Friday, May 19, 2006

Wait, They Don’t Love You Like I Love You (Thinking Beyond the Internet)

PBW posted at Romancing the Blog today about what you need to do to maintain a successful weblog. Don’t let the romance content of the site turn you off because the advice she offers applies to everyone who’s trying to build a readership. It does not, however, address what you should do for your other readers—those who do not have the internet. The truth is that many people still do not have home computers (or computers at all) and (surprise, surprise) this allows them more time to read books that they are interested in.

These people remain untouched by weblogs, blog tours, online articles and message boards, but they are a strong, vital part of your readership. They learn about your books from magazines, other books, booksellers and through a passing comment from a friend or coworker. And if they like you?

Well, then they pass along your name and words to someone else that they hope will love you just as much.

The world of the internet and its readership does not represent the trends of your readership as a whole, so when you are planning your strategy for book world domination, remember these folks and target them accordingly.

The only question is how?



Jane said...

I am an avid online user and I rarely visit author blogs. Am much more interested in the website that tells me what books are coming next and when. Whether they have a cat and changed its litter box last night - not so interesting.

Fickle Fiona said...

I still find it hard to grasp that everyone doesn't have internet and a home computer! We do these surveys with our students at the beginning of every school year. This year, out of my 132 students, two did not have internet access at home. Two.

What I would like to see? Ads in magazines. The kind of magazines I read, like People and Redbook. Don't know if it would be expensive but Harlequin or Avon for instance could take a full page add and highlight books for the month. That would catch my attention.


Milady Insanity said...

Ouch, that's expensive, Fiona.

I've heard that talking to bookclubs on the phone does help.

Michelle said...

I'd donate some copies of author's books to doctor's waiting rooms, hospitals for cancer treatments (they have a LOT of time to read), and earn readers through the actual story. Or maybe do a nice pamphlet of sample opening chapters?

Rob Gregory Browne said...

I started my blog as a chronicle of my attempts to sell a book and once I succeeded, the blog really seemed to take off, getting thousands of hits a month. But I've also been struggling with the question you raise.

I know several people who have computers but spend little or no time on the Internet. Reaching them is, of course, not a problem, but what about the millions like them? How will I get the word out to those who aren't interested in the web that I have a book coming out early next year?

I like Michelle's idea of donating copies to doctor's waiting rooms, but that, unfortunately, is not cost effective. Authors only get so many copies of their books from the publisher (my limit is 30).

Finding a way to get readers to shell out 25 bucks for a hardback from a new author could prove to be tough, especially if you have no real way of letting them know about you.

Eileen said...

I believe the best way to reach readers is to reach booksellers or the library. Let them know you are open to talk at bookclubs. Do you best to be nice and interesting.

M. G. Tarquini said...

My parents own a computer. They almost never turn it on. Yet, between them, they read about 10 books a week, maybe more. They also get most of their news from the daily paper.

People without computers, or who only use them for email, business purposes, doing taxes, keeping the checking account straight, have more time to read. Readers use libraries. They talk to other readers. I'm convinced getting on that library circuit is invaluable. Those new releases shelved in their own section, propped on supports above the shelves are irresistible to me.

I realize it's opposite the idea of a bookstore, people borrowing, rather than buying, but those same readers who use libraries find it difficult to pass a bookstore without a glance-by. They tend to give books as gifts, buy them to while away the hours in a strange hotel room or a plane flight.

In Borders the other day, I bought a YA title for my kids simply because the bookseller told me it was being read in the schools. I'd never heard of it. My daughter is enjoying it.