Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

How Does An Author Find Readers?

on July 24, 2011

How does an author find readers?  I was reading Bob Meyer’s blog, Writing it Forward, (a very informative blog!), and he posed this question. It’s a question I’ve been thinking about as I watch the remaining Borders Books go out of business. Borders Books was the bookstore closest to me. I was a Borders Bucks member, and I enjoyed using their coupons and reward bucks. But, most of all, I just enjoyed browsing the shelves and getting a cup of coffee. I admit, I didn’t always buy from Borders. A lot of the time, I would make my list of books, and then go home and order from Amazon. (Cheaper and by the time I had two or three books, I got free shipping).

I went to Borders on Thursday (the day before the Liquidation Sale started), and as I wandered around the shelves, I couldn’t help but look at the people browsing and wonder, “How will we find books we want to read? And how, will I, as author, find my readers?”

As a reader, there are many ways I find books to read.  I subscribe to two blogs which help build my reading list. Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing is AMAZING in the depth and frequency of book reviews. Ashley is very honest in her reviews of the books, and it’s refreshing! And, I subscribe t0 A Chair, a Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy.  These reviews tend to be the books newly released, or about to be released.

The second way I find books is by browsing the new books in the teen section at our library. We’re lucky to have not just one great library system, but three (King County, Seattle, and Snohomish). It’s hard not to find a book to read with all these great libraries, and King County has a great meet the author’s series which include workshops as well as book talks and signings.

In the Seattle area, we’re also lucky to have some great Independent Bookstores. Third Place Books, Elliot Bay Bookstore, and The University Bookstore. I love all of them and they often have author readings and events. However, none are close to my house, so it’s an “event” when I go visit one.

And then there is the tried and trued method..recommendations from friends.  There are a handful of friends and family (who are not writers) who always ask me for recommendations. I’m also in two book groups–one which reads YA and one which reads adult books, and some of my reading comes from the books for book group.

But, what about the times when I am trying to read specifically on a topic? For example, I’m reading a lot of YA romance this month. Partially because I’m getting ready for Weaving Magic’s content edits, and partially because I want to find out what else is out there in the field of young adult romance.  But here is where I got stuck. The other day, I did a search on young adult romance on Google and Amazon.  The search turned up a lot of contemporary and paranormal romance. I don’t mind paranormal romance, but the market has been saturated with it for the last couple years, and I’m tired of it. I tried some contemporary romance, and discovered that a lot of the stories just didn’t hold my interest. Most of the stories seem to be set in suburban schools in the East or on summer beaches, and the stories tended to be the same–two boys and girl must make a choice between the two.

So, then I did a search on Historical Young Adult romance, and the search stalled on me. I searched on a couple blogs and went to the library to browse the shelves. I also browsed on Amazon and did a “if you like this book, then you might like this book.” And this all made me think…as authors, one way to find our readers just may be to highlight and emphasis the topics and genre in our stories. We can tag those topics  in Tag Our Books on Amazon. This helps the book come up better in the search engines if someone searches on specific topics.

We can also Blog About the Subjects of Our Books. As an author, a lot of research goes into writing a book. When I wrote Weaving Magic, I learned how to weave, learned about magic, and visited the Skagit Valley numerous times to get a feel for the setting of my story. But, the heart of Weaving Magic is it’s a story about addiction. Christopher’s story is about staying sober as a teen addict, and Shantel’s story is about how romantic fantasy can become an addiction. Also, included in the story is a scene in which Christopher is in juvenile detention and attends a poetry workshop where he has an epiphany moment. (Drawn directly from the real life poetry workshops I run at Denney Juvenile Justice Center) And now, all of this great research can become blog posts–and will be next spring!

The benefit to blogging about the topics in our books, is that if someone searches on a specific topic then our books will come up in that Google search. One author who does a great job of this is historical young adult romance writer, Marissa Doyle.

Marissa keeps a blog, Nineteen Teen about being a teen in the nineteenth center. Her postings are full of historical information and are great supplements to her books!

So, now I’m curious, as a reader, how to you find the books you want to read?

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4 responses to “How Does An Author Find Readers?

  1. Ashley says:

    Wow! Thank you! I’m SO glad that you find my blog to be so helpful!! Thank you! 😀

    Me, I find books through browsing the library or bookstores, reading lists (I LOVE the Newbery and Printz award lists) from friends, both online and IRL, from browsing Goodreads, and, of course, from the many blogs that I follow. 🙂

  2. Mindy says:

    Thanks Ashley!!!!

  3. beccaspiral37 says:

    Recommendations from friends and family! 🙂 I also like to browse Amazon and Goodreads.

  4. […] other day, I blogged about how authors find readers.  I mentioned that I would miss having a Borders close to me because I’d miss browsing the […]

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