Goodreads Authors/Readers discussion

70 views
Bulletin Board > Possible marketing feedback idea

Comments Showing 1-49 of 49 (49 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments I browse a ton of books on Amazon and only end up buying a few of them. In fact, I've developed quite a few techniques to figure out quickly if a book is worth buying.

Today, I had this thought, "Wouldn't the authors love to know why I made the decision not to buy?"

Then, I answered myself - "Probably not." After all, I'm but one small data source. The sample size is just too tiny to give any actionable information. Sure, if an author's goal is to sell a book to me, then this would be great. Otherwise...

What if, however, I started a Goodreads group based on the following:

1. Authors post their book's Amazon page.
2. Readers go to the page, decide if they want to buy the book, and report back on exactly why they made the decision.

Interesting idea?

Here's the group: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

Thanks.

Brian


message 2: by S.L. (new)

S.L. Ellis (slellis) | 4 comments What an interesting and helpful idea. I'd love to know the "why" of a reader's decision to buy or not buy a book.


message 3: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments The only problem I see with the concept is how to get readers engaged in giving opinions. An author's motivation for participating is easy to see.

Readers, any thoughts?

Thanks.

Brian


message 4: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments Hmmm, being able to attract more readers by avoiding what turns them off would lead to more sales and would therefore mean actually having a royalty tax-liability.

The possibilities are scary.


message 5: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) As much as I'd love it, I think it would turn into a stream of ads by authors eager to sell their book. It would be so overwhelming that no one would stay on the thread long enough to look at the books.


message 6: by Janalyn (new)

Janalyn Voigt (janalynvoigt) | 3 comments I like the idea but agree with Ken. It might work if you chose the book in question, then let the author know.


message 7: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Eaton | 53 comments I agree with Ken and Janalyn. Basic good idea in theory. But it would need to be limited.

Not wanting to be a negatoid here because I do think there is a kernel of an idea here. But from the author's perspective, the other challenge I see is getting a stream of 'Why I didn't buy' posts that at times would possibly contradict each other. What is an author to do with that?

Would flipping the model somehow work. Instead of "Why you didn't buy", what about "Why you DID buy?" And maybe then those who offer insights (and can answer some question about the plot only a true purchaser of the book could answer) would receive a discount on a future book purchase. (???)


message 8: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) To go back to Brian's first thought about whether authors would want to know why you didn't buy, I'd answer, "Of course they would." I'm open to information like that, but other authors might not be, even though, secretly, they might really want to know. Authors are as varied as any other sort, so their reactions would run the gamut.


message 9: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments Ken, Janaly, and Jeffry,

Thanks for your responses!

The first thing that I notice is that I have to be very clear about the intent. This is not a service to help readers find books. It's also not a service for authors to find customers.

It's a service where real readers, out of the goodness of their hearts, offer struggling indie authors honest feedback on marketing (ie the Amazon book page).

Ideally, you'll get authors posting who truly wish to learn how potential customers are viewing their book page.

Valid points, though. Have to have a way to deal with too many posts. (Opposite problem than I've experienced with trying to start a Goodreads Group :) )

Regarding's Jeffrey's concern about contradictory information: Most authors are a part of various feedback/critique groups. Even if not, they're (hopefully) getting reviewed. Dealing with contradictory input is part of the job description.


message 10: by Lady Echo (new)

Lady Echo (ladyecho) | 38 comments There used to be a group around here that did that as part of their overall project. The group has since imploded. If there is a way to pervert the system, someone will find it.


message 11: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments One thing you might try is limiting authors to two books.

If organized by age ranges (YA vs. Adult) then by genre/subgenre it might make it easier for the readers who do participate to focus on their preferred genres.


message 12: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments RFG,

Both good suggestions. I'll hold off on separating genres until we have a bit more activity, but definitely something to do.


message 13: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments It might be easier earlier, as some readers might like the heads up on Adult vs. YA or not want to have to look at Sci-Fi if they're into Historical Fiction.

I've seen younger people who when speaking could make a Marine bolt for the door, but the thought of erotica or romance has them horrified.


message 14: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments Okay, we've had a couple of authors post and a couple of hiccups.

Ideally, we'd have each book in a separate thread under a genre folder. Growing pains :)

We also had one other reader besides me offer an opinion on a book page.

Not too bad for the first day.

Feel free to check the group out and give me comments. Am I being to harsh on the authors? Just trying to give honest feedback about what it would take to interest me, but I fear I'm not exactly being tactful.

Thanks.

Brian


message 15: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments Brian wrote: "Okay, we've had a couple of authors post and a couple of hiccups.

Ideally, we'd have each book in a separate thread under a genre folder. Growing pains :)

We also had one other reader besides me..."


Too harsh? Probably not, as in asking for an honest opinion people need to be prepared for and honest opinion to be given.

Tact, like personal tastes, can be subjective.


message 16: by Jim (last edited Jan 28, 2015 09:25AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1038 comments Brian wrote: "Okay, we've had a couple of authors post and a couple of hiccups.

Ideally, we'd have each book in a separate thread under a genre folder. Growing pains :)

We also had one other reader besides me..."


Brian,
R.F.G.'s advice regarding harshness and tact is worth heeding. Attempting to please everyone usually results in impressing no one.


message 17: by Janna (new)

Janna Morrow (JANNA_MORROW) | 52 comments Brian wrote: "I browse a ton of books on Amazon and only end up buying a few of them. In fact, I've developed quite a few techniques to figure out quickly if a book is worth buying.

Today, I had this thought, ..."


As a new writer, I think your idea is good, but at the end of the day why someone did or did not pick my book to buy probably doesn't matter. Choosing books is like choosing lovers. Each person has his or her own turn-ons.


message 18: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments Jim and RFG,

Thanks for that!

Janna,

If an author is attempting to communicate something and that message is received and rejected by a percentage of the potential audience, I agree with you.

If, however, the potential audience is seeing a completely different message than the one the author intended, that's a whole nother thing.

The point here is: what are my readers seeing? Is there something they're seeing that is turning them off that I didn't intend?

If you wrote a zombie story and I don't want to read about zombies, there's no real good data there. Not everyone likes zombies. You can't please everyone.

If, however, I love zombies and can't figure out that your story features zombies from the description, that would be good info.

Basically, maybe you'll not find out anything helpful. Possibly, though, you'll find that your message isn't getting through.

That's the idea, anyway.

Thanks.

Brian


message 19: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Eaton | 53 comments Janna's comment circles back to mine about contradictory input.

I certainly will listen to those who purchased my book, read most of it, etc. as to why they are likely, or not likely, to buy another. Those people demonstrated at least some type of commitment to my product, so their opinion matters a lot to me.

However, if some people are saying they didn't buy from my Amazon page because it had too much text, but others say they didn't buy from it because it didn't provide enough description, what am I to do with that?

I prefer to focus on pleasing the readers who have already made some form of commitment to me than to chase after people who haven't shown any commitment from the get-go.

Or maybe, presented in Janna's language, I am far more concerned about the opinion of the lover who is threatening to leave me after several months than I am the person who has never agreed to go out on a date with me in the first place.


message 20: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments Jeffrey wrote: "Janna's comment circles back to mine about contradictory input.

I certainly will listen to those who purchased my book, read most of it, etc. as to why they are likely, or not likely, to buy anot..."


Jeffrey,

It sounds like the group I created wouldn't really be very useful to you.

Good luck with your book!

Brian


message 21: by Jeffrey (last edited Jan 28, 2015 11:03AM) (new)

Jeffrey Eaton | 53 comments Brian: As I said before, I think there are good possibilities within your idea.

As someone providing feedback (I think you said that is what you wanted), I am saying what would be more useful to me as an author are balanced assessments of an Amazon page. Here is what is effective as well as here is why I chose not to buy.

As I recall, your original post only focused on "Why I chose NOT to buy." I think if I could learn why people DID buy as well as why they DID NOT, I would be more inclined to check it out and value its information.

Authors face enough rejection as it is without a site focused exclusively on why their Amazon pages aren't good enough...LOL. Just trying to offer helpful input that could perhaps tweak the idea to greater success.


message 22: by Sylvie (last edited Jan 28, 2015 11:54AM) (new)

Sylvie | 55 comments Lady Echo made what I hope is not an accurate prediction. Perhaps the best thing is if we decide to avoid becoming Drama Queens (or Kings). I assume we all agree that the general, and welcome, idea is to be helpful.
P.S. My link is http://tinyurl.com/SNickels-books


message 23: by Ed (new)

Ed Morawski | 221 comments I'd participate but I think we'll find the top three reasons:
1) Cover
2) Blurb
3) # of reviews.


message 24: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments Jeffrey wrote: "Brian: As I said before, I think there are good possibilities within your idea.

As someone providing feedback (I think you said that is what you wanted), I am saying what would be more useful to m..."


Jeffrey,

I think I misunderstood your previous post. Sorry about that.

The goal of the group is to provide feedback, positive and negative. If I find a book that I like, I'll definitely buy it and tell the author why I did so.

I tend to view a good number of books (50-100? never tried to figure it out) before finding one I'd buy.

Thanks.

Brian


message 25: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments Ed wrote: "I'd participate but I think we'll find the top three reasons:
1) Cover
2) Blurb
3) # of reviews."


Sylvie wrote: "Lady Echo made what I hope is not an accurate prediction. Perhaps the best thing is if we decide to avoid becoming Drama Queens (or Kings). I assume we all agree that the general, and welcome, id..."

Ed,

Interesting.

I barely pay any attention at all to the cover. The blurb is important in that it can lose me as a customer before I go any further. Never would I buy just based on the description, though. Quantity of reviews, above 0 anyway, doesn't do a lot for me.

Biggest single factor for me is the sample. If the book grabs my attention and pulls me into the story, I'll probably buy it.


message 26: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Murphy (patrickmm) | 44 comments I would be interested in knowing both, why a reader decided to purchase and also why not, for those who didn't. It's up to me to qualify the information as it feels helpful to me.

Ed has a great opinion on this : cover, blurb, reviews. But then, specifics might help. What about the cover, blurb or reviews? Maybe a form with questions would be helpful?


message 27: by Groovy (last edited Jan 28, 2015 01:34PM) (new)

Groovy Lee | 1 comments I agree with Janna and Jeffrey. Why someone did or did not pick my book doesn't really matter. It just shows that I'm not your type of author and you're not the reader for my books. So, we both move on.

I've had readers look at my books and all they can do is pick out what's wrong with it. Then I've had readers who look at the same book and absolutely loved it.

Getting rejected as an author comes with the territory. I can't name one author who hasn't been rejected. Some will read your blurb and get drawn in, others will read it and get turned off. It's just a matter of taste. I prefer to concentrate on those that get drawn in.

If you're not selling at all, then this would be a good idea to know why. Otherwise, I say just be happy for those that do pick your books. You're selling, so you're doing something right. Your readership will grow despite those that didn't pick it.

Thanks:)


message 28: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2164 comments It sounds as though your basing whether or not a reader will consider an author's book based off their Amazon Author page. I would think that it's based on how much and how well the author has made their page look. Not every author has put effort into their Amazon page while other's flourish and take pride in building a solid Amazon page. Now as a reader and considering a the author's book based off this? I don't really get, I would think its more along the lines of how well the cover is done and how interesting the synopsis is for a reader to consider the book, this seems obvious and maybe I missed the main point here but it sounds as though your stating whether or not a reader considers an author's book for this experience solely based off their Amazon Author page.


message 29: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments Justin wrote: "It sounds as though your basing whether or not a reader will consider an author's book based off their Amazon Author page. I would think that it's based on how much and how well the author has made..."

Justin,

I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding. I'm base my book-buying decision on the book's Amazon page, not the author's.

Typical book browsing for me:

1. Decide I need to replenish my to-read list.
2. Head to Amazon's "Recommended for me"
3. Click on the first non-sequel book I come to.
4. Make my decision as quickly as possible
5. Move on to the next book on the list

Note that I do have other sources than the "recommended" list, but that's my most common lately.


message 30: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments I really, really wish that I weren't so picky when it comes to books, that I could find easy enjoyment in just about any set of words. Unfortunately, I mostly find that authors have to work hard to keep my interest.

After browsing books today, here's one I actually bought:

Warp Speed by Travis Taylor

1. Description

The description actually turned me off as it didn't come across as well-written at all. Then I realized the book was published by Baen, and, thus, the author probably had nothing to do with writing said description.

2. Reviews

Biggest negative mentioned was that the plot/science was so fantastic as to be unbelievable. Truthfully, when I'm in the mood for sci-fi adventure, I don't care all that much about plausibility.

3. Sample

The story pulled me in. I found myself reading well beyond the first page.

Good enough for me. Paid the $6+


message 31: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments I suppose if the book hasn't been rated on Amazon it would be DOA?


message 32: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1038 comments R.F.G. wrote: "I suppose if the book hasn't been rated on Amazon it would be DOA?"

R.F.G.

There are many readers who purchase books from commercial vendors other than Amazon. Have you checked the others that carry your work (perhaps B&N, Books A Million, Ingram books, etc.)? A reader may have posted a rating and/or review of which you are unaware.


message 33: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments Jim wrote: "There are many readers who purchase books from commercial vendors other than Amazon. Have you checked the others that carry your work (perhaps B&N, Books A Million, Ingram books, etc.)? A reader may have posted a rating and/or review of which you are unaware..."

I had meant in the context of the the OP's checklist for book browsing:
Typical book browsing for me:

1. Decide I need to replenish my to-read list.
2. Head to Amazon's "Recommended for me"
3. Click on the first non-sequel book I come to.
4. Make my decision as quickly as possible
5. Move on to the next book on the list

As far as Ingram goes, that company is more distributor than shop as far as I can tell.


message 34: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments R.F.G. wrote: "I suppose if the book hasn't been rated on Amazon it would be DOA?"

RFG,

Not at all.

I consider the reviews to be a data point but not a crucial one. (Note also that I couldn't care less about the overall rating, though I tend to read the lower starred reviews more closely than the 5 stars.)

The lack of reviews, to me, says nothing about the quality of the book. I think it can mean one of two things:

1. The author is a newb who doesn't understand using ARCs to generate reviews.

2. The author is much more concerned with writing than with marketing.

If (1), the book probably isn't worth my time. If (2), the book might be pretty darn good and is exactly the kind of thing I want to find. Basically, I can't really draw any conclusions from a lack of reviews.


message 35: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments @Brian,

I tend to avoid marketing and promoting.

If the blurb is more about the theme of the story rather than a micro-synopsis is that an impediment?

***************************************************

Pleasure Machines, Soulless Killers, or People?

The ‘simple’ line between what we consider either machine or life form can be blurred when our eyes can’t tell the difference. When the machine is more human than its original creators the line between machine and life form can vanish. In a world where corporations are considered ‘artificial entities’ with more rights than human beings, who decides where to draw the line between pleasure machine, soulless killer, and person?


message 36: by Brian (last edited Jan 29, 2015 06:48AM) (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments RFG,

I think that some readers have a preference for character-driven books. I think others have a preference for plot-driven books. I think that others couldn't care less either way :)

Personally, I have a strong prference for stories that focus on a character. What that blurb conveys to me is that the story is plot-driven, which would tend to make me less likely to buy the book.

If the book in question is, in fact, plot driven, the fact that the blurb indicates that is good. If the book is character-driven, perhaps the blurb should be re-evaluated to make sure it's sending the right message.

The first line gave me pause as it could be read at a quick glance as, "Pleasure machines - soulless killers or people?" Would this work better: Are artificial entities pleasure machines, soulless killers, or people?

Not sure one way or the other. Just a random thought. Blurbs are not my strong suit.

Now, finally getting to your actual question :)

It looks like the book in question is going for a sci-fi audience. I think that large segments of that audience are drawn to the idea behind a story as much as they are to the characters and the story. The blurb would appeal to that audience.

I tend to prefer the story over the idea. That is just a personal preference, though.

I will say that I would consider that blurb slightly negative. It wouldn't make me move on to the next book, but it would make me want to evaluate carefully the author's ability to tell me an actual story.

Did that help at all?

Thanks.

Brian


message 37: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments @Brian,
The story is Sci-Fi, and both plot and characters tend to hold equal importance.

I tend to avoid the vignettes so often used because they are often extremely misleading.

Let's try one that hasn't been released yet to see.
***************************************************

Animals, Monsters, or People?

The ‘simple’ line between our reality when awake and our nightmares when asleep can be very thin. In our fiction we are the innocent victims of monsters intent upon taking everything from us, including our lives. In a world where corporations and governments work together to find ‘new frontiers’ to strip for a profit, who decides if a creature from another world is an animal, a monster, or a person? What happens when ‘we’ are the monsters another species has very good reason to fear?


message 38: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments R.F.G. wrote: "@Brian,
The story is Sci-Fi, and both plot and characters tend to hold equal importance.

I tend to avoid the vignettes so often used because they are often extremely misleading.

Let's try one tha..."


RFG,

I don't know if it's because this one is so similar to the first one or what, but this one really turned me off.

I've very sensitive to repetition, and this one reads almost the same as the first one.

One thing I didn't mention previously: maybe reconsider using the quotes to emphasize words? They're kind of distracting, and I'm not sure they actually add anything. Plus, there's a school of thought out there that says, "If you have to add artificial emphasis to a word, maybe you should just choose a better word."


message 39: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments Brian,

I don't market or promote, yet the first blurb prompted a reader in Germany to purchase both my books. I would tend to surmise that one person's sensitivity is another person's copacetic.

Good luck with the group.


message 40: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments R.F.G. wrote: "Brian,

I don't market or promote, yet the first blurb prompted a reader in Germany to purchase both my books. I would tend to surmise that one person's sensitivity is another person's copacetic.

..."


RFG,

I don't claim that my opinions are anything other than my opinions. I also think that there is limited value in my telling an author those opinions.

I still think that, if we could find a way to get several readers to offer their opinions, some authors may find value in the aggregate data.

Best of luck to you with your books.

Thanks.

Brian


message 41: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments Brian,

My point is that different ways of attracting a reader's attention work with different readers, even when the author doesn't market or promote. What attracts one reader will dissuade another.

I've got a couple dozen in various stages to finish, with themes ranging from AI and non-Terrestrial beings to a transgendered person being hunted by a family member out for money.

It will be more work than luck, though if I'm fortunate the Tiny Demon will enjoy them in the future.


message 42: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments R.F.G. wrote: "Brian,

My point is that different ways of attracting a reader's attention work with different readers, even when the author doesn't market or promote. What attracts one reader will dissuade anothe..."


RFG,

I guess my question is: how do you know if you're attracting the most readers possible?

From your comments and your Goodreads author page, I think you make it clear that you're not all that concerned with how many books you sell. I understand that. You write for your own enjoyment and have a hope that your child (presumably) will one day enjoy what you've created.

I think that's great. You're satisfied and happy, and that is what's important.

Other authors, however, have the desire to turn their hobby into a viable revenue stream. To them, optimizing units sold is a Good Thing.

The question is: how do those authors figure out how to maximize their sales?

My group absolutely cannot provide them with that information. Perhaps, however, it can help a little bit.

Thanks.

Brian


message 43: by Jim (last edited Jan 29, 2015 11:04AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1038 comments Brian,

I understand your intent, but why focus upon just one vendor for evaluating reader reaction and opinions? Amazon may be the largest on-line source for purchasing books and pretty much anything else someone might wish to buy, but it's still only one of many. No reputable distributor would offer an author's work to just one commercial vendor. What about Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, AbeBooks, Townsend Booksellers, etc.?


message 44: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments Brian,

If you have enough input from devotees of different genres it can help, but marketing strategies can be quite varied. What helps Sci-Fi sell won't necessarily help Romance or Historical sell.

It's a bit like being a telephone survey interviewer, the approach one person uses to hit quota for the night won't work for the majority of the other interviewers. The reason I know this is because I worked one of those jobs. The night I high-scored the quota board with interviews was my last night on the job -- there's nothing like being happy to leave a job.

As for viable revenue streams go, until an individual author gains enough of a following, the odds are against her/him making a viable ROI. In other words, the aspiring author should write for reasons other than money.


message 45: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments Jim wrote: "Brian,

I understand your intent, but why focus upon just one vendor for evaluating reader reaction and opinions? Amazon may be the largest on-line source for purchasing books and pretty much anyt..."


Jim,

I hope that I'm not giving the impression that I'd respond in the negative to an author's request for comment on a non-Amazon page. With the exception of probable mutual fund holding in my 401(k) (it'd be hard not to own some of it), I hold no stock in Amazon or feel any need to advocate for them.

It's simply easier to say Amazon book page.

Thanks.

Brian


message 46: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments R.F.G. wrote: "Brian,

If you have enough input from devotees of different genres it can help, but marketing strategies can be quite varied. What helps Sci-Fi sell won't necessarily help Romance or Historical sel..."


I agree with your last point completely.

I also think that doing much marketing at all is probably not very cost effective if you've got only a small number of books for sale.

My point stands, however, that, while I understand that you don't care all that much for marketing data, other authors, I think, do. They are, in fact, hungry for any feedback at all.

Thanks.

Brian


message 47: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2164 comments My apologies as I read your opening wrong. I read Amazon page and failed to see the Book's Amazon page.

I think it's only natural that you or any reader decides whether or not they wish to read a book based off what the book's Amazon page says. I would say aside from recommendations(though they do recommend close and similar books) that the synopsis has to be engaging and if there are any quotes from reviews that are posted there they too can influence whether or not you decide to read a book.

Do you look for a good amount of quality and content within the information on the book when deciding to read it?


message 48: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments Justin wrote: "My apologies as I read your opening wrong. I read Amazon page and failed to see the Book's Amazon page.

I think it's only natural that you or any reader decides whether or not they wish to read a ..."


Justin,

I read the synopsis first. If there are obvious errors, the content is completely unappealing, or the writer comes across as completely inept, I'll move on to the next book. If the description doesn't turn me off, I'll skim the reviews. Mainly, though, it seems like the sample is where the sale is won or lost for me.


message 49: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2164 comments Brian wrote: "Justin wrote: "My apologies as I read your opening wrong. I read Amazon page and failed to see the Book's Amazon page.

I think it's only natural that you or any reader decides whether or not they ..."


Seems fair enough to me. I always forget the sample part on Amazon lol.


back to top