I've been asking around on the Kindle even more than previously as of late. Not because I want to buy a Kindle and am trying to justify it in some way. Moreso because I want to learn more about what makes people buy the device (and other eReaders, but since I publish on the Kindle -- see sidebar -- that's all I really care about). The answers haven't changed since last time. People site that being able to change the font size, the ease of use (books seem pretty easy to use, too), the idea of saving shelf space, price of books and so on, are the chief reasons. Oddly enough, nobody in this current group has mentioned environmental impacts.
I've been attempting to promote my Kindle works as I try to establish a bigger fan base before I publish the novel there. I'm finding that the promotion that works the best is just simple word-of-mouth. What is more surprising, however, is who is using the Kindle, and I have no idea on how to promote to them.
Of all the people I questioned, whom I would consider to be voracious readers, very few of them own a Kindle. Yes, some of them do, but the majority of the people I questioned who owned the device were not heavy readers. Why they own a Kindle is beyond me. I think they may be tech-smitten. Oddly enough, these are the people who make more purchases based on -- you guessed it -- word of mouth.
I imagine heavy readers already know what they want to read and most likely consult critics for new reading choices. Readers who tend to only read a few books a year probably do more buying based on what their friends say is good. As I try to earn enough money off this Kindle venture to get noticed and get rid of my day job, I can honestly say I don't care who is reading my stuff. The other side of me, however, would rather it be heavy readers, as those are the people who will be able to better criticize my work and make me a better writer. I don't want to fall into that Hollywood trap where the only demographics listened to are the ones who go to see every movie. They love bigger explosions, so most of what we get are movies with bigger explosions. If I listened to the majority, I'd be writing about teen vampires. (I do actually have a teen romance story in mind, but it will be very inappropriate.) I think the two short stories I have on Kindle now can appeal to both audiences, and I'm sure the manuscript that is coming will, too. (The only problem is whether or not people will be able to finish it. I had let a few people read a draft of it two years back and there was a handful who could not get very far as it bothered them too much. They didn't even get to the wet stuff, and they were upset. That could actually bode well, as that kind of word of mouth sells stories.)
Time will tell if this promotional work I'm doing pays off. I don't think it will get me nearly as many readers as word of mouth, and I'm okay with that. As long as people are reading ...
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