Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Positive Power of Readers

Most readers have no idea how much power they have to affect the literary world. Individually, a reader is like a drop of water. Cumulatively, they can create a tsunami.

The internet has placed power in the hands of individual readers, but most of them don't know how much they can affect what others will read. Think about it. You trip across a great book on your e-reader, devour it in a few days, then look for more from that author. How many of you use those nifty little icons (FB, Pinterest, Twitter) that Amazon has on the book's page, or at the end of the Kindle book to review the book or share about it with others on social media? Too shy? Too busy? Don't think it'll make a difference? Think again.

You, The Reader, have ALL the power. YOU MATTER!

In days of yore, publishers and brick and mortar bookstores determined what books got publicity. Subsequently, those were the books that sold copies. LOTS of copies. Thousands, sometimes millions. How did they determine which books got top billing? Who knows? It came down to the personal tastes of a few individuals and their past experiences with similar books.

Then along came self-publishing. Many, many times, the editors at the big publishing houses passed on books from unknown authors, books that were too different from what was selling currently, books outside the popular genres. Slowly, readers began to discover these hidden gems through digital publishing. Over time, sales on some of those self-published books began to rival the traditionally published books. New voices emerged. Genres expanded. Whatever readers craved, self-published authors were able to create more of more quickly.

Nowadays, many self-published (SP) authors make a comfortable living writing what they love. In fact, they get far more per book sale than traditionally published authors, who have to share a portion of a book's earnings with the publisher. But traditionally published books still get the store shelf space that SP authors don't - and that is very powerful marketing.

But what is more powerful than store placement? Word of mouth.

Think about it. What holds more sway in your final decision if you're shopping for a plumber: an ad in the Yellow Pages, or a recommendation from a close friend? Aren't you more likely to go see a movie if everyone you know is talking about it?

So next time you read a great book, tell someone else about it. Click 'share' on FB. Tweet about it. Pin it to your Pinterest board. Talk about it over coffee. Tell people what you're reading and who it's written by. If you tell 20 people, maybe only 2 will go on to buy that book, but if those 2 people tell 20 more, well...

Even in the digital world, the more a book sells, the more it's seen by fresh sets of eyes. And the more it sells. Until other newly discovered books come along that gradually displace it.

Momentum builds. Share your enthusiasm about the books you read. Write a quick review. Tweet, post, share, like, pin. Help the authors who've carried you away and brought you hours of entertainment. Make a difference in the world of publishing.

Happy reading,

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