This is a special post by Bookseller Jolie after talking with some other booksellers and readers.
Readers want to buy your books; booksellers want to sell your books. Even though this article is all about the peeves, it’s really about how to help authors get connected to readers. The only way to do that is have a fabulous website where readers and booksellers can find the answers for which they can use in order to buy more books!
#1 – Series links are not easily identifiable. This should be its own special link on the home page!
When readers find a book they like, they want everything they can get their hands on!!! Whether it’s more in that series or another series you may have!
Booksellers want to stock your series, have all the books on hand. 9 times out of 10 a reader will buy all the books in the series, if a bookstore has them. While booksellers are a smart bunch, we can’t know ALL the books that are interconnected! Like the reader, we’ll go to the author’s website for the information.
# 2 Printable booklist – This makes it so easy for the reader to print and take to the bookstore! And makes it even easier for the bookseller!
The list should have all your books listed on one page, series in chronological order and separated, ISBNs, dates!! Prices and publishers optional but it can’t hurt to have that information too!!
I say printable because, when you print it, all the information should be there and not cut off the page. Everyone’s computer is different so making the list simple and easy is best!
Here are some great examples:
- I LOVE Meljean’s – it has everything!!
- Nora’s is great too – Including the anthologies!!! This is especially important to the JD Robb – In Death series, those short stories about Eve and Rourke are what keep us happy in between!!
- Susan Grant’s Printable Book List”I know how difficult it is sometimes to find where a book fits within a series or even if it belongs to one. For your convenience, here is a list of all of my books on a page with no graphics and text in black (with the series the book belongs to and the reading order in parentheses) easily printed for reference. Happy reading!
I couldn’t have said it better!! Thank you Susan!!
#3 A contact the author link should be visible on the home page - it’s the easiest way for us to tell you how great your books are!
Romance readers love to tell you how much they liked your book! They love that connection to a book and its author as well! So do booksellers for that matter. I’m often telling authors how wonderful they are! Psst, here’s another secret –" I may even tell you special tid-bits! Like how you book is doing in our stores or if we’ve got your book placed in special locations, or your book is selected for our promotions!
#4 The most recent book should be featured on front page with sequel links, etc.
Again, it’s all about a reader getting the most out of your website! If we know the information is at our fingertips – that’s the first place we’ll go!
#5 – Everywhere there is a book mentioned, there should be a 13 digit ISBN . . .
The easiest way to locate a book online and in a bookstore is through this handy number. When used, it’s THAT specific book found very quick and easy!! Readers would rather be reading the book than spending too much time looking for it!
#6 – Coming soon should be on the first page as well. And update it often . . . it’s what keeps us coming back!!!
We’ve just finished your latest book and already we’re looking for more! And we want to go directly to the source – YOU! So what’s next???
#7 – Don’t make us work to buy/sell your books! Keep things simple . . .
The easier it is, the quicker it is, the more time we have to read and sell more!! Make the links easy, don’t hyphenate ISBNs, etc.
#8 – Who would you compare your stories to?
Ex: If you like sexy historicals by Sabrina Jeffries, you’ll love my new book. . .
Or compare it to another medium, if you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you’ll love my new paranormal series. . . We may not always agree, but in the end, it gives us a direction and a place of reference to start.
#9 – Let me know future books in a series . . . dates if you have them or general concepts and plans are great too!
Again, when we readers and booksellers find something we love – we want more!!! And if we have to wait for another book, that’s okay, but give us the lowdown about who, what, when, where – please any information!!!
#10 – Toot your horn — let us know of all the awards you’ve won, etc.
I know there was recent debate on this site about this, but what it comes down to is – you’ve been chosen, over others. Readers and booksellers are interested, especially when we’re looking for a new author, new book. And let’s face it, we ALWAYS are!!
This is more importantly the case when sending out promos to booksellers, if we haven’t had the chance to read your book – at least we know SOMEONE did – and LIKED it enough to give it an award!!!
Oops, yeah, promos to booksellers – that’ll have to keep for another time . . . this is about websites!!
Honestly, what it comes down to for a great website is info, info and more info. If readers and booksellers are getting what they need from your website, readers can get in and out of the bookstore that much quicker, will buy MORE and have more time to read great books!!! And in the end, that’s what we all want!
Most Important!! BGI – bordersstores.com and waldenbooks.com should be linked on everyone’s site — they are the leaders in Romance :)
Oh yeah, you all know I work for one of the chains, so I’m outing myself! We are the industry leader for selling romance. Soon to be the leader of online sales as well!! We have the romance top picks flyer that has over 20 titles with $1 off; a free rewards card; and soon we’ll have our own online retail presence.