Fall for the Indie Book Challenge: Out of Time

Fall for the Indie Book Challenge: Out of Time

I found this book through some of my Outlander pals, and it sounded like an interesting time travel romance. What history nerd doesn't like a good time travel romance, right? Imagine my surprise when I started reading only to find that part of the book is set in my hometown of Fredericksburg, VA, even more so when the main character's mother lives a "few miles up the Rapphannock" on what is probably the same road I grew up on. So, my review might be slightly biased from familiarity alone.

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Fall for the Indie Book Challenge

For an independent author there are 2 steps to selling books. 

1) Letting people know that you have a book out. This frequently involves tweeting, posting on facebook, shouting from roof tops, getting your family and friends to tweet post and/or shout from rooftops, Courting media such as your local paper, book bloggers, and/or pretty much anybody with a megaphone. If you're as lucky as me you also have an adorable 10 year old "publicist" who tells every adult he sees including wait staff, nurses at the doctor's office, car rental agents...that his mom wrote a book and they should really check it out. 

2) Convincing people that it's worth buying and reading. The best way to do that is with REVIEWS. 

It's a simple fact that reviews sell books. Whether they are on Amazon, BN, Goodreads, or book blogs. There is no substitute for readers telling other readers that your book is good. The difficulty is getting people to review your books. 

Sure there are plenty of book "blogs" out there who will allow you to pay them for what they call reviews. These reviews tend to paraphrase the back copy of your book and then gush for about a paragraph. This might serve to get the word out, but discerning readers can tell the difference. As a rule, I don't pay for reviews, nor do I accept payment for reviews. 

I also don't have the marketing and advertising budget to blast ads for my books all over the place. I would contend that most other indie authors don't either. I do however believe in Independent publishing, and indie authors. 

That's why I signed up for the Fall for the Indie Book Challenge. Author, S. Usher Evans proposed this challenge as a way for authors and readers to help each other find quality independent books and celebrate independent publishing and the freedom that writers have when gates are left open. 

Here is how it works:

  • Starting September 1st read 1 independent or small press published book each week for 15 weeks. 
  • Write reviews on the books you read. You can post them on blogs, Goodreads, your preferred ebook retailer, whatever platform works best for you.

"But, Meredith, I can't read a book every week," you say. That's why it's called a challenge. Personally, I usually read at least a book a week, but there are times when other obligations might slow down that rate. I am trying to write another book after all.  No worries, if you miss a week or two or ten, you are still supporting indie authors even with just one review. 

To communicate with other participants and get or share ideas on what to read, you can join the Fall for the Indie Book Challenge Group on Goodreads. There are threads for discussing and recommending books by genre (They're not all romance.) and even a thread for genre benders like mine. 

If you are a reader: Please join and recommend some of your favorite indie books for others to read. 

If you are an author: Please join and remember to promote others before you promote your own. I would suggest recommending 2 indie books in addition to yours. 

I look forward to seeing everyone's recommendations as well as your reviews and of course I look forward to some great reading ahead. 

Are Nook Readers Hopeless Romantics?

Recently on a self-publishing forum that I frequent, a much more successful indie author than I asked the forum if we had seen our Nook sales dry up. I was one of the few people who answered "No". In fact, I have had a couple of months in the latter half of 2012 where Nook sales were all I had.  This prompted me to look a little closer at the difference between my Nook and Kindle sales and what some of the differences were. First, let's review the ebooks that I have and the differences between them (in case you haven't read them yet). I'll try not to give any spoilers.

histfic comparison

With that said, it's interesting to note that 84% of my Kindle sales are of The White House. This isn't completely surprising in since The White House was released four months before A Fond Kiss. However, 100% of my Nook sales are for A Fond Kiss. That's right, I have not sold a single copy of The White House on the Nook. Which is a shame, because it's a really good story (not that I'm biased or anything;)

This is what leads me to ask the question at the top of this post. Are Nook readers hopeless romantics? It's pretty clear that my based-in-fact love story appeals to them far more than pirates, even famous ones. Is it because A Fond Kiss is a love story, or because it's based on a true story? This of course has me wondering what's different about Nook readers vs. Kindle readers.

After a little frustrated searching online the only information that I found about the demographic differences between Kindle and Nook readers is a couple of years old. Since the e-reader market has exploded in the last couple of years, I'm not sure how accurate that information is.  This article from ireaderreview.com shows that Kindle users tend to be older than Nook users and credits the Nook color/tablet with attracting a younger audience. It also suggests that the older audience prefers the Kindle because it's lighter and therefore easier on arthritic hands (A dubious conclusion).  Given that this data is from 2010, before the Kindle Fire was released and was from a self-selected survey, the data isn't exactly that scientific. In fact, based on my experiences both as a reader and author, I found the idea that the Nook appeals to a YOUNGER audience surprising.

Here is another article from the Florida Research Group that compares the demographics of all e-reader users, but again it's two years old. There is no end to the number of articles comparing the devices themselves, and they're great for consumers shopping for a device, but there really seems to be a limited amount of market research done for authors looking to maximize their sales on either one. If I were about to publish a romance novel and was trying to decide whether or not to opt in to KDP Select with its exclusivity requirement, I might like to know a breakdown on Romance genre sales on Nook vs. Kindle. Otherwise, I might lose sales from other platforms that have a large number of readers in my genre. For independent authors running their own show when it comes to marketing, this kind of information would be very helpful in targeting that marketing rather than the current throw everything against the social media wall and hope something sticks strategy or the increasing popular mimic the best-sellers (50 Shades of Fill-in-the-blank) and ride the wave of whatever's popular strategy.

Maybe this is something that KDP, Pubit and Smashwords can offer as a value add to their authors. Maybe it could be another revenue stream for them. I can imagine that I'm not the only author who would pay a REASONABLE  fee for a timely demographic analysis of e-reader users or even monthly newsletter that goes beyond just the bestseller lists and looks at who is buying. I would think that this is all data that these e-publishing platforms have, it would just be a matter of putting it together in a form that people can read.

Admittedly, I'm new at this and I've been eyes deep in editing lately, but this doesn't seem too much to ask. Maybe this is out there already. If it is, please point me in the right direction. I'm sure it's a product of my corporate sales background, but I can get kinda nerdy about this stuff, and as the saying goes, Knowledge is Power.