse my palate; Sherry Thomas' first two books of her young adult trilogy have been wonderful fun so far. The third is due out this fall.
I'm fairly housebound, so I no longer browse through bookstores, which we do still have where I live. We have an excellent library, and you can get ebooks from them remotely using a special app, but you have to know what you're looking for.

hope said...

I do agree completely with all of the people above who will buy a book they might not otherwise buy if the price is less. This is also true for me on the Audible website. I buy some real dogs, but I also have ended up being delighted by books that I wouldn't have considered. Of course it works best for the publishers of series rather than stand alone books. I can't emphasize enough that it makes an enormous difference in whether I buy an unknown author or not; I have plenty of books to read and I can't page through an ebook or an audible book to see if I think I'll like it. I'm literally buying a pig in a poke, so I need an extra impetus. (And by the way, reviewers are now so afraid of getting yelled at for including "Spoilers" that many reviews are "I loved it, you should buy it", which is totally useless to me. Why should I trust some anonymous reviewer who might be a friend or an aunt? I'd love to have More "spoilers" so I really know what a book is about.

I think one of the problems for me is that Audible and Amazon both lock you into certain book genres based on what you've bought recently. They do not understand the pleasure of walking into a bookstore where books of every type are laid out to entice you and the bookstore workers have read and recommended their favorites. Instead, it feels like the same old books are pushed and pushed to the detriment of the more unusual titles. It would be nice if it were more like Netflix in actually paying attention to what you like and letting you choose to see more books from independent presses.
I actually have been on a campaign over the last few years of doing searches for my most favorite authors on a daily basis both on Audible and on Amazon to see if I can get them to change their criteria for the books that are offered to me on the website, but it hasn't made any difference so far. And there are a lot of readers who just want to plug into the exact same plot written by the same author, just with different names, so their business model may work best for most readers.

So, thank goodness for you, and Sebastian St. Cyr (and Hero). It's always a happy day when the next book is published.

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