Reaching your Readers Part 3 – New Authors

In Part 2 of this series, http://www.ian-irvine.com/reaching-your-readers-part-2-reaching-your-fans/, I asked my Facebook fans and readers how they found out about their favourite authors’ next books.


I also asked my fans what factors led them to choose a new author. There were 66 replies. The most important factors in the decision to choose a new author’s book were:

  • The cover, back cover and blurb, and first few pages (by far the most important)
  • Recommendations from people they know (a lot of people said this)
  • Recommendations from people in bookshops (a few people said this)
  • Online forums, blogs, Twitter or book sites (a few people said this)
  • Print book reviews (one person said this)
  • Book shows on radio (one person said this).

No one mentioned book advertising or other promotional materials. No one mentioned author websites, author newsletters, author blogs, author tweets or social media sites either, though that may have been due to the way I framed the question. 

Interestingly, though, people find out about new authors in a different way than they discover new books by their favourite authors. Presumably because fans actively seek out new books by their favourite authors, while discovering new authors by a more random process.


Here’s the data (it sums to more than 100% because many people listed several factors, often in order of importance).

New Author Chosen From                                                % of Responses

Book Cover/title/blurb/first few pages                                        64%

Friend/family recommendations                                                  33%
Reviews/blog reviews/internet                                                    7.5%
NOT from reviews                                                                       7.5%
Bookshop recommendations                                                         6%
Author recommendations on cover of the book                             6%
Radio interviews                                                                        1.5%
Short stories by the author                                                         1.5%
Library                                                                                      1.5%

For two-thirds of responders, the book was chosen (or partly chosen) based on the book cover either physically or online (which induced them to read the back of the book), the title and blurb, and, for some people, after reading a few pages of the book. Recommendations from family and friends, including online friends, were also hugely important.

All other means were relatively minor.

Thanks very much to all those people who kindly gave detailed answers to the question. Part 1 can be found here: http://www.ian-irvine.com/reaching-your-readers-part-1/

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