7 Oversights that Send Readers Away – Part III - Indie Pub It
Every indie author who has published at least one title is already aware of the obvious things they should be getting right if they don’t want to look like amateurs or, worse, unreadable. Elements such as line editing, decent covers, good blurbs and cover descriptions and a decent amount of reviews are all no-brainers that you must master.
But there are seven other things you might overlook in your relief to have the book out there, that can help drive potential readers away.
This is the third and last part of a series, 7 Oversights that Send Readers Away.
Omitting series information at the back of the book.
Not giving your readers a reason to buy now.
Not Updating the book regularly.
Part I starts here.
Part II is here.
4. Not putting a summary/blurb at the front of the book
This is an issue that has only emerged along with the rising popularity of ebook readers and ebooks in general.
Rabid readers will buy many more books than they can read. In the days of print-only, that building pile became the To-Be-Read stack. For some readers, the larger the pile, the better. They would add to the bottom and reach for the book on the top for their next read.
E-Readers create an entirely different set of problems. Many eReaders will sort ebooks into most recently read books, which means older and unopened books slowly filter down to the bottom of the list, far out of sight and out of mind.
Not many ereading applications have good sorting or categorizing features and none of them offer a way to prioritize your reading so that you can keep a list of books to be read, in the order you want to read them.
Savvy readers have now learned to “mine their reader” for books they’ve overlooked and forgotten about, by occasionally browsing back through older purchases.
Both the lack of sorting and the nature of ebooks creates a problem for readers mining their reading application that print books don’t present. Print books come with the blurb on the back and often with author information at the back of the book.
Huge numbers of ebooks don’t have the blurb in them. Anywhere. The reader must either remember what the book is about, or go to the bookseller site to read the product information there. For a book they don’t remember buying, and an author they don’t know terribly well, a reader won’t bother going to the bookseller site to research. They just won’t read the book.
This is an awful event that can be so simply corrected by making sure there is a blurb at the front of the book. Some review quotes, mentions of awards or other kudos, including best seller statuses, are also useful in building social approval in the reader’s mind. If these are at the front, right after the cover, then the reader gets an instant overview of the book and remembers why they bought it and wanted to read it.
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Make sure your blurb, at least, is in the book.
5. Not adding anything about you.
At the absolute minimum, every book you put out there should have your author bio. It’s stunning how many books skip this vital page, resulting in an “anonymous” story telling. Without the author bio, the reader can’t get a sense of who you are. You’re just a name.
Along with your bio, you should also consider having a list of previously published books and if each title in that list links to the product page for that edition’s retailer, then you’re giving the reader a sense of who you are. This is basic branding.
It’s also a chance to infuse your personality, which might be quite different to the personality of the book’s viewpoint characters.
All these factors help the reader enjoy the current book, and as these pages tend to be placed at the back of the book, they also help the reader decide if they want to read anything else you’re written, especially if the story they’ve just finished is the last in a series.
6. Not having a full info website
As a reader, this one drives me crazy. I’ll take the time to hunt down an author’s site, purely to find out about them and about the books they’ve written. Often, just finding the site is a challenge.
Then, once I get there, I can’t find a list of books they’ve written anywhere on the site. The most recent book is nearly always prominently displayed, often on the front page, but the author’s backlist? Forgetaboutit.
This is legacy thinking and it’s deadly for indie authors. Your backlist is where you make all your money. Make sure readers can find that backlist. Make sure all your books are listed on your site, even if it’s a plain page with a list of text titles only. Readers who like your stuff will assiduously work their way through your backlist…but only if you give it to them. Retailers are shoddy at making sure all your titles are listed under your name, so don’t rely on the reader using the retail listings.
7. Not having a newsletter
I’ve left the biggest one for last. There are coaches out there who charge thousands of dollars for courses on how to build your email list…and for a very good reason.
Building your own email list of dedicated and enthusiastic readers is the single most effective way of increasing sales. Period. No other marketing strategy comes close, and most other marketing is completely ineffective in the new indie world.
Discoverability is a big challenge for indie authors, but having an email list cuts that problem in half. Once a reader trips over your work (however they find you), if you have a newsletter they can subscribe to, then you have captured their attention and can hold it. You’re effectively stopping them from wandering away and forgetting about you.
There are whole sites, blogs and books dedicated to the setting up and management of newsletter lists, so I won’t go into details here.
But do start building your own email list. It’s never too early and I promise you won’t regret it.
Tracy Cooper-Posey writes vampire romance series and hot romantic suspense. She has been nominated for five CAPAs including Favourite Author, and won the Emma Darcy Award. After a decade of legacy publishing, she switched to indie publishing has released over 60 indie titles to date. Her indie books have made her an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author and have been nominated four times for Book of the Year. Byzantine Heartbreak won the title in 2012. Faring Soul was awarded a SFR Galaxy Award in 2015. Tracy has been a national magazine editor and for a decade she taught romance writing at MacEwan University. An Australian, she lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband, a former professional wrestler, where she moved in 1996 after meeting him on-line. Her website can be found at http://TracyCooperPosey.com.