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What Readers Want and Why Authors Should Give It to Them | AUTHOR VIOLATION

AUTHOR VIOLATION: What Readers Want (Original Photo by Gabrielle Henderson)

Monique read the last three lines of the book that she’d been reading. Suddenly she was taken on a journey of both elation for haven found a good book and despair for having nothing more of it to read. She swiped left hoping to see one last bit of hope that the author would have either listed the book as part of a series or an excerpt for the next one to come, but there was nothing. She swiped left again still nothing. She suddenly found herself in a treasure hunt swiping left, right and back left again. There was nothing — not a note, not a website, not a clue–nothing.

I’m looking but I can’t find you.

As an avid reader, who reads about 20 books a month on average, I’m always looking for authors and the next great story. Over the years I have had the opportunity to personally meet and work with lots of authors, aspiring authors, and publishers. I also love sequels or continuing stories, so I’m usually on the lookout to see if the author has other books out that I might be interested in reading.

I go so far as to continue to look for new works by the author for several months. I even go so far as to see if the author has a website that I might be able to connect with as to be able to ask a few questions or inquire about the authors next book launch.

What happens when I don’t find any other books or a website for an author?

Sadly, after anxiously waiting and looking for several months I give up looking. I stop looking for books by that author when I can’t find their next novel to read and worse, I eventually forget about the author altogether. Which means the author can potentially lose me as a reader. Just think, what if there are a lot of readers like me who give up. We may not mean to, but life gets busy.  That’s why it is paramount for authors to build a strong reading community and stay connected to it.

An author who fails to invest in themselves will be hard pressed to get readers to continue to invest in them as well.

I also wonder why the author has not invested in a website; sure Facebook is great, but you don’t own it or have access into my email and sometimes not into my inbox which makes me seeing what you’ve got to say in the vast world of Facebook posts a crap shoot. And who’s to say that you’re the only “Jane Doe” or “Author Jane Doe 123” out there.

And let’s get real, self-published authors usually find it challenging to post regularly on social media and market on a consistent basis meaning the less likely you are to come up into my feed. Get me on your list now, after I’ve loved what you’ve written; make it conveniently at the end of the book.  Engage as you will but have your business website as well and note it often, or you’ll make it difficult for readers, bloggers, and conferences to help market you. That’s Free PR people! An author who fails to invest in themselves will be hard pressed to get me to continue to invest in them as well.

Do your favorite authors have websites?

I’ve seen authors who don’t even invest in as little as a free website that holds the authors about me, opt-ins and contact pages. In other words, an online home for me to find larger book cover images and to help market the book.  And maybe even help me stay connected as a reader.

But really, authors should think of their website as a quick source for promoters, bloggers, and other news media outlets to find what they need to publish an article about the author in a snap.  We’re on tight deadlines, and you’ll have a better chance at getting posted or getting a yes to sit on a conference panel, if you’ve already provided what we need to do it.  I don’t always have time to search social media feeds for info needed on an author; that rabbit hole is exhausting.  And unfortunately, we don’t always have time to wait for an email response.

Your website should be a marketing tool for you and not simply a business card online.  Get your media kit up and keep it updated.  And whatever you do, don’t forget to give me a way to give you my email not only in hopes of staying connected to me as a reader, but also for me not to forget about you. Me subscribing to an authors newsletter means now I’m part of the authors’ reader fan base.  If the author markets themselves right by sending me enough interesting emails, I might periodically even become a promoter of their work or part of their “street team” as I’ll see the author in my inbox saying, “Hey, remember me.”

Creative writing as a business

If an author is selling their books in bookstores or through digital avenues, they are in the business of writing and selling a product. Failing to suggest more products for me, the reader, to buy at the end of your book is dreadful and did I mention, bad for business. That is a critical element in continuing to make money through writing.

As a reader who also helps promote authors, when I’m working with aspiring authors, I often tell them to complete three to four books and have them ready to release before they release their first book. If their book is as good as they hope it will be, they’ll want to have the next book ready and waiting to be snatched up to build their reader fan base and to fund their cash flow. When you first come out the gate publishing your first book, having multiple books done and ready for new release schedules over one to two years will give you that head start you need as you continue to write and will help keep your readers happy.

What I’d like as a reader

Readers love having more stories by a good author to read, and they like to find something new within a few seconds or at least in a few months. It’s good practice for the author to share that information in the back of their book, after the end of the story. Send readers to your website or better yet landing page that encourages them to either buy more or sign-up onto your list. Remember that promoters and bloggers often were readers first.

Readers want the next story now!  P.S.  We also like giveaways too.

The more you can get people writing and talking about you the better.  And think of it this way, when a conference is looking for authors to feature, they’ll want to know that you are professional and take your writing career serious.  And as an attendee, some conferences get you in the same room with publishers.  Being featured on panels or conference blogs, gives you an added opportunity to engage or get in front of publishers and readers.  You better believe that the publishers, who are also sometimes sponsors, are looking at the conference feeds.

So you’ll want to make it easy for conference leaders, news media outlets, and bloggers (A.K.A. readers) to feature or write about you .  You’ll also want to give readers more ways to continue that good book happy feeling at the end of your books.  Plan your writing schedule/career so there’s always another book for readers to purchase.  And at a mini if you can’t do that, give readers a way to sign-up onto your newsletter or visit your website for more info.  I’m someone who will share the author’s book information with my book club members, family members, friends who like to read, and colleagues who are always looking for blog topics to post about.

To all the authors out there, I have only one thing to say, “Help me, help you!”  Not having another book for me to read is like leaving money on the table; I’m here willing to give you my money, but unfortunately, “you’ve left me hanging.”


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NANCY E December 10, 2020 at 4:58 pm

One of the things I really do not want to see authors doing is playing constant mind games with their readers with every single book they release. This has become a problem on Facebook in Author’s reader groups. Some very highly popular authors are choosing to keep the characters secret for upcoming releases. This, in and by itself is not the problem. The issue happens when the author gives hints and clues pointing readers toward a particular heroine, gets all readers invested in a story for that heroine, then the author switches mid-stream and starts hyping a different heroine. Now there are two “camps” of fans, and the author encourages the constant comparing of one character to another, causing bad feelings. Then, after months of authors and their group Administrators hyping this behavior, they decide to shut down all posts that compare the two characters. At least that is what they say. Instead, they allow posts about the one character but refuse all posts about the other. In addition, no dissenting posts are permitted and likewise no civil discussion posts either. The author and Admins all refuse to address the issues and when the author or Admins do say anything they say the author never participates in mind games, which is patently false. Readers learn through this behavior that the author is unprofessional, cannot be trusted, that she does not know how to effectively market her work without tricking her readers, and that she has no respect for her readers.

This type of behavior is becoming more prevalent and needs to be called out. Authors who behave this way also have what I call “promotion pushers,” who are arc readers/street team readers who post only 5* reviews on all platforms available. Most of these authors have not been part of the traditional publishing stream and have been publishing for less than 10 years. Traditional romance authors who know of their behavior have stated that they are disgusted and that these authors are very unprofessional.

The Write DNA March 21, 2021 at 3:08 am

Hi Nancy, I think I kind of know what you mean now. I was reading a submission at an editing house the other day and the author had me all invested in a character in the beginning of the book and then at some point switched to another and then I didn’t really hear much from the 1st characters voice after that. I was disappointed almost as if I had lost a dear friend because I was hooked in the first characters story.


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