Monday, March 18, 2013

Sassy Surveys, Blood & Snow

[Note: I'm also on the Indelible's blog today (link).]

I've always loved taking fun quizzes (not school quizzes).

Like back when I used to get my Sassy magazine (I had a subscription), I always liked filling out those surveys that told you if That Boy Was a No! or a Go!

I saw him first.
Neener neener.
Or if I had a Bookish Betty personality or a Bubbling Brooke... (I made those up in case you're wondering. #nerdalert)

So anyway, I've bumped into a Burning Question, and I've decided to turn it into a fun survey for YOU, reader-friends! (whee!!!)

Here, sit down. I'll French braid your hair while I explain it to you.

It's about Amazon Categories and buying books from online bookstores...

Background: On Sept. 4, 2012, when I hit "publish" on my very first indie book The Truth About Faking (link), I was pretty ignorant about how to reach readers.

I mean, we're talking about a place where there's no bookstore, no clerk, no nothing. How do I let people know what to expect? Well, first write a good book blurb, and then there's this...

Where do I belong?
Amazon gives indie authors two choices for where to put their books, taken from pre-established BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) categories.

The Truth About Faking is a light romantic comedy in which a 16-year-old girl falls in love with one guy while chasing another. Several things happen, and by the end of the story, she realizes things aren't always as they appear and not to judge books by their covers.

That's the short version. So, I say...

Category 1: Juvenile > Fiction > Love & Romance
Category 2: Fiction > Genre Fiction > Coming of Age

There's no "Teen" or "YA" category, so my additional search terms (Amazon allows seven) are: romance, teen, clean, romantic comedy, chicklit, contemporary, young adult

Easy peasy, yes?

Well, it was in September. Readers found the book, it was exactly what they expected, and they either liked it or didn't. Lucky for me, most of them liked it--yaaay!

Fast-forward six months, and mixed in with the 5-star (happy!) reviews, I'm seeing more 2- or 3-stars complaining either, "I didn't expect this to be so innocent." Or, "High school." Or, my latest 2-star review: "Honestly, this was not a bad read, it was just too young for me. But there were some good messages."

Me = *head scratching*

[Important Note: The reviews are NOT the point. I am NOT slamming these reviewers.]

The Point is finding my intended audience in this new bookstore setting.

I don't want people buying my book expecting one thing and getting something that makes them feel... frustrated. But even more importantly, I want to connect with the readers I'm writing for. I want them to find the book I wrote for them.

So here's the Sassy Survey! Answering the Burning Question, "How do you buy books on Amazon (or online)?" (Whee! Let's see what we learn; fill in the blanks are optional but helpful!)

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

And please tell me in the comments your thoughts. Is there some other method I haven't thought about? For example, some people only buy books recommended by friends. Is that you?

* * *

Now bring on the Blood & Snow!
On Amazon

Blood and Snow: The Complete Set
by RaShelle Workman
(YA Paranormal)

Every thousand years the Vampire Queen selects a new body, always the fairest in the land, and this time she's chosen Snow White.

Snow isn't an ordinary girl. She doesn't know that yet.

When Snow gets bitten by a Hunter, her life is thrown into a whirlwind of change where instead of worrying about what to eat, she has to fight not to drink the blood of fellow high school students. She becomes a revenant - not quite human, not quite vampire.

With the help of an eccentric old Professor, his seven adopted sons, and her best friend, Snow learns to control her blood craving. Sort of.  She drinks a bloodlust tea, but she'd rather drink from her Hunter.

Or, a human.

She also discovers a whole other realm, one filled with fairies, dragons, and magic. And not only does the Vampire Queen want her, but there's a pendant called the Seal of Gabriel created for Snow by the Vampire Queen's twin sister. And Snow's supposed to use it to restore balance to all magical creatures. Including vampires. 


RASHELLE WORKMAN lives on a mountain with her husband, three children, and three dogs. From her back porch she can see the city lights and imagine...

She's the bestselling author of the Dead Roses series (Sleeping Roses is being translated into Turkish, and will be available in print wherever Turkish books are sold in 2014), the Immortal Essence series, and the Blood and Snow series.

Find her here: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

RaShelle's also giving away a Kindle Fire! Go here to enter and WIN (link).

I've known RaShelle since my early days of blogging back in 2010, and she's got the kindest heart. We're Indelibles sisters now, and I can't tell you how thrilled I am to know her and to help share her success with you. HUGE congrats, RaShelle!

And have a super week, reader- and writer-friends! <3


Laura Pauling said...

Maybe it has something to with the rise of NA b/c they all say coming of age. That's the only thing I can think of. Maybe people don't truly read the description but just assume?

Old Kitty said...

Lovely LTM. I'm totally useless with your survey cos I don't shop at amazon primarily for books. I go to my bookstore and browse and see the titles there, cos I'm old and that's what I do! LOL! Sometimes I buy on a whim - sometimes I make a note of a title and search that on amazon (cos I do like a bargain! LOL!) So I am so sorry. Anyway! Is there such a thing as an intended audience? Just wondering! A friend sent me a pic of top ten books in an Indonesian book shop (oh yes!! ) and the no.1 was Fifty Shades of Grey. Now who knew!?!? I mean in Indonesia! I don't know if there should be an intended audience? but then that's just me I guess as I do tend to read anything that piques my interest - not genre specific. I love the idea of people reading eclectically. But then again I am rambling and these are all just my very personal opinions! I know nothing of marketing and such like! LOL! I never thought readers could be that specific with books. I am so naive! I shall go away now! LOL! But I am also swayed by publicity and reviews in newspapers! Hey - everyone's reading it, so must I! I am that fickle! Oh dear.

BUT!! Lovely Rashelle and her super amazing books. Now I'd say just by looking at the blurb and the genre and the cover - I'd be expecting this story to be slightly sexy with teenage hormones and testosterone zipping away mixed with sensual vampires but fun too - Snow trying hard not to be a vampire and lusting after the Hunter!! And an Old Professor with his seven adopted sons! LOL! I'd be most disappointed if I read this book and discovered none of the above - or I may be pleasantly surprised by such a unique reworking of a fairy tale - who knows! Better go and read it! LOL! What am I on about!??! It's Monday and I better skedaddle!

Take care

Pat Hatt said...

Its the same with everything and everyone, I get some whining the book is too short, same book, another whines it is too long. You just can't win. If you can appease most, that works for my coast.

Stina said...

I use none of that. I see a book mentioned on a blog or a friend recommends it and I download it. I never use Amazon or Kobo to help me find my next read. I just download the books from those sites. :)

Summer Ross said...

Congrats Rachelle!

Leigh, filled out the survey for you. I'm not sure how much help it will be- but I am curious to know what you find.

Barbara Watson said...

I get books based on recommends, so I don't browse Amazon for them. But clearly lots of readers out in the world do. That's tough. Sorry I don't have any great tips.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I don't browse either. I know the title and go right to it. I have way too many books I want to read to have the luxury of browsing. Hope that helps.

RaShelle Workman said...

Thanks for participating in Blood and Snow's book blitz, Leigh.

Old Kitty - You're pretty close to right on. LOL Impressive. =)

Thanks, Summer. =) And to everyone else.

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm guess your problem is that your teenagers aren't horny enough. When I was 15-18, there wasn't anything "clean" about my life.

Janet Johnson said...

I do what Stina does. I don't need Amazon telling me what to read. :)

And best of luck to RaShelle! THe book sounds awesome!

Carolyn Abiad said...

Fun survey. I buy off of Goodreads recs, btw.

And I already knew I wasn't an ordinary girl. I'm a writer!!!
La Niege

Lisa Gail Green said...

It could just be Kindle being wonky and recommending your book to people who it doesn't apply to. We've had some of that too on our anthologies, like 2 stars "I don't like short stories" Huh? Oh well. :D

Bish Denham said...

I'm always looking for middle grade books. I go by what bloggers and goodreads readers have to say. I read the jacket blurb, I look at the cover. I've never bought a book because of an ad Amazon sent me.

LTM said...

@RaShelle--my pleasure! And I think Jenn/OK might've sold your book for you! :D (not that it was needed!)

@Carolyn--Goodreads is really emerging as a sales force, Ms. Not-ordinary-girl! :D <3

Jemi Fraser said...

It's frustrating when people crit a book for being exactly what it's advertised as being *sigh*

I'm not much help in the survey (did fill it out though) as I generally buy book buddy books, daily deal books or something recommended to me :)

M Pax said...

I categorized mine, but get people who don't read sci-fi and say so then feel the need to comment... It's always something.

I wish they'd make more categories... like YA and NA since they're so hot. Shrug.

KM Nalle said...

I find my books from Goodreads, blogs, and word-of-mouth. Although, when I go pick up a book, I'm notorious for checking out Amazon's suggestions based on the book I'm viewing.

Talli Roland said...

Oh, Sassy! You just brought back so many memories. I always look at the also-boughts - very rarely do I shop by category.

PK HREZO said...

Since I'm not a teen, I don't search for certain key words with regards to ya/na and honestly i have so many word of mouth (or web) receommendations I dont have to search at all cuz I know the title. But if I want to peruse, what interests me most are titles and covers, and then of course, blurbs.

(love my french braid btw... thank you very much) lol you're so funny!

And Johnny Depp was H-O-T on that cover. I'm sure I had that one.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I usually only go to Amazon after I hear something good about a book. I never browse. Time is short. Sorry :\

Congrats to Rachelle. Love that cover.