10 insights from the social reading landscape

Social ReadersI began this series by looking at the data around social readers then developed 2 Models for Selling Historical Fiction followed by Selling Historical Fiction Parts II and III. In the process, I offered several diagrams illustrating the changing ways readers and writers are connecting.

Survey data suggests that social readers are changing the reading landscape. I suppose I could have said that social media and a wide range of new applications are enabling social readers to emerge as a market force.

After drawing all these pretty diagrams, do I have any conclusions?

Below are ten insights for your consideration:

  1. Embrace social readers and those who influence them.
  2. Seek out blogs and reading sites for your genre. In my case this is historical fiction and what my former agent called ‘up-market women’s fiction’.
  3. Seek out blogs and influencers in geographic markets and specialty markets where you think your books will appeal. For example, one of my novels is set in WWI France, which suggests looking for bloggers and websites with an interest in WWI or a focus on France.
  4. Since social readers are more likely to purchase online, make sure you provide links to purchase your books every time you appear online.
  5. Talk to your readers. Determine where they hang out and join the conversation. Interact with them whenever they offer a comment. Invite them to make their opinions known through mini-surverys, questions on social media and other mechanisms.
  6. Make sure your e-books are available in as many formats as possible.
  7. Look for opportunities to interact with book clubs.
  8. Maintain an active social media presence that is two-way not one-way.
  9. Include your email address with your books and on your blog so readers can contact you.
  10. Get active on Goodreads – by far the #1 favourite site mentioned by readers.

Oh, and two more:

  • collect emails as you go so you can reach out to readers from time to time, and
  • don’t forget to explore other sites – those I’ve categorized as ‘reading websites’ and ‘reading forums’. For example, IndieBound, IndieBrag and IndiesUnlimited are a mix of book sites and retailers. Pixel of Ink offers free and bargain books. Mumsnet and the Yummy Mummy Club are parent sites with books sections. Wattpad allows you to present chapters for reader comment, you can even serialize your book and test it out. Book Daily offers free book samples so that readers can do the equivalent of reading the first few pages of a book. Some of these sites may be suitable for guest posts, to engage with readers or as a marketplace for your books.

Whether you’re a reader or author, your opinion is important. Please let me know what you think of how social readers are changing the reading landscape.

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available in paperback from Amazon and in e-book formats from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Selling Historical Fiction – Part III

Turns out understanding the dynamics of selling historical fiction is full of complexities. In an earlier diagram I attempted to present a dichotomy between traditional publishing and self-publishing. However, we all know that our world is muddier than that. Ruth Hull Chatlien reminded me that many writers work with small publishers to bring their works to market. Tony Riches mentioned the need for a hybrid approach to reach international markets. And, of course, the roles of traditionally published authors are changing too.

As with my other posts, the following diagrams are works-in-process. In tomorrow’s post I’ve attempted some preliminary advice.

DYNAMICS OF A TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED AUTHOR

Modified traditional path

What’s different?

  • authors usually have to take care of their own platform. Often this involves blogging, being active on Facebook and Twitter, and interacting with readers.
  • readers expect to interact directly with writers (hence the double-headed arrow)
  • publishers are connecting with the ‘cloud’ of influencers, asking bloggers to review books, arranging author interviews, ensuring that their books are represented on Goodreads, traditional media’s online sites, and smaller book sites
  • readers interact with influencers by posting comments, participating in book chats, posting reviews on forums like Goodreads and Amazon, participating in online book clubs, posting on discussion boards, signing up for giveaways
  • readers themselves have become influencers
  • beyond what’s shown on this diagram are advertising campaigns, appearances at book stores, libraries, and other venues, interviews, and traditional reviews with various local and national papers

DYNAMICS OF A SMALL PRESS AUTHOR

Indie model

What’s different?

  • indie writers often hire their own editor
  • indie writers often sell directly to a small press while some sell to an editor within a small press
  • readers expect to interact directly with authors and may have more opportunities to do so than with traditionally published writers
  • like the big publishing houses, small publishers sell to bookstores (although the type of bookstores and coverage within bookstores may be different) and use online retailers like Amazon, B&N and others to bring books to the reading public
  • indie authors interact directly with the cloud of influencers

DYNAMICS OF A SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHOR

Self-Pub Author

What’s different?

  • like indie authors, self-published authors often hire their own editor
  • a self-published author uses online retailers to bring their books to market; in general, they do not sell to online retailers
  • building awareness and selling to readers occurs primarily through the ‘cloud’ of influencers
  • readers have more of a buy relationship with online retailers, having made the choice to purchase based on the new ‘word-of-mouth’ environment offered through social media

Tomorrow, I’ll offer ten insights based on these recent posts about social readers and selling historical fiction (or any fiction for that matter).

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available in paperback from Amazon and in e-book formats from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

10 Ways Social Readers are Changing the Reading Landscape

Social ReadersDipping once more into data from the 2013 historical fiction survey, I’ve divided participants into general readers and ‘social readers’ defined as those who “use blogs, social media or other online sites for reading recommendations and discussion”. What, I wondered, is different about these readers?

Here’s the top 10:

  1. a higher proportion of social readers are under 40 and/or female
  2. social readers read more books on average
  3. they purchase online with higher frequency
  4. and are more likely to read e-books
  5. social readers are more likely to be aware that a book is by an indie author (although that doesn’t stop them from purchasing)
  6. more likely to read books featuring a ‘strong female character’
  7. a bit more interested in romance and/or sex
  8. find most recommendations for books from online sources
  9. are more interested than general readers in sound critique from a book review, and
  10. are more likely to belong to book club(s) both physical and online

So, dear readers, what do you think and how will this change the reading landscape and, as a consequence, the business of books?