Posted in Advertising | Posted on 04-11-2013|
As authors, we’re always trying to find ways to get the word out about our work, and as readers, we’re always looking for good new books to try. The Fussy Librarian is a new site that offers a little of both.
I first heard about the site a few weeks ago and decided to submit my perma-free novel, The Emperor’s Edge, for inclusion in one of their daily emails. A week or two after I sent it in, the novel was listed in their fantasy/steampunk section. It received an extra 400 downloads on Amazon that day. Not bad for a free advertisement! (I’ve had poorer results from ads I’ve paid for.)
The FL will be charging once they’ve built up a larger readership, but they promise to keep their rates more affordable than some of the other book recommendation sites.
If you’re a reader, you can sign up here to get free book recommendations:
If you’re an author, you may want to read this short interview I did with Jeffrey Bruner from the FL before submitting your book:
At their heart, the most important part of any book-recommendation website is “the match” — are you going to receive tips about books in your daily email that you’ll like?
So we set out to create a better match than anyone else. We offer the most genre choices (30 and growing) and we’re the only website that gives you content preferences regarding language, violence and sexual situations. If you like your novels without profanity, for example, all of your recommended books will be free of foul language. We also have “I read everything” buttons and some choices in the middle.
We’ll keep adding categories and content options in the future. One thing we discovered in our first month is that even though we already offer five different romance categories, we need more to handle the volume of book submissions we’re receiving.
Why should authors consider submitting to the FL?
I think The Fussy Librarian is set up in a way that is very author friendly.
We don’t force authors to discount their books and our price limit is $5.99. I really want to do everything possible to move readers away from their free/99 cent addiction. It’s not unreasonable for them to spend $2.99 or $3.99 — the cost of a meal at McDonald’s — on a novel. Authors have a shot at making a living as a novelist once they start sell at $2.99 and up.
Our book submissions are currently free until we grow larger. I don’t feel it’s fair charging authors during our start-up period. Even when we do charge a fee, we’re going to keep it reasonable.
What types of books are you looking for? Do you ever accept short stories or novellas?
Yes, we do accept short stories and novellas! We include a note in the blurb so readers are aware it’s not a full-length novel.
In fiction, we accept pretty much everything that’s an ebook. Our most popular genres are contemporary romance, mystery, thriller, fantasy, young adult and women’s fiction. But we also accept books in smaller genres like religious fiction, horror, literary fiction and historical fiction.
If you write nonfiction, I can pretty much guarantee we can find you a spot within 10 days after your book is submitted.
It sounds like you’re already getting a lot of books coming your way — are there some common mistakes that will make you reject one right away?
Believe it or not, the most common mistake is authors forgetting to fill out the price! We don’t reject those books — we just go look up the price. But that surprised me.
Many authors submit blurbs that are, in my opinion, way too long. It needs to be compact and powerful to get the reader to click and go to the next phase — your page on Amazon, B&N, Apple, etc. Save the longer synopsis for the Amazon page.
The one thing that will get a book rejected right away is submitting even though the book doesn’t meet our review requirements.
We all know certain genres have larger readerships than others, but it’d be interesting to hear if you’ve seen any themes as to which books sell best.
I think the books that sell — whether it’s “Twilight,” “The Hunger Games” or “Fifty Shades of Grey” — are ones that allow readers to escape. People want to be reminded that good can triumph over evil, that flawed people can redeem themselves, that our imagination will always allow us to escape the tedium of everyday life.
Any final tips for authors?
First, make sure you budget money for a professional proofreader, formatter and cover designer. The saying really is true — people DO judge a book by its cover. They will never discover your brilliant writing if they think your cover is amateurish.
Second, if you price your book at $4.99 or $5.99 (or more) and aren’t pleased with your sales, consider experimenting at $2.99. You still get the higher royalty rate but you’re selling at a price point where more readers are more comfortable buying. I think too many people see John Grisham selling ebooks for $11.99 but forget that he can do that only because he already has a built-in fan base of tens of millions of readers.
Last, write what makes you happy! If your story requires mixing genres, then mix genres. Don’t waste time worrying about rules and “branding” and all that nonsense. You’re not a reality television star. You’re a storyteller. Period. Spend every drop of energy and emotion telling a great story. Then when you’re done, come find me and we’ll help you find new readers.
Thanks, Jeffrey! I’ll be looking forward to my fantasy book recommendations.
Here’s the sign-up page for authors.