You guys were kind enough to give me such great feedback yesterday in the blog comments/giveaway entries and on FB and I really appreciate that. In fact, you’ve all been so helpful that I’m going to impose on you again and ask you to answer the same question in poll format, so I can more easily collect the data, and No. 1 can organize it.
And, of course, there will be another incentive! As a thank you for those who participate again today, I’m adding another giveaway at the end of this post, and this time the winner can choose from not just the books on the prize list, but from a few of my front-list US titles as well, so if you’ve been looking for a signed copy of Blood Bound or one of the Soul Screamers books, this is your chance!
What I’m doing: I’m trying to decide how best to spend my limited promotional time and money by determining where new readers are most likely to find me and focusing my efforts in those places. [Note: This will not affect the time I spend on my own blog/FB/Twitter. Those are places I interact with my existing readers, whom I value just as much.]
How I’m doing it: With this poll, and whatever information you guys are willing to leave in the comments.
Why I’m doing it: There’s a long-standing debate among traditionally published authors about whether or not our personal promotional efforts can actually make a difference in sales. I know authors who believe that that answer is (emphatically) NO. Those authors either maintain very little online presence, or they maintain an online presence specifically to chat with their existing readers. I also know of authors who believe that every little bit of promo helps.
Honestly, I tend to fall into that first category. I LOVE chatting with readers, and I do it all the time, on Twitter, FB, Formspring, and my blog. But to date, I have never been able to see a single verifiable bump in sales related to any of my own online efforts.
This tells me that:
- Very few new readers are finding me through blogs (though many seem to find me through Amazon/Nook recommendations and Goodreads).
- Most of my existing online followers are very loyal and active. (Yay!)
My theory about that is simple: in spite of the decline of brick-and-mortar stores and the rise of both online book stores and book blogging, the vast majority of an author’s readers will never look him/her up online, which means those readers will not stumble upon other, similar authors/books from visiting either their favorite authors’ sites or book blogs. In spite of the very vocal (and fun!) minority, most readers don’t have much time to spend reading book blogs.
Anecdotal evidence from the comments in yesterday’s post and on FB support that, which surprises me, because I’d assumed that just by virtue of asking these questions online, I was likely targeting regular book blog readers.
My secondary theory is that many, many book blogs have overlapping audiences. Sometimes they seem to have nearly the very same audience as many of their fellow blogs. Book bloggers read other book bloggers. Blog readers read multiple blogs. Which means any giveaway/guest post/interview done on two blogs with largely the same audience is twice the time/effort/work for half the hoped-for exposure. Those numbers look even worse when that effort is broadened to include several blogs with nearly the same audience.
Now, I know that everything above is probably really boring for most of you, (so for those just here for the giveaway, all you have to do is take the poll on the right, then leave a comment in this post telling me that you took the poll, which will enter you in the giveaway), but for me, this is fascinating, and relevant to–if not actually helpful for–my career.
The fact that many more people mention finding me through Kindle’s and Nook’s automatically generated recommendations and on Goodreads tells me that it’s faster and easier for people to find new books on the site where they’re purchased (in the cases of Amazon and B&N) and in places where they can see dozens of recommendations at once than it is through the actual book blogs, which tend to focus on one author/release per post. (That’s not an absolute; I know there are multi-book cover reveals and mailbox hauls.)
If that’s not true–if people really are finding me through blog reviews, guest posts, and blog tours–I’d truly love to know about it. So what I’m asking of you is this: If you’re willing, take the poll on the right, which will tell me where you were FIRST exposed to my work, whichever book that was. If that first exposure isn’t what led you to try the books, feel free to elaborate on that in the comments. If you found me before book blogging was big and today you normally find new authors through blog reviews/posts, feel free to leave that in your comment too. That definitely helps. But what I’m looking for in the poll is that initial exposure–where are people finding me?
Details: To be entered for the contest, after you take the poll, you MUST leave a comment here telling me that you took the poll. Your comment is your entry. I don’t need your email address or your shipping info–I’ll get that from you if/when you win. One entry per person. If you’re under 18, you must have a parent/guardian’s permission to enter. Void where prohibited. Please allow 2+ weeks for domestic shipping and 4+ for overseas shipping.
The winner of this giveaway may choose a book from my prize book list, or a US edition of any one of the following:
SS Vol 1