Authors talk. We share information, we vent, we cry and we rally.
Earlier this year, I was part of several different conversations all wondering how readers are finding new authors to read. This inspired me to put together a survey, which ran on my author page for about two weeks.
Here are the results.
This was far from a scientific survey. Although the link to complete the survey was posted on my author page, in an advertised post, and shared by many people on their pages, we only had 74 respondents. Since it was posted on Facebook, there has to be a preference for Facebook as a social media outlet considered. And since iBooks readers tend not to congregate on Facebook, that also should be taken into consideration.
Respondents came from the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Of the respondents, 36.5% read 1-5 books a month. 27% read 6-10 books a month. 36.5% read 15 or more books a month.
5% rarely read new authors. 57% read new authors 1-3 times a month. 26% read new authors 4-6 times a month. 12% read new authors more than 6 times a month.
There were 26 options for the question “How do you find new authors?” The top four answers were:
Facebook posts by other authors I know about authors I didn’t know–74%
Free books on Amazon–72%
Word of mouth from readers I know in real life: 65%
Facebook posts by authors about their own books: 59%
The bottom four answers were:
In real life book clubs: 9.5%
Best-Sellers Lists (NY Times, USA Today): 9.5%
Free books on iBooks: 7%
I’m planning on running another more comprehensive poll in the spring which will be posted here as well as on Twitter and in my newsletter. Please consider taking part in this; we want to know what YOU think.
Way back in 2013, when I was still pretty much a baby author, someone told me about a book convention happening in St. Augustine. I don’t remember how I got signed up, but there I was, with a table assigned to me and a place on several panels.
Oy. I had no idea what I didn’t know!
The event was called Olde City, New Blood, focusing on paranormal literature, and since I had three YA paranormal books, off I went. I was excited; not only was I going to this event, but I was meeting up with a bunch of author friends I’d only known on-line, and my daughters were coming with me, as a mommy-daughter getaway.
That first year was . . . memorable. I still recall a few authors I met there (Carol and Adam Kunz, Damon Suade, Lea Nolan). There weren’t a ton of us indies, and in those days, there was still a lot of distrust and misunderstanding between indies and trads.
Plus, unfortunately the hotel was kind of a dud. There were huge, loud birds in the lobby, the rooms were sub-standard and there may have been bugs. But when I look back on that first year, I don’t think of the not-so-great parts; instead, I remember how cool it was to be with my fellow authors for the first time ever. To learn. To meet people who are still part of my author life today.
That’s why every year, I go back to what is now Coastal Magic. It’s a unique animal in the world of book events; it draws readers and a wonderful eclectic mix of authors. I always come away with new friends and new authors to read–and having learned more, too. I drive home fresh, invigorated and ready to be an author for another year!
Coastal Magic feels like home to me. It’s the first con I do every year, easing me back into the ‘fun’ of author travel. I love the hotel. I love the people who come back every year. I love the readers, the bloggers, the staff and the organizer.
If you’re not signed up to attend Coastal Magic, you really should be. When people ask me about Florida events, it’s the first one I mention.
Come join me on the beach February 4-7!!
When I first began writing (seriously), I had a tradition of rewarding myself after each book I finished. The dangling carrot could be anything from a diamond ring (my very first book!) to a new handbag or a pair of shoes.
It’s telling that nowadays, my reward is permission to read a book I’ve been saving just for this occasion. Time for reading is much more precious than anything material, and reconnecting with my favorite authors is a special treat.
For this last book (I just finished writing ALWAYS MY OWN, coming January 26th–and yes, it was down to the wire. Long story, but it’s done), I sort of cheated. Christmas fell smack in the middle of writing this book, and under the tree I had a gift I don’t often see anymore: a real book. As in, a physical, hardback book with pages that really turn. My oldest daughter and I have a love affair with Fannie Flagg’s books, and she’d discovered one we hadn’t read.
So with this beautiful book tempting me, I just might have sneaked some reading time when I was in situations that precluded having my computer open to write. And as always, I fell in love with Fannie’s characters, her world and her unique and heart-rending view of family and history.
One of Fannie’s specialities is taking a family situation, tossing a quirky character into the midst of it and then giving the reader insight that goes beyond the knowledge of the main characters. We saw it in Fried Green Tomatoes, during one of my favorite parts of that book, when Evelyn, in the middle of her search for self-knowledge and direction, goes to an African-American church and ends up talking to a friendly church member. Evelyn doesn’t know it–but we the readers find out that the woman to whom she speaks is the daughter of one of the characters in the long and colorful story Evelyn’s new friend Cleo has been sharing.
In All Girl Filling Station, the main character is Sookie, a wife and mother of four in her late fifties. Sookie has just finished marrying off her three daughters (one of them twice to the same man). She’s exhausted and ready to dive into the next phase of her life. Complicating this transition is her mother, Lenore, who lives next door. Lenore is the kind of woman my grandmothers would have labeled a Handful. She’s demanding, attention-seeking and controlling, but she’s also the sort of woman outsiders find quirky and amusing, even when her own family doesn’t necessarily see the appeal.
Sookie is a wonderful daughter, much more patient that I would be. But everything in her life is turned upside down when she receives a letter from Texas that throws into question her past, her history and her understand of self.
Sookie’s long and complicated adjustment to this new information is juxtaposed with flashes from the past, giving us more insight and detail into what led up to the situation affecting Sookie.
All Girl Filling Station tackles a number of complicated themes: the fathomless and multi-layered relationship between mothers and daughters, the dichotomy of self knowledge vs. the world’s perception, family, the evolving role and understand of women in the twentieth century and the love between sisters. I was especially fascinated by the detailed history of the WASPs, an often-forgotten chapter in our nation’s history during World War II.
And as always, Fannie’s fabulous writing had me laughing aloud–and crying. Full-disclosure: I cried hard and ugly tears for about the last 30 pages of the book.
The story also made me think about my own relationship with my late mother. Like Lenore and Sookie, we had both our charming similarities and our extreme differences. I struggled for many years with the idea that because I was not like my mother in some ways, I was a disappointment to her. I made choices in my life specifically to win her approval, at times, and I dealt with the repercussions of the decisions of which she is disapproved. In the end, though, like Sookie and Lenore, I know that my mother loved me to the best of her ability, given her own history and struggles.
Laughter, tears and deep personal insight: what more could I ask from a book?
This week, Books Make Me Happy blog and a handful of UF/PNR authors are celebrating stories set in sunny Florida. The authors showcased have offered excerpts, written cool blog posts, and are all participating in a blog hop GRAND PRIZE giveaway full of books and other goodies. Be sure to click on the header above to see the complete list of participating sites. Check out each day’s excerpt and the Featured Author’s site for fun posts and chances to win!! Today is MY turn to be featured!! You can find my excerpt on Books Make Me Happy HERE. Be sure to check at the bottom of today’s post for the rafflecopter entry form for the Grand Prize AND a special added rafflecopter to win an ecopy of THE KING SERIES. Hop around and check out all the Florida authors participating:
8/4 Books Make Me Happy kickoff post with full schedule: http://wp.me/pOeF4-12p
8/4 Tawdra: http://wp.me/pOeF4-12s
8/5 KC: http://wp.me/pOeF4-12x
8/6 Armand: http://wp.me/pOeF4-12B
8/7 Heather: http://wp.me/pOeF4-12E
8/8 Christy: http://wp.me/pOeF4-12H
I’m a relative newcomer to Florida, having lived here only seven years. But the state will always hold a place in my heart, since it’s here that I realized my dream of writing and publishing.
My bio says that I’ve been a writer since the invention of the pen, and sometimes it feels that long. I have been creating characters and stories in my head since I was a child. I had never set any of them in Florida, but when we moved to a small town in the middle of the state in 2007, and some of my characters had time to be heard, it turned out that living in Florida was part of their story.
Most of my inspiration for The King Series, my YA quartet, came via long drives or day trips. Tasmyn’s last name came from a nursery alongside SR-46 between Lake County and Sanford. The setting for Michael’s family nursery also sprung from that drive. The lakes in Fearless, Breathless and Restless owe their existence to the many lakes around Apopka and in (duh) Lake County.
The town of King itself is nearly a character in the books. I hadn’t realized how important it was until Michael began talking to Tas one day, and it all clicked. King’s physical manifestation is very close to that of Mount Dora, a small and lovely town in Lake County where I spent a good deal of time in our early Florida days. However, the history of King is closer to another famous Sunshine State burg–Cassadega. I had never been there when I wrote Fearless, and once I did visit, much later, I was surprised at how much the two towns–one fictional, one factual–have in common. Both were founded by men who chose the spot based on the idea that it was a place of spiritual congruence. Both maintain the reputation of being somewhat supernatural.
A few of my other books have also found their home in Florida. Of course, Rafe begins his journey in King, though he ends up traveling out of state. Nell also spends some time in the northern part of the state, near the fictional Perriman College (where Tas and Michael attend). THE POSSE, a contemporary romance, is set in a Florida beach town.
Since Tasmyn is a transplant just like me, we decided to play a little game of quick-draw Q and A. I’m interested in some of her answers!
Summer or Winter in Florida? Wait, is there a difference? Juuuust kidding. Winter. Definitely winter.
Disney or Universal? I have to choose between Mickey or Harry? Well, Disney is the favorite of my heart. I don’t love roller coasters, and Disney gives me more options that don’t make me puke.
Seminoles or Gators? The Perriman Pelicans will always hold my heart, but I guess the Gators, since I have friends who attend U of F.
Boogie boards or surf boards? Boogie boards. Goes back to the whole shark deal.
Lakes or oceans? Oceans, because I have a bad history with lakes.
Bike Week or Race Week? Again, is there a difference? Well, Bike Week. I’m not a Nascar gal.
Miami or Clearwater? Clearwater. Love the Gulf, love the small-town feel. . .good memories there, too.
Dolphins or Bucs? Dolphins, all the way! GO Fish!