Saturday, September 5, 2015

Audiobooks Market Study: “Authors, I hear what you’re saying.”


Today our study’s focus is on audiobooks and the huge reader/listener market that is emerging, how to market to this group, and the problems ahead for indie and middle-tier authors.

Audiobooks is simply someone reading text from a book and recording it for playbook. This practice had been around since the 1930’s. The target market then was helping the blind or sight impaired. The media was a phonograph at first but that had a limited storage capacity. Then multi-cassettes took over the audiobook arena. Cassettes and CDs were the only media for years.

The turning point came in 1997 when started producing, marketing and selling digital audiobooks on-line. Now this market has drastically changed along with the target audience. ( was purchased in 2008 by Amazon, the large on-line marketing giant.)

This post is a summary of answers about audiobooks I have collected from a group of outstanding, award-winning authors interviewed at the HBS Author’s Spotlight. All these authors have experience with audiobooks.

(To date we have conducted over 440 author interview and book showcase posts with over 375,000 views.) 

General question

One of the questions we ask authors during our interviews is about audiobooks. Here is the general idea of the question asked.

Several of your novels have been converted into audio books. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience for you? How important has Audio Books been to your success? Do you recommend new authors going this route to get more exposure?   (Click on author’s name to view their complete interview.)

This post was prompted by a recent interview I did with Rhys Bowen, a bestselling author. Her enthusiasm for the new audiobook format made me take a closer look at what my author interviews had been telling me for several years how. Let me share with you what Rhys said.

Rhys Bowen @RhysBowen is the New York Times bestselling writer of the Molly Murphy Mysteries and A Royal Spyness Mystery series.

“My audiobook sales have literally changed my life. Audible has adopted me as one of their top mystery authors and I sell incredible numbers of audio books. My Royal Spyness titles are always on their bestseller lists and this new medium has opened up my writing to a whole different type of reader/listener. Many younger readers are [listening to audio books] on their way to work, or the gym or walking the dog. It's been a brilliant partnership.” 


The target audience for audiobooks has shifted from the sight impaired to a huge on-the-go, time bound audience. The group is getting younger and more mobile with access to audiobooks anytime, anywhere. And, for the most part, they are different from the eBook purchaser. Here is what some of the author revealed about the listeners in their interviews.

Kristen Ashley @KristenAshley68 is the New York Times bestselling author of many series including Magdalene, Fantasyland, Colorado Mountain and the Dream Man Series. 

“In the last year, this might have been the smartest thing I’ve done. I’ve never listened to an audiobook (but have finally downloaded my own and can’t wait to dig in!). Since that was outside my realm of experience, I didn’t think of it. But there is a HUGE audio community out there and they’ve embraced my work in that format.

As for regular sales, I have 45 books published and sales aren’t skyrocketing but a number of titles have been available for years and sales remain steady. Therefore, I can only assume there are a variety of factors that are keeping that good mojo coming and I suspect audio is part of that.
And a big fat yes! to it gaining a new audience. Quite a number of folks comment on audiobooks on my social media sites and through reader mail. So it’s had quite an impact.”

Alison Bruce @Alison_Bruce is the author of the Cambridge series of Gary Goodhew crime novels. 

“I don't actually know the impact on sales but I have had emails from several readers who are only able to enjoy books through audio versions and I've been delighted that the books have been available to them.  I would say to other authors that any opportunity to make your work accessible to a wider market is a good thing.”

Author Catherine Bybee @catherinebybee is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Romance Author. 

“There are people who ONLY listen to audio, so yeah, I’ve found new fans. Hey, I’m all over audio if that’s what makes people happy. If I had a long commute, I’d listen. But my commute is from my kitchen to my office. So I’m good!”

Amazon Bestselling Author Diane Capri @DianeCapri is the author of The Hunt for Reacher series. 

“Many readers love audio books because they're so portable these days. You can put them on your iPod or your phone or almost any device and take them to the gym or out to do chores or on long commutes. People who don't have the time to read any other way are especially thrilled with the audio versions. Audiobooks are terrific for authors and for readers. I'm grateful to have them available.”

Elizabeth S. Craig @elizabethscraig is the author of the Myrtle Clover mysteries, the Memphis Barbeque mysteries (as Riley Adams), and the Southern Quilting mysteries. 

“I'm able to explore audio with one of my series--the self-published Myrtle Clover series.  With the two Penguin series I, unfortunately, don't own the rights to take that route.  But I've been very happy with my audio experiment for the Myrtle Clover series. I have an older reader base and many readers have contacted me saying that audio is the only way that they can enjoy my books with their failing eyesight.  Additionally, I've picked up younger readers this way--readers who commute or like to listen to audiobooks when they exercise. I think this is a completely separate platform and may not tie into my regular sales...unless readers decide to try out my other series based on their enjoyment of that one.  I don't have any evidence of this potential crossover, unfortunately.” 

Author Darcia Helle @DarciaHelle writes Suspense Novels which includes the Michael Sykora series. 

“The audiobook market is still very new to me, and it’s been a fun experience. I’ve actually been surprised by how much I enjoyed hearing someone else bring my characters to life. I think audiobook listeners are often an entirely different group from e-book readers, which has been my main market so far. I’m still working on ways to reach this new audience.”

Acclaimed crime writer Libby Fischer Hellmann @libbyhellmann is the author of the Georgia Davis and the Ellie Foreman series. 

“All of my books have been recorded and released on audio – I made sure of that. Audio has definitely expanded my readership. I listen to a lot of books on audio myself. It’s so easy to listen when you’re stuck in traffic, or doing errands, or even cleaning the house. I love it.”

Author Pamela Fagan Hutchins @PamelotH is an award-winning and bestselling romantic mystery/suspense and hilarious nonfiction writer. 

“I love the audiobooks! Yes, they reach a new audience, and the sales from ebooks and audiobooks really seem to help each other. Not only do I have audiobooks, but Saving Grace was read aloud in its entirety on NPR in Arizona. I love that it reached people who would have never been able to read it that way.”

Merry Jones @MerryDDJones is the bestselling author of the Elle Harrison Thrillers, The Zoe Hayes Mysteries  and the Harper Jennings Mystery series.

“I hope so. I love audio books myself, especially on long car trips. And I think they're great for people who are visually impaired. I'm not sure that audio books enhance regular sales; I'd be interested to find out. My instincts say that audio book buyers are an independent market, but I have nothing to back that up.”

International Bestselling Author Tonya Kappes @tonyakappes11 writes Small Town Southern Mysteries. 

“I absolutely LOVE audio books. It has NOT hurt my regular sales at all. In fact, it has opened up a whole new audience. Some readers have bad eyes or can't read for long periods of time and the audio book works great for them. I would tell every author to be on every platform. Why not?”

Author Julie Anne Lindsey @JulieALindsey is the  bestselling author of the Honey Creek Books and The Patience Price Mysteries. 

“Murder by the Seaside is like the little book that could. Carina Press picked it up as a digital book and requested two sequels. Carina Press is a digital imprint of Harlequin, so I was thrilled. The book has since gone on to audio and was selected for the Harlequin book clubs where it was printed into their World Wide Mystery line and shipped to thousands of Harlequin book clubbers. Murder in Real Time will follow suit next year. So far the audio sales have been small, only a tiny portion of digital sales. For this reason, I can’t say audio has necessarily found me a new audience.”

Author David VanDyke @DVanDykeAuthor is the bestselling author of the Plague Wars and Stellar Conquest series. 

“I'm not sure if the audiobooks have gained a new audience but I have to presume they have had some effect. Some people "read" almost exclusively on audiobooks, so to reach that segment you have to have the audiobooks available. That's common sense. There is also a segment that wants to use the Whispersynch function on Kindle (or the Kindle app) to listen as they read, so some copies are being sold to people who also buy the ebook. This is a win-win for both author and reader. Amazon gives a big discount to those who buy both, and the author make a little more money.”

Author George Wier @BillTravisWrite is the author of the The Bill Travis Mystery series. 

“I'll say there's been an impact. The Last Call is my first audiobook. It's just now out there and is gaining some serious recognition. The numbers (sales) are jumping up in leaps and bounds. There is one untapped market out there that I decided to focus on. Here's the big secret: When was the last time you took a road trip from coast to coast? Okay, whether it was twenty years ago or last week, the following question is likely going to have the same answer: how many 18-wheel tractor-trailer rigs did you see on the Interstate? That's the untapped market. Those men and women ply the highways night and day. And guess what they listen to. That's right, audio books.

So, I introduced The Last Call into this new market two weeks ago, and sales have jumped right up there. As far as more exposure, new authors can do all the same old stuff that everyone else is doing (blogs, ezines, etc.) and will see some measure of success. But you have to also learn to think for yourself and find your market—or the BEST possible market—and get those audio books out there, man. Let word-of-mouth go through them like wildfire. That's starting to happen right now for me. My narrator, Frank Clem, an excellent Hollywood actor and voice artist, is busily working on book two of the Bill Travis series, Capitol Offense, and it should be out in about two to three weeks. I'm hoping to get it out there in time to catch the crest of the wave.” 

Award winning author and playwright Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton is the author of the The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries and  The Plain Jane Mysteries series. 

“I don’t know that audio books have gained me many new readers (listeners) but I like to have them out there for people who prefer to listen.” 


The marketing of audiobooks has changed dramatically in the last decade. Instead of being displayed on retailer’s bookshelves with accompanying displays, they are primarily purchased on-line from several large retailers. The marketing target is different, the distribution is different and the market is smaller than the eBook market. So what marketing approach should we take?

M. Louisa Locke @mlouisalocke is the Author of Maids of Misfortune and Uneasy Spirits, bestselling Victorian San Francisco Mystery Series. 

“The audio book market is definitely expanding, and Amazon’s ACX program lets an indie author find a narrator and put up an audio book for free if they do a royalty split with the narrator, which is how I did Maids of Misfortune. The main obstacle to sales seems to be that no one has figured out how to promote audio books the way we can promote our ebooks. Audible does do discounts and promotions—but as far as I can tell they are promoting traditionally published audio books (which I assume the traditional publishers pay for). This means that most indie audio books are invisible on the audible site itself. So, rather than the audio books driving sales to my print or ebooks, it is the other way around. When I do a promotion of the ebook edition of Maids of Misfortune (free or discounted), my sales of my audio version go up as well, since the audio version is linked on the Amazon site to the ebook. If ACX and Audible developed some marketing tools for indies the way that KDP did with Select, this could change things a good deal.”

Terry Odell @authorterryo is an author of romance, mystery & romantic suspense novels. She is also a publishing industry blogger and hosts the Booklover’s Bench, a website for readers. 

“As I mentioned before, it's impossible to know what triggers a book purchase, so I don't know if there's crossover between audio and other formats. I think for the most part, there's a large portion of audio book purchasers who don't buy the other formats. Overall, though, I think opening any new market is a good thing. Cast a wide net.”

 Occult Thriller Author Lisa M. Lilly @lisamlilly is the author of the The Awakening Series. 

“I have reached some new readers, or listeners, I should say, and so far they have liked the audio version, which makes me happy. I’m planning to focus more on audio marketing when Book 2 is released. Doing this also prompted me to start listening to audiobooks, with the result that sometimes I’m immersed in “reading” three books—one fiction, one non-fiction, and one audio, since I tend to listen to audio while I do things like clean. Which definitely makes cleaning more fun.” 


One of the important steps to having a successful audiobook is the narration. Who will read your book to the audience? I can visualize the person setting in a recording booth reading one of my mystery novels. That process hasn’t changed for decades. Is the selection of the narrator the key or is the content of the novel? Here are the opinions of some bestselling authors who have gone through this process.

Bestselling Author Chuck Barrett @Chuck_Barrett is the author of the Award-Winning Jake Pendleton series. 

“Audible approached me last year about turning my novels into audiobooks, something I’d thought about but never took any steps in that direction. Within a few weeks, we (Audible and myself) had reached an agreement and signed a contract for all three Jake Pendleton novels. And to top it off, the narrator Audible used was the incomparable Scott Brick. I have been delighted and honored to have him narrate my books. Audible has been good at promoting my audiobooks, including giving me promotional codes for giveaways. It has helped my ebook and print book sales as well. I think new authors should let their best judgment guide them on audiobooks. Before an investment is made in audiobooks, I think a new author needs to see some success with print and ebook sales first. When the time is right, do it.”

USA Today bestselling Author Rebecca Forster @Rebecca_Forster is the author of the Josie Bates Thriller - The Witness Series. 

“Audio books were way out of my comfort zone, so I partnered with a producer and a professional voiceover to create them. I only had two of the Witness Series converted. That voiceover artist no longer reads novels and it will be hard to find a new voice. Still, I'd like to continue with the Witness Series. I think the audio audience is devoted to that medium so the impact on book sales is minimal. I'm actually planning on doing the Bailey Devlin trilogy in audio. The books are shorter and not as intricate in terms of characterization as the Witness Series novels. I think a voiceover will have a ton of fun with them.”

M.J. Rose @MJRose is the international bestselling author of the Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers Novels and Publishing Industry books. 

“I don’t have any sense of how one has impacted the other but I’m a huge audio book listener and it matters to me a lot that my books are available in audio. I’m especially proud of the quality of the narration – my dream narrator - Phil Gigante has done all of the books – some with the amazing Natalie Ross.”

Author David VanDyke @DVanDykeAuthor is the bestselling author of the Plague Wars and Stellar Conquest series. 

“The advice I would give for anyone turning a book into an audiobook is, choose someone who has done it before, preferably who has a strong track record with ACX and can show you completed work. He or she should be able to point to books that are out and which are rated well on Audible. I haven't seen audiobooks make any discernible impact on ebook sales, but the audiobooks themselves sell around 10% number of the raw copies (e.g., 10 ebook sales means about 1 audiobook sale), not surprising because audiobooks several times as expensive. However, the per-unit royalty is a bit higher, so it is well worth it to make books into audiobooks in my opinion. For authors, any time they can create another version of an existing work and provide it to the customer is good. It's a lot easier to have a book converted into a new medium than it is to write a new book.”

In 2011, as the new audiobook industry immerged, publishers and retailers realized the potential marketplace but also the problems that could accrue from a poor narration. Thus, the Audiobook Creation Exchange was formed. The group is made up of professional narrators that authors, agents and publishers can use to create quality audiobooks. This Amazon platform was created to assist authors produce, publish and promote audiobooks. Some of the authors that I have interviewed weight in on their experiences with ACX.
Elizabeth S. Craig @elizabethscraig is the author of the Myrtle Clover mysteries, the Memphis Barbeque mysteries (as Riley Adams), and the Southern Quilting mysteries. 

 “I do recommend this route to new authors simply because it doesn't have to cost you a dime to open up to a potential new market. Although in general I'm wary of royalty-share options, I felt this was the way to go with audio (through ACX).  My narrator and I split the royalties evenly, so I paid nothing to her up front.  The income I make monthly from the audiobooks is pure profit since I invested nothing.”

Niki Danforth @NikiDanforth is the author of Stunner: A Ronnie Lake Mystery. 

“I worked with a terrific narrator/producer whom I found through, and the Stunner audio book is now available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. The book just came out last month, and I'm happy with the early results. What I especially like is that Stunner is part of the Audible platform, which is growing rapidly in users -- a great opportunity to find new listener-readers!”

Bestselling Author Jeff Gunhus @Jeffgunhus is the author of the The Templar Chronicles, Allison McNeil Thrillers and  The Career Series. 

“Yes, I think in today’s market you need to offer your audience whatever experience they want to have when consuming your story. ACX is such an author-friendly platform that they are really revolutionizing the audio book world. I don’t understand why an author wouldn’t be in audio. It just makes sense on every level.”

Author Alan Orloff @alanorloff is an Agatha-nominated mystery writer. 

“The audiobook for FIRST TIME KILLER just came out a few weeks ago, so it’s a little too early to judge its success. I had a fantastic narrator (Bob Dunsworth) and I think it sounds great. So I’m hopeful. I used ACX, which was pretty cool—it’s like a dating site for authors and narrators.”

Creation Process

I thought I would touch on the creation of audiobooks because a couple of my author interviews thought this was important to the overall success of the rendition. First, takes care of the whole process. Marketing, production, selection of the narrator, etc. with a royalty split between the author and the narrator. Next, other publishers are starting to tackle the conversion projects but are finding out that it is costly and involved. For an indie author, I would let someone else do the conversion for you. Here is what a couple of the authors had to say.

Author Jami Gray @JamiGrayAuthor writes Science Fiction & Fantasy, Romance, Suspense novels. Jami is the author of The Kyn Kronicles series. 

“Right now, SHADOW’S EDGE is my only book in Audible. My publisher, Black Opal Books, is working diligently to expand that, but the process is fairly involved. I haven’t noticed a correlation between having SHADOW’S EDGE in audio and my print sales, but I would love to have all my titles in audio. I know quite a few readers who prefer audio vs. book. I think if I could expand my audio offerings, I could reach a larger audience.”

Joseph Lallo @jrlallo is a bestselling author of the Science Fiction & Fantasy series: The Book of Deacon Trilogy. 

“It is a little early to tell how the audio book is doing. It has only been out for a month, and it hasn't exactly exploded out of the gate, but I didn't expect it to. Jade is the oddball story in the Book of Deacon series. Frequently readers desperate for me to finish my current book don't even realize that Jade exists as a little additional morsel to the series. The process of making the audio book, though, has been fascinating. I was able to listen to auditions, and eventually make contact with a woman, Fiona Dwyer, who I feel did a phenomenal job. Within days of its release, it seemed to have put me on the radar for the audio book industry, because it led to a pair of emails from a pair of individuals who... well, I don't want to jinx it, but let's just say that I may be working on some new audio books before too long.” 

Author’s Point of View

Most authors like the idea of a new format for their works with a possibility of gaining new readers. Several authors interviewed gave their opinions.

Brett Battles @BrettBattles is the award-winning, bestselling author of the  Jonathan Quinn,  Logan Harper Thriller  and Project Eden Series. 

“All but, I believe, two of my books are available in audio. Audiobooks have been huge for me. I’ve gain a lot of readers through them, and always get many people asking for audio release dates. They’re actually great in another respect, too. For my different series, I will often listen to the audio version of the last book I put out before writing the next one to freshen my memory. Love doing that.”
Author Darcia Helle @DarciaHelle writes Suspense Novels which includes the Michael Sykora series. 

“Overall, I think it’s important for an author to have his/her books available in as many formats as possible. Even if I only sell a handful of audiobooks, those are readers I might not have otherwise reached.”

Bestselling Author L.J. Sellers @LJSellers is the author of the Detective Jackson Mystery/Suspense Series. Also, she is an award-winning journalist. 

“I just received author copies of a several more books that are now in audio. I honestly have no idea how well they sell. I’m sure it’s on my royalty statements, but I’m not obsessed with numbers. What I do like is making my stories available to as many readers in as many formats as possible.” 

Sharon Skinner @sharonskinner56 is an award-winning poet and author. She writes Children's Books and Fantasy. 

“I think that having a variety of formats to offer is a great way to increase sales. Right now, my only audio CDs are poetry and short stories from previously published works. However, there are plans in the works for audio books of both The Healer’s Legacy and The Nelig Stones, which is very exciting. I can’t wait to hear my stories read by audio book readers.”

Special Attention

There were several special items authors talked about in their interviews that I thought was worth including in this study. Amazon is selling ebooks and their companion audiobook at a discount which is a win for authors. Also they have introduced Whispersync for Voice which allows listeners to switch seamlessly between the ebook to listening. Again, this is a big advantage for the mobile reader. Some of the bestselling authors discussed this in their interviews.

Award-Winning Author Jinx Schwartz @jinxschwartz is the author of the Hetta Coffey series.
“I get a royalty check from Books in Motion, who recorded the audio books, every six months. Not tearing up the world financially, but there is definitely an audience out there. I actually love audio books when on the road. The books cost me nothing to make, so my percentage of sales is small, but hey, it all counts.”

Polly Iyer @PollyIyer is the author of the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series. 

“Not sure. Collectively, they’ve sold well but not enough, but that’s always the case with writers.
It’s a very time consuming process, and I’m not sure when or if I’ll do the next one. When a book gets into the Whispersync program, anyone who has bought the book can buy the audio for $1.99. So for about $6, you get the book and the audio. Three of my four books are in the Whispersync program. That’s a deal in this day and age.”

Pauline Baird Jones @paulinebjones is the award-winning author of the The Lonesome Lawmen and the Project Enterprise series. 

“While audio listeners are sometimes a different type of “reader,” having the books in audio definitely helps push the digital books. Most of my books are Whispersynched, which means that if someone buys the digital book, they can get a hugely discounted audio book. So some audio listeners will buy the digital book to get the discounted price. And there are readers who like to go back and forth, reading when they can, listening when they are in their car, etc.”

Suspense Author Dale Mayer @DaleMayer is a writer of Romantic Suspense, Thrillers and Paranormal Romance. Dale has written several series including the Design series, By Death Series, Family Blood Ties, and Psychic Visions series. 

“I use the ACX system and I really love it.  I have 32 titles live through it and they sell well.  I think audiobooks is a quickly emerging market.  More and more readers are getting hooked on them.  In the coming months, Cool Gus is preparing a separate web site just to promote our audiobooks.”

New York Times & USA Today Bestseller Author Aleatha Romig @AleathaRomig is the author of the Consequences Series. 

“Currently all six of my Consequences series books are available in audio. My new release Insidious has also been purchased by Audible and will hopefully be available in the next few months. I LOVE the Audible. I feel that the audible has opened my books to a new audience. The Audible and especially the Whisper-sync audience is growing daily.”

Author David VanDyke @DVanDykeAuthor is the bestselling author of the Plague Wars and Stellar Conquest series. 

“I went through ACX to get my books done for audio. The first book, The Eden Plague, was done by a great narrator who unfortunately was not very familiar with ACX processes. He also had a growing career as an actor and that obviously took priority to voicing audiobooks. Because of that we had a rough time with the first book - technical issues related to the production, timeliness, etc. I'm not saying to criticize the narrator - he did a great job as you will hear - but for an author trying to please the fans by getting audiobooks made, I needed a narrator who would complete competently, quickly and accurately, and who was familiar with ACX procedures. I found that man in Artie Sievers, and he's doing a great job for me now.” 

Prolific author of dark fantasy, David Niall Wilson @David_N_Wilson writes Fantasy and Horror novels. We are highlighting his novel: Nevermore, A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe. 

“There are wonderful programs like Audible's ACX system (we use this for all Crossroad Press audiobooks) that are making it easier for people to get books into audio, but like any other art form – and good audio IS an art form – it takes work, commitment, and usually some money.  If you choose a free narrator, willing to work just for royalty share profits on a new, untested author's book, you are going to get what you paid for.  Experience and sound quality are very important.  It's not a matter of reading – great narrators are voice actors – they don't lose you as they switch from gender to gender, or character to character.

One thing that is in our favor now is the new Whispersync for Voice system on Amazon.  If you buy the eBook of Nevermore from Amazon, you can get the audiobook for only $1.99 – all of that expense being a big savings over the price of the audio on its own.  If you use your Kindle to listen to the book, you will actually be able to sync the eBook and Audiobook, picking up in one where the other left off.  Everything changes. I should mention that I absolutely love the narration of Nevermore, performed by Gigi Shane.”

Future Needs and Problems

Nothing is perfect especially when it starts off. The new digital audiobook industry is no exception. There are needs and problems ahead as the following authors discuss.

Alicia Dean @Alicia_Dean_ is the award-winning, bestselling author of the Reapers of Boon Series, The Isle of Fangs Series and The Northland Crime Chronicles. 

“I can't say that the audio books have noticeably impacted my sales, nor have I become aware of gaining a new audience. I have had a few readers contact me to say they were pleased to find my stories available on audio books.”

Author Tallulah Grace @TallulahSpeaks writes Romantic Suspense Novels with a Paranormal Twist. 

“The audiobook process was a major eye-opener for me. I don’t regret doing it, but I’m not jumping in to do more, anytime soon. From a sales standpoint, the audiobooks are negligible. As far as building an audience, it’s like anything else; you get out of it what you put into it. I’ve not had the time to promote the audiobooks as actively as I would like.”

Author Jenny Hilborne @JFHilborne is the author of the Jackson Mysteries and Thrillers Series. 

“It's difficult to measure the impact of anything on book sales, including audio books. What works one month may not work the next. I do get a number of requests for my books in audio, so I'd like to think it's helped.”

Francine Thomas Howard is the author of historical fiction novels. 

“Yes, I do have audio books but that decision was in the hands of my publisher.  I received a very nice email from the narrator of my two Amazon books, Page and Paris Noire.  She thanked me for allowing her to play such interesting characters--especially the African-American Chanteuse in 1944 Paris--Paris Noire.”

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and RITA® Finalist Caridad Piñeiro. Caridad is the author of nearly forty published novels and novellas. 

“I have a few audio books out and readers seem to really like them.  I plan on having my indie books done as audio as well.  I would recommend to new authors that they consider doing this as there are very viable avenues for producing an audio book.” 

Author Larissa Reinhart @RisWrites is a Humorous Cozy Mystery writer and the author of the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series.

“Henery Press set up the audio book deal and the audio books are new enough that I’m not sure how they impact my regular sales or if they have a new audience. I hope so! I had a wonderful experience with the voice actress, Erin Clark. If a new author can get an audio deal, I say go for it. I think more mediums are always better for exposure.”

Prolific author of dark fantasy, David Niall Wilson @David_N_Wilson writes Fantasy and Horror novels. We are highlighting his novel: Nevermore, A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe. 

“I love audiobooks.  I listen to them whenever I'm driving, and for years I had a 2 ½ hour commute from North Carolina up to Virginia, so I've listened a lot.  That said, audiobooks are not a marketing aid.  In fact, it's harder to get listeners for a new audiobook by an unknown author than it is to get readers for your print or eBook, because the market is smaller, and because it takes longer to listen to an audiobook – it's a bigger commitment.

My advice would be to only tackle audio if you have some money, and the time to be very careful.  There are wonderful narrators and sound engineers, such as my buddy Jeffrey Kafer, who does all the audio mastering for our titles.  Professional quality audio, mastered and ready to go, is likely to cost $300 - $400 per finished hour.  You can get it cheaper, and you can pay a lot more if you have a particular voice you love.  It's a big commitment.”

Mystery Author Dave Zeltserman @DaveZeltserman is the award-winning author of the Julius Katz mystery series. 

“I don’t know—Serpent’s Tail arranged for two of them. The one I did, Julius Katz and Archie, I don’t think has had much impact. I’ve sold about 5,000 copies of the eBook, and only a tiny fraction of that in audio sales.” 

Takeaway Questions

Is there a reader vs. listener crossover or will authors have to market to two different audiences?

What do I do when my narrator becomes my voice and they stop reading books?

Do audiobooks have an impact on my book/eBook sales?

Will small publishers take on this additional project or farm it out to Will the same small publisher market your audiobook?

Do audiobooks need a new marketing scheme?

Last. Does the success in selling audiobooks depend on the author’s specific marketing of the audiobook OR the author’s name/brand, a great novel with 5-star reviews, the book’s genre or the publisher’s marketing effort? 

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What You Should Know About Self-Publishing by Shelley Young

If writing is your hobby, right on! You have joined a league of others who use creative writing for pleasure, expressions of emotions and sharing expressions of fear and pain. I’m willing to bet when you share your writing with others you receive positive feedback. I encourage you not to only continue writing, but share what you’ve written. 

I say this because reading is also done because it’s pleasurable and it helps to express emotions, fear, pain and laughter.

If you’re thinking of turning your writing into a business it means you’ve made the conscious decision to reach as many readers as you can with your artistic creativity. Many find this path daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The reason most people fear becoming a published author is because they fear failure or someone criticizing their efforts. Just remember that you’re not going to please everyone. The key is finding the right target for your genre.  

Below I have created a list of things that I believe may maximize your potential, but I don’t promise or guarantee any results. What I’ve listed are my experiences, as well my point of views.

1.       Do not set your goals too high in the beginning. For example, if you don’t sell thousands of copies of your novel on its release date, this is okay. The average Indie author makes $450 annually from Amazon book sales. Others list Indie success as selling 2 books per day.

2.      Be creative with marketing. Most Indies use the same approach for promoting their work. Try and think outside the box so that your promotion stands out from others.

3.      Be prepared to work hard to market your novels.

4.      You MUST have a website.  You can even create one free on sites like Wix offers preformatted websites that you can add or take away from and when you’re done your site can actually look like you’ve paid someone a couple of grand to build it. I pay for the site I use. I love it, because it’s easy to maintain. I can arrange it just how I want it. Most of all, I love my site’s simplicity. Grand isn’t necessary. If you don’t believe me, check out some well-known author sites. I’ve seen a couple that were very simplistic.

5.      You MUST have business cards. If you want to be noticed, you have to do something to get someone’s attention. Vistaprint and other online markets are available and inexpensive. Why are business cards important? So I’m standing at the check-out at Chipotle and happen to look over my shoulder. Six police officers are standing beside me, ready to pay for their meals. I write crime fiction. I simply reached inside my purse, pulled out a business card and told these gentlemen, “I need to interview you for a new novel I’m writing.”  I have a policeman, a sheriff and two ex-detectives who answer any questions I have. It’s not easy getting a cop to do this. Trust me. I’m sure these fellas checked me out first and having a professional business card helped.

6.      You MUST join social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ (just to name the most common ones). The first time someone told me this, I rolled my eyes clear to the back of my head. Who has time for social media when you have books to write? You might not sell a lot of books on these sites, but know that they are important. Social media is topping the charts as the reason people buy cell phones, iPads, tablets, etc. Building a platform takes time. Some authors say they don’t sell books via social media. It depends on your genre and how many people you’re reaching with your tweets and posts. The idea of even having a Pinterest account wasn’t appealing for me, because of my time constraints. But I forced myself. I had the account for perhaps a year before I actually did something with it. So one day I jumped on it and ended up pinning hundreds of pins. Well, some of the pins were of Albania and how beautiful it is. Low. And. Behold. I got more repins on these from a handful of Albanians who are on Pinterest. They saw these pins and was perhaps wondering why a Black woman was pinning about Albania! And there, they see it. My book is pinned and my MC has the Albanian flag tattooed on his chest. I got a sale. Who would have thunk it? The person liked the book so much, she bought ALL my books, contacted me on Twitter AND went on my website to purchase an autographed copy so she could send to a relative in ALBANIA. You gotta love when things like this happen.

7.      Don’t forsake Twitter. This one is a little more personal than the others, as you have perhaps noticed I didn’t include ‘must.’ There’s a madness to Twitter that actually works. I will share that madness at a later time. But for now, just know retweeting is a big issue.

8.     You need more than one book to reach the masses. Regardless if your one book is well-written and is perhaps the next bestseller, think of it this way. If one was okay, McDonalds would have only one type of burger, Taco Bell would offer only one type of taco, Pizza Hut would offer cheese on pizza dough. Because of the variety these places offer, a family of four can go to one of these places, order different things, and leave satisfied. One of your readers doesn’t like your heroine? It’s okay. I have a sexy hunk in another novel that will knock her socks off.

9.      You MUST have your work edited. Guys, I have no problems with beta readers, but let me share with you how many times I’ve read novels published after beta readers have approved them. Far too many and some of the errors I found actually made my already large eyes bug out even more. Nope, nope, nope. Get an editor. Two of my full-length novels have gone through editing THREE times. Sometimes it’s not your editor’s fault when errors are still found. Sometimes those errors are caused by you fixing an area they brought to your attention only for you to create another error in the process. It takes time, but it’s necessary. If you don’t believe me, jump on Amazon and pull up ten Indie author novel reviews and I promise you that at least nine or all of them will have poor editing listed in the review.

10.    Waiting for readers to discover you isn’t going to happen. You must have a marketing strategy. Some may work. Some may not, but let me throw this at you. My biggest sale days are usually Friday – Monday, with the exception of Saturday. People are not home on Saturday when the weather is nice, which means they’re not online to purchase your novel. I did a promotion on Black Friday and lost my ass! Why? Everyone was out shopping. I will never do that again. I did a promotion for Valentines and used my novel that had the most red in its cover. The novel jumped all over Amazon’s bestseller’s list in three countries from that promotion. I have more promotion tips that I will offer later.

11.    You WILL receive a one star review on Amazon. Don’t take it personal. “Gone Girl” has more than two thousand one star reviews. That didn’t stop it from being made into a movie. Listen to what the reader is saying and if it doesn’t apply, don’t take it personal. Someone gave me one star for The Blood Feud. His words were something like, ‘reads like a 25 cent cheap porn comic.’ Low. And. Behold. A reader who obviously thought that 25 cent cheap porn comics were interesting bought my book then sent me an email and said he bought it because of the review. Yes, he enjoyed it. I wrote him back and said, ‘If you liked that one, try Plain Dealing.’ He sent a tweet showing that he purchased that book as well.

12.     Sometimes people have no plans of buying your book, but you can talk them into it. Engage with readers. Converse. I jump all over the Goodreads postings, offering my opinion on the books I’ve read. Never say, ‘Buy my book.’ Just talk. Let them know you’re an author. Blend in. Let them see how creative you are in your speaking. Be professional. Never slam others. You can actually pitch your book without people realizing it. The trick is not to make it obvious. The intention is to pique their interest so that they ask about your work. Will you get a sale every time? No, but it happens a few times and I got great feedback from the readers.

13.    Don’t focus on authors to buy your books. If your FB and Twitter accounts have only authors as followers, you are preaching to the choir. They want you to buy THIER book and not the other way around. It takes time to build a following of readers. Encourage fans to join you on FB, Twitter and other sites. Word of mouth is the best publicity.

14.    If your book isn’t visible, no one knows to buy it. Add your books to as many online eBook sites as possible. When you’re having a promotion, ask the site to list you on their first page. Sometimes there’s a small fee involved. Sometimes not. Ask the site to share with you how much traffic they receive. If it’s a good number, pay the fee and pray for the best. This has worked well for me.

15.     Attend book festivals and book signings, but don’t attend either until you are well prepared. I can go on and on about how to prepare, but James Moushon has already posted some great advice on this subject. And trust me. James knows what he’s talking about.

16.    If you decide to do a free giveaway know in advance how to maximize it for the best results. Doing free giveaways and promotions are great tools to use if you want more readers to discover you. I recommend that you hold off doing a free give away or low price promotion until you have as many books available as you possibly can. I ran my first promotion after I had three books published. The promotion was for three days. I sold more than one thousand books on the last day of that promotion alone. I wouldn’t have reached this number if I only had one novel. I also recommend that you spend (approximately $100.00) on online promotional services who list your books on multiple websites. This means on the days of your promotion, the cover of your book is listed on the front page of online eBook sites. They are clearly visible. No searching the catalog is involved. A great cover and catchy title will most definitely get you more clicks.

17.    Your cover is just as important as your novel’s content. You can purchase book cover designs for as little as $5 on Fiverrr. I used Fiverrr for my eBook cover for Dali’s Fantasy. It’s a flash fiction piece that I sell for $.99, so I didn’t want to spend a great deal of money on the cover. A good cover will cost you anywhere from $50.00 - $500. Hannah Gleghorn Design does all of my covers. I discovered her work while browsing for books and loved the cover of the one I was thinking of purchasing. I think she has fantastic pricing, especially compared to other designers I have come across. Her website is Be sure to read my next helpful tip.

18.    Test the waters before you try it. Before contracting with someone to edit your book or design your cover, ask them for samples. With all of my editors, I send them as many pages as they allow. They return them with their changes. Usually you can sense how well an editor is this way, and you’ll be surprised how much editing your work needs before it can be published. Not with Hannah, but with other book designers, I also had them send me a sample of how they saw my cover. Don’t settle. This is your work – your baby. If you’re not satisfied, express the changes you want made and I’m sure your designer will do all they can to assist you.

19.   Choose your editor wisely. I completed the second installment of my series and my editor was already busy working on a different novel of mine. To kill two birds with one stone, I shopped online for a second editor. I sent out my sample and LOVED the work that was returned to me, so I thought, ‘go for it!’ Low. And. Behold. Three weeks was the deadline. Every time I jumped on Facebook, there was my secondary editor posting thousands of posts. I couldn’t believe the amount of time she was spending online when she had a deadline to meet in three weeks. Still, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Two weeks in, I emailed her and discovered she hadn’t even STARTED editing. I cancelled the contract and contacted my primary editor and explained my situation. I had already paid for promotions and had a release date. Jerry Shaw worked his magic and edited two of my novels back to back, allowing me to meet my deadline. You don’t have to use any of the people I mention, but for those who want to check Jerry out his email is I find his pricing extraordinarily reasonable.

20.   If you’re thinking of using a vanity press to publish your work, please, for all that’s Holy, check them out. A vanity press, vanity publisher or subsidy publisher is a term to describe a publishing house in which authors pay to have their books published. It’s what Indie authors are all about, right? I know authors who see their books selling and have yet to receive a single royalty check. All of them had signed contracts with the same vanity press. Do your research. When I’m researching a company online, I key in their name and add ‘bad reviews’ at the end. This has saved me from making what could have been some bad decisions.

Shelley Young

Author Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Historical, Mainstream, Erotica

Website: Shelley Young - Amazon International Bestselling Author
Twitter: @dardiandreshaj
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Amazon Author Profile

Author Description: 
Shelley Young is an Amazon International Bestseller in crime, romance and suspense. Compared often as a mash-up of two of the best thriller and erotica authors, her thriller, suspense and mystery novels have been downloaded from Canada to Australia in eBook form. A book club favorite, each of her novels were nominated as best Indie book of 2014 in its genre. The author of the Dardian Dreshaj novels, who fans have dubbed its leading character as 'a man all men dream of being and all women want to love,' she's also a writer of mystery, as well as historical. Look for her historical series scheduled to be released in 2016 and two more crime thrillers scheduled for release in the first part of 2015. 

Dardian Dreshaj has lived twelve years solely during the night. A handsome, Albanian immigrant who loves as passionately as he kills, he IS the highest paid contract killer in America. 

Bad doctor, good nurse is a lethal combination. For Dr. Andreus Solomon Tell, who has a temperament as dark as his well-kept secret, it's no wonder women are falling head-over-heels dead in the small town of Plain Dealing where he lives. Is he a murderer? Can he be tamed? Is his persuasive mannerism potent enough to fool everyone around him? 

If you enjoy novels of crime, investigations and a touch of heat levels four and five erotica, novels with characters you can't help falling for and cheering for them every step of the way, you'll love the writings of this author. She currently resides in So California with her family.

Shelley's Book List

Shelley Young is the author of the Dardian Dreshaj novels and a publishing industry blogger. This post was re-posted with permission from Shelley Young by the eBook Author Corner, a book industry blog.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Author Blogs: Using Your Blog to Market to Your Readers Has Its Issues

Blogging for many authors is a way to communicate to their readers and market their books. However, they are finding that there are some issues. Finding time and interesting content to write about on a regular basis can be a problem.  

This post is a summary of comments from a collection of outstanding, award-winning authors interviewed at the HBS Author’s Spotlight and how they tackle the marketing of their novels and the issues involved.

To date we have conducted over 300 interviews.  (Click on the author’s name to view their complete interview.)

General question

During our interviews I will ask the authors questions about their blogs and what they are trying to do with them. The questions usually follow along these lines.

Do you want to keep readers informed or market your books or provide useful information to other writers or all of the above with your blog? Are there time issues or problems that get in your way?

Marketing to Your Readers

Many authors use their blogs to target their readers and market their novels. Their goal is to provide interesting content and keep their readers informed and coming back for more. They feel that using a blog to maintain an on-line presence is the key to selling their novels. Here is what several of the Spotlight Crew had to say about the approach.

Author Damien Boyd is the author of the The DI Nick Dixon Crime Series.

“I try to keep readers informed and involved. They have been kind enough to read my books and so it’s only fair! It’s also nice for new readers ‘checking me out’ to see a good website and an active Twitter and Facebook presence but it’s more about being available to readers who like to get in touch, as many do.”

Award-winning and USA Today Bestselling Author Susan M. Boyer is the author of the Liz Talbot romantic mystery series.

“Honestly, I feel as though of all the things I do, the blog is the thing that most often gets pushed to the back burner, because there are so many things to be done and a limited amount of time. My first priority has to be the books. That said, my primary goal with the blog is simply to communicate with readers. It’s sort of a postcard from my world.”

Best-Selling Author Helen Hanson writes Mystery & Thrillers and Suspense novels.

“Readers are my focus. They’re the only reason my work hit the Top 100 on Kindle. I love hearing from people who’ve read my work. It’s a total kick. I will write you back if you send something my way.

When I was writing my first novel, 3 LIES, I had no readers, but I wanted to blog. So I wrote whatever I felt like. When I published 3 LIES, being a geek, I decided to do my own ebook formatting. Consequently, I learned and blogged about the process. These were also intended to be my notes to format my next book. You forget this stuff unless you do it routinely. Consequently, a lot of writers found my site. It’s been an interesting experience conversing with them, and they’re writing some amazing stuff, so I kept the formatting series available for other writers.”

Brent Hartinger is the author of The Russel Middlebrook series. The movie version of his novel: Geography Club was released in 2013.

“I suppose it's marketing, but I honestly never think of it like that. Like any good blog, it's a way to express myself.

The bottom line is that these days most authors need to do more than write books. They need a "presence" online, and they need to make themselves available to readers. I know this makes a lot of writers uncomfortable, especially older writers who broke through under the previous system. At first it made me uncomfortable. But I've learned a few things.

First, it's not "me" out there -- it's Public Me. It's a version of me that I think readers of my books would be interested in. I share some, but not everything. I try to stay positive, I try to be interesting. I don't burden people with stuff that's only interesting to me or my partner, and I never ever bitch or complain in public. I get to do what I love for a living! Writing-wise, I have nothing to complain about, especially to my fans.

Second, it's not "work." After all these years, I now know that interacting with readers is actually one of the best parts of being an author. These are your fans, your friends! And whenever it starts to feel like "work," I stop. I move onto something else.

Sometimes it is hard to deal with the Internet -- everyone has an opinion about your work, and they don't hesitate to write about it in the most brutal way possible. Like most authors and artists, I avoid online discussions of my work, pro or con. Criticizing works of art is everyone's right -- I do it too about other books or movies. But not about or for me. It's not something I'm involved in or ever will be.”

Author John Heldt writes Romance and  Historical Fiction novels.

“I created the blog a little over a year ago to promote my published works and update readers on the progress of future projects. On occasion I use it to review books and tell people about my other interests.”

Michael R. Hicks is the Bestselling author of the IN HER NAME Sci-Fi and HARVEST Thriller novels. Mike has also written the The Path To Self-Publishing Success.

“My primary goal is just to have a virtual living room where people can come in and flop down on the sofa for a while and paw through the books scattered on the coffee table. If I was smart, I'd probably put a lot more effort into blogging like John Scalzi does, but I haven't gotten there yet. But I can't complain with 600 or so visits a day on average. I'm sure I sell at least some books through my web site, but it's really just there as a place for folks to go who want to find out more about me and my work.”

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance Author Katie Jennings writes the Dryad Quartet series.

“I’m trying to update my blog much more regularly these days by posting things that interest readers. I’m doing a fourteen week blog series about ghosts and ghost hunting to help promote So Fell the Sparrow, which I hope will build up lots of hype for the book. I have no idea how I have time for everything, as I always feel like I’m behind. I have a backlogged list of things to do and it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day!”

Author Brian D. Meeks is the author of the Henry Wood Detective Series.

“If I'm honest, I mostly use my blog as a daily diary of what I'm doing with my books. A couple of years ago the posts were much better. I've been blogging every day since Jan 2, 2010, and the busier I get with writing/publishing, the weaker the daily blog posts get…”

Author Ty Patterson is a Thriller & Suspense and Crime thriller writer.

“I want to make my blog as the starting point for my readers’ journey but I am nowhere near that point.

Currently my blog serves as yet another discovery platform for my books. I also use it to share my writing experiences with other authors.”

Author Michele Shriver is a Mystery & Fantasy Writer. She is noted for her Real Life Women’s Fiction novels.

“I actually just made a lot of changes to the blog and website a few days ago, so this is good timing. I want it to be a place where readers can come and learn a bit about me and about my books, but I enjoy featuring other authors on the blog as well. Lately I've had the chance to feature some new releases of other authors, and also some interesting guest posts. I like to do that because it's a way to keep the blog active even when I may not have much interesting to say or I've been too busy writing on my books to write new blog posts. I'll be blogging quite a bit about my conference coming up. As for time- it's just something else that has to be squeezed in.”

Author Richard Stephenson is the bestselling dystopian author of the New America Series.

“At the risk of sounding greedy, the primary goal of my blog is to drive sales.  I’m sure any author with a blog will agree.  The secondary goal is the satisfaction of helping my fellow indie authors so they won’t have to struggle like I did when I started out.  It also helps that I’m very tech savvy.  Before I started writing, my biggest hobby was a little side business fixing computers for friends, co-workers, and whatever business they sent my way.  Anything computer related comes natural to me so I have been fortunate enough to be proficient at it.”

Author Mike Wells is an American bestselling author including Lust, Money & Murder and Passion, Power & Sin.

“My primary goal is to be a successful writer and entertain my readers as much as possible.  My blog serves that purpose.  The information and tips for other writers is sort of a freebie every now and then I’m inspired to share what I’ve learned and write a post about it. Simple as that.”

Mystery Author Dave Zeltserman is the award-winning author of the Julius Katz mystery series.

 “Small Crimes blog: What I’m trying to do with the blog is connect with my readers, provide some interesting articles, and keep readers’ apprised to new stuff of mine coming out.”

There May Be Issues

Several of the Spotlight Crew had issues with blogging because of the time involved. They wanted to prioritize their work schedule between writing novels, social media and blogging. For some blogging had to take a backseat.
Author Cindy Blackburn is the author of Cue Ball Mysteries and  the Cassie Baxter Mysteries.

“I use my blog—a funny, silly poem posted every Sunday—as a way to tell folks what’s been on my mind that week. It’s my ‘news’ really. Time is a huge issue. Between writing mysteries, keeping up with my blog, twitter, and other social media, I’m almost always working. And even when I’m doing something else, I have my current work in progress and characters in my head, nagging me. Good thing I love my job!”

Best-selling Author Russell Blake is the award-winning author of The JET series, Assassin series and BLACK series.

“I view the blog as a pressure valve, to let off steam, nothing more. I write my blog mainly for other authors, so not a lot of books being sold that way. I have no goal other than to be relevant in any discourse. People will buy my books due to word of mouth, primarily, so all the social media and the rest as anything but a way to interact with readers I view as a waste of time. As to time, if you look at the hours I put in; it’s not hard to find the time if what you do is this, twelve to fifteen hours a day.”

Author Carmen DeSousa is a romantic-suspense and paranormal author of the Southern Suspense Series.

“Ahh…one of my number one questions[time]! The easiest answer: I’m a workaholic, and I love books. I wake up at five a.m. and spend three hours of my day simply blogging and chatting on social networks. I then workout on an elliptical where I am able to read for an hour. After that, I drop my son off at school and then come home and write until I have to pick him up. I try to write two thousand words a day. At night, I edit for other authors, and then right before I go to bed, I read what I wrote for the day. So…I spend about fifteen hours in my book world.”

Author Douglas Dorow is a mystery and thrillers author.

“Managing time is the magic bullet. I have a full-time job in addition to my writing, so I have to prioritize what I work on if I want to get any writing done. Blogging is something I do less frequently. I don’t know if I should do it at all since I do it infrequently, but I like to share things with readers and writers once in a while, so I post something out there once in a while.”

Author Paul Levine is the award-winning, bestselling Mystery & Thrillers author of the JAKE LASSITER and SOLOMON vs. LORD series.

“Well, now that I’m deep into the next novel, my blog has suffered.  When I’m caught up blogging, the novel suffers.  Again, I blog for fun. Yes, I’d like to pop up on search engines with readers looking for “legal thrillers” or “courtroom mysteries,” but on a time/benefit analysis, I’m not sure blogging is great marketing.”

Author Julie Anne Lindsey is the bestselling author of the Honey Creek Books and The Patience Price Mysteries.

“I feel I neglect my blog horribly these days. In the beginning I wrote daily, then three days a week, then once a week….As writing has gone from an aspiration to a deadline situation, I’ve fallen away from the dedicated schedule I began with. I started my blog the year I started writing in the hopes of publication. I thought there was enough to learn that it deserved being chronicled, so I did. I blogged about whatever I learned that week about craft, blogged industry news and contests, my personal rejections and triumphs. It was a sounding board. A place to find friends and share what I had to offer. I also used it to gain followers. Back then my followers were all writers and that was the goal – outreach and documentation.

I’m not sure who visits now, but I use the blog for continued networking, to support and encourage fellow writers and to share news related to my career. I open the blog to any writer who wants to guest post or spotlight their new release and I occasionally blog about an event or something notable in my writing journey, but overall, I’ve fallen slack. It’s tough to juggle it all with real life and meet the deadlines, so family comes first, then friends, then writing and editing.

After that, I update my social media and the blog gets my attention last. Time management is the toughest thing in this life, I think.”

Bestselling Mystery and Suspense Author Robin Mahle is an author of the Redwood Violet suspense series.

“But it is difficult and I’m not nearly as up to speed with the whole blogging thing as some of my colleagues.  I should be posting much more often, but I need to write novels or all the blogging in the world isn’t going to do me a bit of good.  My goal is to simply give readers a glimpse of who I am and tell them a little about my writing process. If they like what they read, maybe they’ll pick up one of my books.  It’s all about building relationships!”

Suspense Author Dale Mayer is a writer of Romantic Suspense, Thrillers and Paranormal Romance. Dale has written several series including the Design series, By Death Series, Family Blood Ties, and Psychic Visions series.

“My blog does touch on the industry and publishing and writing at times, but I’ve cut back on that.  I think there’s too much infighting going on and it’s counter-productive.  As Jeff Bezos [Amazon founder] notes and I just blogged about:  Complaining is not a business strategy.

I do Survival Friday posts every Friday to give readers of my blog important information they can use.

I plan on starting Who Dares Wins Wednesday after Survival Friday runs out in July.  Giving people useful tips for living.”

Author Tracy H. Meyer writes gritty, edgy Young Adult/New Adult fiction and Adult Romance.

“First of all, thank you! I enjoy writing on my blog, though I don’t do it on a schedule.
I write a blog when something comes into my mind that I want to write about. I also contribute to others’ blogs and that’s a really fun way to reach new readers. My daily priority is writing, then social media, then my blog. But if something pops up in my head that I want to blog about, nothing can stop me!”

Author C. J. Peterson is the author of the The Holy Flame Trilogy.

“I’m afraid as far as my blog that gets the least amount of attention from me. Along with the Featured Author page, that is changed out each month. When I post in my actual blog, they tend to be posts that mean something to me. I tend to post only if a thought strikes me, or a new release, or in the last two, it was poetry from my husband’s heart from his time in the military. My main passion in writing is in the books.”

It is All about Blog Content

Some of the authors interviewed on the HBS Author’s Spotlight thought blog content was important in keeping their readers involved. The idea here is to get the readers to keep coming back to the blog.

Author Giacomo Giammatteo writes Mystery and Suspense novels in which many of the scenes are taken from real-life experiences.

“…I love writing about our animals, so many of the blog posts are either about them or incorporate the animals into stories on writing or life in general. I have two blogs: one for my non-fiction website,, where I publish weekly tips on resumes and interviews and such; and the other is my mystery blog and the topics can range from my animals, to drug addiction, to writing, anything. My goal is not to sell books, but more to just let people know who I am.”

Author Garrard Hayes writes Crime, Mystery and Thriller novels.

“Thank you, although I don’t blog as much as I used to. I post my interviews there and write about foreign policy and the Middle East. My blog is part of my website but it appears on my author page and on my Goodreads author page automatically, and I post it on Facebook and tweet it. All my social media sites are connected, so people can easily find my website on my Twitter profile and so on. I’m passionate about writing and encouraging others, but also I like to inform people about things that affect all of us, such as the danger of militant Islam and the abuse of human rights.”

Best-selling Author Kathleen Kirkwood (pseudonym for Anita Gordon) is award-winning Romance, Historical Fiction, and Paranormal writer.

“LOL, that's another struggle and I may have to only do it every other week. We'll see. If I'm going to put time into a blog, I want it to have some "meat" to it and be of interest to the reader as well as myself since it takes me awhile to compose them. There are so many interesting facts and tidbits that come up during the writing of a novel, but that never get into it, I'd like to include them in the blog.

It's a sort of a behind-the-scenes look, an ‘author confidential’ if you will (yes, inspired by the Doctor Who Confidentials.) I also love historic recipes and am including foods my characters eat in the pages of the book (and some they don't, but still with an historic connection). I'll be focusing on Viking cooking is several blogs ahead, including Katla's skyr. Meanwhile, next week, I'll dish up some Pönnukökur með þeyttum rjóma, Icelandic Pancakes (think dessert crêpes).”

Author David Lawlor is a Historical Fiction Writer and provides an editing service for other authors.

“They are very important in that they are the only real means I use to tell people about my books. I have found many helpful people on Twitter who have been more than willing to tweet to others about my writing. I also have a blog –  – which celebrates the bit players of history, the ordinary man or woman who may have done one extraordinary thing. There are many of them out there and their stories can be just as powerful, if not more so, than those larger historic figures. I get to interact with like-minded enthusiasts on the blog and often have stories referred to me from people who follow it.”

Chantel Rhondeau is a Romantic suspense author. Chantel writes the Agents in Love series.

“I used to spend a lot of time blogging. Now, I'm a great cheater, truthfully. Since I know my readers are interested in finding new authors and things to read, I signed up as a tour host for blog tours. Then I'm given ready-made posts, can give my readers new, interesting content, and I don't have to put a ton of work into it.

Now, of course I do try and get in some book reviews and more personal posts, but when I'm in a rush and behind schedule, my blog mostly maintains itself with the blog tour posts.”

Bestselling Author Vickie McKeehan writes romantic suspense.

“I still don’t know why I dragged my feet so long about starting a blog. I love having one now! The only problem with it is coming up with new content.

I’m the first to admit I’m not as good about writing articles as I should be. Writing books takes up most of my days. I salute those other writers like Carolyn Arnold though who can do it all and make it look effortless. Carolyn’s one who does it all.”

Takeaways from Using Your Blog to Market Your Novels

A.    Keep readers informed, involved and interested.
B.     There are time issues involved with blogging on a regular basis.
C.     You must prioritize your work load between writing, social media and blogging.
D.    Interesting content will keep the reader coming back to the blog.
E.     A blog helps you practice the art of writing.

Related posts

From Joel Friedlander and Joan Stewart 

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