For many “regular” authors, when your books are published and available on Amazon or other online distribution platforms, it’s great, but it’s like being in a huge stadium where each seat is occupied by an author. The front row seats are the big-name authors or those with celebrity status. They’re the ones who get caught on camera and shown on the big screen, and they are the authors readers gravitate to because they’re known and familiar.
For the rest of us sitting anywhere from the second row all the way to the rear of the nosebleeds, we have to find alternate ways of getting on camera and being noticed so readers can find you and your books.
Back in the old days before COVID, one of my favourite activities was to drop in at a bookstore, get lost among the tables and shelves, and peruse the endless selections of books. Time disappears there. A bookstore is like another dimension. It’s a world full of exploration, adventure, and excitement that builds with each book I select.
It's also a world of limitless possibility: memoir, how-to books, self-help, and biography all alongside non-fiction and fiction. I like to read widely across the genres, but I definitely have a preference for fiction, more specifically mystery/thrillers (because those are what I write). I could spend hours browsing and reading samples. The bookstore atmosphere has an allure that’s like a spell. I love the smell, the dim lighting, and the physical feel of a new book. Everything about it is captivating.
But the world has changed. I have changed. Now I browse Amazon, reading excerpts from books in the “Look Inside” feature. It’s less sensual and certainly more work to find an appealing read. The decision process is complicated because you see what qualifies under your search terms. “Key words” they call it.
I tend to search for what I see on social media. I will also Google recommendations from television interviews or trust recommendations from my group of well-read friends. Nothing beats word of mouth. But much of what’s available is hidden, invisible, and lost in that vast online library behind algorithms. Nothing pops out at you by chance. The computer offers you specifically what you ask to see. That makes it hard for you, my readers, to find my books.
As this is a problem for all authors, there is now a plethora of how-to services more than excited to offer you the key to the Literary Kingdom, such as “How to Become Noticed on Amazon” so you can sell thousands of copies of your books – for a fee, of course. Note, the fine print states that results vary and that they offer no guarantees. But advertising is your ticket price to occupy a seat in that arena closer to the front, and many authors, hoping for a brief moment to get noticed, take it while others continue to strive to meet their readers the old-fashioned way (or the new old-fashioned way): through personal online contact.
In this game of hide-and-seek, when you do discover a new writer or a book you hadn’t known about, it’s a thrill. Find them if you can!
I’ve got several ways to help you discover me and my books:
When you sign up to my newsletter, you will be kept up to date on my writing and, as a loyal reader, receive promotions and free content. As a special thank you, I’ll include entertaining seasonal short stories.
I also invite you to visit my newly designed website: Marianne Scott Author. It features my novels along with links to Amazon where you can discover my books and get lost in the mystery and espionage of my fictional worlds. I love writing, but I love sharing my stories with readers even more.
Please reach out with your comments and questions about my stories by contacting me any time. I’d be pleased to hear from you.
Until we meet again at the concession stand, I wish you happy reading.