for the Bookworms

Stories of an author encountering readers

As an introvert, I was surprised to find one of my favorite things about being an author is in-person events. Because y’all are seriously so fun to meet and connect with. Here are just a few encounters I’ve had in my year of being published:


I don’t know what it is, but kids are always interested in my table. I need kids books.

A girl around 6 years old wanted my psychopathic murderer book. Her mom told her when she got older she’d be able to read a book that big. Skipped right over the whole scary murderous part, just said she needed to work her way up to bigger books. #parentinggoals, am I right?

I told the girl she could take a collectors card instead, and she picked up Cami’s BFF, a real safe choice.

She looked disappointed and said “I want something scary.” Sooooo, I grabbed Villains 1&2 instead for her, and her face lit up.

Like I said, I need kids book lol. Maybe with a little scary.


Another kid, this time a young teen, marched straight up to my booth and quickly spilled out: “I like writing stories and I wanna know what my options are, and my teachers say a journalist, but what are my options?”

It was so cool to tell him that yes, he can be an author if he wants. He can be a journalist if he wants. And besides that, every company in the world pretty much needs writers, for every website and social media post and brochure and email you see. If there’s a company you love, they’re probably in need of a writer.

Related: If you’re wondering what your options are for being a grownup professional writer – Lots!


This summer at an event, a lady was looking for someone to room with to save money. Probably not looking for a murder author, but it didn’t occur to me at the time. So, we coordinated plans and met there, and everything went well. Until…. she volunteered to work at the event’s bookstore…

Later that day, she confronted me: “You wrote a book from the perspective of a MURDERER?! I’m sharing a room with you, and you didn’t tell me?!” Haha, she was totally joking – or she played it off that way so she wouldn’t anger a suspected murderous author I suppose – and we had a grand time.

But now I know, I should probably disclose that info in every interaction. “Hi, my name is Amy, and I wrote a book from the perspective of a psychopathic murderer.” Feel safer now, don’t you? 😉


And finally, best quotes from encounters with readers:


I love murder… mystery! I should finish that sentence!

a person at my booth

We’re a family of murder.

a whole family checking out my book together
(I’m not sure what that means, but mostly, I’m not sure I wanna find out, for plausible deniability and all)

Hmm, this one’s Cami’s BFF. I don’t know, Cami sounds sketchy. I’m gonna keep my eye out for her.

A person picking up a collector’s card of Cami’s BFF from my book

Now I know who not to make mad. You know how to kill and get rid of the body.

A person walking past my booth, upon seeing my book title

How about you? Have you had any intriguing or humorous encounters with authors or with readers? Share below 🙂

And next year, it’s time for us to meet at an event, mmk?

for the Creatives

The one thing that makes or breaks my marketing

Almost a year of selling “I Know You Like a Murder”. I’m no marketing expert by any means. But I googled and read books & articles and experimented. And thought I’d share the results so you can learn from them.

In my last post for patrons I gave my most successful marketing tactic. But there’s another strategy that makes those tactics possible in the first place, a strategy that I first learned from Ksenia Anske.

But first, let me tell you what marketing I tried, and I’ll also speculate as to why it helped or didn’t (although I could be off in my guesses):

  • Facebook/Twitter ads: I think for these to be successful, you have to actually know how to use them. Take a class or something. I tried a bit of money in both without learning how to use them first, so I got 0 sales.
  • Blog Tour: I hired a recommended successful blog tour company. Got hundreds of posts from book bloggers across the web. And got few sales. I think because my book was too niche, and it may have been more successful if it was a more widely read genre.
  • Book reviewers: I love book reviewers. Their service to the book community – readers and authors alike – is so appreciated and so valued. I sent books out (upon request, don’t just send them haphazardly) and received positive & negative reviews. Both positive and negative reviews are so important, because honest reviews are important. While I did not see tangible results, reviews in general are a book’s lifeline, so indirectly I am sure these pushed interested readers into buying readers (and let’s be honest, into non-buying readers if the book wasn’t for them, that’s important too. No one wants to waste time reading a book that isn’t for them.)
  • Book booths at area events: This has been one of my more successful, when I’m at the right place with the right people.
  • Preorders: Lots of posts about launch and lots of hype about finally publishing. This was very successful for a first-time author learning the ropes.
  • Book launch party: This was my most successful event so far. I sold in one day the same I’d sold through the entire preorder season.

But these aren’t strategies. These are just tools.

Can you spot the difference? What’s the difference between the items in that list that made the first half less successful than the last half?

You. Readers. Fans. Fans of my writing, or even just fans of my existence (I think they’d rather be called friends, but ya know…)

The book launch party was a success because of you. The crime scene tape idea came from one of you. Your fanart inspired and brought about the collectors cards.

Online preorders were a success because of you. Seriously, I calculated and most strangers’ purchases have come from your excitement. So what if the author is excited about their own work, I want to know if somebody else is, right? (I exaggerate, because an author’s excitement also sells btw.) Your attendance, your facebook likes, comments, shares, posts, your purchases – those drove sales more than any work I put in.

Your voice makes a difference to my creative career. So thank you. Thank you for celebrating with me and being with me in this journey.

In your creative pursuits, don’t discount the excitement of those around you. Count it a privilege and an honor, because not every artist gets that. And count it more valuable than anything you can purchase, because you can’t purchase enthusiasm and that’s what sells.

Sure, I learned a lot from studying Lady Gaga’s marketing (become a patron to read more about Lady Gaga marketing). But no matter what, remember it still all starts with you.

Musings

Life is a mystery. You’re the detective.

Quote_Amber
“We are all detectives with every good story.” That’s what my friend Amber said when reading I Know You Like a Murder.
It’s true.
Books invite the reader to figure out what’s happening between the lines. And a good story keeps the reader guessing.
In “I Know You Like a Murder”, you as the reader are the detective. You’re quite literally invited into the story. By the murderer. As the detective. It’s very meta.
But that’s more than books. That’s life.
Life keeps you guessing what will happen next. Life invites you into the story. Of wonder and curiosity, twists and turns, fairy tales and monsters.
We are all detectives with every good story. And you’re in one. You’re in a good story (even when it doesn’t feel like it).
This is your cheesy inspirational post reminder:
Don’t just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. Get up. Explore. Detectivize. Find out what’s around the corner and on the next page.

Dear reader,
You can detectivize October 23 by preordering #ikylam now at amylsauder.com/product/i-know-you-like-a-murder-preorder
Sincerely,
murderer
Musings

The book title that got the least votes, but wins

Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with politics. Let’s not go there 🙂

If you don’t follow me on other social media, you missed out on a survey to vote on the title of my short story. (I’m sorry, I actually planned on posting it here, because you’re some of my greatest fans, but I suddenly had an unplanned deadline of 24 hours, so…)

And wouldn’t you know it, the title that got fewer votes wins. 

How’s that possible you ask? In short:

Reader responses….

If you ever plan on surveying your reader base, having an open comment section can make it take more of your time, but that time may be important.

If I only had the multiple choice options, here’s what I would have seen:

 

 

The image on the left is a “Select All” question of which titles the reader might purchase. The image on the right is the “Select One” question of which title I should name my book.

Either way, that light blue color is definitely not the “winner.” I would obviously name my story off the dark blue title. Right? 

But I’d made the decision to ask the voters to plead their cause. “Why that book? Why NOT the others?” and that’s where things got interesting.

First off, I found out the Yellow title – which off the bat was actually winning the “race” – a voter informed me that title was very similar to a title of a different story. Mine sounded like a spin-off. So I deleted that option right away. (Thanks voter!)

So what were the two competing titles, you ask?

Dark blue: Memoir of a Murderer

Light blue: I Know You Like a Murder

How did I Know You Like a Murder win without winning?

Reason #1: The response of those who chose I Know You Like a Murder

You probably knew this was one of the reasons. Check it out!

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To sum up, the readers who voted for I Know You Like a Murder got it! It made them think. They’re my type of reader. “Quirky, personality, weird, unusual”, they get the vibe of my story. If you voted for this title, this may be the story you’re looking for 🙂

 

But there was another reason that pushed me to choosing I Know You Like a Murder.

Reason #2: The response of those who chose Memoir of a Murderer

Maybe you didn’t see that one coming. But first off, those who picked this title were looking for a deep internal look at a murderer. And my story isn’t that story – though that’d be a great story for someone 🙂

More than that though, their responses about I Know You Like a Murder and why they didn’t vote for it, just made me want to pick it even more. 

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  1. My protagonist is definitely patronizing
  2. Doesn’t that “I’m not sure about buying it because I don’t want people to think I like murder comment” just make you want to name the title that?
  3. “Odd.” Uhmm, yeah. If everyone thought the title was odd and wouldn’t buy it, sure, I’d want to take that into consideration. But the fact it’s odd reaches a niche audience that we’ve already seen want odd, and that’s what I’m going for, so this just confirms that THIS reader isn’t MY reader. And that’s fine 🙂
  4. My protagonist is definitely presumptuous, and this is hilarious.
  5. “I don’t like murder.” Uhmm, yes you do, in the first sentence of your response you said you found it intriguing 😉 hehe once again, doesn’t this just make you want to name it I Know You Like a Murder?

The responses showed me that if I named the story Memoir of  a Murderer, more readers might pick it up, but they’d be the wrong readers. They’d start reading and hate the story and I’d have missed my audience.

But if I named my book I Know You Like a Murder, it’ll be a smaller audience, but it’d be the right audience, that audience looking for a story like mine, that would like a story like mine. It’s my niche, my tribe, my people who get me 😉

 

Do You Like Murder [Mysteries or Writing]?

And so, that’s how it was determined that my story will be titled I Know You Like a Murder.

  • Sound interesting? Stay tuned to get your hands on it.
    Sound horrible? Mehh okay, it’s not for you. Sound off in the comments below – don’t worry, we’re still buds 🙂

Think I made the right choice, or wrong choice?

And hey, are you interested in writing Memoir of a Murderer, because it sounds like a cool story that people want to read 🙂 Have at it!

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Build it before Ellen DeGeneres shows up

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for the Bookworms, for the Writers

The Problem with Used Bookstores

Used bookstores. The elitist book-lover’s nook.

Libraries or Barnes N Noble or (God forbid) Amazon is for novices. Used bookstores are the bibliophile’s home of choice. The smell of the books, the cats roaming the stacks, the treasure hunt for some undiscovered antique or classic. It takes dedication.

I too love the atmosphere of a nice used bookstore. It’s exciting to seek out local book haunts.

So what’s my beef with used bookstores?

Authors receive no cut from the sale of used books. I’m a fan of authors. I want them to succeed and keep doing what they’re doing. I love them so much I plan on being one as soon as I’m able. So despite the wonderful atmosphere of a local used bookstore, I can’t regulary purchase books there without a shred of guilt.

Authors should be paid for their work. That is why I try to buy books new. If I love a book, I recommend it to a friend, or even gift it. Of course I still check out a used bookstore and give an unknown book a try – but I suggest making it a point to buy new books every now and again – support the system. The world needs more readers – so used bookstores are great to introduce unknown books to prospective fans. But readers should support their authors – especially the most-loved ones, but authors in general as well.

Note: Yes, I am aware that the astute reader will recognize this as a veiled plea for you to one day give me money 🙂

What say you?

Do you prefer online shopping, barnes n noble, libraries, or used bookstores? Why?