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The Fussy Librarian: A New Book Recommendation Site (and advertising option)

| Posted in Advertising |

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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:

fussylibrarianWhy The Fussy Librarian? What does it offer that’s useful for readers and what are your future plans?

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.

 

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Comments (10)

Lindsay, Thanks for the interview. I submitted a romcom (THE CHANEL CAPER) to FL and also my DH’s 2 memoirs (THE ATOMIC TIMES and ALWAYS ON SUNDAY). Working with Jeffrey is a pleasure and his “take” on promo is interesting & smart.

We writers need savvy places like Jeffrey’s FL where we can promote!

I was excited when I first heard about the Fussy Librarian and saw they had a steampunk category, no more trying to decide if Historical or Science Fiction was more appropriate!
But, over the last 4 weeks I have submitted my novel twice and have never been included. I meet their review criteria so have no idea *why* my book is not being included. So I don’t know if I keep on trying or if there is some issue I’m not aware of 🙁

I saw this site advertised on Kboards a few days back and submitted a book. I got an email saying it would go out on Nov. 3, but I didn’t see anything on their site and I never got an email. Nothing appeared on their Facebook page either.

This is very interesting. I can barely pay for my editor and I haven’t gotten a good grip on my marketing. I’ll be looking into this site. Of course right now I am banging out my nanowrimo book. 10,000 words in and loving it.

Thanks for the interview! I’m definitely going to submit my novel to the Fussy Librarian, though I’m finding that unless you have a ton of reviews, these types of sites won’t accept your novel. It’s hard when you’re first getting started!

Thanks! I signed up to get their emails so I can start to learn them. As soon as I get my new book covers done I’ll be giving them a try.

I ran a spot for my book with them during a 99 cents promo this past week. The people in charge were very nice, very helpful, and responded to emails very quickly. From that end of things it was a good experience.

On the other hand, I’m not sure they have many members of their mailing list that are actual readers yet. At this point I’d say it is all authors/publishers. I saw no actual bump in sales during the day of the post. With that being said, the service was cool enough that I’d try it again down the road. Hopefully their membership will be a bit better then.

-M

I see a lot of Bookbub emulators coming out but what I think they’re all missing is that Bookbub spent beaucoup money up front on advertising to get its initial subscriber base. They targeted readers, not authors. I remember seeing their ads back in 2012 on Facebook and I think some blogs too.

Thanks for sharing this.

Fussy Librarian included my fantasy novel Blood Brothers on the 3rd of this month. Jeffrey responded quickly and kindly to my initial submission, but when I tried to follow up about having the novel run at a reduced price, I never heard back. In the end, I think I had a few people look at the book, but no sales.

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