A couple of months ago I asked several authors what questions they have for readers. I then hit the streets, or well, Facebook, and asked several reader friends from Facebook groups I am apart of to help answer these questions. A great big thank you to Lori, Nicole, Ki, Sherri, Renee, Julie, Brooke, Delene, Linda, Christina and Becky for helping me out on this. Many of these ladies are bloggers and avid readers. Let’s hear what they had to say!
Reader Survey Part 1
How do you learn about new authors?
There was a wide range of answers such as Facebook, Twitter, Reviewers/Bloggers, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, publishing houses, word of mouth on social media (especially authors recommending other authors), and NetGalley. The majority of responses were via social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Do you interact with authors via email or on social media, or are you content just reading their books? If you do interact, which platforms do you use/prefer?
Almost all of the readers said they interact with authors and most of those are through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Email, or via blog posts.
What do you want from authors when you interact with them?
Readers stated that they overall they just want general conversation with the authors’ about their books and a chance to get to know the author a little. They want to be able to pass on their compliments about a book or to ask questions about it. Readers understand that authors are busy so they don’t always expect prompt responses and any response from an author brightens a reader’s day.
What are your thoughts on all these Facebook parties?
I received mixed responses on this – some like them some hate them. The best Facebook parties appear to be the ones where there is a lot of interaction either from the author, or when they have a line up of authors hosting for an hour. The parties that offer a lot of giveaways and then allow you to enter said giveaways until the end of the day are most popular.
Some of the readers surveyed don’t participate in Facebook parties due to the amount of time it takes or timing of the party. The parties that the readers prefer to pass on are the ones with flash giveaways because not everyone can get to Facebook party at a certain time. The readers surveyed do not like it when the Facebook party asks readers to go like another page and come back and report in. Some have also experienced parties where favoritism is shown by the author’s “friends” and feel the same people win prizes because they know each other or their comments are ignored.
Would you rather see an author put out more books in a year or interact more with readers on social media?
There are mixed feelings from the readers surveyed on this one. Some want more interaction, some want more books and most want a happy medium! A few said they don’t mind a gap in books if you are interacting with them online as long as the gap isn’t years. Another said that social media is meant to attract readers and if you are not writing books, why attract more readers?
Fill in the blank. I wish there were more books about _______________.
We received several types of responses on this one…
- Lady inventors or scientists. I might be thinking about the Steampunk genre but I would love to see more intelligent ladies that are somewhat blue-collar workers, even if they have to be in disguise.
- Single mothers, Bad boys who turned good, and cute kids bringing people together.
- More books about middle age and senior romances, we are not dead yet
- That’s a hard one…and probably not an answer you’ll get from ANYONE else, but…realistic romances about widows? Especially ones who actually had GOOD marriages the first time around? I am so sick of the evil first husband or the “We thought he was a good man/ we had a great marriage and then found out…” Seriously, can’t a person have two great loves? Isn’t that supposed to be a tenant of the romance genre? Though I suppose the other kind is more dramatic and all, but really, there could be all kinds of survivor guilt in there adding to the drama.
- I wish there were more books about women in their 40’s-60’s with problems relevant to those ages.
Do you prefer long stories or shorter ones these days?
I received some mixed responses on this one. Many said they don’t mind, however, they don’t like it when a series is broken up into several novellas. They like the longer stories for plot and character development and prefer the novellas to complement the full length novels in a series. Several readers said that if they have to pay the same price for a novella as a full length novel, it would deter them from buying it and would pick the longer book to spend their money. Some readers said they have a lot of reading obligations as bloggers, so novellas can be good for that.
What do you think about descriptions within a book? Do you care if it is in first or third person point of view? For example, do you care if it is in the heroine’s pov, and she says, “I pushed my golden brown, curly hair behind my ear”?
Most of the readers surveyed do not care specifically about point of view if the story is well written, but many enjoy the third person point of view so they can experience the story from different perspectives. Regarding descriptions within a book, readers don’t mind if it is first or third person as long as it isn’t overly detailed or awkward. Some mentioned that descriptions should vary in length based on the genre – for example historical romance might need more description than contemporary.
Can a reader learn too much about an author? Authors share a lot about their family, their likes/dislikes, and themselves. When does it cross over into TMI? Or does it?
This was pretty unanimous in that most readers have never experienced an author over-sharing. They love the “realness” of authors sharing about themselves as much as they are comfortable.
Do you like to hear about the “challenges” an author faced while writing a particular story?
Everyone said yes to this. It goes along with getting to know an author better and what it takes to write a story.
What are your favorite extras that authors provide?
Everyone likes extras! The things the mentioned included author interviews, character Interviews, deleted scenes, what an author is currently working on, trailers, playlists, teasers, making-of the story, what inspired a book, character, plot, etc. If the book is in first person, the extra of getting a scene from another character is fun as well, so keep up the extras, authors!
Has a giveaway ever encouraged you to buy an author’s book? And if so, what kind of giveaway?
I received mixed responses on this question. Some say yes, some say no, and some say only if it is an author they already know and read. However, many have learned about new authors based on giveaways they have won. Readers mentioned they tend to enter giveaways on blogs and Facebook most of the time. No one mentioned giveaways from contests or scavenger hunts. It seems they were just thinking of straight giveaways.
What is your favorite type of swag?
The responses were pretty typical things like bookmarks, pens, free books, cards, stickers, post-its, key chains, tattoos, bumper stickers, jewelry, gift cards, magnets, t-shirts, notepads, drink cozies, tote bags, and anything signed by the author
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That’s all I have for you for Part 1 today! If you are an author, I hope you found this post helpful! If you are a reader, I hope you also found something to take away from it. Check back next Friday for more questions and answers. If you have any questions about the responses to these questions, feel free to ask away.