sartorias: (desk)
[personal profile] sartorias
So today is the last day of the Book View Cafe giveaway. (Below I have attempted my first image here, putting up the nice ad that Mindy Klasky made for me.)

Some of the authors have reported getting hundreds of signups at their newsletter, and have given away many more hundreds of books. My numbers are far more modest, as I expected. The newsletter I sent out was my first (Rachel made it for me--I can't even figure out how to do it) and I am still ambivalent about doing more.

One of the rubrics many of the authors are working on is that "you don't sell books to strangers." But, I am thinking, we actually do. I know very few of the authors whose books I buy. In fact, buying authors (i.e. whatever they put out, the minute it appears) is way down on the list of reasons why I get a book. So maybe I'm an outlier at the gitgo.

It also seems to me that social media is cram packed these days with authors touting their books, many of them feeling they have to do it. My eyes slide past so very much of it, especially when couched in breathless superlatives. But it must work, right? Am I an outlier in that, too?

Do you want newsletters from indie authors you like, giving you recipes and talking up a storm about their personal life and process? My eyes glaze when fellow authors go on and on about a story I know nothing about--the names mean nothing, I don't understand the situation, I want to say, just let me read the book, don't tell me about it. But again, am I an outlier? Does everybody else find that exciting?

It's different if I'm already invested in a series. Then I'm eager for any hints, and news. And of course there are those with such charisma that whatever they say gets an instant audience. I don't want to talk about them. I mean the rest of us, fumbling our way in the dark.

What gets your attention--authors selling themselves, the book itself, some combo of these?

ETA: woo, it worked! But you have to click it to see the full image.

Date: 2017-05-12 05:15 pm (UTC)
al_zorra: (Default)
From: [personal profile] al_zorra
The very idea of authors' newletters gives this reader hives.

We have a private retro e-mail list. It's huge. We know not that many of the subscribers, but mostly they have come through seeing one of us or both of us, or knowing others who are on the list. It isn't about the books. It's political and -- it began on 9/11, which we lived through up close and personal -- and music, particularly afro latin music.

But just about everyone on the list is a professional in books, music, film, etc. Nor is it interactive.

It would seem to me that only an obsessive -- and that's scary -- would want constant newsletters confined to the single subject of the author.

But if anyone's an outlier it is moi!.

Date: 2017-05-12 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] helen_keeble
I just want new release emails from my favourite authors. Otherwise I have no way of knowing when they put out a new book - I no longer follow any book blogs or review sites, and most of the authors I like are highly unlikely to get reviewed in such places anyway. is not nearly as good as at putting out new book alerts, for some reason.
I have zero interest in chatty emails that aren't informing me of a new book (or possibly a deal on an older one). If I want that I'll subscribe to the author's blog on RSS. But apparently that's oldschool and most people have no idea about such things anymore...

Date: 2017-05-12 06:15 pm (UTC)
telophase: (Default)
From: [personal profile] telophase
This! I am on several authors' mailing lists for precisely this reason. I don't care about chattiness or recipes or whatever, I just want to know when new books come out.

Date: 2017-05-12 07:24 pm (UTC)
readinggeek451: (book and glasses)
From: [personal profile] readinggeek451

There are a few authors whose blogs I follow, because they're consistently interesting no matter what they're writing about. But mainly I just want to know when they have a new book coming out.

As I librarian, I *do* see a lot of news about forthcoming books. But I want to make sure I don't miss something by a must-read author.

Date: 2017-05-12 08:28 pm (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
I adore the fact that many sites continue to syndicate their content via RSS/atom.... +1 zero interest in chatty emails, either way.

Date: 2017-05-12 08:41 pm (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
I see. (Romances and romance/mystery blends, I guess? I was surprised the first time I saw a recipe at the end of a contemporary mystery novel.) I still think it ought to go by volition, and that it's okay for not every writer to want to do it. The friendly contacts engaged by a newsletter are exactly as close as one's "friends" on Facebook or Snapchat. Younger people seem to recognize the distance; maybe it's only my generation that doesn't always, caught between technological facility and looking backwards for something cozier.

Date: 2017-05-12 08:49 pm (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
I recognize too that generational lines are fraught :) but there may be something to timebound assumptions and expectations? And my generation's music is easy listening now--banks, post offices....
Edited (hit Post too soon) Date: 2017-05-12 08:50 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-12 05:29 pm (UTC)
baranduin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] baranduin
One of the rubrics many of the authors are working on is that "you don't sell books to strangers."

Really? So best-selling authors must have millions of friends?

And no, I don't want to know the authors' recipes (unless it's part of the book). I just want to know something about the book. I tend to be hooked by covers though perhaps not so much any more now that I've switched to almost 100% e-books.

Date: 2017-05-12 06:29 pm (UTC)
cmcmck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cmcmck
One of the rubrics many of the authors are working on is that "you don't sell books to strangers."

What a weird viewpoint. Sure, I know some of the academic historians whose work comes into my hands and I'd look for their new work, but many are entirely new to me as I like to read outside my own period and my comfort zones.

Date: 2017-05-12 07:26 pm (UTC)
shewhomust: (mamoulian)
From: [personal profile] shewhomust
I'm signed up for one or two author newsletters - not counting the ones that I run. I'd much rather follow a blog, like yours - if a newdletter arrives at the wrong time, I won't beat myself up about not reading it.

What I honestly believe about social media is that you should only use the platforms you're comfortable with - if you're faking it, it shows.

Date: 2017-05-12 08:31 pm (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
if you're faking it, it shows

Agreed for the corner for which I see the occasional newsletter--knitting designers and yarn dyers. (Maybe that's two corners, but they overlap; some do both.) I'm all for people generating content when and as they want to; if a publisher or promoter has told them to, it seems awkward.

Date: 2017-05-12 07:36 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Rotwang)
From: [personal profile] sovay
One of the rubrics many of the authors are working on is that "you don't sell books to strangers."

I buy books of people I have never met and never heard of all the time. I am much more likely to become interested in a book from a favorable review, an excerpt, or a reading than I am from a newsletter blurb. I do like to know when authors I like have new work coming out, because otherwise I am likely to miss it, living under my non-Twitter rock—it doesn't have to be a series, just someone I have reliably enjoyed in the past—but I also really resent the idea that everyone should now be expected to be their own promoter on social media: not everyone is good at it, and more importantly, not everyone enjoys it. You should not have to live your life in public in order for people to agree that you're doing your bit for your book sales.

Date: 2017-05-12 08:32 pm (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
What, the publisher can't pay an intern? :(

I realize too that many interns go unpaid, but isn't that one of the things that interns have been asked to do? Promote stuff?
Edited Date: 2017-05-12 08:33 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-12 08:37 pm (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
Ack. :(
Understood--I certainly wouldn't expect a writer to take an intern for PR purposes. Training time is a cost, too....

Date: 2017-05-12 07:58 pm (UTC)
rachelmanija: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rachelmanija
I want to know when my favorite authors release new books.

Date: 2017-05-12 11:42 pm (UTC)
cgbookcat1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cgbookcat1
I seem to be an outlier, based on the other comments. At last count, I'm signed up for ~8 author newsletters (and a few Patreons) and regularly check ~35 author blogs. Mostly this is because I read a lot (several hundred books per year) and try to stay up to date with SF/F release dates. But I also appreciate the non-book commentary, extra short stories, and even the occasional recipe.

Authors discussing process is also very interesting to me, because several friends have publishing aspirations and I've been asked to be a beta reader. Some of the discussions have given me more insight as to how other people read, and I can make better recommendations.

As to what gets my attention, it's the book itself. Usually if I like one book by an author I seek out others, and if I like more than one I follow the career of that author at least sporadically.

My main fault as a reader is an inability to enjoy books without characters that I want to spend time with. So I read first for characters and world building (since the world in SF/F is often a character), and then for plot and language and structure. My first read-through is for story, and then I start to catch nuance on re-reads.

Date: 2017-05-13 07:00 am (UTC)
landingtree: (Default)
From: [personal profile] landingtree
Writers I like enough to want newsletters from are also writers I like enough that I'll sooner or later remember to check up on their books myself -- and the way I tend to find new writers is have a friend whose judgement I know matches mine throw a book at me and say 'Read!' (Or else have a review do the same virtually). Actually, it surprised me recently to think how few books I read which haven't been specifically recommended to me in some way...

Date: 2017-05-13 10:33 am (UTC)
jorriespencer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jorriespencer
I've seen newsletters where authors assure their subscribers it's for book news only. So I think there must be readers out there who want to be reminded of an author's book release, without the other chatter. (I've the impression, perhaps wrong, as I'm increasingly unconnected to these things, that personal stuff, process stuff, recipes and pets, etc. go more on Twitter and Facebook, and more succinct book news goes into the newsletters. At least for some authors.)

I'd imagine higher volume readers might find the announcement of a new book useful, and use newsletters for that. They're not all on other social media, and if they are, social media is so busy these days that a new book they want might be easy to miss.

Date: 2017-05-14 05:25 am (UTC)
athenais: (Default)
From: [personal profile] athenais
I'm thankful you mentioned this; I downloaded a book which beguiled me on the tedious flight home from Hawaii today! I want to read more in that series (the Washington Witch series) now.

I don't really like getting newsletters from authors. I just don't care as much as they do.

Date: 2017-05-15 06:00 pm (UTC)
3rdragon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] 3rdragon
I'm subscribed to a few author newsletters, mostly for the same reasons I follow authors on other social media -- I find the non-book content to be inherently interesting. Recipes I'm ambivalent about -- I like Aliette de Bodard's recipes, but more because she posts the sort of recipes I might want to cook (or at least, enjoy pretending that I might) than because they're her recipes in particular. If she posted recipes for American Diner style food, I'd just skip them.

I generally skip reviews of other people's books* because I'm spoiler-averse. Also because a long-winded review rarely affects my interest in reading a book.** I do pick up books from authors who I have historically found to have good taste if it's more of a teaser paragraph: "BOOK does a really interesting job with STYLE TECHNIQUE or ELEMENT OF SETTING" (assuming that the thing that is done sounds interesting to me) or "I really enjoyed this book -- fun rendition of X, Y, and Z" where X, Y, and Z might be regency, magic, and crossdressing. Long story short, I'm more likely to pursue a book based on a short description that intrigues me than a long description that gave me significant information about the book (particularly since I probably didn't read it because I was avoiding spoilers). Your Book View Cafe posts where you pick a topic and then spend a paragraph or so about various books can do this well.

*If I might potentially read them. If I pretty definitely won't read the book, I might read the review if the style is sufficiently entertaining.

**Unless it pushes it straight into "nope."

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