Author advice guru David Gaughran has posted a very interesting column on the most powerful selling tool for books — personal recommendations and reviews, or “social proof”. If a potential reader receives a strong social signal via reviews or a personal recommendation from a friend, they are much more likely to purchase. It therefore follows that independent authors need to do all they can to foster and amplify such signalling for their own work.
An interesting view from 30,000 feet of the challlenges confronting and opportunities available to independent authors, as posted at The Verge. They have spoken to a few successful authors and author advocates and provide several useful links. One of the best is here with a real trove of resources and advice, especially regarding predatory vanity publisher outfits.
An excellent explanation from the consistently great Veritasium channel examining the way algorithms shape content and vice versa. The sheer volume of posted YouTube videos requires algorithm settings that encourage sensational/clickbait content, and make it difficult for serious content providers to maintain their audience. Some of the principles at play here also show up in surfacing material on other algorithm driven services such as Amazon, Audible, Google and Facebook. A balanced and fascinating examination of a key online issue, presented by Canadian Australian Derek Muller.
Wanissa Somsuphangsri is an extremely talented calligrapher and illustrator based in Melbourne. If you need some highly individualised and polished work, she might be the person for you. We’re currently putting together a cover for an author client who engaged Wanissa and the results are amazing — will post the full cover in due course. Wanissa is also a member of the Letterettes.
A few versions on the theme of ‘digital parenting’ — a thoughtful attempt to promote a rational balance between time on and off screen in a family context, and summarise the latest research on the topic. Published by Hybrid Publishers.
In the latest news from the independent author front , Kathryn Gauci reports back on her recent Bookbub promotion:
“Bookbub was OK but didn't set the world on fire. I think some of that had to do with it being for the UK, AUS, NZ, Canada and India and NOT the US. The US is generally the biggest market. It also adds more to the deal in the first place. The real difference has come with it lifting my profile and follow on orders plus the page reads have more than doubled per day. So hopefully the momentum keeps up. I also put it up on a few other sites for a couple of days at the same time — Fussy Librarian etc, which I think helped. My friend, Barbara had one the week before and spent more on extra promo. Same Bookbub deal as me. She just recovered her cost but the follow-on has improved. Another friend had the US market as well and doubled her money.
It was worth it though. And the extra reviews and ratings are starting to come through also.”
Reviews are a key signal used in the ranking of online books. The more reviews, the higher the book ranks and the more books are sold. Of course, given this logic, reviews have been widely gamed by authors and publishers, to the point when they are sometimes not reliable guides as to a book’s quality and popularity. Authors round up their friends to review their books, or pay other services to generate reviews, or review other authors’ books in the hope of reciprocal reviews. Amazon has been fighting back against this degradation of the reviewing signal — the outlines of said epic struggle are described here, along with the latest strategies for independent authors.