SciFi and Fantasy eBook Club discussion

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Book Chat > An indie author would like to know: how do you choose ebooks to read?

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message 1: by Shuvom (new)

Shuvom Ghose (Shuvom_Ghose) | 20 comments So, as a struggling indie sci-fi author, I'd like to understand: what's your process for choosing what ebook to buy/download?

In physical bookstores, I always look for my favorite authors on the shelf first, then look around those for new names to read (which is why so many of my faves have last names that start with 'R'!). But folks can't find my ebook that way!

What do you do when on the hunt for a new ebook- Amazon "also liked" lists, forum skimming, goodreads friends' lists- what? Indie authors are dying to know!

Thanks,
Shuvom


message 2: by Stephen (new)

Stephen | 2 comments Hi Shuvom,
I use goodreads as a filter for books to read. Also the recommendations from friends and other authors comes into play.

Stephen


message 3: by Shuvom (new)

Shuvom Ghose (Shuvom_Ghose) | 20 comments Stephen,

Thanks! So, specifically, when hunting for a new book, do you go to a Goodreads group and look at their shelf, or go to your friend's shelves and see what's there? Or search by tags?

I'm looking for the steps to connect a reader to an author he's never read, and then see how I can help my military sci-fi book be seen in those steps.


message 4: by Stephen (new)

Stephen | 2 comments I look at what people are talking about, and the group shelf. Most of my recommendations lately have come from the Sword and Laser Goodreads group. I will also look at the lists in goodreads and the recommendations goodreads makes based upon my shelves.


message 5: by Clay (new)

Clay | 126 comments Actually, I choose e-books the same way I choose DTBs. First, I look in the genre I want. Then I browse covers and titles. I understand that an indie author might not have the funds to get some quality artwork, but if the artwork they do have looks too bad or looks too comic bookish, I pass it by unless the title is enough to grab my attention. (a good example would be Wolfhound by Kindal Debenham....the title was enough to get my attention but the art work is a big turn off). Then, there HAS to be a synopsis. SOMETHING to tell me what the book is about. if the Author can't be bothered to add that, I can't be bothered to buy it (I saw several books on BN and Amazon last night that had nothing...and so they got nothing from me). Sometimes, that is enough. If I like what I see...then I will probably get a sample. if I am still in doubt, I will come here to Goodreads and look up reviews. If the sample catches my interest, a sale is made.

I learned my lesson about buying right off the bat with William Monie's The First Galactic Dynasty (I was one of two reviewers that gave it a 1 out of five LOL)


message 6: by Frank (new)

Frank Hofer | 34 comments Do you have any price points that you look at? When we first published Duck Blood Soup on amazon, we set a price of $5.99 then later lowered it to $3.99. Are you more likely to take a chance with the 2 dollar difference, or is the fact that you've never heard of someone off-putting?


message 7: by Clay (new)

Clay | 126 comments Honestly, Price DOES make a difference in some cases (in my case at least), but usually not the first thing I look at. In fact, it is the last think I look at. If the title catches me, and the cover art (no art is better than bad art) does not put me off, then I will read the synopsis (if there is not one, then I won't even bother going to the next step), then I will look at the price. If I am still not sure, I will (if an e-book) download a sample if available before deciding whether or not to buy.

A point I would like to make as a reader to you indie writers out there. Think very carefully about the title of your work. Don't just pick a title because you like it...think marketing! This is the first thing a reader like me is going to look at....and in the tightening economy where it is harder and harder to convince people to part with ANY funds, your title better stand out in a sea of other indie authors.

Sorry Frank, and please don't take offense....this is my own personal preferences, but with a title like Duck Blood Soup, if you had not posted here, I wouldn't even get to the synopsis before moving on to look at the next book in the list.

I have no idea what the story is like....it could well be a damned good one, but in the competitive market, the title has to give me a REASON to want to look further.

Sorry if I offended....but I figured you would appreciate the honesty :)


message 8: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 390 comments The only eBooks I've paid money for in the past year are those where I first got a free eBook in a series, and liked it so much I didn't mind paying for the follow-ups.

But, even then, with the number of free eBooks available (I've downloaded over 3000 in the past year), it's tough to justify paying anything over $3.99 or so. I currently have more reading material than I know what to do with.


message 9: by Clay (new)

Clay | 126 comments Frank,

An addendum to my previous post: (shaking my head here and laughing) Why on earth go with a title like Duck Blood Soup when the name in Parenthesis would be a much better eye catcher: The Caldarium War!?

See? if you had not posted here, I wouldn't have read the synopsis or notice that series title (and many time the first book in a series often bears the series name). The second name and the synopsis convinced me to download a sample. But, as I said, if you had not posted this last post, I would not have even glanced twice at it because of the Soup :)


message 10: by Frank (new)

Frank Hofer | 34 comments Oh, I'm not offended; my brother and I are looking for input. The title does relate to the book but I do see your point that maybe the title isn't as good as I thought. If you do decide to read the entire book we definitely want to know what works and what doesn't. All input is welcome.


message 11: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Moorer (SherritheWriter) It's all about the synopsis. And frankly, I've read a few because the author ASKED me to give them a read and review. Glad I did too because I have discovered some great talent that way.


message 12: by Chris (new)

Chris Nielsen | 48 comments That has to be the most off-putting title I have ever seen. I would not read that even if if were free! Now with a different title I would definitely check it out


message 13: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 97 comments Randy wrote: "The only eBooks I've paid money for in the past year are those where I first got a free eBook in a series, and liked it so much I didn't mind paying for the follow-ups."

This.

My previous access to new to me authors was limited to books I checked out from the library as I rarely buy books by unknown authors. The only books I buy are books by authors I like well enough that I'm going to want to re-read at some point.

I've probably downloaded close to 1000 books in the 14 months I've had my Kindle. I select from the free download lists in the genres I normally read then download if the description sounds like something I might enjoy. I don't pay much attention to titles, or to the covers, the description is what I look at.

I don't spend much time reading something that doesn't catch my interest quickly and keep me involved, so I probably don't finish 2/3 of the free downloads, maybe more. It may be a somewhat unfair way to select books, but I am a fast reader and read a lot and the percentage of library books that go back not finished are probably not much different.

Reality is that I haven't had less than 20 books on my Kindle waiting to be read since the first month I had it and given the percentage of books I don't finish that sound interesting enough for me to try, it doesn't make sense to buy them, even at low prices rather than select from the free books.

That said, I have to admit that via library exposure in the past 5 years, I added only 3 authors to my 'must buy' list. In the year I've had the Kindle, I've added 6 new authors. The first book was free, I went back and bought the additional books that were available and I have them on a list I follow to be sure I know when new ones are published.

The majority of the books I've bought in the last year have been new books published by authors who were already on my "favorite authors" list or books by authors I've been introduced to through the free downloads and are now on my 'favorite authors' list.


message 14: by Clay (new)

Clay | 126 comments Sharon wrote: "The majority of the books I've bought in the last year have been new books published by authors who were already on my "favorite authors" list or books by authors I've been introduced to through the free downloads and are now on my 'favorite authors' list. "

That is a very good point. Indie authors are not only competing with other Indie authors but Established Authors as well. When Elizabeth Moon Or Charlaine Harris come out with new books, Indie authors will suffer because that money ear-marked for book purchases, are going to go to those established authors rather than be "risked" on an unknown.

Making that first book free or damned close to it, can do a lot. An example that comes to mind is an Indie author that I have moved into my "Established" Author list.....Evan Currie.
On Silver Wings by Evan C. Currie This book first I saw and it was $.99 (I believe...it has been a while lol) at the time. Now, it is listed at $3.99. Because that first book was so cheap, I bought it...and now have purchased, at full price, both Odyssey books and the two sequels to that original book.

On the other hand.....I sometimes wonder if making a book available for free might not be a mistake.

Can it be possible that being free makes the indie author seem desperate? And we all know the old saying..."Anything free is worth what you pay for it!" But by putting a price on the book, the Indie author says "this book is worth it!" and by putting a smaller price...like $.99, he or she is not saying "well, it ain't worth THAT much." But rather, "I am making this available to you a a reduced price so that you can enjoy this wonderful book and become acquainted with my work!"

If he or she is going through Amazon (I don't know if B&N does it) then the reader can get a free sample if still not convinced.

(Which means that Indie author really should make sure that they put enough "punch" in that sample to clinch the deal. In this day and age of "sample" I have to wonder if the indie author cannot afford to have a 'gradual' build up...hmmmm....)


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Usually the description and the sample are enough if it's an author I've never read before. The author to spell and write complete sentences: and no mistakes like grizzly for grisly. Bad or block formatting is pretty much a label that says DO NOT READ. Price is not a major concern in most cases.

But I've also put a kibosh on indie authors. I read Wool last year and wasn't overly impressed. It wasn't bad and it was better than all other indie science fiction authors I've read, but not good enough to seek out more by the same author. And it is supposed to be the best of indie science fiction.


message 16: by Clay (last edited Jan 21, 2013 09:15AM) (new)

Clay | 126 comments Greg wrote: "But I've also put a kibosh on indie authors. I read Wool last year and wasn't overly impressed. It wasn't bad and it was better than all other indie science fiction authors I've read, but not good enough to seek out more by the same author. And it is supposed to be the best of indie science fiction. ."

Greg, if you haven't tried it yet, at least give Evan Currie a shot. Get a sample of On Silver Wings or Odyssey One. I think you might be surprised.

I think I am more willing to give Indies a shot...especially if they are offering something in the Space Opera genre. Sorry fantasy indie authors, I can only handle so much fantasy at a time LOL)


message 17: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 97 comments Clay wrote: "Indie authors are not only competing with other Indie authors but Established Authors as well. When Elizabeth Moon Or Charlaine Harris come out with new books, Indie authors will suffer because that money ear-marked for book purchases, are going to go to those established authors rather than be "risked" on an unknown.
If he or she is going through Amazon (I don't know if B&N does it) then the reader can get a free sample if still not convinced. "


I have my budget set up to allow for my 'favorite authors' and I also have a budget for 'new favorites' I guess you'd say. The budget does get stretched at times but I'm buying fewer horses so maybe it evens out more or less. A new to me Indie author, once 'established' on my list (2 or 3 books usually) will not be dropped any quicker than any of my other 'favorite authors' ...a couple that were on my pre-Kindle favorites list wrote a couple of books that a liked significantly less and they were put on 'probationary' status ... they are established, well known authors but I now read their new books from the library before deciding to purchase.

Best example of an Indie author now on my list is Faith Hunter. Her first book was free. Loved it and immediately purchased the second in the series, which I think might have been $1.99. Third book was also available and was more. Her current books are now coming out at prices consistent with many established authors and I am willingly paying that as they are published.

As for samples, I do request them on occasion if I see a book at a low-ish price that sounds particularly promising. However, I have to say that most of them don't end up purchases. I've had several that were disappointing and a few that I didn't even finish. I can find those in the free downloads and save myself the expense. While I am sure I'm missing some I'd enjoy, I haven't finished everything I already have.


message 18: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 97 comments Greg wrote: "
But I've also put a kibosh on indie authors. I read Wool last year and wasn't overly impressed. It wasn't bad and it was better than all other indie science fiction authors I've read, but not good enough to seek out more by the same author. And it is supposed to be the best of indie science fiction. "


I find that 'best of' lists don't work well for me. I tried Wool and didn't care for it either. But then I can think of half a dozen best-selling authors in the sci-fi/fantasy field that most readers simply rave about and I wouldn't read the books if they were free. Doesn't seem to be much worse with established authors as Indie authors.

The only thing that has changed with my switch to Kindle from library books has been quite a few books that are 'reasonably good, entertaining' but not something I would particularly want to re-read. Those I would get from the library that ended up in that category, went on my 'look for at the library' list. I wouldn't buy a new book by that author but I like them well enough to look for the next published book the library got. I still have that option with library books, but many of the free downloads by Indie authors are available only in eBook format and/or are not mainstream enough to be purchased by the library.


message 19: by Clay (new)

Clay | 126 comments Sharon wrote: "Best example of an Indie author now on my list is Faith Hunter. Her first book was free. Loved it and immediately purchased the second in the series, which I think might have been $1.99. "

Faith Hunter is an Indie Author? LOL. The Jane Yellowrock and St. Croix series Faith Hunter? Wow, I didn't realize that LOL.


message 20: by Patty (last edited Jan 21, 2013 09:57AM) (new)

Patty Bentley | 2 comments I have enjoyed many indie authors in the few years frequently because the books were cheap or free others by reading the synopsis on amazon or barnes and noble and looking at reviews on goodreads.Mostly the synopsis pulls me in and I take a leap of faith. I find it exciting.Sometimes I fall on my face but that's what makes it exciting.


message 21: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 97 comments Clay wrote: "Sharon wrote: "Best example of an Indie author now on my list is Faith Hunter. Her first book was free. Loved it and immediately purchased the second in the series, which I think might have been $1..."

I believe she was anyway. I 'found' her before I knew enough to know what an Indie author was and it was the first thing I'd read of hers (the first Jane Yellowrock book). She had several books published at the time, but as far as I remember, only in eBook format and I really do not know if she was publishing independently at that time for sure or not. Obviously, she now has a publisher and most, if not all of her books are also available in paperback.


Snarktastic Sonja (SnowNSew) | 28 comments Frank wrote: "Oh, I'm not offended; my brother and I are looking for input. The title does relate to the book but I do see your point that maybe the title isn't as good as I thought. If you do decide to read th..."

OK. So. I really *like* the title. And much better than the subtitle - which I find lackluster and common. In fact, I would be sorely tempted to jump in if the book were cheaper. While I have found a few Indies that I do enjoy, authors who have found a publishing house have at least made it through one set of gates that indies have not yet done. Now, this could be by CHOICE in that they want creative control and their writing may be AMAZING, but I still need a bit of confidence that I am actually going to FINISH a book before I pay much for it. A free book definitely sucks me in. Even for 99 cents, I am going to think twice. 2.99 is pretty much my cutoff - and this is only AFTER I have downloaded a sample and been sucked in.

And, Shuvom, you said something on a forum somewhere that made me laugh out loud (sorry, for the life of me can't remember what or where) and made me hunt your book down and I now have the sample sitting on my tablet ready for me to devour. THEN, I will see where it takes me.

I do always look at reviews. Both here and amazon. If they are all 5's, I tend to ignore them. Same with 1's. I feel like more often books fall into the 2-4 star category. But, we all rate books differently. The number of reviews helps. I don't actually review all the books I read because sometimes I go from one to the next too fast to get a review finished. But, I do always try to write one for indie books I pick up - especially if they were free or close to it. And, I feel very guilty if I have to give them 1 star. (That, I believe, has only happened once.)

TLDR: What pulls me in is:
Price
Reviews
Synopsis
Presence of the Author


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Sharon, out of the dozen or so indie books I've read, most were below what I'd expect to find in traditional publishing. Way back in the 80s a took writing seriously; I attended writers workshops and read a lot of stuff that wasn't good enough to be published. Myself included. When I read the indies I'm reminded of these workshops for writers who weren't good enough to make it. Today these writers would be indies selling their books. Either I'm too tough a critic or how readers define what's "good enough" has changed. In any case, an indie author is going to be a hard sell until I detect some overall improvement with their output.


message 24: by Weenie (new)

Weenie | 21 comments I too am of the 'try first book for free, pay for subsequent books if I liked it' brigade.

Can't say that this has happened very often so I've started to be a bit more choosy with the 'freebies' these days.

Also, I hadn't realised until pointed in an earlier post - I too am more tempted by indie sci-fi than indie fantasy, even though I read more of the latter in general.


message 25: by Frank (new)

Frank Hofer | 34 comments Sonja, I understand where you're coming from with regards to traditional publishing. I'll admit that I don't look at a lot of indie writers either but when I do, the price had better be less than 5 bucks. Even then, a lot of times I end up putting on my editor's hat.

For a while we tried to latch on with an agent and got maybe a 20 percent response from our query letters. From those agents who did read our first 50 pages, we usually got responses of "pretty good, what else have you got?" But no representation.

Getting reviews can be a bit problematic. Our free giveaway day resulted in 120 copies downloaded but no additional reviews. Actually, I'm not surprised by that. I downloaded Year Zero and Ready Player One then didn't get around to reading them for 6 months. And I still haven't written reviews saying that I loved them both.


message 26: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 97 comments Greg wrote: "Sharon, out of the dozen or so indie books I've read, most were below what I'd expect to find in traditional publishing. Either I'm too tough a critic or how readers define what's "good enough" has changed. "

I can't say if I would judge indie writers differently if I were a writer myself, or not. I was an English major in college (didn't finish) but the only thing I've written that has been published were non-fiction articles for (mostly) livestock publications.

I'm probably more lenient than many about editing errors ... reigns for reins ... there and their ... and so on. However, I'm a character driven reader. A writer who can put engaging, interesting *real* characters in front of me along with a decent storyline is much more likely to hook me as a reader than the author who writes an intricately plotted mystery with impeccable English and spelling and half a dozen assorted lawyers, police detectives and smugglers that I can't remember 5 chapters later.

The first I'm likely to read through despite spelling and grammar errors. The second is much more likely to be unfinished.


message 27: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 390 comments What I hate about grammar and spelling errors is they take me out of the story. I think it's a left/right brain type of thing. I can't enjoy an imaginative story when I'm in analytical mode. And such errors put me there.

It's similar to going to a "popcorn" movie. If you stop and think about what's going on on-screen, you're not going to enjoy the movie nearly as much.


message 28: by Clay (last edited Jan 21, 2013 02:15PM) (new)

Clay | 126 comments About Errors. Yeah, they bug me too. BUT, I realize that a lot of indie authors probably cannot afford professional proof-readers/editors (one place I just checked out would charge $571.00 just for a manuscript critique of a manuscript of 100,000 words.) when they are first starting out.

IF they start making money from their first book or two, I suppose a wise Indie would invest part of those royalties into such services for later books.

It is when i get into those later books and realize there is no improvement (ie still the same errors or obvious lack of proofreading/editing) that I truly get irritated, realize I have wasted my money, and refuse to buy anything from that author again. If the Indie author does not care enough to get it right, then why should I care to buy his/her product?

Of course, I am talking minor errors here. I have seen a few that left me flabbergasted. Some that made me wonder if the writer ever got out of elementary school.

And then there are some....LOL let's just say that I have to resist the urge to send them links to the books Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies And How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy and Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy (and a couple on world building as well LOL)

Sigh...yes, I have all those and more in my library...the one thing even BAD indie authors have that I don't is the self-discipline needed to actually sit down and write it. But then, since I have decided to go back to school, perhaps that will help me with that problem....we'll see LOL.


message 29: by Frank (new)

Frank Hofer | 34 comments Hey, I yell at the radio and TV when they don't use "I" and "me" correctly. I once bought a book on smoking meat where I just had to write a review. Loved the recipes but said that whoever had done the editing should be shot - the grammar was horrible. Turned out it was the author himself. I suggested that since he lived in Kansas City he should hit one of the local colleges, grab an English major, and toss them a couple of bucks. It would be money well spent.

To me the occasional bad grammar can be excused. I know that I've read Duck Blood Soup so many times my eyes glaze over so I can see how errors might slip through once or twice. My brother and I at least had the advantage of having a friend who is a professional editor give the book a read.


Snarktastic Sonja (SnowNSew) | 28 comments Frank wrote: "Getting reviews can be a bit problematic. Our free giveaway day resulted in 120 copies downloaded but no additional reviews"

I am very sorry to have missed your free give away day. :( The title absolutely intrigues me. (Sorry, Clay.) This is why I DO try to review freebies. As a reader, I am not always convinced the reviewers are actually offering an unbiased opinion. Especially if the reviews are few and mostly 5 stars. Same holds true for 1 star reviews. Though, the validity of those is usually easy to ferret out in the sample.

I have never written a novel - but I have written enough other things - technical documentation, lesson plans, papers - that I completely understand that we read what we expect to read. I knew one proofreader (back before everyone had a computer on his desk) that read things backwards. This will not catch a homonym nor grammatical mistakes, and in this day and age of spell checking even my forum posts it is probably irrelevant. Therefore, I give first authors a little bit of slack there. If they have a few novels out, they get less slack - I figure they should be spending more time proofreading and less time writing. Heck, I find major booboos even in mass marketed novels (so, yea, don't get me started on "could care less"). I will mark it down if the errors drag me out of the story.

O yea - one sure fire way to keep me from reading or reviewing your novel is to spam me or the forums. :)


message 31: by Clay (new)

Clay | 126 comments Frank wrote: "Hey, I yell at the radio and TV when they don't use "I" and "me" correctly. I once bought a book on smoking meat where I just had to write a review. Loved the recipes but said that whoever had done..."

LOL. I don't think you are being tossed into the pile. At least not yet by me LOL I haven't had time to read the sample yet LOL.

Authors, even established ones NOW, had to start somewhere. In the old days, Publishing companies had the dubious pleasure of weeding out the bad ones...and then deciding which of the remaining actually made it out of the slush pile and into print.

In those days, the public didn't even have a clue as to how many would be authors were disappointed and the would-be author only had to worry about a few rejection slips.

Now, with that middle man cut out, the public is seeing what the old time editors had to wade through to bring them those GOOD authors. And on the other side, the would-be author is opening him/herself up to a lot more than a simple rejection slip from Baens or Tor or whatever publishing company. Those rejection slips were, from my understanding, extremely professional in content....the public reactions to some books won't be so professional...so an indie author (even a good one!) had better have a very thick skin. Because, no matter how good the book is, there are going to be those that hate it...and out of those, there will probably at least one rude, vocal, jerk that will be more than willing to tell the author what he/she thinks...and none of it stated in a professional manner. (hmmmm.....which makes me think, that if I ever do write something....I will probably think very seriously about going the old fashioned route LOL)


message 32: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 390 comments I typically highlight errors I run into. After one book I finished last year, one of the other reviewers detailed a number of errors they had found. When I checked my highlights, NONE of them were the same as the reviewer's. And we both had noted nearly a dozen. Not a lot for a full novel, but enough.

The worst for me was a short story that averaged 3-4 errors per Kindle page. I was playing a game for a while to see what the new "record" would be for a page. I stopped after one page had 7 of them. If it had been longer than a short story, I wouldn't have finished it. My favorite was soldiers "repelling" from a helicopter, just for the image it conjured in my head, and it showed up several times.

OTOH, I'm always amazed at the number of errors I find in my own emails or messages when I proofread them. And, inevitably, I will too often see another one JUST as I click on the "send" button.


Snarktastic Sonja (SnowNSew) | 28 comments Clay wrote: "Authors, even established ones NOW, had to start somewhere. In the old days, Publishing companies had the dubious pleasure of weeding out the bad ones...and then deciding which of the remaining actually made it out of the slush pile and into print. "

This is actually one of the reasons I love indies. The big guys only want to produce what they THINK will sell. I feel this is the reason we are totally inundated by werewolves and vampires and overly long mega-series (at least in the fantasy genre). So, indie publishing enables me to find things that are a bit different - or more in my line of entertainment - it is a definite win for me. And, I really love feeling like I am actually rewarding the AUTHOR when I click that "buy now" button.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi. As a fellow indie author I understand your struggle. For me, I usually choose ebooks based on the subject matter and genre. Also, price. Though it's not a huge factor for me but for many it is. If the book is similar to another book I've read, I tend to buy it as well.

But a good synopsis and probably promotion(haven't gotten there yet) might help.

--Elaina


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

An indie author can't afford to stint on English or formatting, just ask the author selected for this group who didn't know grizzly from grisly. Maybe there was a good story in there somewhere (or not) but the writing was so bad nobody could find it. Pay for the editor.

There are more book already written than I'll ever live long enough to read, so I'm not likely to overlook "mistakes" for a "good story" because I can get that elsewhere for just a few dollars more .

Typing messages on an iPhone will have errors and that's going to be ok, but authors need to be pretty confident the books they publish don't have grisly bares eating out of pick wick baskets.


message 36: by Shuvom (new)

Shuvom Ghose (Shuvom_Ghose) | 20 comments Everyone,

Thanks for the input- you've completely changed my course of action! Instead of self-promoting, blogging, or doing free giveaways, now I'm switching full speed to writing "Infinity Squad 2" so I can make the first one cheap/free and funnel readers into trying me out!

Given my reviews, I'm pretty sure folks who read the first will keep going in the series.

Look for the sequel to be published July 4th, 2013!


message 37: by Sharon (last edited Jan 21, 2013 04:08PM) (new)

Sharon Michael | 97 comments That sounds like a plan as it does seem to be working for a number of indie authors.

One other thing I might mention ... when reading reviews to see if I am likely to be interested in a book, I make a note of the numbers of 1 and 5 star reviews but usually don't do more than skim those. The 5s are generally along the lines of 'love it, wonderful' and the 1s are at the opposite end of things, 'hate it, rotten'. The reviews I actually read the most carefully are the 2,3 and 4 ratings where readers will often be more specific about things they liked and didn't like. That way I get a more balanced view and can often pick up on books I'd like or dislike for the same reasons given.


message 38: by Igor (new)

Igor (igork) | 3 comments 1st stop - Goodreads
2nd stop - Google
3rd stop - Amazon store


message 39: by Kevis (last edited Jan 21, 2013 04:18PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (KevisHendrickson) | 120 comments Shuvom wrote: "Everyone,

Thanks for the input- you've completely changed my course of action! Instead of self-promoting, blogging, or doing free giveaways, now I'm switching full speed to writing..."


Wise move. The one constant that I've gotten from threads like these is that every reader is different just like every author is different. The point? Every author should understand that the only thing that's entirely in their control is the quantity, and more importantly, the quality of what they write. Everything else is subject to forces outside of their control. Some readers want more romance in their books, others want more action. You can't please them all. But you sure as heck can write the kind of story you'd pay good money to read and hope that you'll find the readers who want to read what you write.


message 40: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Jan 21, 2013 04:47PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Goodreads says 5 books per second added (not all new; frequently people adding their existing libraries and editions but still...)

Comments or reviews by goodreads friends or favorite authors lead me to visit book page. I check genre and read synopsis/blurb/description to see if of interest. If unkown author (particulalry if self-published), I download free sample to check that I like the writing.

I also browse the genres I like for new reads (under "explore" menu at goodreads and in the goodreads fecommendations).

Price is not exactly a factor. If a book I was interested in was free, I will download immediately before it goes back to full price. If an unknown author, I'm not going to pay hardcover prices; expect ebook prices to be under $12 even for the "big time" authors and generally to be in the $0.99 to $7.99 range. Expect indie auhors the $0.99 to $2.99 range and if they are higher, I need some really strong recommendations from a handful of reading friends that exactly match my tastes.

I usually have enough in my to be read pile or pre-ordered from favorite authors that I honestly don't usually go looking for new books.


Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) @Shuvom, all the book recommendations and browsing by genre stuff that goodreads does (plus groups that use to nominate book of the month, penpal reads, buddy reads, assorted games and challenges) usually shows by popularity, meaning number of times a book shelved as that genre/shelf.

You might want to add your own book to your read shelf and then to custom shelves like "science fiction" "military science fiction" "space opera" or whatever you think is appropriate. Glance at some books you think have similar elements to see what genres and shelves they show on their book page.

Goodreads has some odd algorithms for turning shelf names into genres and for how they recommend books to goodreads members.

Another piece of the recommendation algorithm is buried in the book metadata so make sure to fill that out as well.

Don't expect exciting results from doing any of the above until you have a lot of goodreads members rating and shelving; because so many features tied to popularity, your 12-rating-book could show in my science fiction recommendations but be hundreds or thousands of pages away because so many books in the genre have 1,000+ ratings.


message 42: by Carro (last edited Jan 22, 2013 08:31AM) (new)

Carro | 44 comments In general on buying books, I buy by author. To try a new author it is either

Recommendations on a forum
Trying from a library
Seeing a "people also bought this" on Amazon that catches my attention
Seeing the author on a forum talking sensibly.

For self-published authors, until this thread I have seen only one recommended on a forum. I have seen a quite a few authors talking sensibly on a forum and pressed on a link on their avatar to go and look further at their book.
I do occasionally follow the free book links - but only if the text describing the book appeals to me. Just being free is not enough.

Actually buying a book (or downloading a free copy) - whether self-published or not.
1. I read the synopsis and a couple of reviews to see if the story is to my taste.
2. I try the first few pages to see if the writing works for me.

I am afraid that so far, no self-published book has made it past point 2 for me. I'd like to support self-published authors as well as company published authors, but to date, every one I've tried has been a bit clunky, for want of a better word, or the writing style is just not to my taste. (One example of the latter had writing that flowed well, but was a military based SF that had a lot of military abbreviations and acronyms and that just winds me up. I like some military sf - but not the heavy on the technical front variety.)

Price does come into it - but at the last point. I certainly won't pay hardback prices for an eBook (and actually I don't buy hardbacks either. :D) I do also look at length and price - the longer the book, the more I'd be prepared to pay. (Price per lb as it were. :) )

ADDITIONAL THOUGHT - added later.

In terms of adverts of books, how many people find the equivalent of if you liked that (examples given) you should like this?

I was thinking about a sp book that has been hyped a bit recently on here which is described as a dystopian sf thriller. Now that is a wide field - is it like David Brin's The Postman, or Stephen Baxter's "The Flood". How positive is the story? Is it folks trying to re-build their world, or have they not yet hit rock bottom?

In terms of tuning an advert/blub - what works for you?


message 43: by Charles (new)

Charles (NogDog) I don't think I have any specific, standardized process. I get initial info coming in from several sources: web sites like this and KindleBoards.com, suggestions from Amazon.com as well as poking around their new releases, suggestions from friends, and so forth. Once something grabs my attention, then I might look at reviews here and at Amazon (both good and bad reviews to get a broad set of viewpoints), and if I'm still interested at that point, I'll download the sample. (If it's free or currently on sale at a very low prices, I may just go ahead and buy it at that point.)

As far as indie authors go, I don't discriminate against (or for) them, but I do tend to be more skeptical about them, as I am a pretty picky reader with a low tolerance for writing mistakes, format blunders, triteness, been-there-done-that, and so forth. I have read a few indie books that were quite good -- and in almost every case the authors became non-indies -- but also have tried more that did not cut the mustard, I'm afraid.


message 44: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Jan 23, 2013 09:10AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) It's easier to say what not to do.

There are just so many indie books clamoring for attention. Someone posted that amazon gets more than 50,000 a month; goodreads says 5 books added every second (not all new and not all indie)—that it is hard to stand out and hard to get my attention. I am very harsh to promotions showing up in my email or goodreads messages because the last thing I need is more inbox cleanup to do. And usually the spammers don't even bother to see what you read.

Don't like promotions from authors I don't fan/follow in the inboxes.

Kiss of death if an author tries to promote their own book by entering the book of the month or other book-title-specific discussion to blast away at how horrible that book is and how stupid we all are for not reading theirs instead.

Useless and annoying to see an author start going through all the groups and posting their promotional message regardless of whether or not remotely interesting to group (doesn't take much to search the groups by topic or genre and any author not bright enough to judge that maybe their World War II non-fiction historical might not be of interest to the SF groups or the best stories to read your toddler at bedtime mommy groups).

If posts sound like came from a fifth-grader who failed English, barely make sense, or are just nasty foul-tempered hateful things...I expect I'll dislike the writing in their ebooks just as much.

Most groups and posts on goodreads public. Seeing author-to-author posts that could be interpreted as trying to game the system at amazon or other sites (tag drives, any review exchanges that don't say "for an honest review", asking to "like" or "vote" the positive reviews so the negatives get buried...). Authors making nasty comments on reviews (particulalry a chain of) can turn me off and if I did read their book and noticed the review as I was going to write mine, I won't review (will rate if read but no review).

An author I have good group conversations with, whose bookshelves and reviews show reading tastes in common—their books I'll be curious enough to at least read the blurb.


message 45: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Jan 23, 2013 09:27AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Not every indie author, but, from what I see most of them, try to treat goodreads like amazon.

By that I mean things like freaking out over a ★★★☆☆ review. The goodreads ★★★☆☆ means "liked your book"; equivalent to the amazon ★★★★☆. A goodreads ★★☆☆☆ means "ok" or the equivalent of an amazon ★★★☆☆ and so on. Nevermind readers that make up their own ratings or think that "1" star means #1 tops A1 best book they ever read. Some really odd comebacks by authors on member reviews (even if review was positive).

Not understanding that a core feature of goodreads is for readers to catalogue their books, so any reader may have shelved some edition no longer availble or no longer with a particular publisher. If book was ever published, it gets a book data page on goodreads.

Most indies want to treat the goodreads book data pages just like product pages on bookseller sites. Goodreads does not delete an edition (particulalry not if on a reader's shelf) because an indie has since gotten a more professional or preferred book cover, ran into problems with a publisher so changed, etc. The goodreads database could care less if the book or book edition is currently available.

Seems like an overwhelming percentage of indie authors are here on goodreads just to promote their book versus getting involved in the booklovers community. Runs counter to readers who came here to catalogue and share their love of books versus here to be marketing targets.


message 46: by Charles (new)

Charles (NogDog) Debbie wrote: "Not every indie author, but, from what I see most of them, try to treat goodreads like amazon.

By that I mean things like freaking out over a ★★★☆☆ review. The goodreads ★★★☆☆ means "liked your b..."


I always want to laugh (or cry) when I see an author freaking out over anything less than 5 stars on any site: To Kill a Mockingbird has 50 2-star and 88 1-star ratings on Amazon -- I don't want to hear any indie author claiming their book is better (even if it is) or that they should be subject to different rating criteria than non-indie authors.


message 47: by Shuvom (last edited Jan 23, 2013 10:04AM) (new)

Shuvom Ghose (Shuvom_Ghose) | 20 comments Debbie,

Thanks for the honest and in depth answer! I'll try not to do anything on your list- it's hard because our books are like our babies, but your second post (or third) made me realize, it's about the reader experience, not the silly words I've strung together.

As I said above, my main goal is to create the second book now, and I'll skim the forums only in my spare time and comment on great books I love and want other people to discover.

I also agree with you on price: indies should always be less than brand names, and always less than paperback. That's the whole point of ebooks.

And to EVERYONE- thanks for all the feedback- I never thought this thread would explode like this!

Shuvom


message 48: by Clay (new)

Clay | 126 comments Debbie wrote: "Seems like an overwhelming percentage of indie authors are here on goodreads just to promote their book versus getting involved in the booklovers community."

I actually don't mind a little promotion...especially in an appropriate group. And, correct me if I am wrong, I do believe THIS group even has a specific discussion category for that...fantastic idea!

Without such promotion, I would not have even noticed a couple of books....Shuvom's for example. Now while Shuvom's book wasn't to my taste after reading the sample, it WAS enough to make sure Shuvom is on my "to watch" list :)

(and Shuvom....I totally understand the "our books are like our babie" thing LOL)

It is when an author (indie or otherwise) comes on ONLY to promote that I get irritated. Hell, I would get irritated if David Weber or Elizabeth Moon came on here and did nothing but promote - but then, I am still upset that Elizabeth Moon hasn't written anymore in her Vatta Universe LOL).

Seeing them join in regular topics, without promoting , would go a long way.

But of course, those that do nothing BUT promote, also sour the playing field for those that promote responsibly.

One thing I HAVE noticed, is that the indie authors I have interacted with here have, so far, been courteous and truly interested in the views of readers and potential readers. That may have something to do with how those readers/potential readers respond to them, of course. A reader/potential reader that is rude, crude, and confrontational probably shouldn't expect a calm, courteous response :)


message 49: by Clay (new)

Clay | 126 comments One thing I have not noticed, and there could be something in place that I am not aware of, is some form of group (whether here on Goodreads or elsewhere) for Indie authors to band together for mutual support.

Sorta like an indie author union. There are enough indie authors out there that, if they banded together, they could probably form their own publishing company LOL.


Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) There are quite a few author groups. Some public; some private. Hit "groups" on menu, (if an author has not already joined the three official groups showing on the righthand side, they should), search for "indie" and other phrases, look in the "goodreads author" section...or start your own.

And I did not mean to rag on all indie authors. It's a few rude bad apples that spoil it for all the professionally courteous ones—probably because noticed more or deliberately seeking even bad attention since it means they were noticed. All groups have their own rules on promotions and usually are geared to a genre members like to read. Just some of those authors that don't pay any attention...

I posted right after still yet another author made a friend request and as soon as accepted bombarded my goodreads messages inbox. And any goodreads member can message me without friending; this author obviously did not check if they could send without friending and certainly never looked at books I read—so far such very few badly behaving authors or goodreads members that I've not had any reason to lock my messages to friends only (I tend to friend anyone then unfriend if any unpleasantness or never get any books in common).

Most groups not only have promotion threads but are also starting to have the "free-ebook for honest review" type of threads (Making Connections and Read It & Reap examples come to mind). Seen a lot of authors getting blocked in groups after some of what got posted.

I'm glad that just because of the bad apples goodreads (unlike amazon) is not doing things like restricting authors from reviewing. Most good authors are avid readers and write some of the more useful reviews.

I do think Goodreads should have a few more options for indies and ebooks. Maybe a random "corner" on the recommendations for books with less than x number of ratings but still in genres you like, a way to signup for promotions from specific authors, a different giveaway for ebooks only, or even on your home page where there's a list for recommendations/groups/notifications an "authors"—where you could see author requests for free to beta reader, free for honest review, what's your opinion of my book synopsis or a passage...all stuff readers could voluntarily get into when they had time and inclination.


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