Monday, January 5, 2015

Book Recommendation Sites

As a reader, I’ve joined several sites that offer specialized book recommendations, etc., but, as an author, I’ve not tried any of their services to promote my books.  (If anyone has, please let me know what you think of the service.)  

Here are my thoughts from both an author and reader viewpoints.  

BOOKDAILY:  All the features on the front page are aimed at the writer, and I didn’t find a sign up sheet for readers to get emails of first chapters until I clicked on one of the books featured.  No price is shown, and you must go offsite to discover the price.  All the links I tried go to Amazon or Amazon Kindle.  A surprising number of the books were from major NY publishers.  As near as I can tell, posting your book and having the first chapter emailed is a free service.  The categories in fiction are so broad as to be useless, and I saw a bio of JFK in among the literary and genre fiction.

BOOKBUB.COM: The nicest looking site.  As a reader, you have a clear range of genres, you can pick the format or bookstore you prefer, and the ensuing list can be viewed online or via a daily email.  The sale price is prominently displayed.  The writer or publisher lists the book which is then curated and may or may not appear.  The prices to the author/publisher varies according to book price, popularity of the book genre, and the book’s price.  The book must be listed at 50% off so an author with a publisher needs to work with the publisher.  

THE FUSSY LIBRARIAN: At the site, there’s a book database that can find books according to genre with a wide variety within each genre, and your comfort choices about dirty language and violence.  The email choices have the same variations.  A listing of book sites include Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Nook, etc.  There’s no ability to separate out books in formats or book stores you don’t use.  A vast majority of the book listings I’ve received have been Kindle self-pubs and unavailable for my Nook so most emails go into the trash with a few glances.  All the books have obvious prices.  To get your book up, it must have received a large number of very good reader reviews.  Between 10-50 according to the type of book, etc.  The cost of this service runs between $5-14 depending on the popularity of that book type.  

Of the three sites, I’ve only see advertising or promotion for The Fussy Librarian which has a rotating ad on several large sites I visit which aren’t aimed at book readers.  The other two were word of mouth mentions.  

Bookbub is the most reader friendly.  BookDaily is the least reader friendly because of all the hidden information.  The Fussy Librarian makes it so hard to find the database and email list they might not as well exist.  

In the case of the two sites that require payment, the author must be able to control the book’s sales price or work with the publisher to do that.  

Some thoughts on these sites.  With so many free or $.99 ebooks, even a book under $5 looks overpriced in comparison.  Many of the book descriptions were appallingly written, and some left out words or made spelling or grammar errors.  Talk about shooting yourself in the foot then sprinkling salt in the wound.  Proof reading and a good article or two on writing blurbs are a very good idea.  

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