I am posting this on my alter ego’s blog as well because this topic isn’t just about genre or formats or author names. It’s about the on-line community driving the market. As a reader and an author, I’ll limit myself to talking about the book market.
For the first time in decades, consumers are back in the driver’s seat of the book industry. Publishing conglomerates have never had a good sense of what books to print, but they’re the ones who have been dictating what we read for years. That’s changed, and we need to grab that change and run with it.
Readers are now in a position to say “This is the kind of book I want to read and I want more of them.” And publishers—and authors— are actually listening and reacting.
Obviously, one of the best ways to show what you want to read is to buy books. But the variety out there is enormous, and it’s difficult to know which books to buy. Authors can advertise and tweet and facebook until we wear out our fingerprints, but readers are too smart to listen to babble. They want to hear from other readers before committing hard-earned dollars.
So that’s why the online review and word of mouth are equally, or possibly even more, important than buying books. If you like a book, tell someone. Encourage that someone to tell someone else. Post a comment in your favorite readers’ group, in the online store where you shop, or on social media. Grab a copy of the book’s image and post it anywhere. Places like Amazon and B&N actually advertise books that receive a lot of likes and comments, so the more comments on your favorite book, the more of that book they’ll sell.
It’s a snowball effect: the more people you tell, the more people will look for that book and others like it. And that’s the miracle of the driver’s seat—soon, publishers and authors will notice those kinds of books are doing well, and they’ll begin producing more of them. Readers have already done it for vampires, shapeshifters, and Regency romances. Word of mouth has made them into an enormous industry. And you, the reader, did it.
So go forth and communicate your preferences! Ensure that your favorite author or genre stays around a while longer.
Thank you, stepping down from soapbox to go admire the autumn leaves and plan Halloween tricks. Treats, I mean treats.