Tag Archives: authors

What Readers Don’t Know

photo by Paul Bence

photo by Paul Bence

If Readers Aren’t Authors

They may not know this stuff. It’s perfectly understandable. You read your favorite author’s books, and that’s enough, right? It might be enough, unless your favorite author is not very well known and you are hoping he or she will write more books. In that case, you as a reader can influence whether or not your favorite author keeps publishing. How? By writing reviews.How Readers Can Influence What Books Are Published. Click To Tweet

Amazon Has Rules

And most people know nothing about them. But when you think about it, it makes sense. Amazon wants to recommend books that customers are likely to purchase. A book with one or two reviews, in their opinion, is not likely to be that book. So they recommend books that others have liked. How do they know what people like? By the reviews, of course.

I recently read a blog post that sums it up very well. The author of the post, George McVey, points out some of these Amazon rules:

I bet you didn’t know that after an author gets 25 reviews on Amazon, the company begins to include them in their “Also bought” and “you might like this” lists. This increases that books visibility on Amazon and helps put the book in front of more potential readers. That helps to boost sales.

When a book gets 50 or more reviews, Amazon highlights that book for spotlight positions in its monthly newsletter. This put’s the authors book in front of literally hundreds of thousands of potential readers. This can mean a huge boost in sales for your favorite author.

photo: Enokson

photo: Enokson

More Rules

photo by Michael Stout

photo by Michael Stout

 

Also in that post, he points out something I bet you didn’t know (I didn’t either.)

…leave a well-written review…because of a new app that came out recently called “Fakespot”. This app claims to be able to tell you how many reviews of a certain book or product are fake. By that they mean not posted by customers but by friends, relatives of authors or are bought reviews. How they determine if a review is fake is based on the quality of the review.

Readers Do Read Reviews

You’ve probably read reviews before deciding to purchase a book (or other products, for that matter.) So you already know the influence reviews can have. A number of bad reviews, and you don’t purchase. But more good reviews than bad, and–this is really important–a number of honest, well-written, and complete reviews go a long way toward influencing whether or not you will buy something.

For more subway shots, please see my subway set: www.flickr.com/photos/pamhule/sets/72157623210921064/ © 2010 Jens Schott Knudsen | blog.pamhule.com

For more subway shots, please see my subway set: www.flickr.com/photos/pamhule/sets/72157623210921064/
© 2010 Jens Schott Knudsen | blog.pamhule.com

How To Make An Author Happy #readers #writers #authors Click To Tweet

If you need some pointers about how to write a review that will be helpful to your favorite writer, be sure to check out McVey’s post. And please, leave those reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and also other sites such as Barnes & Noble.

Make An Author Happy

Festival Time!

I recently posted some pictures from my time at the Dublin Irish Festival over on my blog Celtic Voices. Click here to see them.

I promised a young reader there that next year I would have the sequel to Brigid of Ireland. (So I have to do it now!) She said, “I will buy it for $10 or whatever it costs!”

Melted my heart!

Author Cindy Thomson at Dublin Irish Festival

 

Meeting Readers

It’s one of my favorite things about these festivals. I’ve discovered that a lot of young girls enjoy Brigid of Ireland, but even though I told a 30’s-ish young man this, thinking he wanted it for his daughter, he bought it for himself. (Oops!)

I talked to people from Ireland who wandered over to my table. Some just wanted to tell ME a story, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed that. The craic is well worth coming for! Other people wanted to know a bit about the writing process. The stage manager at the tent where I spoke wanted to know what I thought about ebooks. Other people had questions about a series how my books reflected the actual immigrants who came through Ellis Island. Whether or not these people bought books, I had a great time just meeting them.

Meeting Other Authors

You can’t spend an entire weekend in a tent with other authors without getting to know them a bit. Some I had met before, and others were new friends. I heard a little of their publishing tales, and also their thoughts on Celtic spirituality, which was fascinating.

A highlight this year was sitting next to Sean McCabe, who not only is a novelist and poet, but also a musician, born in Ireland and living in Sweden. He even played some music for us right there in our tent when traffic was slow on Sunday afternoon. Here is a link to one of his albums on iTunes. Do yourself a favor and listen to a preview.

Have you ever been to an Irish festival?

Let me know in the comments!What's the best part about an Irish festival? Click To Tweet

My Pet Peeve About Other Writers

This Embarrasses Me About Other Writers

It’s gotten to the point that I can’t ignore it. One of these days I just might say something, but so far I haven’t figured out how to say it. So for now, I’ll just explain here on my blog.Find out what I dislike about some fellow authors. #bookrant #authors Click To Tweet

Cindy Thomson's author tableEvery time I go to an event where there are multiple authors there is at least one who hard sells his/her book by telling potential readers that theirs is “a really, really good book.” That “all the reviews have been stellar.” That “everyone who reads it absolutely loves it.” And especially embarrassing, “I guarantee that you are really going to love it.”

Reading is Subjective

Gaelic proverb

On the wall of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh. Photo by Beth

The truth is there is no one book EVERYONE will love. Do you love every book your friend loves? Do you share the same reading tastes as your boss? Have you ever had a hard time figuring out why a certain novel is so popular when you didn’t care for it at all?

I’m guessing you said yes, you have experienced that. So who would actually believe what that author is saying about her own book? Probably no one. She is making herself look foolish or at best, completely ignorant. You might say she was boastful or even arrogant. In any case, as a fellow author sitting nearby, I feel embarrassed.

But it Works!

Read books!If your goal is simply to sell books and bring  home some cash, then yes, it does seem to work. I see authors that run after readers and give their own works high praise sell more books than those of us who don’t do that. I don’t know why people buy. Maybe they believe her, or maybe they are trying to be nice. After all that small talk they feel like they can’t walk away. I don’t know.

Maybe this is the reason that bookstore signings don’t work. The reason people see an author at a table and refuse to make eye contact.

I’d Rather Reach the RIGHT Readership

I’ve worked hard on my books. I want the people I wrote them for to actually read them. I was once at a book festival where an author seated next to me told my husband, “I don’t care if people read my books or not. I just want them to buy them.” Ack! Why bother writing the thing then? I guess I just won’t understand some people. EVER!

Author Cindy Thomson's complaint about the overly aggressive author sales pitch. Click To Tweet

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy ThomsonTwo young girls stopped at my table last Saturday. They picked up Grace’s Pictures and Annie’s Stories and read the back covers. They said, “This sounds interesting. I don’t think I’d read it but it sounds like something my grandma would like.” Did I argue with them? Did I tell them, “I guarantee that if you buy this you will absolutely love it!” No. I think they are probably right. They said they enjoy fast faced, adventure-like stories. I suggested Brigid of Ireland, but I did not press them. One took a picture of the book cover with her phone. We talked a bit about reading preferences. Why force a book on someone if that person is not your target audience?

Every Writer is in Love With Their Book

It’s true. We all want the whole world to love our stories. But it’s not going to happen. If an author says everyone who has read their book has loved it (and I’ve heard that claim more times than I can count!) it’s a lie. Maybe the author believes it, but it’s still a lie. If every Amazon review is five stars, something is wrong. It’s not honest. There have been people who have hated my books. I’m not sure why they had a such strong reaction, but they did. Thankfully, many more loved them, but reading is subjective. We like different things. It’s how God made us!

Let the Readers Speak

5 star review for Annie's Stories by Cindy Thomson

Annie’s Stories

That’s what I prefer to do. I may not sell a ton of books at multi-author events, but I will not pressure anyone into buying a copy. I just won’t. That’s not who I am. Okay, rant over. Thanks for listening!

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth–a stranger, and not your own lips. –Proverbs 27:2 NRSV

 

Loving Books That Read to Me!

Audiobooks to Love

Audiobooks, a blog post by Cindy Thomson

Photo by Sascha Kohlmann

I get my reading done in several ways. I’m not one of those that proclaim ebooks as the only way to go these days or one of those who insist on having a real paper book in their hands. I do it all, including audio, because they each offer their own conveniences. Long car trips call for audiobooks, especially if I’m driving. But I also like to listen while I do the laundry or clean the house or take a walk. You would be surprised how much time there is to read if you take advantage of every opportunity.

Narrators, the Good and the Bad

The quality of audiobooks vary, but I get mine from the library so I don’t mind giving up on them if I don’t care for either the book itself or the narration. Recently I gave up on one because I liked neither. The narrator was so sing-song sweet it made me nauseous. I dislike when the narrator swallows loudly on tape or forgets which character he is voicing and gets it mixed up. Just my own personal pet peeves.

The All-Girl FillingHowever, some are wonderful. Like Fannie Flagg. Oh. My. Goodness. You have to listen to her and her southern drawl. Another author narrator I thought did an excellent job is James Rubart. Some folks just have the voice for it. (Not me!)

I have listened to enough Irish books that I began to recognize the narrator. She has just enough Irish lilt to her voice to add flavor but not so much that we Americans can’t understand her. Her name is Sile Bermingham (Sile is pronounced Sheila.) She narrated Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd and some Maeve Binchy books.

I think Adam Verner does a wonderful job with Stephen Lawhead’s novels. He’s done other work too, but Lawhead is my experience with him. Nice, non irritating voice. Want to have a listen?

Top Honors: My Favorite Narration So Far

Goes to….

The Help by Kathryn Stockett.The Help Different voices for different characters. It was like listening to a play. Of course, it’s a wonderful book as well.

What’s your favorite audiobook?

4 Reasons I Love Book Festivals

Cindy Thomson, Sandy Hart, Books by the Banks

Me with friend and fellow author Sandy Hart who came to see me at Books By The Banks in Cincinnati.

1. A Book Festival is About Readers

It’s not about the authors, regardless of how it might seem. Book festivals are an opportunity for readers to meet authors and ask questions. And boy do readers have questions. I absolutely love that! Everything from why did you write this book to what did you learn while researching this story?

2. It’s a Celebration of Books!

Everyone comes to learn, to gather, to shop for gifts, and they are all there because of books! Children’s books, young adult books, fiction, non fiction, art books, illustrated books, wee books and heavy coffee table books. Librarians, artists, and writers. It’s an atmosphere charged with creativity.

3. I Get Away From My Desk

Cindy Thomson at Books By The Banks in Cincinnati

I was asked to describe myself in one word.

Writing is for the most part a solitary undertaking. Getting out and talking to readers energizes me for the long hours ahead. If I know who I’m writing for, that people are actually enjoying my tales, I feel better about getting writer’s cramp and drinking so much tea while I work. (Well, okay, indulging in so much chocolate too. It’s a necessity.)

4. New Readers are Introduced to My Characters

It’s hard to get noticed these days in the vast ocean of books out there. Going to a book festival enables me to say, hey, here are some new stories you might want to try, to people who might not otherwise run across them. It’s marketing, yes, but for me it’s mostly sharing. Some are not interested, and that’s fine. At least we got to exchange smiles.

What About You? Have you been to a book festival? Which one? What did you like about it? If not, would you consider it sometime? (Just Google book festivals in your area or ask your local librarian where they are.)

6 Novels Genealogists Will Love

But wait, might there be more than six novels genbuffs will enjoy?

First, don’t shoot the messenger. There are surely more than six novels someone researching their genealogy will enjoy, but these are some that come to mind for me, and in case you haven’t read them, I hope I’ll be introducing you to some new reading enjoyment. And go ahead and suggest more in the comments section! (These are in no particular order.)

 

1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

  • Why?ATreeGrows
    • Not only will the reader come away with a sense of time and space so accurate because the writer lived it, but he/she will also embrace this coming of age story because of course all our ancestors had to face growing up. Some themes are universal and this novel helps us realize that struggles and disadvantages can be learned from and moved past.

2. A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

  • afallofmarigoldsWhy?
    • Because so many Americans had ancestors who came through Ellis Island, some having to stay for a while like the character in this novel. Because some lessons are learned over and over again. Susan’s novel explores that concept by using a parallel modern story relating to 9-11 in New York City.

 

3. Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers

  • Why?
    • Because we arresized_her_mothers_hopee a product of our genes and upbringing, not doomed to be shackled but destined to grow through our disadvantages and become our own. Rivers explores this theme with an immigrant main character who is determined to fulfill her mother’s hope for her without repeating what she sees as her mother’s faults. Only the strong survive, and she’s determined to make sure her own daughter realizes this. A powerful message of what our ancestors probably experienced a the effect this determination had on their children.

4. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

  •  Why?
  • Hotel_on_the_Corner_of_Bitter_and_Sweet_cover
  • This is another generation story illustrating the divide between the immigrant parents and their children who grew up in America. It also examines the prejudices prevalent during WWII on the west coast.

5. Galway Bay by Mary Pat KellyGalwayBay

  • Why?
    • Because millions of Americans have ancestors who migrated from Ireland during the Potato Famine. This is the fictionalized story of Kelly’s ancestors, but it could be yours.

6. whenwewereWhen We Were Strangers by Pamela Schoenewaldt

  • Why?
    • Because I know many of you have Italian roots and will love this story. While it’s another story of struggle (our ancestors surely did overcome obstacles) it explores the American-Italian culture in the Midwest and explores how friendships could become family. The character finds her purpose in the end, and that’s what we all want, isn’t it?