Greetings authors and readers!
As authors, we’re always learning how we can improve our craft and become a success in this business. Romance authors seem to have it ten times harder because our genre is scrutinized and considered smut regardless of the time and effort we put into our books.
That’s a topic for another day!
Back to the positive.
What do we need to do to write the books we want and become successful in the process? How do we reach readers? What do they want and not want?
Since I’m still trying to figure this out myself, I decided to ask readers in a group several questions. This one in particular is crucial to us as authors: Your core audience. What makes them continue to buy your books and read them? If you wrote a book they hated, are they more likely to give you a second chance or will they put you on the list of never agains.
I’d hope I wouldn’t be on that list, and I’m sure you wouldn’t either. So, what makes readers not return to reading you? Here are the three main responses.
Typos, bad grammar, editing: This should be a no brainer, but unfortunately it’s still happening. Since I myself self-publish, I am very well aware of the pitfalls of editing. I suck at grammar so I don’t put a book out without edits. Free stories, might not be treated with the same care, but any book I release on Amazon must be touched by an editor. Also, beta readers are SUPER helpful. They often catch what you don’t see and if they’re good ones, they’ll give you a few lessons on how to fix something. Believe me, I’m no expert so I appreciate all the help! Authors, when a reader lets you know there’s a problem, please accept it and change it if you can. If you can nudge your publisher even better, but if you self it, you can go on Amazon and fix it, then re-upload. Don’t let it go!
Writing Style/characters: This really can’t be helped because we all write different. We all have our own style and readers can choose to like it or not. The best answer here is finding a core audience that loves your style through promotions and reviews then hope they tell more people about the books.
Characters: This is also subjective. I love unlikeable and flawed characters. I’m not sure why I love difficult people in my books because I barely tolerate them in real life. *groans* As authors, we need to find something about the asshole/bitch character that makes them endearing. This isn’t easy, I know, but we must redeem them and make them more interesting so the reader will continue to read.
Those are the biggest reasons, but a lot of readers said it depends on WHY they didn’t like a said book. Some said the topics, the characters, writing style, one person said unless the next book grabs me with the blurb, they’d probably still skip it. Also, mentioned was their mood. As a reader, I know when I’m in the mood to read something specific. Whether it’s a rockstar romance, MPREG, or a sweet romance with little to no sex, we all have things we’re ready to read. Of course, that wouldn’t be up to the author, but as we continue to maneuver our way through this business, we learn what works with readers and what doesn’t.
Something interesting was just pointed out to me as I write this post is author’s promotion tactics. That was a different answer, but the reader/reviewer specifically pointed out newsletters and constant emails badgering them about a review.
Authors, really, I get it. I’m an author too, but it isn’t a good practice to spam anyone. I myself HATE asking for reviews, but if I recently did an ARc, I remind them 2 times, tops. If there is no review, I let it go.
And newsletters, every week? No, no, no. I’ve unsubscribed to authors who email me every week or multiple times a week. Once or twice a month is good. Personally, unless I have a new release or a sale, I only do it once. I know it’s a matter of preference for the author. If you want to keep reminding the readers about your books every week, go on ahead. I myself won’t because we aren’t door-to-door salesman or telemarketers. We’re not supposed to harass people into buying our books. We do what we can as far as marketing and move on.
Whew, okay that was a lot.
We as authors try to build our brand. (I hate that statement) Though I loathe it, it’s true. We want return readers, we want to become auto-buys and in this genre, that seems to be a tall order. However, don’t get discouraged! Continue to write what you want. Whether it’s trendy or unique, write what’s most enjoyable for you. You are your most important audience. Just keep in mind to edit your work. There are many editors, proofers, and beta readers who are honest and would love to help you. Self-editing (unless you yourself are an editor) doesn’t work. Try to have as many sets of eyes on your work as you can, I guarantee you it will help in the long run.
I hope this post has been helpful for authors and readers alike. Please add your thoughts!
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No book promos for me, even though I have new books coming soon, If you’d like to know more about me, please follow these links in the bio!
Romance and erotica author Sharita Lira believes that love conquers all. Writing sexy stories of people who might be complete opposites, but somehow make a lasting connection that often leads to a happily ever after.
Happily married and mother of two, Sharita never allows complex plots to deter her from writing the story. Inspired by heavy music, attractive people she’s seen in person and on the internet, Sharita always has a tale on her brain.
In addition to being a computer geek and a metalhead, Sharita loves live music, reading, and spending time with family and friends. She’s also a founding member and contributor to the heavy metal ezine FourteenG.