7 Oversights that Send Readers Away – Part I - 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.
1. Omitting series information at the back of the book
If your book is part of a series (and if you’re indie publishing, writing series is canny defensive publishing), then the information about the next book in the series should come right after The End. I’ve seen authors put a small divider on the page, then add the next book information right after that. I drift between putting it underneath The End, and putting it on the very next page, but I always include that information.
If readers can’t find out what the next book is in the series and where they can get it, right now as they’re finishing your book and when they’re enthusiastic, you’ll lose the sale. They’ll figure they’ll remember to look up the next book when they’re next on-line, and they’ll promptly forget to look. They’ll move onto the next book in their list and yours will sink down below the end of the screen, never to be noticed again.
Make sure the information and a live link to your next book is right where they will trip over it, just when they want it.
If the next book in the series isn’t out yet, suggest they sign up for your newsletter (see #7) so they get a reminder when it is.
If it’s the last book in the series, suggest another, similar series of yours.
If you don’t have another series (yet), then co-operate with another author who does have a similar series and you can recommend each other’s series at the end of the last book of your series.
Don’t let the reader wander off without guiding them to their next novel.
For similar reasons, series information should be found on your book’s product page on bookseller sites, and on the book’s page on your site (See #6). These are the places a keen reader will look next for information about your series and about you. Make sure they can find it.
Also make sure that the bookseller has all your books included in their series links, and that they’re correctly ordered. When you release a new book in a series, babysit this step and make sure everything is linked up properly on the book seller’s pages.
This also means that when you release the latest book in a series, you will need to go to the (now) second last book in the series and change the link at the back to point to the new book, and re-upload to all booksellers. Don’t dodge this minor pain-in-the-rear task, because making sure your books lead a reader from one to the next, to the next, is how you build reader loyalty and increase your sales.
2. Not giving your readers a reason to buy now.
Telling readers you have a new book out is not even marketing, it’s just common sense.
But what is marketing is giving them a reason to buy your book now. Many, many readers, even loyal readers signed up to your newsletter, who buy every book you release, will read about your new book, mentally nod and agree that it will be worth buying and tell themselves they’ll pick up the book in a day or two, or when they get paid, or when they get home, or sometime in the future when it will be more convenient.
Then they will forget to do it, when that convenient moment arrives. Today’s readers are distracted and lead busy lives.
In story terms, what you have to do is introduce a ticking clock: some reason why they must buy now and not wait until pay day. If you introduce urgency, then the reader will go out of their way to remember to buy the book, even if they can’t buy it right now.
Here are three simple ways to introduce a ticking clock. There are many other variations on these three.
As the name suggests, you lower the price of the book for a short time only, to encourage early sales. This is a great way to encourage pre-orders, too. Make sure the reader knows what the full retail price is, and make sure the discount makes it worthwhile buying now and not waiting.
If your reader buys your book, for a short time only, they can get another book either free, or at a steep discount. Novellas and short stories associated with your series are great for this. First books from other, similar series are also great. If you don’t have either, you can offer exclusive character sketches and interviews, backstory notes, or other products.
Provide a really good giveaway that will appeal to your readers (I’ve see Kindles as giveaways, for example). Every reader who buys your new book within a limited time period gets added into the draw.
Next month I’ll go into more detail about three more ways you might be scaring off readers.
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 55 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.