Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by and checking out the first in my "From the Desk of Savannah Rayne" post. Each week I will try to write about what my experiences have been in the world of writing. All of you know I am a published author, but some may be surprised to find out that I also do some editing and copy editing for a publishing company, as well as being the assistant to the Executive Editor. I can't tell you how valuable being in the middle of all this has been, and has helped me in ALL areas of being a writer. I have seen things from both sides of the fence; the publishing side, as well as the writer's side. I have been surprised more than once by some of the things I have learned. Those will be things I will share with you in future weeks.
But for today I am going to share one interview I did from last summer, when I did a several week run called, "The Reader's Spotlight" and interviewed some avid readers I met through Facebook. After all, they're are the ones whose opinions really matter!
It seems to be the norm for writers to interview other writers and then post those interviews on their blogs. All this is great. Those that read the posts get to learn more about an author as a person, also about their latest books or works in progress. But we authors need to say "thank you" and give a huge round of applause to the READERS!
Reader Interview ~
Name: Sharon S
Savannah: How often do you read?
Sharon: I read, on average, 3 books a week.
Savannah: Do you prefer one genre (horror, romance, mystery, etc.) over the others, or do you mix it up?
Sharon: I mix it up. But I am not a huge fan of historical romances. “Her heaving bosoms….” Blech. LOL.
Savannah: What first attracts you to a book?
Sharon: To be quite honest, it’s been a long time since I bought an actual book. I have an eReader (kindle) and 99% of my reading is done on that. The main attraction would be if it is the latest of a favorite author. Next would be the suggestion of a friend. Or even a ‘free read’ found on Amazon. Great way to try out a new-to-me author.
Savannah: And then what makes you purchase the book?
Sharon: The story blurb. If it is something that sounds interesting to me, especially if it is a new-to-me author, then I will buy it. If it’s a favorite author, it’s an auto buy.
Savannah: Do you take into consideration before purchasing a book, its reviews or ratings?
Sharon: Nope. I like to form my own opinions.
Savannah: What stops you from purchasing a book?
Sharon: If it’s a historical. LOL. Also, I’m not a big fan of books written in first person. While this usually doesn’t prevent me from buying the book, it does make me think twice.
Savannah: What will cause you to not finish a book?
Sharon: Poor writing or not connecting with any of the characters.
Savannah: Do you prefer print or eBooks?
Savannah: While we’re on the subject of eBooks, how do you obtain most of yours? Do you purchase them, wait for them to be “free” or try to win them in a give-away? Any other way?
Sharon: Purchase. Sometimes I will enter to try and win one in a give-away. But that’s occasionally. I do a lot of preordering. I also get them for free from one of the authors that I beta read for.
Savannah: Do you use one outlet for purchasing books more than others? (Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Book Store, etc.) The reason?
Sharon: Because I have a kindle, Amazon is my #1 choice. But I do purchase from other places. The reason that I will sometimes purchase from other places, as opposed to Amazon, is that I don’t want to wait for it to become available on Amazon. Depending on the publisher, sometimes there is a delay in making the book available on Amazon at the same time it is released.
Savannah: How do you compare books put out through a publisher, to those that are self-published? Do you see a difference and if so, what?
Sharon: I don’t know that I have ever noticed.
Savannah: Do you as a reader follow any Publishers, looking for what’s new from them in both newly published books as well as new authors, or do you primarily follow individual authors?
Sharon: I follow authors.
Savannah: As a reader, in what areas do you think eBooks could be improved?
Sharon: Cost. I believe eBooks should cost less than what they do. I feel $9 or more is too much for an eBook.
Savannah: Would you or have you, purchased a book by an author you’ve read previously, just because it was written by that author? Do you watch for and purchase all their books?
Sharon: Yes. When I find an author that I favor and follow, I will purchase all their books.
Savannah: With all the social networking these days, do you “follow” any authors and if you do, what prompted you to do so?
Sharon: Yes, I do. That instant connection. I’ve made friends with some amazing authors on Facebook, and I love it.
Savannah: And where/how do you follow them? (Ex: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, blogs, etc.)
Sharon: I’m a Facebook-aholic. My hubby says he needs to hold an intervention. LOL. I follow most of my favorite authors on FB, if they are there. There are a few that I also correspond with via email.
Savannah: Are you on any authors emailing list for updates? If not, is this something you would be interested in?
Sharon: I am on a few mailing lists. But I can give-or-take being on one.
Savannah: In regards to social networking, do you as a reader feel it matters if authors are always “professional” or would you rather see the “real” side of them?
Sharon: I’m all for people being “real” but I think that authors need to be cautious. Just like everyone should be, actually. It’s very easy for a comment to be taken out of context and when that happens, things are said that can be mean and hurtful. But that is true for all of us who post/comment on social networks. It’s a fine line and could make or break a career. The author should use their judgment.
Savannah: On that note, if you saw a book you’d love to read, but saw on line that the author wasn’t someone you clicked with as a “person”, would that stop you from purchasing the book?
Sharon: If it was just a matter of not “clicking” with the author, I’d still purchase the book. If the author was someone that I found to be disrespectful then I probably would not buy the book.
Savannah: In your opinion, what marketing tool(s) for books, grabs your attention the most? (Ex: Facebook threads, blogs, ads on the FB sidebar, word of mouth, recommended by a friend, etc.)
Sharon: Going back to my self admission that I am a facebook-aholic, I would say FB threads are a great marketing tool. I don’t pay much attention to the ads on the sidebar, though. Word of mouth and recommendations by friends are a big plus, also. Another really cool idea is the free reads that Amazon offers. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to a new author. I found some of my favorite authors this way!
Savannah: Let’s talk about blogs! Do you read/follow any blogs?
Sharon: I read blogs occasionally. I am not an avid blog follower.
Savannah: How often do you read them? Do you leave comments?
Sharon: If I do read a blog it is usually for a reason, and yes, I will leave a comment.
Savannah: What sort of things would you like to see blogged about? Their books, personal life, things unrelated to books or writing, etc.?
Sharon: What ever they’d like to talk about. In my opinion, blogs are more ‘freeing’ so an author can talk about anything.
Savannah: Does the “look” of someone’s blog make a difference to you? (Ex: too much going on/ distracting or boring)
Sharon: I don’t like the ones that are too busy. And the ones where the font color and background color clash or the font is too small. I wear glasses and the small font or coloring issues are a huge turnoff. I can’t read it if I can’t see it.
Savannah: What do you think we writers could do to reach more readers?
Sharon: With all the options that are out there (FB, Blogs, Twitter, Email) I’m not sure there is much more an author could do. I must say my biggest pet peeve is when you friend an author on FB, they accept your request and proceed to ignore you any time you post a comment. I feel like the acceptance was just a way to increase their number of “likes” and unless you are in their inner-circle, you pretty much get ignored.
Savannah: Do you watch book trailers? Where? (Ex: Youtube, when posted on Facebook or their blog)
Sharon: If the link is posted on FB, then I’ll click on it to check it out. The links are usually on Youtube.
Savannah: Does the trailer make a difference whether you will purchase the book or not?
Sharon: Nope, doesn’t influence my decision to buy or not.
Savannah: What annoys you the most in regards to writers/books/marketing?
Sharon: I guess the only thing that annoys me is when you take the time to send an author an email or comment on FB and they don’t respond. To me, clicking “Like” isn’t a true response (on FB). Clickling “Like” for everyone else’s comment BUT yours is not nice. And totally ignoring an email is rude. Why bother having a ‘contact me’ on your blog or website if you’re not going to bother to reply.
Savannah: What is the best book advertising you’ve seen as well as the worst?
Sharon: The best? For me, it’s postings on FB. I’ve also seen print ads in People Magazine that I thought were great. The worst? No advertising at all and then the writer complaining on the lack of sales.
Savannah: If I had a new eBook coming out, what could I do as a writer, to convince you to purchase it?
Sharon: Well, the obvious would be to have some type of contest to win a free copy. Also posting blurbs is a good way to entice me to buy it.
Savannah: Is there anything overall, you would like to see changed in the world of reading?
Sharon: I’m not quite sure how to answer this. So I guess my answer is no.
Thank you Sharon for sharing your thoughts with all of us today and for being a guest in The Reader’s Spotlight!
Hugs & Nightmares from,
Hugs & Nightmares from,