Building a SciFi/Fantasy Library discussion

Promotions > suggesting reading

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message 1: by Shiloh (new)

Shiloh Sanchez | 2 comments hey. i'll be honest here. I CANT STAND authors who promote their novels anywhere, am i right? okay, so this is my problem:

my first science fiction novel came out. i don't want to shove it down everyone's throats, so i won't. as a reader, i read books suggested to me by my friends, rarely by promotions in windows or magazines.

so, how should i promote my novel? i really just want a few people to read it, and then i believe the word will spread.

so my question is, what pushes you to read a novel? i must reach the readers, ya know?

message 2: by Allison (new)

Allison | 15 comments First of all, Congrats!

I'm not in the industry, myself, so I don't know what the official promotion steps typically are. However, as a reader, there are a few things that typically cause me to chose a book:

a) I like the cover. I know, you're not supposed to pick books by their covers, but I typically do - at least when I'm in a bookstore, browsing the shelves. The cover art has to appeal, the info on the back has to catch my attention ... I've probably missed out on lots of great books simply because the covers didn't call out to me.

b) A recommendation by a trusted friend. Not the critics, or any random person, but someone who I know has tastes similar to my own and has read it. Sometimes, if I'm already on the fence about a book I'll try it if another author I've enjoyed recommends it.

c) I'm familiar with the author, having enjoyed other books written by the same. (I know, this one really isn't going to help you out since we're talking about your first novel ... but if I like your first book, I'm definitely going to look for more from you in the future!)

message 3: by Tina (last edited May 31, 2008 06:29PM) (new)

Tina | 8 comments Hi Shiloh,

Thanks for trying to be creative, I've seen way too many authors taking over discussion threads with boring self-promo BS. That being said, get the word out there! I assume that since you are are SF writer, that you also love to read SF. So, add your opinions and suggestions to discussion topics, and feel free to throw your book in there as well. I know that if I saw you recommend some great SF books, then I'd give you more cred.

On that same note, update your profile! Whenever I see a Goodreads author, I LOVE to see what they have on their shelves, and I'll even do a COMPARE BOOKS to see if I like their style. I noticed that your personal GR site is different than your official GR site, which you should definitely add to:

You can also keep an eye on who has marked your book as 'read' or 'to read.' send them an email thanking them for reading your book, and humbly ask if they share their thoughts with friends. And have YOUR friends share their thoughts as well.

Lastly, it helps when writing about your book to make a direct link like this Charyli, Where Love Never Fails

I hope some of these ideas help. If it means anything, I've put your book on my to-read shelf! Good luck!

message 4: by Greyweather (last edited Jun 01, 2008 09:38AM) (new)

Greyweather "so my question is, what pushes you to read a novel? "

Positive word of mouth from reviewers, friends, or even other authors whose tastes I share. This is where self-publishing puts you at a disadvantage. There is a certain stigma attached to books that haven't gone through the profesional selection and editing processes.

At this point, the only online reviewer I know of who reviews self-published sci-fi and fantasy is Dark Wolf. You might want to ask him if you can send him a copy of your book.

message 5: by Michele (new)

Michele What pushes me to read...

1) A recommendation from someone whose tastes are similar to mine

2) A good review from another author whose works I like

3) A truly original aspect to the writing -- for example, Garth Nix's use of bells for his necromancer, or any of Ted Chiang's short stories with their odd takes on seemingly commonplace things.

3) I pick it up, read the first page or two and a random page in the middle, and writing pulls me in. Not necessarily what's going on (though that helps), but the prose itself needs to be cliche-free, technically at least competent if not downright elegant, good strong vocabulary. My husband and I have had many a good debate on whether we would rather read a good story done by a mediocre writer, or a ho-hum story by a terrific writer. Pretty much every time we vote for the latter. The former can suck you in because you want to know what happens next, but it's like slogging through mud to get there and you feel kind of yukky when you're done :)

(BTW, none of the links to your book work...)

message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine Rose (christinerose) | 4 comments 1) I'm with the cover guy. I'll choose a book because of the cover, especially if it looks celtic or has to do with vampires.

2) Books my husband hands me and tells me to read. He's the big reader...

3) Friends' recommendations.

4) Sometimes if I hear about it on TV, radio, or internet ... when the subject matter catches my fancy -- like gothic fantasy, vampires, celtic themes, etc...

message 7: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) I read a short synopsis and if it grabs me, I'll read it.
I would like to know what your book is about.

I like what A.L. Travis did above, no pushing, just a place I can check it out and that's what I'm going to do right now.

If you don't want to self-promote here, then please, by all means, send me a PM. If it's something I'm interested in, I'll buy it.

message 8: by Bill (new)

Bill (kernos) | 117 comments The best promotion I remember came to a fantasy mailing list. The author offered to send a signed free copy of the book to anyone willing to read and review it on Amazon. He asked for honest reviews and critiques.

Bill B.

message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) In SF Authors there is a similar thread. You might look at it.

An author on GR recently sent me a gift certificate to Amazon if I would agree to buy his book & another, by a different author. He'll get a good review - or none, rather than a bad review. If I like the book, I'll likely buy the next two in the trilogy & I'll spread the word. He made the offer to the first 10 people. I hope it works out for him.

message 10: by S.A. (new)

S.A. (suerule) | 41 comments I would be happy to offer a free copy of Book 1 of my trilogy to any Good Reads subscribers in return for a review.

It's Shaihen Heritage Book 1 Cloak of Magic by SA Rule. Book 2 Staff of Power will be published in January 2009.

Book 3 is work in progress.

If you want to take up this offer, email

More about the book and the world on


message 11: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Sue,
Is it an e-book or paperback?
I'm only asking because I do not get the computer time I need to read online.

message 12: by S.A. (new)

S.A. (suerule) | 41 comments Jackie,

To confirm, Cloak of Magic is a paperback ISBN No. 0 7552 1030 1 published by Authors OnLine Ltd. Bright Pen imprint.

I've just updated the website with news of Book 2 Staff of Power.


message 13: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) I can hardly wait to read it!

message 14: by Poo1987 (last edited Nov 13, 2008 02:39AM) (new)

Poo1987 Roykaew To be honest, I'm such a 'strict-choosing reader' due to my purchasing ability. What reasons drive me to or not to buy any book is upon my money, firstly. I choose the book that not bothering me to buy another. I don't prefer the book that cost plenty much to buy other books I also want. Nevertheless, there is an exception, sometimes.

The other reasons are able to be seen below:

a) That book is written by my favourite writer or by the author I've already known his name. It's not fair for the new writers, I've to admit. But I can't help it.

b) It is recommended by my book-lover friends or brilliant and kind mentors. It's the best way to know the authors or the works I've never heard. You would usually find 'good' books whenever you follow those suggestions.

c) It is best-known as a classic in its field.

d) It is published with a pretty, or not bad, cover. Not a wise thing. I don't advice to do.

e) It is promoted in a newspaper or gets a critical by critics. It helps you to choose, but not much.

f) This is the last reason. If having nothing in mind, I will do these. Random some. Pick up one. Read the first page and the cover. Find what it is talking about. If it's 'interesting' enough, I will buy.

message 15: by S.A. (new)

S.A. (suerule) | 41 comments You have a conundrum in your question which is emphasised by the replies.

You don't want to shove your book down everyone's throats; but people tend to buy books by authors they know and like. If they don't know you how do you ever establish a toehold?

You just want a few people to read it and then the word will spread. That few has to be quite a few before you get "critical mass" and start a ball rolling. How do you find them?

I'm only identifying the questions - and why self-published writers tend to "shove their book down everyone's throats". I wish I knew some answers.

Nothing sells itself, no matter how good it is. I want people to read my book because I think they'll enjoy it. But I have no-one else to shout about it for me except the people who have read it and DID enjoy it. And you don't know them.

I feel the publishing industry lets down both readers and writers badly by its inertia in building a structure for both encouraging and promoting good, original new writing.

If you want to send me a review copy of your book in return for a review, I'll send you one of mine. Maybe we can push each other's books down people's throats....!!

Best of luck anyway,


message 16: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 121 comments You could also try anthologies. I often recommend The Heat of the Moment as a collection of stories on a single theme by a wide variety of authors. It's a great way to read a large variety and perhaps discover a new author you like. I have a fantasy short story in there, and there some others that are fantasy or paranormals as well.

message 17: by Jane (new)

Jane (jane_jones) | 1 comments First I don't mind authors promoting books - it is how I find new authoors that I normally would not.

How I find authors....

1) Recommendations from friends

2) Good reviews

3) Sites like Good Reads

I always read the "blurb" and if possible try to read a sample chapter before I buy. I'm rarely swayed by a cover - though I have NOT bought because of a bad cover I don't think a good cover ever got me to read.

message 18: by Tom (new)

Tom Foolery (tomfoolery) | 9 comments I find it interesting that no one has suggested a book signing at a local library, indy bookstore, or possibly even a chain store. "Local author ___ _____ will be discussing his/her new book and signing (giving away?) copies." Possibly tie it in with another event, maybe not. Ask 'em to send out invitations to email distribution lists, post the event on a bulletin board, print a couple lines in the monthly calendar/newsletter, whatever. If the local store/library has a sci-fi reading club, so much the better. You might have a tougher time selling a chain store on the idea, but if you can pitch it as something that might bring people in the doors at little or no cost to the store, it could be worth trying.

message 19: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) As an avid reader of fantasy, I find it imperative that new authors promote their new books. Otherwise I would never find those books on my own.

To Quote SUE: "I feel the publishing industry lets down both readers and writers badly by its inertia in building a structure for both encouraging and promoting good, original new writing."
This is absolutely true and self-defeating on the part of the publisher. A new author doesn't have much choice but to self-promote until they are a well known name.

I don't feel that anyone has 'shoved' their books down my throat. They've told me about them and if it's to my liking, I will read them.
Case in point: Sue offered me her Cloak of Magic which I read and fell in love with. Now Sue has a new fan who is sure to buy the next two books in this series and possibly other novels she may write in the future.
If she never made the offer I would never have found her novel on my own.
And more importantly, I am telling my fantasy-reading friends about it and sending it one in particular. A win-win situation for all.
One of the reasons I enjoy this site is the fact that I am finding new authors that I would never have found otherwise.

message 20: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I'll second Jackie's opinion. I have about the same experience with Sue's book as well as a couple of others here on GR. There are far too many books available & promotion of them is very uneven.

message 21: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) If you ask me, the publisher's are doing it backwards. A well known popular author doesn't really need all that advertising, he/she will already have a following. It's the new authors that need advertising so they can become known.
I've seen commercials for James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Nora Roberts on TV, do THEY really need that advertising? I don't think so. I read Dean Koontz and James Patterson and I know long before the book is even published that it's coming out from the LAST book of their's I just read. And by word of mouth from others who read them.

message 22: by Kate (new)

Kate Oooh yes I like the "read and review" idea. I read sooooo much that I would jump at the idea of a free book. And it would save me having to make a choice about what to buy/pick up at the library!

message 23: by Clickety (new)

Clickety (clix) | 3 comments Just remember that the intended audience for the publishers' marketing strategies is not "potential readers," but "potential buyers."

It makes sense to market a well-established best-selling author to non-readers (like many of those who watch TV), because (1) readers are much more likely to find out about new books on their own - as we're doing here - and (2) if the non-reader enjoys that first book, there are already lots more out there to be purchased!

message 24: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) I can understand that, but why not do the same for new authors? If the TV commercials are targetting non-readers, then does it matter whether the author is new or old?
If the new authors' books don't sell, then the publishing company doesn't make money.

message 25: by Clickety (new)

Clickety (clix) | 3 comments With newer authors, there's less opportunity/chance to buy the author's older books.

Publishers have a limited budget; they receive the best return on their advertising investment when they attract new readers to established authors.

message 26: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) It just seems so hard for new authors to get noticed.
It makes me sad because there are so many books I'll never hear about.

message 27: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 121 comments ..It just seems so hard for new authors to get noticed.
It makes me sad because there are so many books I'll never hear about.

That's why I created Author Guy, to bring the books my publisher, Echelon Press, makes into public venues and make people more aware of them. And sell as many as I can, of course. I'm not in any bookstores, so I made my own. Echelon has quite a few titles in the fantasy vein (fantasy, paranormal, afterlife, ghostly/psychic mysteries, etc.) that you might like.

message 28: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) I would, how do I find it?

message 29: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 121 comments For my publisher, go to and click the web store button. The books are listed under different imprints, although they often could fit in a number of genres. Many independent publishers are mainly selling through websites for the same reasons, so perhaps a google of the phrase will turn up some more. Or you could try locating EPIC and see if they have a membership list. But start with Echelon. ;)

message 30: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Lowry (vlowry) | 7 comments Allison wrote: "First of all, Congrats!

I'm not in the industry, myself, so I don't know what the official promotion steps typically are. However, as a reader, there are a few things that typically cause me to c..."

Allison, if you like a great book cover, check this site out:

message 31: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) I pretty much echo what Tina said.
I really enjoy tooling around on Goodreads and seeing what others have on their shelves, comparing books, and looking at author pages. (I spend waaaaaay too much time online that way, that I could be spending reading = )
I think authors who actively participate AS READERS have a much better chance of getting positive attention from GR site users.
I have to admit that some of these authors that insert their book promo stuff into threads where it isn't applicable annoys me enough that I won't be touching those books. Now, if you were participating in a thread, and had a sig line in all your posts with a quick blurb/website about your book (like one line or so), then I'd be checking it out.
A good example of this is Robin, who is the wife of a GR author and she judiciously promotes his book, while participating as a reader in quite a few discussions.
Especially irritating are authors who don't seem to know what the topic of the thread is and just plug their book regardless, creating a jarring bump (or halt) in the thread.
Good luck with your book!

message 32: by Bradley (new)

Bradley | 9 comments Carolyn has gotten my attention. I do promote, but my own profile has over half my library listed on it. People can get a taste of what I read, and hopefully they can get a taste of what I write by learning a little bit about me. Plus I do more than promote my book. On occasion I will recommend other people's books. =) Depends on my whim, might not make business sense, but I feel better about it. =)

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