Riding the crocodile

The bazillion book market is a puzzlement. Authors fret about how to be noticed in the huge flood of new releases every week (more than 370,000 in the past 30 days on Amazon alone). Readers complain that many books they pick up are not worth reading, and I’ve heard many say they’re trying no new authors because of disappointments.

Meanwhile, those who guard the paths by which we authors reach our readers are working for themselves, and not for us. I don’t blame them for that. It is the nature of business to wish to make money, and it is the nature of mega-business — such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google — to wish to remove any competition that prevents them from making more money. They are, as a series of New Zealand advertisements said about foreign-owned banks, rather large crocodiles doing what crocodiles do. Admirable creatures in their own way, precisely designed for their purpose. But uncomfortable and dangerous to keep in the house.

I need to ride those particular crocodiles in order to reach the readers who prefer those platforms, but I’m trying to avoid being swallowed, crunched, and spat out. (Which means I’m not joining KU or anything that requires exclusivity.)

On the plans for this year is a shop on my site, where you can buy my books directly. I am toying with some kind of a sponsorship model — a sort of a subscription, where people make one modest payment a year and then get sent anything I write, plus some kind of other recognition that they are sponsors of the author known as Jude Knight. Maybe a t-shirt? And a club card? Special sponsor events?

I’m also looking at making changes to the newsletter to make it more appealing. People are just so busy!

What else? The most effective way I’ve found to reach more readers is reader word of mouth, and that is very much in your hands. I’m open to ideas. How can I do more to help you help me?


2 thoughts on “Riding the crocodile

  1. My goodness, Jude! This post is packed with information that I had not realized or understood. You’ve also made me feel quite important, as a reader!

    I love your suggestion about a subscription type of membership. Since I purchase and read everything you write (including your newsletters, WIPs, and Monday Teas), it would be a lovely way to keep tabs on everything.

    I sincerely wish I could remember how I first became aware of your writing, but I cannot. However, if I had to guess, I would say it was some type of free book/novella promotion– perhaps through Book Bub? I have a very few authors that I pre-order every single thing they write, without fail (Grace Burrowes and Mary Balogh, for example– as well as Jude Knight, now!). I do like to take advantage of every free book offer that takes place in the Regency or even Georgian time period, and I’ve discovered several new authors that way. To be honest, I’ve also found a large number that are immediately discarded, but nothing has been lost except the time it took to read their work. I do make it a point not to leave reviews for the free works that I dislike. The kindness and expense the author has given to bring me a free “try it” work should not, in my opinion, be insulted. However, if I purchase a work and find it not to my taste, I will leave a negative review in which I try to explain the reason(s).

    I cannot offer any insight regarding social media as I do not utilize any of them. To get involved in Facebook or Twitter just takes away from my reading time! I suppose it’s a similar issue for you in that keeping up a presence in Facebook, for example, takes away from your writing time.

    Your post today has been very thought provoking. I regret that I’m unable to respond in kind. Please know, however, that I enjoy whatever it is you’re writing!

    Best wishes,

    • Mary, I so appreciate you taking the time to comment. I love that you found me, and expect it was through one of my books. I have Candle’s Christmas Chair free for a year, and then changed that for Hand-Turned Tales. Perhaps it is time to change again? We’ll see.

      Thanks for your thoughts on a subscription/sponsorship. I’m not sure quite how it would work, but I think it is worth exploring, particularly if I retire from fulltime work at the day job this year and can commit more firmly to three novels and a number of shorter works per year.

      The support of committed readers like yourself is what I need to keep writing. (Some way of earning money from what I write is only important for keeping eating.)

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