“Reader Behavior is in flux”…According to Digital Book World’s Discoverability and Marketing Conference in NYC

Happy Weekend, WG2E-Land!

This past week, in New York City, Digital Book World‘s (DBW) Discoverability and Marketing Conference was held, and WG2E Team Members Bob Mayer and Jen Talty were there!

In fact, you can read about Bob’s first day impressions here:

Day One Recap

After reading Bob’s scoop and all of the other articles coming out of the conference, I’m even more convinced than ever that my Buzz Word for 2013 – Visibility – is right on…and it can also be termed in this conference’s style as:


Bob noted, after hearing the first speaker – Rick Joyce, Chief Marketing Officer at Perseus Book Group:

The bottom line is he clearly made the point that everyone in publishing must radically revisit the way we view getting the book from the creator (writer) to the reader (consumer).

So, in other words:

How are Readers Finding/Discovering the Books that They Buy?

According to another fabulous article on DBW reporting about the conference (Book Discovery Landscape Becomes More Complicated as Reader Behavior Fractures), here are some interesting stats from Bowker on that:

39% of people now buy via E-commerce (i.e using on-line retailers like Amazon or B&N Nook) vs 26% from bookstores

People discover new books in up to 44 different ways but #1 is by Word of Mouth

What this all means to me is that my Reader-Focused Approach- People Connect with People – is going to continue to become even more viable in the months and year ahead and will get me, and possibly you too if you try it, Discoverability/Visibility. :-)

Bowker’s VP of Publishing Services, Kelly Gallagher, said that book marketers should begin their strategic thinking by focusing on the reader that they want to reach and knowing where they can find them and what kinds of marketing they respond to best.

That’s what it’s all about, WG2E Peeps…You’ve got to figure out what type of readers your books might be attractive to, figure out where those kinds of readers hang and then genuinely get to know them and hang with them.

Here’s another great tidbit I picked up from the DBW’s articles coming from this wonderful conference:

Reviews aren’t all that important – in that less than 5% of readers across all platforms base their book buying decisions on reviews. What’s important and triggers that one-click-buy is that on some emotional level, you and/or your book has connected with that reader. That’s why they buy.

Discoverability – is the Future of Publishing…and that Future is Here!!! Connecting with Readers leads to being Discovered by Readers leads to Book Sales!!!

It’s Your Turn, WG2E-Land: What are your thoughts on all of this? Take a moment and read through all of the wonderful articles reporting in from the conference (on DBW) and let us know what you’re thinking…

The Best of Discoverability Wishes — D. D. Scott

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  1. Lauren Clark says:

    Seems like the marketing peeps at Perseus and Bowker are echoing your advice!! Cheers D.D.!

    xx, Lauren

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Cheers right backatchya, Lauren!

      What’s interesting too is that both of these players are huge TradiPub establishments so to speak, and they’re now starting to get it too. The stats are simply too big to ignore now.

  2. Common sense: at last! ;)

  3. Monica Davis says:

    DD, Great insight..it is a partnership. I’d also add to “think outside the box”. Even if your book isn’t in someone’s usual genre they may still buy:

    1) As a gift for someone else (or refer your book to someone who reads that genre)
    2)To try something new (great storytelling has no limits)
    3) To show support to an author who shares more than a book–like your website, chock full of terrific ideas; an open forum for others to chime in and become part of the experience (this is big).

    I’ve purchased several books simply as a show of support to the authors. You’ve set an incredible example by what you’ve created here. When an author contributes so much, the best way I can say “thank you” is to buy their book(s). ;-)

    • D.D. Scott says:

      I’m sooo glad you brought up this point, Monica! Thank you, my friend, and thanks too for your sweet shout-out!

      Readers are indeed buying books in all kinds of genres they’d never have taken a peek at otherwise! (I do myself all the time! :-) ) And it’s because we’re taking time to get to know each other as people. And we buy things based on who we like and what they’re buying and doing.

      Excellent point, and again, thank you for raising it!

  4. Another great post, D.D.! Re: marketing — I know I need to focus on the readers that I want to reach, but what if I want to write in more than one genre? I have goals of writing it all: YA, chick-lit, memoir, romance, children’s books – you name it! Is it possible to build a viable brand writing across a lot of different genres, or do I really need to just stick with one?

    • SK Holmesley says:

      Speaking as a reader, I know that if I really like an author in one genre, I will frequently give that same author’s books in another genres a try, even in many cases when I don’t typically read that other genre. There are genre’s that I just don’t read — horror for instance, because the good ones give me nightmares and the bad ones are a waste of time and true crime which, like horror, I find very disturbing :-0, but beyond those few exceptions, I tend to follow authors from genre to genre and even into non-fiction if that’s what they want to try. Occasionally, an author that I really liked in one genre has not been as strong in another, but I always give their first attempt at least a glance and buy it if it grabs my attention at all. Mostly, I find that a storyteller who appeals to me continues to do so whatever genre they’re in. I know a number of my friends who are also what I would call author groupies (fans?) feel the same way. I do agree that you might want to have different pen names if you’re writing very adult books, YA, and children’s books, but as others have pointed out, there’s no problem with letting the adults at least know you write under other names.

      • Great to know many readers will stay with an author through all genres. Thanks for your feedback, SK! :)

      • D.D. Scott says:

        Excellent point, SK, and again something I do as well:

        “Speaking as a reader, I know that if I really like an author in one genre, I will frequently give that same author’s books in another genres a try, even in many cases when I don’t typically read that other genre.”

        • D.D. Scott says:

          Oh, and I’m not so sure in today’s Ebook World that it’s even necessary to use different pen names for different genres, as long as the product description on your buy pages and your own websites and social media sites make it clear what readers can expect from each book…unless of course you write both YA and Erotica, for instance, where you probably don’t want your YA fans reading your Erotica just yet…

    • Riley,
      You say you have “goals” of writing multiple genres, but right now you have one published book (that looks like a paranormal mystery, possibly YA) and a second book (which doesn’t have enough information on your web site for me to tell). If I were you, I’d focus on your brand for what you are writing now and what you intend to write over the next couple of years. Is there some common thread in those books?

      I’d worry about the “you name it” part when you get to those books because things are changing so fast, who knows what will be a good strategy when you write them. Will you write them all under one name or have separate pen names for different genres? Some argue that pen names help readers know what to expect better (a YA versus a memoir), others argue that it’s better to keep your name as your brand.

      I’m going to first publish an edgy Christian mystery (later this year), then two sequels. But I also have a time travel romance story I’m itching to write, so I thought a lot about what those two have in common. That turned out to be the setting and a romance subplot. I came up with a brand of “Mystery, romance, and adventure in the desert Southwest.” (Which I’ve got to work on implementing some day real soon now.)

      But I’ve also got a semi-historical mystery set in a seacoast town in Massachusetts that I’d still like to rewrite and publish. How does that fit in with my brand? It doesn’t. But I’m not worrying about that right now. If–and when–I do resurrect that story, I’ll rethink my brand and whether that one will get a pseudonym or not. Things might have changed so drastically in the next couple of years that what I come up with today will be wrong then.

      That’s the advantage of controlling your own career. You get to change things when you need to.

      • Hi Elise,

        Thanks for your valuable input on branding. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my “brand,” and I believe it would be “humorous whimsy with an edge.” My YA encompasses that, as does my chick-lit that will be up in a few weeks. Do you think it’s possible to have your brand be a certain style that comes through in all the genres you write? For now, I’d like to write them all under one name, but I hear conflicting advice on that.

        Branding is one of the hardest aspects of this career, I believe, along with marketing. I’m still trying to figure out this whole “ball of wax.” All of it is a fun learning experience, and I learn something new every day!

      • D.D. Scott says:

        “Is there a common thread in your books?” is the perfect question to answer for yourself as you begin to brand yourself and your books, Elise! Well done!!! :-)

        Perhaps start with a word list of adjectives that you would use to describe your writing, and let peeps who’ve read your writing circle the words they think “sound” like your writing too. Then, begin to build your brand around those words. That’s how I started with “Sexy Sassy Smart”…and built from there.

    • D.D. Scott says:

      For sure you can build a fabulous brand across several genres, Riley! That’s exactly what I do too! :-)

      The key is to find a common denominator across all of your genres…for example, my books all feature “Sexy Sassy Smart Career-Driven Women and the Men Who Complete Them.” All of my books have my trademark “brand” of sass and quirky-crazy fun.

      The secret is to brand YOU, not just your books (which you can do even if you write just one genre). For example, I’ve branded my sassy take on life, and thus branded me as that kinda gal for my readers with my Bitchy Sign Collections and Stupid Redneck Sh!t…just look at my Facebook Wall and/or Twitter Profile and/or Blog…you’ll see that D. D. Scott sass all over.

      That’s what my readers connect to first – me and my sass, then they know they’ll get more of that in my books – across all the genres I write.

  5. Julie Day says:

    I agree with you, DD. I have discovered new authors over the last year (inc you), ones that I like their books and would buy more of. I agree with, I think it was Bob Meyer, that the way to good visiblity and discoverability is to get more books out there. So that is what am working on. More stories to put out here. And I also think that a good way to get more visible is to have your books out there on all platforms not just one, so as many readers can find you as possible. So I will do that too, not stick to one.

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Atta Girl, Julie…getting more books out and getting ‘em across all platforms are two approaches that have definitely worked for me!!!

      And I’m with you in that I have discovered a bunch of new authors and genres because I’ve gotten to know so many of you and read your books to support you, and have come to love the genres you write – genres that I never would have dreamed I would enjoy! :-)

  6. Good morning, D.D. and Happy Saturday!

    “People discover new books in up to 44 different ways but #1 is by Word of Mouth”

    I was on a walk the other day with four women and one lady was insistent that we all read a particular book. She was very excited about it and the whole conversation made me smile, reminding me that no matter how much authors talk about marketing and promotion…it’s all about the story told. Tell a great story that people will talk about!

    Thanks for sharing, D.D.

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Happy Saturday right backatchya, my friend!!!

      It is all about building that kind of superfab reader buzz! What a terrific anecdote, and thanks sooo much for sharing it!

      That’s always my goal…to get peeps “sneezing” about my books.

      When I read about that Seth Godin style of buzz, which he calls “sneezing” because people are talking about you and taking you and your products viral, I knew that was the heart of my philosophy, and it now had a really fab fun term — “Sneezing” (and “Sneezers”)! :-)

  7. Stacy Green says:

    Thanks for sharing this, D.D. Hardest part for me is figuring out where those readers are and where to focus everything. I think I need to be on all platforms, active on Goodreads, FB/Twitter, active on the RG2E. I’m also doing three big blog tours – two on my own, with two different prizes, and one through Partners in Crime. Not sure what else to do…


    • D.D. Scott says:

      To begin to “find” your readers, make a list of the elements in each of your books, Stacy.

      For example, I began with the following for my Bootscootin’ Books: bootscootin’/country line dancing, cupcakes, bbq, meat n’ three diners, pastry chefs, fashion designers, country lifestyle, Nashville TN, having babies, having twins, ponzi schemes, Vegas, tractor supply stores, etc.

      I did Google searches. Facebook Searches. Twitter Searches. Now Pinterest searches too. Searching for people who enjoy these elements like I do. That way, I can spend time with peeps who enjoy the same things as I do, and then maybe, they’ll like me and then check out my books too.

      Does that help a bit?

      Notice, I’m not looking for readers of these elements…just peeps who enjoy these things. I spend time getting to know peeps without talking about my books first.

      • Stacy Green says:

        Yes, that makes sense, D.D. Thanks for answering. Stupid question … one you find these readers, or rather, people who like these subjects, you don’t talk about your books, to you? You just chat about those subjects? Thanks!

        • D.D. Scott says:

          If there’s an opportunity where everyone is chatting about what they do to get to know each other, I’ll often mention that I’m a romantic comedy and humorous mystery author, then, I’ll often just give the link to my website and say something to the effect “to get all the scoop on me, y’all are welcome anytime in my new cyber home…D. D. Scott-ville http://ddscottville.blogspot.com ” Not unless I’m asked about the books themselves (which I often am after a bit in the group), do I talk books. Often though, I might Ebook Gift 5 – 10 copies, after awhile.

      • I asked about this on your other post before I saw your answer here. This strategy makes perfect sense, D.D.! Find the people with shared interests, and the readers will come. So simple and clear! Sometimes the most obvious answer is right in front of our noses all along (but often the knuckleheads like me take longer to find them.) ;D

  8. Thanks for this, D.D. Discoverability for indie authors seems to be the number one concern lately.

    It’s seems like one thing hasn’t changed. A couple of years ago (maybe three), Sisters in Crime commissioned a study of how readers discover books with some big organization (that I think was Bowker, but I’m not 100% sure) and the answer was the same: word of mouth. There was a lot of discussion on the SinC loop about how you get word of mouth back then, and it was pretty much determined that you couldn’t do a whole lot about that except write really good books.

    Since Bob’s been blogging about a lot of military and Special Ops stuff on his blog lately, I’ve skipped reading it most days, so missed Jen’s report. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Reaching readers is tough. Since setting is important in my stories (see above), I came up with the idea of titling my blog “Tales from Tucson” and try to focus on places and topics about the Southwest. That doesn’t always happen. I really try to limit my posts about writing because I don’t want to build an audience of other writers. (Not that I would mind writers who read and comment on my blog, mind you.)

    I’ve joined some Goodreads groups, one in particular that seemed a good fit for the novel I intend to publish first, but that one seems to have evolved into another venue where writers are talking to other writers. Another poster to that group bemoaned the same thing happening in other lists/groups he joined. We writers like to talk a lot to one another. :-)

    Figuring out where readers hang and interacting with them not as someone who’s looking to push their book is a problem to which I’m still working on the solution. (And that sounds like a tortured sentence to me, but I’m not fully awake yet.)

    • D.D. Scott says:

      Luv your Tucson approach, Elise! Super savvy!

      And like you, I learned not to use my personal site to talk writing. I’m targeting readers more there.

      Take a peek at the strategy I mentioned to Stacy just a few comments up…this is the best way I’ve found to find out where readers hang. Begin to hang with them as people with shared interests first…once they like you, they’ll get to know more about you and then realize you write books featuring your shared interests too.

  9. Like Elise, I’ve been skipping Bob’s blog because it’s been all military stuff, so thanks for the recap, D.D.!

    It’s been the same forever–nothing sells like word of mouth, but how to find those mouths is the big problem. These days they’re often cybermouths, but you still have to reach them.

    • D.D. Scott says:

      They are cybermouths indeed, Anne! And that is making the process a wee bit easier. Try the strategy I just gave to Stacy and Elise…I think it might work for you too, my friend! Cheers!!!