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#RT11: What Readers Look For and Want

By Kat @ ARe on April 7th, 2011
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If you have ever attended an RT Booklovers convention, you may have wished at one point to be two people so you can attend simultaneously scheduled panels. We have had those dilemma here as well, but luckily we can split up and reconvene to go over the details. So while some of us took on the Hollywood panels, Kat sat in on a very valuable discussion (the moderators refused to call it a panel)  on how readers find books and what they want to see from authors in the future.

Sarah from Smart Bitches and Jane from Dear Author gathered everybody in a circle and let the readers run with the conversation. Readers talked about how they found new books and authors to read, and the answers proved as diverse as the tastes in genre:

  • Covers remain a huge draw for readers. It’s good to have a compelling, attractive cover that best represents the story.
  • Good social buzz. If people are tweeting about your book, and mentioning it on Facebook, friends are checking them out.
  • Reader communities, like the Romantic Times boards, top reviewer blogs, and hopefully ARe Cafe!!!!
  • Books in sight, books in mind: Readers might see somebody with a book at Starbucks, or pass the book section at a grocery store.
  • Believe it or not, even negative reviews may compel a reader to buy. If one accepts that reviews are objective (different strokes), a bad review is just as likely to land an author a sale than a rave.

As for what readers would like to see in the future, and even right now:

  • Excerpts available on websites to read – readers want to preview books before they buy, or they might not at all.
  • In addition, excerpts that can be downloaded easily to a reader. Not everybody shops in a store where sample chapters are easily transferred.
  • Coming soon information – if you have new stuff coming, brag about it!!
  • A concise book listing that includes series information – readers want to check out your books in order.
  • Links to every single place on the Internet where the books are available, print and e.

Kudos to Sarah and Jane for facilitating a great discussion. We’d love to hear what you would add to these lists.

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