Friday, October 5, 2012

Why Rewarding the Reader is More Important than Ever Before: Reading Has Changed with Guest Vince Mooney

For most of history reading was a well planned event. Even getting a book to read was a big deal. This was especially true when books were handwritten scrolls. The printing press made books more available but they were still very expensive. The creation of lending libraries made books economically available allowing more people to read more books. Eventually, dime novels brought affordable reading to a larger audience who now read both at home and ‘on-the-go’ in buses and trains. Reading had changed.

Books Came With A Price

However, even with greater availability, books still carried a price. Readers still had an investment in the books they purchased. A dull, slow moving, book would often still be read because of the reader’s investment in it. A physical book was also always present as a reminder to the reader that it still needed to be read. Ebooks are changing all this. Reading may never be the same.

Ebooks Have Changed Reading --  Books as Cable TV

I have over 1,200 eBooks on my Kindle. At least 95% of these books were free downloads. Many were selected only because I knew that they might be offered as free for just a day or two. Since I knew that at some point in the future I might want to read any of these books, I downloaded them when I had the opportunity.  While I own these books, I have no investment in them. I probably will never read 90% or more of my Kindle books unless I encounter a good reason to read them beyond simply owning them. Such a good reason might come about if an author or a review makes the book seem like something I would really want to read.  

Slow Books Now Get Rejected Quickly

 Having no investment in hundreds of books, makes me much less likely to finish a slow moving book than I used to be when I read print books. In fact, of the last twenty eBooks I’ve started to read, (and I paid for most of these) I’ve only finished five of them. The rest did not hold my interest. I’ve become a ‘book surfer’. This is not a good thing from a writer’s POV.

“Five Hundred Channels and Nothing to Watch” – The ‘Channel Surfer’s’ Lament

Ebooks are just ‘there’ in the ether. They are like TV shows available on demand with just a click of a button.  My Kindle is the same.  I can switch books in seconds with just a simple click of my finger. If a book drags, click! It’s gone. And why not? Isn’t there always the hope of ‘greener grass’ on the other side of the fence?  Reading is fast becoming a tug-of-war between the book you are currently reading and the lure of a more interesting book that may be just a click away. 

The Real Cost of a Book is the Reader’s ‘Opportunity Time’

Think about this: in the past a book could easily cost the equivalent of two or three hours pay for the average reader. When you paid $15 to 25 for a hardbound book, you felt obligated to read it – or at least give it your best try. But with eBooks there is often little to no monetary investment involved. 

Each day on Amazon hundreds of new books, still in copyright, are offered to readers for free. There are also over one million available free books that are out of copyright.  Readers today are more likely to regard the cost of reading a book in terms of their lost ‘opportunity time’. This is the time they could have spent reading a better book or of doing something else altogether with their leisure time. 

Is Reading this Book the Best Use of My Limited Time to Read?

With an almost unlimited supply of free books. readers are faced with this question: “Is this the best use of my reading time or could I be reading a more enjoyable book?”

The TBR pile takes on a whole new meaning in this world of digital reading. Can it really be said that books are being put aside to be read later? Were these free eBooks obtained with the sincere intention of reading them someday as are books in a TBR pile? Perhaps the books that will be read in the future will be simply those that provide the greatest incentive to be read at the moment.  Even when a buyer does buy an ebook this by itself provides little assurance that the reader will even remember that the book is owned. 

Reading Anytime, Anywhere – Entertain Me -- Prove You’re Worth My Time

Reading has moved from being a ‘sit-down’ concentrated event – often at home in an easy chair – to being an anytime, anywhere, fleeting experience. With digital books a reader can have any book instantly available in any given situation. This can include traffic tie-ups or long waits on line.

The New Reading Requires Changes In Writing

Writers now face a new reading reality. It’s not just that reading preferences have changed. Reading itself is changing. These changes will continue profoundly as eBooks become the norm.

Changes That Are Coming:

1. Readers will demand more highly entertaining books. These will be books that continually reward the reader, page by page, for their time spent reading. Expect multiple rewards per page.

2. Readers will want books that make it easy to ‘dip into and pop out of’ the narrative without getting lost. This will require short chapters, memorable characters with appropriately unique names. Character names should not look like or sound like the names of other characters in the story. (For example: a Robert and a Richard or a Carol and a Carla will not do in the same story.)

Think back to of the heydays of the soap operas when fans would follow several ‘stories’ each day. Many of the characters in these soap operas had unique names so that it was easy for fans to keep the different soaps apart in their minds. Unique names also made it easier to discuss the various soaps with other fans. You just knew that there was just one ‘Spider’, one “Asa” and one “Erica”. Usually just the character names would let you know which soap opera you were watching or talking about. 

3. Readers will seek books the move the story along very quickly and in small bites. This requires giving the reader the impression of rapid story progression. Each chapter should be treated as the start of a new book. Each should be given the same attention that is given to the first pages of a contest entry.

4. Readers will prefer sympathetic characters they care about. Caring about what happens to a character provides the greatest hook. Writers will need to create very sympathetic characters very early in the story. If a reader does not care what happens to the characters, then there is little reason to finish the book.

5. Readers will be reading more books at the same time. First, because they will have those books with them on their eReaders. Second, because some books at better read at different times and under different conditions.  If readers are reading more books at the same time, then it becomes more important for writers to make their books easy to follow and remember for those readers coming back to them after reading part of another book. 

The “Name of the Game”  is Now Getting Your Books Read!

In the past it might have been enough to get a book sold. Most readers would eventually get around to reading it. Today, however, selling a book is just the beginning!  Authors need to get readers to actually read their books.

If a reader has an author’s book but does not finish it, then that reader is much less likely to buy another one of that author’s books.  If a reader has an author’s book on her eReader, then she is less likely to buy another one of that author’s books until she reads the one she already has.

The Numbers Don’t Favor Many New Writers

Established authors, with a large number of faithful fans, may not need to change very much. However, the numbers do not favor new authors. Ebooks have made it much more likely that a writer will publish. This fact alone has greatly increased the number of books available for sale. With many established authors now publishing their out-of-print backlist books, the supply of well written books is rapidly increasing. Many of these backlist books are updated by their authors and appear exactly like new books in their digital format. All this new supply means there will be many more books available to read but there will be no more time in the day to read them.

Market Segmentation Means Smaller Target Audiences

Since eBooks cost less to produce, they can be profitable even with a much smaller target market. Smaller markets lead to new subgenres. If a reader wants an Amish romantic comedy with a mystery involving vampires, there is a chance that story is out there.

Once in America there were many profitable national magazines. Then TV killed their advertising revenue. Most of the big national magazines  have died. Yet magazine still thrive today by serving very small but highly targeted markets. Just visit a Barnes & Noble bookstore and you’ll see hundreds of magazines on sale.

Books are becoming like the magazine market. This segmentation of reading choices makes readers much more picky in what they judge as interesting enough to read. As such readers are more likely to be able to get exactly the kind of story they want. This will make them less patient with books that are not exactly what they were looking for. The future will produce more picky readers, smaller markets and readers who have little tolerance for ‘sagging middles’ -- this even includes the middles of individual chapters.

Reading Time is Finite – While Books Available to Read Keeps Expanding 

With many more books available and so many specialized subgenres for a reader to choose from, it is going to become harder for any author to make a living writing books. The key to success in the future will be in writing many books in the new ‘dip-into-and-pop-out-of’ style – while also doing what is necessary to get people to actually finish reading those books.

Shorter Books – More Rewarding Endings

I believe that books will get shorter. Endings will need to be more rewarding and more deliberately written to the author’s next book. The best time to sell the next book is immediately after the satisfied reader has finished the current one.  Ebooks should always end with a list of the author’s other books. There is some good news: books that never go out of print will provide authors with added income opportunities that were not available under the old print book system.

The Need to Build Your “Auto-Buy” List of Fans

Having Facebook friends and building a platform of fans is important. But the real prize is in building an author’s ‘auto-buy’ list of fans. These are fans who will buy any of an author’s new books -- once they learn about them.

Giving Readers Reasons to ‘Have Read’ Your Book
If an author wants to sell her books, then she will need to get readers, who already own her books, to read them. It is not enough that a reader has purchased a book. It must be read. This means writers will still need to market their books to those who already own them. This is where social media can be a great help. Even if a blog visit does not sell any books, it still can be successful if it gets people who already own any of the author’s books to read them. Authors should be thinking of ways to provide reasons for readers to read their books. Both the readers who have their books and those that don’t.

One idea would be to set the book in a location where many people visit. Get the message out that “if you are going to go to Mesa Verde Park”, for example, “then you really should read this book first”. Another idea would be to give an insider’s view of a sport or hobby that many people have an interest it. Perhaps you could select ‘ballooning’.  You might even have a book about traveling around the country going to Bluegrass Festivals. There are many ways to do this. These might be called books that do more than simply entertain. The new marketing may well center around creating many different reasons for readers to buy and read your book. 

 The Lessman Lesson & The Necessity of Writing A Page-Turner 

 By necessity, Julie Lessman has learned to write in a highly rewarding fashion. Her books offer a good example of some of the ways to write for the new reading environment. I covered this subject in my review last year of, “A Hope Undaunted,” which I titled, “How to Write a 500-Page “Page-Turner”!

As I see it, Julie has two main challenges in keeping a reader’s interest. First, her books are long so the job is just harder. Second, her stories are part of a multi-generational family saga. This often means that just when one chapter gets really interesting, the story switches to another storyline at the start of the next chapter. This can be somewhat frustrating for the reader. Just as a reader gets really hooked into a storyline, a different one interrupts the fun. This situation requires that the author always be rewarding the reader and doing so very quickly.

While reading, “A Love Surrendered,” it occurred to me that this book really has eighteen ‘first’ chapters. Each chapter could serve as the start of a new book. Each chapter would also make a good writing contest entry. In a way, there can be no ‘sagging middle’ if there is no perceived middle at all. What,“A Love Surrendered,” seems to do is have a new but interrelated segment at the start of each chapter.

“A Love Surrendered” is a particularly interesting book because it brings together eight story lines with eight individual HEAs.  There are the continuing HEAs for five of the O’Connor children, the first HEA for the hero and heroine of this final story, the HEA for the mother and father, Patrick and Marcy, and finally the HEA for the extended family as a whole. Observing how to keep all these threads interesting, as the various storylines switch from chapter to chapter, is like attending a master class on how to reward and keep a reader’s interest.

More ways to reward a reader for reading.

I’ve posted some ways to reward a reader here in past. Below are some more. 

How Making Your ‘Reading Experience’ More Rewarding Can Spell Greater Success!

What Mega Selling Authors Know That You  Could Use to Boost Your Sales


1. Make your dedication count. (A dedication can enhance the reading experience by validating the author’s expertise or sincerity. Remember you are dealing with the total reading experience. What the reader thinks of the writer is like the ambiance in a restaurant.)

Missy Tippens has an exemplar dedication in her "A House Full of Faith".  A heartwarming dedication like this one makes the reader feel more disposed to like the author and enjoy the story. A sincere dedication is even more important when writing an inspirational novel.

2. Make your acknowledgements validate your knowledge. Readers will enjoy their reading experience more deeply if they are assured that the author is knowledgeable about the subject matter. 

Ruth Logan Herne has an ideal acknowledgement passage in her, “A Family to Cherish.”  This is about three hundred words long but then you know Ruth. When a story covers medical problems, acknowledgments made to medical experts add an important element of trust and confidence to the reading experience. 
3. Use locations that many readers would like to visit or revisit. A great location is a way to ‘build-in’ strong marketing elements even before you write the first word.  Mona Risk has a to-die-for location in her, “Sailing With You,” which takes place mostly outdoors on the Greek island of Mykonos. I bought this book for the cover and was amply rewarded! 


4. Have characters with interesting jobs or hobbies. (Be sure to show the character doing that job or hobby or the reader will feel cheated.)   Mary Connealy has a hero who is a western painter in, “Wrangler in Petticoats”.  Not only are the paintings important to the story, the story is set in the Yellowstone Park area. (This is a marketing ‘two-fer’!) Marketers love authors like Mary who build strong marketing elements into their stories.

 Wrangler in Petticoats" -- A Book Mark Twain Would Enjoy"-Philosophy of Romance.

5. Have things happen sooner than the reader anticipates. (A debt paid early is twice paid.) I must admit authors are doing this much more often than they used to. It used to be that a girl would be asked to the prom and it would take two chapters for the prom to happen. Now the next scene will often open at the prom. Readers love, love, love to get to the ‘good stuff’ sooner than they expected. 

6. Avoid the use of common or popular writing expressions. Say things in a way only you would say them and in a way the reader has not heard them before. This makes for fresher and more rewarding reading. (I’ve read about smiles that don’t reach up to the eyes at least a dozen times lately.)

7. Use more poetic, fresh, and snappy, language. When I used ordinary language in advertising my boss used to draw a tired person next to the copy. This was a wakeup call. When you are layering, let one layer be a wake up call.

8. Five-sense your copy: use all the senses when possible without being stilted. Tina Radcliffe’s, “Rancher’s Reunion” has many good examples of five-sensing. Here is a good passage:

“Her senses greedily feasted on the American sights and sounds. It was the simple things she’d missed; the twang of an Oklahoma accent, the U.S. Flag hanging high in the terminal, a sign advertising Mazzio’s pizza, the chatter of the crowd in English, and American food. The tantalizing aroma of a bagel kiosk caused a pause in her steps. Onion, chive and garlic. They all called out to her.”  

9. Multi-emotionalize your writing. More than most fiction, romances are meant to be felt. Introduce a whole range of different emotions. Keep the reader feeling different things. The vicarious feelings of being loved, admired, desired, and the like act as emotional vitamins for many readers. All of Julie Lessman’s ‘edgy Christian fiction’ stories are very passionate and emotionally fulfilling. Expressing just one emotion is like a meal with only one item. Offer the reader a splendid multi-course gourmet experience.

10. Introduce the reader to new odors, fragrances and other olfactory experiences. Describe them with poetic beauty. Often these scents are expensive and have never been experienced by the reader. See if you can smell a sample of a very expensive perfume. Go and write down your description of the scent. 

11. Introduce readers to new tastes: exotic foods, wines, candies, etc. This should include the texture, color, and mouth-feel. Again, give the reader new experiences. Could a wine testing experience fit into your story?

12. Introduce readers to new sights: like the view from a high mountain, a look through a giant telescope, or what a skydiver sees when falling to earth.

13. Introduce readers to new sounds. Like what does it sound like to be diving sixty feet under water? Is there any noise? Can you hear any of the fish? What do the ships above sound like?

14. Write crystal clear copy. This is copy that never has to be reread in order to be understood in the author’s intended context. All of Janet Dean’s books provide good examples of this style of writing. 

15. Have anticipatory events that are resolved at various time spans in the story from very short to medium to book length. The reader thus always has something to look forward to happening. Give the reader lots of things to look forward to, as many YA books do, and you won’t have to rely so heavily on increasing tension or forever  raising the stakes to maintain reader interest.

16. Don’t have all depressing events. Allow your main characters to enjoy small victories along the way. The reader may well be in a character’s head for hours. Let there be some happy moments. Even if this is just having the heroine win a $50 radio contest. Small victories are like smelling the roses along the way.

17. Add factoids: these are facts that can make the reader feel smarter. Choose facts that seamlessly add credibility to a character’s knowledge. These could be ‘Rules of Thumb’ from the character’s trade.

18. Add historical facts when they fit into the story. Read books on “Things We Know That Ain’t So.”. Readers really feel rewarded when they learn something is not true that they always thought was true. Did you know that Woodrow Wilson’s first name was Thomas? Did you know that Thomas means twin? Historical facts are nice in period pieces but the facts that have the most impact are the ones where readers have to change what they once thought was true. Such facts are more rewarding than ordinary facts.

19. Add some handy ‘how to’ stuff like a good way to clean a coffee stain on a shirt. This should be knowledge that the character would have. Build credibility for your characters by having them say things that have the potential to make the reader smarter.

20. Show how other people do things differently: in Italy they wave goodbye with their palm facing the person waving. If coffee is made differently be sure to point this out.

Most of these rewards make reading more interesting. Most do not have to be in the first draft. Rewards are very amendable to being layered into the copy later. Rewards should not be in the story just to be in the story. They should be supportive of the story in some way. If the hero is just back from a trip to France, he could give the heroine a new experience like an exotic perfume or unique chocolate candy. The reader could then experience the gift along with the heroine. That is if the author writes in a way to bring that experience  to life for the reader. 

“What Gets Rewarded, Gets Done.”

Michael LeBoeuf


About Vince Mooney

Vince is a friend of Seekerville. He is a teacher, real estate broker, owner of a real estate school and former marketing executive. He has written nationally and internationally syndicated advertising with over 3,000,000 words in print. He has published in professional journals, wrote a real estate book for the Real Estate Education Company and has written over 100 different real estate seminars approved by Oklahoma for continuing education. He is currently writing fiction and a nonfiction book on ‘Rewarding the Reader’ which is almost finished! Vince blogs regularly at Philosophy of Romance.

Seekerville is giving away a surprise birthday present in honor of Vince's visit today. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition. 

Comment today! Check out our Birthday Presents!


  1. Vince, I thought I left Microeconomics behind last semester. I have to say though, if you'd have been my teacher, I would have understood it much better.

    This is another print worthy post. I love these rewards, but for a new writer, worrying over one more thing is a bit daunting. I thought pov shifts were bad enough. ;)

  2. The coffee pot's full, and the first cup is reserved for VINCE!

    A lot to absorb here. I need to go back and read it again.


  3. "I believe that books will get shorter." Vince, bite your tongue LOL!!! I am a lover of long, juicy stories (here's looking at you Julie) and even though I love ereaders I might have to throw mine out the window if it means stories get shorter. I really like getting to know my characters and I love details. I'm not saying that I don't like 200-300 pagers because I do but if I fall in love with a character I do sometimes find myself wishing for more. I guess maybe that's why I like series (like Julie;s again) where when the book ends you don't have to worry about not "seeing" the characters you know and love again.

    I gotta say I loved this post and the paragraph under Ebooks Have Changed Reading -- Books as Cable TV, yeah, I live it too Vince! Glad I'm not the only one!

  4. Thank you for a wealth of interesting and helpful information.

    I have also acquired many Ebooks books which I shall probably never read, however I now happily think of my Kindle as a library and love having a big selection of books to choose from.


    Thanks for the coffee. I think I am going to need it. I hope to see you in the morning. I’m interested in what our coffee expert has to say.


  6. We definitely have shorter attention spans, but I'm with Renee, if you give me characters I love, write 500 pages, if you want to tell me the background of France's international history, yeah, I'd rather you keep it short. ha ha

    Now as to my exploding kindle library--yep, much pickier about what freebies I pick up when I've forgotten what I've downloaded already. Glad Amazon reminds me I already have it when I go to get it again. And I like looking at my huge TBR pile, the physical one, the kindle one, well, sometimes I think "is that on my kindle or am I just making up that memory."

    So I must think up ways to make readers read the book they've already bought. More marketing! Yay!

    Wait, I didn't hear anyone yelling "yay" with me, so I'll scream again, scream with me: YAY!

    Oh come on now, people the crickets are chirping louder than that!


    I think you will find microeconomics a lot easier than learning writing skills. Writing may sound like one thing but it actually requires mastering dozens of different skills. Until you lean most of them, writing seems almost impossible; but when you can do the right things by habit, then 'presto' you may be able to write several books a year. Mary says it only took her twenty books to reach this level but look how it has paid off!

    I think the best way to speed up the learning curve is staying tuned to the Seekers.



    While books will get shorter, longer books will always be available because of the greater market segmentation. They don’t make many war movies anymore but you can watch old war movies all day long on one of the cable channels.

    I believe that writers are going to have to get better at picking their target markets.


  9. This is thought provoking indeed.
    I don't have a Kindle but always wondered just how valuable offering free books on Amazon is. I appreciate the theory - that readers will love what you've written and buy your next book or backlist.
    Thanks, Vince.


    I feel the same way. While I may not read many of the books on my Kindle, there will be authors who by their efforts will drive me to read their books. Also, I have a policy of reading at least one book at random each month. This is how to make discoveries at no cost. Thanks for you comment.


  11. Books are becoming like the magazine market. This segmentation of reading choices makes readers much more picky in what they judge as interesting enough to read. As such readers are more likely to be able to get exactly the kind of story they want. This will make them less patient with books that are not exactly what they were looking for.

    ---I'm going to be picky and say I don't agree. Readers of literary fiction are left out of this group, perhaps. Genre readers definitely are looking for something specific. Those who read widely aren't as prone to dropping the book when it doesn't meet their 'expectations'.

    What I'm saying is that not all readers are genre readers..

    Therefore the theory may not work for all books.

    I have so much to say here and not sure how to comment... One long post? Many small posts?

    Oh, wait, let me read the article again,

    Reward the reader of my posts by fulfilling expectations and giving a nod to their tiny attention spans!

  12. There is some good news: books that never go out of print will provide authors with added income opportunities that were not available under the old print book system.

    HOORAY!!Books that never go out of print! I remember the days of driving five hours to troll through Portland's antique book shops for out of print treasures.

  13. Add some handy ‘how to’ stuff like a good way to clean a coffee stain on a shirt. This should be knowledge that the character would have. Build credibility for your characters by having them say things that have the potential to make the reader smarter.

    --- Oh boy, this is so true. Every now and then I'll write a character who runs some kind of business or works in some area I've heard of ... but know nothing about.

    I have Google. How ahrd can it be?

    Huh. The last book I wrote I ahd the heroine as a search engine expert who worked for businesses needing to boost their internetprofiles.

    I finally changed it after 98 pages because I could hardly understand the person who was helping me with her 'profession'.

  14. Now, one more post. I think I read Vince's second post on reader rewards.

    It wasn't an a-ha moment or a eureka moment.

    It was a Mount Vesuvias moment.

    I looked at all my previous writing, buried under cliches and tired, lagging prose... And walked away.

    It made mea different reader, too. I looked at what I loved, and saw the REWARDS PER PAGE, instead of just laughs and sighs and groans and edge-of-the-seat nail biting moments.


    I’m a fan of Julie’s longer books because they keep my interest and the emotional payoff is greater when you’ve spent years with characters. “A Lover Surrendered” really did have eight interrelated HEAs. But really only if you read all six books.

    Would you read a longer book if it came out in six shorter books at about $1.99 each? There is something to getting your HEA fix without waiting so long. I love the medical romances because the are so emotional and very short.

    Oh, yes, I can see nothing but more and more marketing needing to be done in the future. This is why I think authors should build in great marketing elements before they write the first word. It’s like what I hear mothers used to tell their daughters: “You can love a rich man just as well as a poor man.”

    To wit:

    You can write books rich in marketing ‘vitamins’ as well as books lacking in marketing attractions. Think about it.


  16. As always, Vince, a very well thought out post. Much to mull over, thanks.


    Thanks for your comment. Free samples have often been the strongest and best working form of advertising. However, the sample has to be really good and not too costly to give away.

    With Kindle free books the whole product is given away and not really a ‘sample’. The book is only a sample of the writers other books. If there are many other books to sell, then giving away one book (and that same book) all the time, can really sell the other books.

    Of course, giving away your only book acts to destroy the value and really upsets the readers who paid the full price before the giveaway. A lot of thought has to go into free ebooks – what is best can differ for each author.



    I feel the same way. Please drop back after you’ve mulled and let me know if you have any questions.


  19. Wow. Your post really packed a lot of information to digest. I learned so much. Thanks for sharing your insight. :)


    I agree. I am not including literary readers in the bulk of these observations. This post is targeted at genre readers in general and romance readers in specific.

    I love T.S. Eliot but then I have the knowledge to understand what he is doing and saying. I read him for insights and I like feeling smart once in a while. It is almost axiomatic that literary fiction is going to be hard to read. When a writer is praised for using elegant 300 and 400 word sentences, I just lose interest.



    While the MTV generation may have shorter attention spans, the real change is going to be the tiny spans open to read at various times. With eBooks, the book is often with you (if you use your phone as an ereader) so even people with long attention spans may be reading in short segments. Of course, they will probably select books at are suitable to be read in this fashion. But then their ebook reader can hold many such books as well as the classics. "A Moveable Feast", a book I just love, is ideal to read in short spans.



    Did you not like this post? It’s part of a 78 page outline for a book on how reading itself is changing. Any comments will be very helpful at this early stage, I can take whole new directions.



    I hope you enjoy what you discover here. I’d love to know what you think. Thanks for your comment.


  24. I'm with the others, Vince. Printing and highlighting this for sure! I want to applaud you for sharing this:

    This is the time they could have spent reading a better book or of doing something else altogether with their leisure time.

    I'm blessed to be a fast reader, and can put away a Love Inspired in three hours and a Lessman-length in six to eight (faster if it's YA). But I still get aggravated if at the end I don't think it was worth my time, and really aggravated if I don't think it was worth my money. I buy books. And if I paid for it, I'll finish it no matter what because I'm desperately trying to get what I paid for. Which is why reviews are more important to me than ever.

    Free e-books annoy me, but most of you know this. =)


    Again Tina did a masterful job with the graphics and layout of this post. Also all the links. I don’t think anyone gets treated better than a guest on Seekerville.


  26. Since I'm still in a cheering mood, I shall do a triple salchow (mainly because I did a triple lutz in a previous day's post because I didn't know how to spell /sow cow/ and it's been bothering me.)

    So, again, a triple salchow since the first one lost all it's luster as I digressed. And a cheer!

    Tina, Tina, she's our chick, if you can't compose a post with links and pics, she'll do some neat html tricks. Go Tina!

    I'm not in any shape or form procrastinating writing.....


    Your comment is very interesting because I have not considered the rate at which people read books. I’m slow because I like to read at several levels. I also like to predict what will happen next or why an author did something when she did. I also read trying to learn how to write. Of course, unless it is nonfiction and we really want to learn facts, the goal of most reading is to enjoy the experience and not to get the book finished.

    I’m like you. I’ve read books in the past because I paid $25 for them and they were not good books. Today, with so many free books, I tend more to think of what my time is worth more than what the book cost.

    Reading itself is changing and that will probably change readers as well. We will just have to watch and see what happens.


  28. Awesome post, Vince - great food for thought! I really appreciate all of your advice here and in your comments on my blog. :)


  29. I think it's even more important for readers who aren't able to consume as quickly to "get it right" when selecting a book that is going to be satisfying for them.

    I'm probably going to be SLIGHTLY less aggravated if the quality of the writing is subpar in a book I just finished than a slower reader is going to be. In a month, for me, it's that one potato chip in the bag that's brown because the sugar content was too high and you throw it out and keep going. But for a slower reader, that "dud" is like opening your package of peanut butter cups and one of the two of them is smashed and broken.

    For the record, I make a clear distinction between quality of the writing, which is sometimes craft, and sometimes just making me HAVE TO KNOW what happens, and when I'm reading outside my preferred genres. I'm not a cozy mystery or comedy reader, so when I read those, I can take them or leave them no matter how well they're written. Which is why I can see your system here being so effective. Because these apply across all genres and would enrich that reading experience in genre's that don't normally appeal to me.
    Or... they could just have an amazing hero, which works better. =D

  30. Vince, you had me at "hello"!!!!

    This is a printer-offer...

    A KEEPER....

    As are you, Vince Mooney!!!

    And it is chock-full of info that we don't even necessarily know we need, but Vince, you've defined what sets a grab-it-up-and-read-it book apart from the throw downs.


    And this should be taught (I see your teaching style so clearly here) at every conference in America until writers get it.

    "Get to the good stuff"....

    That's what writers often fail to do because we fall in love with our own voice.

    Vince, this is a perfect reminder. THANK YOU!!!!!

    Grinning and learning in upstate!

    (with acknowledgements, LOL!)


  31. Okay, that's what happens when everyone in the world uses your computer.

    That wasn't Beth J.....

    It was the Ruthmeister Meisterburger.

    Oh my stars. I'm going to need to start scanning my open pages when I get up to see who was in the writer's chair LAST.

    Hey, Friday Food!!!!

    Helen brought coffee, so yayayayay!

    I'm having breakfast brought in from Brueggers Bagels. I love their Asiago Parmesan and cannot wait to dive in and eat one. Or two.


    (Although I like Panera's Cinnamon Crunch way better than Brueggers.)

    But I'm not driving to both because I must get that 1000/day done!!!!

    VINCE!!! Thank you for being here, big guy!

  32. Laughing at Virginia's post about the Internet Search Engine profession!!!!

    And you know the funny part? While all the research is needed to make believable circumstances, we use very little of it in category romances because of the condensed length.

    If I wax too long????

    I get reminded to get back to the romance and they're so right.

    When I study my own reading habits, Vince, I come up with your profile as laid out here. If it doesn't meet my expectations (which are different as an author) I toss it.

    My time is crazy limited. I don't fritter it ever.


    If I'm reading to learn, to study, to feed my brain (Black Hawk Down, The Mole People, Liars Poker, etc.) then I devour the book hunting for nuggets of wisdom. So I handle them differently because my internal goal is very different.

    But for category? This is Gold For The Author.

  33. In the past, I've realized from his blog comments that Mr. Vince knows his stuff, but wow! You should write for Seekerville more often! I'm not a writer, but as a reader, I'd have to say it seems your analysis is spot-on. =)


  34. Vince, the part that stands out for me is that there is not enough time in the day to read books. This is the saddest statement of all. I have hundreds of books in my house, books that I've bought but never gotten invested in. Still, they're readily available for me to pick up. I'm waiting for the time. I always have the reason.

    As for my Nook and Kindle, I realized before I read your post that I have a lot of free books, many of which I'll never read. However, I never thought about the disposable nature of books in my eReader being out of sight and out of mind. I like that, by using an eReader, I can carry my books with me and pick up whatever mood strikes my fancy. I like the fact that my page is kept, ready for me to dive back in. This has allowed me to keep more books going at once.

    About "A Love Surrendered," the one comment I never see mentioned is the amazing cover model, but that's another story.

  35. Melissa, I always found both the lutz and salchow hard when you're just doing a single, so I'm impressed by triples. A waiting to watch you do a triple axel.

  36. I have to say I do like the shorter books Love the LI books and the ones around 300.
    I have lots of free ebooks also and have to say think I have only read one or two of them.
    I have actually downloaded books that are free that I have at home I haven't read and am now donating the hard copies to the church libary (which I really need to work on in the next week.) We have a new bookcase ordered which has now arrived so need the books to add to it. around 100 here to finish covering.

  37. okay folks. it's five am in Denver and raining and cold. WHAT ARE YOU DOING UP??

    Pass the coffee!!

  38. Well with 246 books on my Kindle sometimes I forget what's on there.

    I was at the ACFW Conference and when I heard all the buzz on Lisa Wingate's Dandelion Summer I tried to download it, but wireless wouldn't work. So I checked and whoa I had a free Lisa Wingate on my Kindle.

    I devoured Moses Lake. Wonderful book.

    Was delighted to find a new author.

    And yes. I have purchased Dandelion Summer.

    No moral to this story. But maybe Vince can find one.

  39. Thanks for the cheers Vince and Melissa.

    I'm still mulling those ice skating moves. I own ice skates. Yes. I do.

  40. I am a book surfer, too, Vince. It is rare that I finish a book, but I find that I do finish it if I connect immediately to the protagonist OR if I feel connected to the author. If I grab a Seekerville book, I finish because I feel connected to the Seekers. If I grab a Nicholas Sparks book, I finish because he lives an hour away so I feel a little bond there :)...You are so right in saying that today's authors have to deliver even more than they were once expected to. No more slow moving novels. That's something I really need to work on. I've been told my novels move a bit too slow for today's readers, lol.

    Thanks for the post!

  41. Book surfer. I like that--and it's so true. I know my reading habits have changed. Not the writing so much, since I've always written for digital. :)

    another great post today, with so much to re-read and think about.

  42. Vince, that's a lot of information to process this early in the morning.

    I have two collections on my kindle; READ and BORING/UNFINISHED.

    As usual, your thoughts are on the money. :)

  43. For all the figure skaters in the is now snowing in Denver.

  44. Good morning, Vince! Another great "keeper" post on the importance of rewarding our readers! Thank you!

  45. TINA -- Snowing in Denver! The season's first flakes are SO magical, aren't they?

  46. Vince could probably have a thriving business being a beta reader. I always worry about what tired cliche is sitting there in my story overlooked, so I ask people to PUHLEASE tell me what's snoozy here...

    I use the 'reward system' but it's worth re-reading a few times during a WIP. And I'll be glad to buy the book Vince. When it goes viral through Seekerville you will have a hefty start on sales!

    Thank you all for a great week. Hasn't it been amazing?

  47. Vince! If this post had pages, I'd be turning them as fast as I could read them!

    Yes, we're in the entertainment business and we've got to give the reader a reason to come back to US. To buy OUR books. I love all the advice you've offered and am printing off your words of wisdom as we speak.

    I wonder if I sleep with the printout under my pillow, will my brain absorb all the brilliant points you've made? LOL!

    Headed back to re-read your advice and as always, it's great to have you teach in Seekerville, Vince!

  48. Vince,

    What a great post. I'll be referring to this often.

    Seekerville always challenges me in a good way. Thanks for the ideas on how to write a stronger story that a reader will actually read.

    I hope you all have a great day!
    Jackie L.

  49. What a great, lengthy, informative post. Lots of information to think about.
    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  50. Vince said: Readers will want books that make it easy to ‘dip into and pop out of’ the narrative without getting lost. This will require short chapters, memorable characters with appropriately unique names.

    Audra says: Oooo, now you're catering to my highly ADD brain! Yep, I prefer the "Rawhide" method of reading...

    "Move 'em on, head' em up
    Head 'em up, move' em on
    Move 'em on, head' em up

    Keep moving, moving, moving
    Though they're disapproving
    Keep them doggies moving

    That theme song is going to be going through my mind all day now.


  51. Another thought about Ebooks.= I hop on freebies quite often. It's nice to browse that virtual bookshelf and see 'what do I feel like reading now...'.

    Freebies have given me the chance to read a book I wanted to read but didn't buy. I can't say it's about being cheap (it's also about lack of funds). Yet I harbor guilt at times. Tell me it's okay to love a free book :)

    Vince, I think the analogy of 'nothing to watch on cable' is perfect. Thanks for heaping on the pressure by the way.


    Right on about Tina! She will always make you look better than you think you are!

    Triple jumps are great but stay away from those quads…they will destroy your ankles and shorten your career. :)



    It’s great to see you here Amber! You do a great job on “Seasons of Humility”. You are so nice that my wife and I want to adopt you. (Especially now that you’ve graduated from college!)

    I hope your editing business is off to a fast start! Good luck.


  54. Absolutely fascinating, Vince. Just WOW - so many new things to think about. Thanks.


    I’ll have to investigate reading speed. I think if you can write so a slow reader can read faster, then that reader may think the book is a better read. Things go quickly when you are having fun.

    Here’s a question for you: if the same book were written two ways. One way could be read twice as fast as the first but there is no loss in quality. Would you pick the fast read?

    Or would you rather the reading enjoyment last twice as long? Reading speed needs to be looked into because it is part of the entire package.


  56. Awwww Vince, My hero. What a great post and would I expect otherwise?

    Thanks for all the super info.

    I'm like Walt. The saddest part is we don't have time to read everything we have. LOL Oh to just sit and enjoy a whole book.

    But what a collection we have. And you're so right. We do have to capture our readers and hold them. Thanks for all the tips

    Have fun today. You're always amazing.

  57. This was such a fabulous post. I feel stuffed after reading it--you put so many good morsels in it for a writer. Your thoughts about a reader and time being more valuable than money when it comes to books was priceless.

    I also loved your ideas for rewarding readers. I definitely need to re-read your post to see what I can layer in.

    Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom!

  58. Vince, one other thing you said got me thinking. Giving what I'll call story rewards at different points in the book. I think I've kind of done this as my plot unfolded, but you also got me thinking on if I've done that throughout my story. You've got my mind spinning this morning. :)


    This comment already made my week! You are so nice even if you really are Ruth! : )

    You can change your name but not your typography. Remember: I can tell your posts from across the room. Some call it irrepressible. I’ve conducted over 3,000 real estate seminars. I’d love, love, love to do one at a romance conference.

    My RPP book is written and I am now adding examples of each of the rewards from current books. So a lot of Seekers are going to be in my book. (That’s called building the marketing in the book!)


    P.S. Don’t forget about that Allegany Maple Cake!

    P.P.S. Also, you've really mastered the art of the acknowledgement!

  60. Ditto all the praise heaped upon Vince's post. Insight and practical application: the dynamic duo.



  61. MELISSA and TINA--I haven't ice skated in years (since I dragged my now hubby to a rink when he let me plan the date. Which happened once, I might add), but I wrote a scene with ice skating in my book. :)

  62. TINA--I'm trying hard not to be jealous about the snow. All we have is the cold. :) Hope you don't have to go out in it too much today.


    I agree that people read for different reasons. I read “Sailing With You” because I wanted to relive my visits to Greek islands. I wanted there to be many outdoor scenes and there were. It gave me what I wanted and I loved it. That’s why I think it is so important for the cover art to attract the attention of the prospects who would most love the book.

    I had a great teacher once and he always said: “Teach from the overflow” and don’t depend on what is in the textbook. It’s best to not use the textbook at all. Give them the benefit of your knowledge. I think this is true for writing. Even if you do not use your research, you write better when you write from the overflow and not just from what everyone already knows about the subject. Thanks for making me think of this. It good stuff. I think it will go in the book. : )

    Yea, I guess I’ll give you an acknowledgement.


  64. i always learn so much on 'seekers'...thanks for sharing, vince

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  65. Ice skating is fun, though I don't do it nearly as often as I used to do. I have my own skates, one of the few times I ever purchased something in a specialty store.

  66. Good morning, Vince!

    I agree with so many others - this post is a keeper -

    I think you're right about market segmentation - but I think it's always been there. We just notice it more because of the sheer numbers of segments and the huge numbers of readers.

    But that doesn't change the fact that MY target audience will be different than other author's audience. So building my list of "auto-buy" fans has to be done in a way that reaches MY fans, and that means that someone else's marketing strategies may or may not work for me.

    Not only are the reader's genre tastes and reading styles segmented, the rest of their lives are, too. Where they hang out on the internet, what magazines they buy, where they go on vacation, who they talk about - all depend on their interests.

    So our job as writers is to go to where they are.

    My job right now (besides writing the best story I can) is connecting with those future readers. It's a good thing we have common interests!

    Thanks for the lessons! I'll be re-reading your post many times :)


    Keeping more books going at one time is going to change reading in unexpected ways. Books that didn’t compete with each other now can. Often I’m reading a good book but switch to a new book and it is far more interesting so I finish it. Then before I go back to the old book, I start a new one. After all, my page is saved and the old book is not going to go anywhere. It’s not like my wife is going to move it where I can’t find it. As such I may never get back to the first book which, by the way, I was enjoying and in the past I would have finished and been happy with.

    I think this is another reason why it is so important for authors to get people to read and finish the books they already have!

    BTW: here’s something I learned doing advertising. Do you know who had the highest readership by far of software ads? That is, the people who read all of the copy in the ad?

    People who had just bought the product! They wanted to know if they were missing any of the features of the product. I think readers are like that. After they buy a book, they will be the most attentive to reviews and author blogs.

    Reading is changing. Readers are changing. Writing will be forced to adapt. Thanks for your insights.

    Do you have another Christmas novella coming out? I love Christmas novellas and yours came in a collection.


  68. Great thoughts Vince.

    Jodie Wolfe


    I’ve given away hundreds of my print books. I’d really like to see a program where publishers would give a free digital copy of any print book you donate to a library or charity. I have over 10,000 print books that I needed, just in case, and I’d love to give them away to libraries if only I could have a digit version. I need the room!

    At least it is better to have more books and none. I hope you get to use you bookcase for books. My wife uses bookcases for everything but books!


  70. Great post, Vince. So thoughtful.

    RE number 5 - Have things happen sooner than the reader thinks. I'm dealing with that right now in my WIP. Last night, I was contemplating biting my fingernails because I thought this particular scene would fall later in the book, but your post is making me feel like I need to leave it where it is and work harder to keep the strong scenes coming!

    RE the ebook/Kindle - I believe it was at RWA this summer that I heard a speaker say that shortly publishers are going to be able to tap into our kindles to see how far we made it in their books! The idea is that they would then see which authors are really cutting the grade. I hope someone comes up with HIPPA laws for Kindles, cause I don't want to have authors judged by where I've paused! Sometimes I don't get back to my Kindle books until I'm traveling! That might mean a six month break before I get back to a book. Yikes...

  71. Vince, thank you. I don't have a novella coming out this year. However, I do have Christmas stories in my TBR pile, most notably Ruthy's Yuletide Hearts from last year that I saved for this Christmas (already started and it has a phenomenol opening premise) as well as Virginia's Season of Joy (which I've also started and which also catches you from the first page).

    Unfortunately, Ms. Lessman's book doesn't come out until November.


    Wow! Only 246 books on your Kindle. You must be busy. Actually, I am now very picky on even downloading free books! Most that draw my interest, I still don’t download after reading the blurbs. I don’t know when my free ride will end and my Kindle will fill up.

    I did the same thing you did with Lisa Wingate. I had “Moses Lake” unread on my Kindle but I really wanted to read “Dandelion Summer” because it is the only Carol book to get five perfect scores from the judges. I had to read it. I am reading it. It is great. And better yet, it was available for Kindle from the Tulsa Library! But here’s the problem, I only have two more days to finish it and I have 39% left. It must be longer than I thought. On Kindle it can be hard to judge how long a book is.

    The moral here: if you have your book for the Kindle from the library, read faster. BTW: you are not allowed to renew Kindle books but you can buy them, complete with all your highlights and notes, from Amazon.



    You wrote:

    “I am a book surfer, too, Vince. It is rare that I finish a book, but I find that I do finish it if I connect immediately to the protagonist OR if I feel connected to the author.”

    This is a great quote! The best ‘page turner’ is really caring what happens to the characters. The sooner this happens, the better. It is said that you should ‘shoot the sheriff on the first page’. I think it would be better to have the reader fall in love with the sheriff on the first page. Of course, you could do both.

    And a good way to get people to read and finish books is by developing an interest in the author. That sounds a little like Seekerville.



    I like your picture. I know it’s you at once even on other blogs. I think a great many people ‘book surf’ but it is not something we tell authors. I think you have an advantage having always written for digit markets.

    Once things change, they will become the norm and the old way will be passé. I wonder how many people who like long books still read Dickens? Most likely, they want long books written in the new way. Thanks for your insights.


  75. Wow, I read every word of that, Vince. Really interesting.
    Kind of depressing, too.
    You're so right about Kindle. I dont'
    have 12,000 books on mine but I have a scad of them that I now, when I scroll through them, can't even remember buying.
    I wonder where it will all end? Like cable TV with hundreds of shows I've never heard of and never seen? It's all a little scary.


    This is so true but is there a way to get you back interested in your unfinished books? What could an author do? A book can be boring if read for one reason and interesting if read for a different reason. This is why I like books that have multi-motivations and more than one conflict in their GMC. Liz Fielding just wrote a contemporary romance that was in every way a Regency for those who understood Regency conventions. Liz give readers a whole second way to enjoy the book. This is what I mean by books being more than one book. Of course, it helps to have the experience of over 50 books behind you.

    Thanks for your comment.


  77. Vince, I always learn a lot from your what to do lists.

    Give the reader lots of things to look forward to and you won’t have to rely so heavily on increasing tension or forever raising the stakes...

    That is golden! And you also pointed out that readers like to learn something from reading a book. I think the recipes Ruthy inserts in some of her books is a great example.

    Thanks for the keeper!


    You wrote:

    “For all the figure skaters in the is now snowing in Denver” .

    Does this mean it is not snowing for the non figure skaters? Is this a case of thinking making it so or are you talking about the paranormal Denver? : )


    Sorry: it’s a philosophy thing.

  79. Good morning all,
    This reader likes a short book at times for a quick read but mostly I like a story that will hold my interest and span many years and characters that have true faith and ephisodes that will make my heart quicken and my tears to fall as I live through their lives.
    I dont like ereaders or pdf files to read a story -I want to hold the book in my hand, turning pages and sifting through the chapters till I read "The End" I truly hope this never changes.
    Vince you seem to have a lot of words in your brain and heart and thanks for bringing them to Seekerville today.
    Paula O(

  80. Vince, I'm always impressed by the voluminous amount of reading you do. I used to do that, but don't do that any more. It seems the more I write, the less I read--less time to read.

    I also like the shorter reads--something that makes a nice break without a huge time requirement. And I DO NOT read more than one book at a time. I'm a tunnel vision kind of gal. I want to go from start to finish on a project before starting another. (small brain)And I don't even have an eReader yet. I've mentioned I might like one for Christmas. :)

    I used to finish a book no matter what. Now I'll toss one if I get too bored--and use the time to write.



    I think clichés are best found on a pass made just looking for them. I edit for things. One pass for 5-sensing. One pass for another set of problems. When you are only looking for one kind of mistake, you can edit very quickly and are more likely to find the problems.

    A cliché is okay if the character says it and that character would say something like that. It is not good if it is the author speaking however. I just read a book where the author wrote of the heroine that her words ‘turned to ashes in her mouth’. This is an example of tired writing that my boss used to get after me for. Say it in a way only you would say it.

    A beta reader looking for all mistakes will miss a great many of them. I like editing in passes. Thanks for you nice comments.


  82. Gee thanks, Vince. I was just gonna hop on and off of Seekerville this morning before using my quiet birthday morning to write. I got royally sucked in. :-)

    I got worried reading the first part of your post and kept saying, "How? How do I reward the reader?" I was thinking automatic chocolate dispenser on each page or something like that. Then I got to the last half. The How-To!
    I love all the ways you've given to reward the reader and didn't feel quite so dense when I realized I had used a few of the examples. Yay! Now... to incorporate all of them more frequently.

    And I'm with Nancy K. I'm a fast reader, too, and a dud now and then doesn't register too highly on my Richter scale. (I took speed reading in high school and consistently read 400 words per minute and as high as 700, although that high dropped my comprehension rate dropped to 80% instead of 100%.) My sister reads MUCH slower, so if she finishes a book in less than a week, I KNOW it was a "fast read" and caught her attention. She also catches things that I miss. It's interesting to compare notes on the same book. And funny sometimes. :-)

    I love the Kindle freebies. I have found some real gems I wouldn't have otherwise tried.

    And I have b-day cake to share. Angel food with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Yum!


    It is really enjoyable for me to read all these nice comments. I feel like a golf pro teaching tournament pros. I can teach it but you Seekers can do it oh so well.

    BTW: I can’t wait to read your historical novels. I think you did the best job of describing a ‘peak experience’ while looking out at the Rockies that I’ve ever read. If you can describe majestic scenes like that so well, you will have the best historical setting possible. I just know you will. So bring it on!


  84. This is an intriguing post. I'm a little terrified at the thought of shorter books. But perhaps this will mean an increase to serials? Instead of one large novel, they might end up 'broken up' into 2, 3 or even 4 shorter ones. Will be interesting to see what emerges.

  85. Mary, I WAS NOT going to bring up the word depressing, especially since I am an unpublished writer trying to get published. BUT Vince is right. And I'm totally guilty. In fact, I have a book sitting on my kindle for almost a year now that I have to do a review for so that I can get other books to review and it's so awful that I can't get beyond the first chapter. What's worse is I checked out some of the other reviews and noticed a lot of 5 stars. Ummm, is there something wrong with me, or them? So, when it comes to my time, I don't want to waste it reading this particular story even while waiting at the DMV. I'd rather be reading a Seeker book.

    The other side of me feels like I have to read it because I don't want it to come back and bite me in the backside when someone downloads my story on their kindle.

    Some of my favorite books on my kindle are the oops on pioneer housecleaning, remedies etc. And then there are stories written by Allen Pinkerton himself. Good research.


    You wrote:

    “Seekerville always challenges me…”

    I couldn’t agree more. If you are not challenged you will not grow. Feeling yourself grow is one of life’s greatest exhilarations. Seekerville is a place to grow and feel good while doing so. What’s not to like? (No, snarky comments, please.) : )


  87. LOL @ WALT's cover model comment. That was awesome.

    VINCE, I'd pick up the fast read. Which is why I was so enamored recently with Andrew Klavan's Crazy Dangerous YA novel. Powered through it in 4 hours and I've read some of his interview questions regarding how reading must adapt for a younger audience raised on video games and electronic media. Very good stuff!

    When I get a book I know I'm going to want to savor, like the new release from a fave author or it's just going to take me longer to get through it because it's SO meaty, like Karl Bacon's An Eye for Glory (Which was FANTASTIC but hard to read because the emotion it evoked in every chapter was almost overwhelming for me as a reader.) Well I plan for those. To either read them in one day (Usually on the weekend)or over several days with some lighter, shorter fare ready to go at the end to "reset" my emotional center and give me some puppies and rainbows.

    I'm an extremely demanding reader. And I know that. So while I enjoy layered stories with beautiful writing, sometimes the writing gets in the way of the story. Beautiful similes and metaphors when overdone increase reading time because I have to stop and evaluate/consider each one and whether it fits or not. Or if the author didn't talk about a character for seven chapters and they're in scene again without a strong enough call-back to remind me who they are and I have to stop and do that myself. That's the kind of thing that makes for a slower read for me and I don't know that they always make those books "better".

    I write how I like a book to be when I read it, which I think is what most of us do. Does that sound right?


    You wrote:

    “What a great, lengthy, informative post. Lots of information to think about.”

    I’m beginning to learn how Julie must feel at times! It is long but it is possible to only read under the subheads that you find interesting.

    That’s another lesson. If you can’t get them to read the whole thing, get them to read something. That something could lead to something else. You can hook a reader anywhere in the story.

    Thanks, you got me thinking along new lines.



    My tax accountant can only see me immediately. Got to run. Back soon.


  90. Great information, Vince! It's especially timely for me as I'm writing the dedication and acknowlegements for my next book.

    I loved your insights into today's reader. I think it's so important for us as writers to understand our audience and to give them those pay offs.

  91. "I like feeling smart once in a while."

    That totally made me LOL.

    Now to read the rest of the comments!

    90 and counting at 9AM my time.

    Vince, you're smokin'!

    (As in smokin' hot... not smokin' dope. But you udnerstood that.)

  92. My head is going to explode.
    Gasping for air.


    Must. Print. Off.
    Read. In. Small. Increments.


    The one word Vince description!

    Thank you for... well... EVERYTHING!!!

    Special sniffs and greetings from May also!!!

  93. "Sorry: it’s a philosophy thing."

    Vince, I have a FB friend like that> I posted a picture with the caption "One moment I was groaning over my cold coffee and the next... my books!"

    It was a picture of my box of HQ books.

    My friend wrote, "Why were you groaning over you books?"

    Philosophical mind, careful reading, and a quick wit... All the hallmarks of a great editor.

  94. I feel I must confess that I've never ice skated in real life--but I'm awesome in cyberland, and I don't even practice.

  95. VINCE:

    As for not liking this post...

    I would try a quad, but since my husband has been bedridden for 2 weeks with a strained back, I think one cripple in the family is our limit.

    Seriously, I was reading Tina Fey's book 'Bossypants' at the time I read that post on RPP.

    Not exactly my first choice of a book (memoir of her Hollywood career) but I couldn't put it down. I was laughing when I should have been sleeping, I read snippets to my kids (the clean parts), and quoted it to my friends.

    It made me look at that book for RPP. Instead of each page, it was PER PARAGRAPH.

    So, not that I love one more than the other, but it was the first time I'd heard of RPP.

  96. Wow--that's a lot to think on! It's so true that the majority of the freebies I've downloaded have gone unread, and I hadn't really considered the implications because in the back of my mind I think, "hey, I'll read it someday." But maybe I won't. Maybe it takes an investment to read. Love the tips for writers toO!


    As for those five stars that don't make sense...

    Everybody came from somebody. :) Just think of all the parents and friends out there...

    I just figure those people have an emotion vested in the author, not the book.

    If it's truly bad, I think probably a pity 5 star. I've done that.

    I want to put a one star, but hey, life is short, right?

    Unless it's offensive and disgusting. I don't have a lot of patience for gratuitous nastiness.

  98. Vince has an accountant? I vote he buys lunch!

  99. OOOh, looksee Georgiana my gala dinner pal is here.

    I try not to stand next to gorgeous people when photo opps come up at Conference, but I totally forgot she was drop dead gorgeous because she is so SWEET.

    Like nice, sweet.

  100. Holding up a 10 PLACARD for Melissa's cyber skating.


  102. Melissa, you've never been ice-skating! You'll have to come up here so we can go. I haven't been in years but love it.

  103. Virginia, I feel like I have to keep turning the page so I can find something nice. That's my goal this weekend, to get it read and out of the way.

  104. Oh, Tina. You made me laugh out loud. :-) Thank you. It's my author pic, and I realized this week I had put it on my author FB page but not my blog. And since the pic is up on my author bio page on Harlequin which links to my FB page and my blog, I had better have some cohesion. :-)

  105. Hello Vince and Happy Birthday Seekerville.

    I'm adamantly opposed to free books. Period.

    I know that's an unpopular stance, but I believe there is a value perception and if Vince is correct (and he usually is :) ) and people are going to book surf etc, then it behooves us the writer to keep the reader, not only with great writing, but with the idea they've invested in us.

    I'm not against a short term 99 cent promotion and I mean short, like 2 days, when you announce a new title (old one/s go on sale) but make it a short and important sale.

    I've been in retail for most of my adult life and a price brings value (right or wrong) to an object.

    Great post Vince, I plan on rereading it a few times.

    And Seekerville, you rock!


  106. This is for Walt:

    Quintuple Axel.


  107. Wonderful article, Vince. Thank you.

  108. Oh my stars, why am I NOT surprised that Vince is this popular????

    ON A FRIDAY!!!!

    Oh, Vince, baby!

    Vince, yes, that's it exactly. Even if the vastness of the knowledge proves unnecessary to the book, the POV is enriched by having an active brain.

    At least that's how I see it in Ruthy-World. Either that or I like to think it improves things!!!

    Acknowledgements mean so much to me and I know I probably go over the top because it's not the Academy Awards, but... I will never understand the lack of acknowledgements in a book because even if someone inspires you by rote research... they deserve a shout.

    But that's a Ruthy-way.

    Hey, peeps, I've got Friday Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches for you!!!!


    From the cart that used to stand near the quadrangle of the University of Pennsylvania (yes, I got many a cheap meal from those vendors!) with cheese...peps, onions, 'shrooms, as you wish!


    The grilled bun makes all the difference!

  109. Stan Williams on Monday, Vince Mooney on Friday. What a great pair of bookends for the first week of our birthday bash!!!!!!

    Vince, you really know how to stir up the ol' brain cells. I enjoyed reading your philosophy of what makes a book (and therefore the author) successful. Your "rewards per page" concept is something every writer should keep in mind. And such great examples!

    Oh, and the whole "free book" thing. I think you're onto something. It's gotten to where I rarely have to fork over actual money for novels. So many are available free for my Kindle or surprise me by arriving in my mailbox. My TBR stack (both real and virtual) is getting out of hand again, so I have to be very selective about which books get read.

    And I guarantee that Seeker books automatically get moved to the top of the stack, because I always know I'm in for a delightful reading experience. See, it pays to hang out with not only great friends but great writers. :)

  110. Hey, I love ice skating.

    Are we a vanishing breed?

  111. Walt, I hope you love Yuletide Hearts!!!!


    Thanks for the shout out, my friend, and I'll tell you...

    women love, love, love that hero.

    Matt Cavanaugh.

    Oh. My. Stars. :)

  112. Walt, I concur about the cover model on A Love Surrendered. I haven't read it yet, (crazy TBR pile because there is no summertime reading here) but she's one my fave covers!



    I always read the dedication as an indication of the likeability of the author. My favorite dedication was for a travel book which read:

    “To everyone who has ever dreamed of traveling to Europe…and their husbands.”

    I also feel like I am getting more for my money and a better reading experience when a Medical Romance makes acknowledgements to specialists in the field the book covers.

    I think how you feel about the author and the book you are about to read can have a major impact on how much you enjoy the reading experience.

    I hope yours are ideal! Thanks for you comments.



    I thought you might like that comment but you know what I mean. I think of all that stuff I learned in philosophy and literature classes and I actually get to use it when I read “The Wasteland”. Isn’t that a perfect example? I.e, ‘Wasteland’ – where your education pays off! : )

    You are great to talk with.


  116. Vince! What a great info-packed post! Thanks for sharing with us.

    We're having a great time here at M&M! Just had lunch with Julie Steel! Although she was clear across a huge table so could hardly hear her. :)


    “Gasping for air.” Now that’s good showing. I can feel it here in Tulsa. Keep your head! I need to know how May does in Paris. I loved Paris. Be sure to watch “Midnight in Paris” and get a feel for the city over a 100 year period. Wonderful.

    Ari says hi to May.


    It really helps if a writer writes comedy. I just read where Janet Evanovich is the third highest paid popular author. She also racks up the RPP. The movie could not come close to the book.

    Socrates liked to do the ‘philosophy thing’. From one of his dialogues, to demonstrate how sophists work, he asks a boy these questions:

    Is that dog a father?
    Is that dog your dog?
    Then your father is a dog.


  119. Noooooo Tina!!! SnoW??? I hate snow because that means it's cold outside! I just saw some video on the noon news here of that awful white stuff and it made me cringe. :-( It's in the 70s here now but by Sunday it could be snowing here too....ughhhhh

  120. Happy Birthday, Vince. i hope you like sticky gooey homemade cinnamon rolls,cause there's a pan with your name on it! i do download ebooks when they are free...but only if they are ones i want to read at some point. i will NOT buy an ebook, though that opinion may change. i still prefer an actual book, and if i receive one from an author, i will blog about it and post reviews. So not sure who gets the biggest reward out of that one.


    I think you are exactly right about there needing to be an investment in the book. This could be money or it could be time talking to the author or even time reading an excerpt.

    I’d like authors to give a small discount – say $1 to be applied to the normal purchase of a book on Amazon or B&N. Have the reader at least pay something. A little payment goes a long way.

    When I was running political campaigns we knew that if we could get a person to give even one dollar to our candidate, that person was many more times likely to actually vote. He had money in the game. It was like he bet on the candidate and wanted to win. That little difference really made a large difference.

    Thanks for you comments.



    To a large extent price sets the value. If the seller sets the price too high, the buyer may demand proof that the seller actually gets that price. If the seller sets the price too low, the buyer believes the low price is the value. If it seems too low, the buyer will think there is something wrong with it. Pricing is ‘iffy’.

    You might consider a post on pricing with your experience. It is a science.


  123. Hi Vince,
    I'm going to do a blog post on my
    about pricing.

    It will follow your post on Covers and Marketing :)

    But even you said, you have a huge number of free books on your kindle.

    Free doesn't help the author fiscally, and especially if they're not being read. How can 1,200 books be read?



    Blogger seems to be putting posts above the ones I entered. So I may be missing some posts even though I am sure I am carefully working my way down the list of posts. I mention this for future guests. I will try to answer everyone. Thanks. Vince


    I agree that it is counterproductive to make writers do more and more marketing at a time they will need to write more and more books.

    This is why I think it is key to develop an ‘auto-buy’ list of fans. If the list is big enough then the author should be safe as far as core income.

    How to develop an ‘auto-buy’ list is another subject for study. Find out how to do this, then do it without spinning your wheels on efforts that produce little results but take a lot of time.



    You may have the Rawhide theme going thru your head all day but now I keep seeing the Blues Brothers singing Rawhide over and over again while the cowboys are throwing beer bottles at them. : )

  127. Vince--I completely forgot to mention dedications in my previous comments. I'm so glad you mentioned those. I always read them, but I didn't really consider how much they tell a reader about an author. Dedicating a book to an expert in a field who helped you--what a great idea.

  128. I'd read your AUTO-BUY LIST blog, Vince.

    And what I meant by depressing is how hard it seems to be getting to lure in readers. And how BALKANIZED we are, with our very own TV Shows and our very own MAGAZINES an dour very own book genres. It seems like we're decending into a tribal world. And yes, I know...building a tribe is good, but it's a shame.
    The old world where everyone was sitting down to the same shows because a sort of bond between people, a shared history. I see the upside of having targeted books/tv/etc but we lose something as a country when we lose these common 'watering holes' where we all gather.


    It is okay to read a free book. That’s the whole idea of giving the book away for free. You can still help the author by writing strong reviews if you really liked the book. When I get free print copies, I often buy the eBook anyway because I need the larger print. I also like to have my Amazon reviews show me as a verified buyer of the book.

    Here’s something else to think about:

    The FREE books that I am most likely to actually read are the same books I would have bought!

    As a marketer I would like some way of not giving free books to those people who are hot to buy it anyway! But marketing is hard. It takes a lot of thought.

    And yes, knowledge is power – the power to put more pressure on the person with the knowledge. I don’t know what I can do about that. I don’t mean to add pressure to already pressured writers.


  130. Vince said: "Find out how to do this [develop an auto-buy list], then do it without spinning your wheels on efforts that produce little results but take a lot of time."

    That is the difficult part!!! On the one side we have people telling us that developing a following means social networking our you-know-whats off.

    On the other hand, we know the only REAL way to develop a strong following is to consistently write good books. There isn't enough time in the day to do both effectively, so something's gotta give.

  131. Vince, I'm saving this one for later reading. You make lots of good points, definitely a keeper post.

    First, "While I own these books, I have no investment in them." In fact, you don't own your e-books. You purchased a license to read them. Internet laws have not evolved such that you can bequeath your ebook collection to anyone. (Of course there are ways around this.) But even when I pay for an e-book, if I don't engage quickly, I stop reading.

    I, like you, have many more ebooks downloaded than I will ever read, for the same reasons you do. So yes, they affect my e-book reading habits. I look for attention-grabbing with shorter chapters (something about long chapters doesn't work well on e-books, maybe because of the lack of page numbers and being able to thumb ahead). I read dedications and acknowledgements, but many readers don't and I suspect ever fewer e-book readers do. Too easy to skip. Good point about character names. The eye is too easily fooled in a e-book, much more so than with a physical book. Because of the convenience of it, I find that I will read an e-book or two simultaneously, although I read physical books in a very linear fashion.

    Has anyone studied how the mind reads e-books versus physical books? I find that my physical book reading hasn't changed much at all.

    I'm very content to open a longer book in physical format. Although I read pretty fast, I read at a slightly slower pace with a physical book--a lot less skipping of narrative. Dedications and acknowledgements, and any notes/letters to readers, definitely enhance the reading experience. I can keep up with character names that begin with the same letter more easily, although it's still not the best practice. I still read one physical book at a time. But the one thing that has changed now that I read e-books too is that I will put a physical book down if I don't think it's worth my time. I never used to do this.


    Your wrote:

    “I write how I like a book to be when I read it, which I think is what most of us do. Does that sound right?”

    Yes and No. Yes, if there are enough readers who like what you like and if there are editors who are buying what you like. No if not, unless you are writing for your own pleasure and plan to publish the book yourself. Then go for it.

    There is a saying in marketing: “When you fish, put on the hook what fish like to eat and not what you like to eat.”

    I hope this does not add more pressure!


  133. Melissa, virtual skates will do.

    But in person, please bring me real food. As I will do for you.

    Ginny-Lou-Who, laughing at the groaning books/author and the RPP which is now STUCK IN MY HEAD every stinkin' time I read a book.


    Hey, afternoon TEA!!!!

    With scones, (I hate scones), crumpets, cakes (I love cake), tarts, jams and whipped cream because why would you eat clotted cream if sweetened whipped cream was available?


    Sorry I missed you this morning. Thanks for the encouraging comments. Now that I have my taxes out of the way, I hope I can get to “Look-Alike Lawman” which is patiently waiting on my Kindle right now.



    This is not only true but the older we get the truer it gets. It gets down to marketing: attract the readers who would most enjoy reading your work – they have to know it exists. Learn, search and discover the books you would most enjoy reading.

    And take time to smell the roses. Oh, and thanks for all the nice comments.



    Thanks for saying I gave you a lot of things to think about. That’s a great compliment to a teacher. Thanks for coming by.


  137. Vince,
    Thanks so much for your insight into the market trends.
    I like a nice, long, multi-layered story- but sometimes it's not smart to begin one like that, so I appreciate the shorter ones as well. And I love the portability of kindle reader apps.
    I appreciate all the insight here on the importance of marketing, and I agree with many that the best marketing is consistently good writing. That's the goal.


    Very important to marketing is ‘adding value’ to the product. Some call this TQM or CI Continuous Improvement. Add features that competitors don’t. Make the box of film the camera itself. Give $1,500 of software free when the customer buys the $1,500 computer as Osborne did. This has been a standard in marketing since the software boom. ( $1,500 in software could be given away for about $4 cost to the manufacturer!)

    Have writers added this extra value? That is something to think about. If not, how could this be done?

    I do like the idea of giving the reader small victories along the way to make her feel good or feel like a winner. A book is not read just to get it over with (unless it is by James Joyce). It is read for enjoyment and that should be for the whole time it is being read.

    Just more pressure to think about. : )



    I’m very happy with my frequency of posts. The key is to save up all your good stuff for a year and then use that in your post. The poor Seekers have to post so often that life must be very hard! : )

    By the way, I just have to know: are you a fan of Ursula K. Le Guin? She is one of the few Post Modern writers I actually like.



    Thanks, “ Insight and practical application: the dynamic duo.” I love it. That’s something that is very hard for a philosopher to do. You are very kind!



    You are so right. That is why they are seekers. It is like love: the more you give, the more you have. The more you share, the more you grow.



    You wrote:

    “MY target audience will be different than other author's audience. So building my list of "auto-buy" fans has to be done in a way that reaches MY fans, and that means that someone else's marketing strategies may or may not work for me.:

    This is solid gold marketing advice. It is not wise to follow the fads. Make a plan. Find out who is most likely to buy your books. Then find out how to most cost-effectively reach then.

    KC Frantzen, to promote her K9 Spy books, visits pet shops and takes her dog/heroine to schools. Would you buy the book after meeting the dog? I don’t know any one else who should do this but then I don’t know anyone who works as hard as KC to market her work.

    You are right on target. Great comment. Thanks.



    I visited your “Shining God's Light Through History” site and really enjoyed your feature quote:

    "Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God." Psalm 102:18

    I think that is a blessing. Great name by the way. I always know when you’ve been on a blog.


  144. I like the win a coupon code idea over a free book. Hmmmmm I'll have to give that idea some thought, see what's available on "giving away coupons for specific ebook purchase."


    I agree to make the good stuff happen sooner rather than later. An author may think she has something really good and so want to save it to later but it would be better many times if the good stuff came early and then the author came up with something better for that later spot. It just makes the book better. I think saving some good stuff for later is the biggest cause of ‘sagging middles’. Rather be like a snowball rolling down hill. It just gets bigger and better until it’s explosive ending!

    About HIPPA! I didn’t know that but it would sure be possible. I seem to remember that Amazon went in and erased an ebook that it should not have released…it was something like that so I am sure they can do what you said. I favor a law like you mentioned. But actually they don’t have to peak into your Kindle…that information is on Amazon. It is a benefit in a way. If I read a Kindle book at home, when I open it at work, it can move me to the page I left off at at home! This is a great feature but it lets Amazon know where all my books stand at any given moment. Who is to say that this info is not being sold right now?

    Brave new world. More pressure.


  146. MISSY---

    I"M SO JEALOUS!!!!

    Give Julie Hilton Steele a huge hug! And I'm not a hugger.

    But she's put a lot of time into critting my WIP and holding my hand while I whine and then kicking my tushie when I'm moping and then giving me a ra-ra cheer when I finish.

    *whew* Poor woman. Must have needed a vacation.

  147. VINCE-

    I love JE and her Stephanie Plum novels. I mean, they're awful and crass.... and I read them with one eye open.

    But she's got it going on.

    About philosophy, have we discussed this book? I avoided philosophy until I got this book...

    Plato and a Platypus walk Into A Bar... Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes.

    BRILLIANT. Goes through the entire history of major philosophical thought, using jokes.

    Nothing has stuck with me as well as those jokes and WHY they're funny.

    Someone needs to write an economics version... Keynes And a Kangaroo Walk Into a Bar?


    I love Christmas novellas because you get all the same good feelings of the HEA and you can get two of them for the time of one!

    If you have not read it yet, read “Yule Die” by Debby Giusti. It’s a perfect little novel. I wouldn’t change a word. I keep this as a model on writing a novella.

    A super clever Christmas novella is Mary Connealy’s “The Sweetest Gift”. I loved it because I knew what she was doing in the story but I could not figure out how she was going to do it.



    I read a YA book which had about four or five things that the reader was looking forward to at all times. Nothing was straight forward. There was going to be a new editor to the student newspaper. The heroine had to worry: would I lose my reporter job? Would the editor be a friend or enemy? Just one thing after another. It made me happy I was not an insecure teenager. But the book held my attention like few have.

    About Ruth’s recipes: I make them. That is a way to add value to the book at no extra cost. Also, if a reader actually makes one of your recipes, they are not likely to ever forget you. Get the book read and get the recipe made – but make sure they are both delicious. : )


  150. Myra got a new profile pix too. Is this a trend??


    I’m like you. I like a long multigenerational family saga like Julie Lessman writes but I can’t see reading more than one of them at a time. Julie’s six books were about 3,000 pages. I can tell you that it had to be very good to keep me reading that long. But here’s the thing: I was sorry to see it end.

    Do you read more than one of these series at a time?

    Paper books should be around for a while but you won't get a vote if they stop printing them. I think there will always be POD for those who just have to have a print copy.

    I don't like print any more. I can't make the type bigger. The books are too heavy, take up too much room, and my wife knows how many books I am buying. With an eBook -- who knows how big your TBR pile is? I also like the search feature and not having the bookmark fall out on me.

    You may come to like eBooks. Just wait.

    Thanks for you nice comments about my post.


  152. Vince My bookcases here at home are full of books. two are double rows of books on each shelf. the other has more of the bigger books (cricket, craft, recipe etc). The ones at the church there are two that all but the bottom row is full (its hard for the older ladies to get to the bottom row) and the new one will be the same. I have around 100 almost covered here to catalogue and hopefully go this week after the bookcase is delivered. It would be nice to get a digital copy for a book donated. I need to go through the kindle to see if there are any others I can donate (I have so many LI I got this year to add to my bookcase.) I cant get them on the kindle for around 2 years cos of copyright laws and the fact Mills and Boon Australia have the rights.


    If you read one book at a time, would that make you a plotter? Even with paper books, I’ve always read more than five books at a time but – they were not the same kind of books. I might read one SF, one nonfiction war book, one main stream best seller, a romance, one history book, one book on finance and so on.

    I can now read several romances at one time but I want them to be very different. A LI, a Medical Romance, and an HR.

    I’m like you, it took me a long time before I felt entitled not to finish a book. It took even longer to learn that I didn’t have to eat everything that was on my plate.

    Priorities change and I am sure that is a good thing.


  154. Thank you for this post!
    I especially enjoyed reading the list and the examples from the Seekers' books!

    A good evening to you all



    Again, you point out the need to find out more about reading for fast and slow readers.

    My wife can’t read without talk radio or tv playing! I can’t read well with any talking going on. I’m too much into the book. I don’t want to use any mind energy blocking out outside noise.

    I like the Kindle free books. I’ve got two of Dan Walsh books I would have paid for. Major writers have given away books. Even Julie Lessman!

    I shop the free books on Amazon every day. It’s like shopping, actually buying things and not having to spend any money. I think it will ruin a whole generation of book buyers but that is another story.

    Happy Birthday and thanks for sharing it with the Seeker family.


  156. Leslie Ann, I concur. I agree. I commend your comment because of your obvious heightened intelligence.

    I don't get "free" either.

    BOGO???? I get that. You buy one, your reward is the second one of equal or lesser value. We all love it, it's successful marketing and it creates demand.


    That diminishes the value because if "BOOK" had value, why would they give it away free???

    Now, if someone has gazillion books out and they're trying to build an audience/readership, I get the one or two-day "Freebie" deal.

    But if someone is new... With few books or no books out.... What does free do?

    Have a cookie. I'm proud of you.

  157. CLARI!!!!

    LOVE IT!!!!!


  158. Thanks Ruthie,
    The cookie was great!

    I think we're creating a monster by all the free books. There will be reader expectations.

    Reduced price for promo, I'm all for it.

    Added value. I bought a song and you can download it free with the code in the book. I may not do that again, as it was expensive, but I'll find something else fun.


  159. Myra, is that a new pic for you, too????

    With that stinkin' cute hair????

    (Sorry Vince, off-topic, but hair is paramount to amazing success. Clearly you understand this because you have GREAT HAIR.)


    I think there will be many more series of books that are really 110 page novellas. Many readers do get a feeling of accomplishment after reading a book. Some like to brag about how many books they have read. It’s hard to do that with 500 page books. Also a 110 page first book (in a long series) acts as a gateway into the series without costing very much. With ten books in a series, each of the ten books also acts as a gateway into the whole series. There are ten different covers to attract readers instead of one. Series have so much going for them I think they would get bigger even without digital but digital almost makes them mandatory. But we will see.

    One way or another you will always have long books to choose from.


  161. I love recipes.

    I love sharing them.

    I love cooking.

    I love messing up a kitchen.

    I love having my characters tease a reader's senses and then reward the reader with things at Yankee Belle or Ruthy's Place.

    That makes me smile. Of course the BIG TEETH are a help.

    It's hard to not smile when your mouth won't close, right????


    I was heartbroken when the Giants left New York for SF. So I would take the train from Morristown, NJ to the Port Authority in NYC to get a bus to Philly so I could see the Giants play ball. That was old Connie Mac stadium. It was so small Johnny Antonelli, a Giant pitcher, used to hit two home runs a game! And that’s where I had my first Philly, steak and cheese sandwich. So you see there is a point to all this. I wish I had one right now.



    I think Seeker books are so much better, objectively by awards and reviews, because the Seekers took the contest route of constant testing and feedback. That is like tempering steel.

    It is that way in advertising copywriting, too. I learned in direct response. That is where you write an ad and they count the results by the coupons that get mailed back! You test everything and you learn how to sell (write) or you are gone. DR people are the best copywriters by far.

    I think there is an analog here to the Seekers way. So yes, I always read the Seeker books (if Virginia doesn’t have one out I haven’t read. )


  164. The Best Babe is on Book III “A Passion Denied” Elizabeth O'Connor.

    Just take a look!


    That’s wonderful! But what’s M&M? How do we get there?


  166. Kinda scary - lots of good advice though. Thanks, Vince - and thanks for the coffee. Always makes me feel better


    I think that still works. Authors need to get people to read their books. If you read a free book you would not have read otherwise and you liked it and went on to buy the other authors print books, the author wins and you win. Even the publisher wins.

    Free books are best when the author has a lot of other books to sell.

    Happy Birthday Seekers.



    They can’t be and they won’t be. It is a numbers game. What if you give away 1000 books on Amazon and only 10% get read. That 100 books. Now if you have many other books to sell and that first book is part of a series, I think there can be a big win here. Especially if those 100 readers would not have read any of your books without the free offer.

    Tina had a weekend post link about free Kindle books and an author who is making a great deal of money giving away books but he has many books in a series that he sells off the free book. The other books are not given away for free. His model is fantastic considering it does not require advertising!

    Free is not always bad.

    BTW: When does my post run? I have been too busy to even check my mail. : )



    I agree with you. I see Balkanization as being mostly very bad. It sure was bad for the Balkans. I don’t like diversity either not when it leads to tribes. Where there are tribes there is usually constant war. I like tribes coming together as one as in a melting pot. Out of many one. And that unity of one was greatly helped by our writers who helped create a common history. We have lost that. We seemed to have turned almost everyone else into the “Other”. It is dangerous.

    I believe there is a commonality in the Christian fiction objectives. I see a strong yearning for this. One God, one ethic, one people in the body of Christ. So while things segment into Amish and New Order and whatnot, things are also unifying upward in the greater spirit. Maybe we can do both. Have our subgenres but have them all act to bring us closer to God.

    Of course, this needs an analog in the secular world and I don’t know what that would be.

    But I’m with you all the way on this.


  170. LOL, Ruthy, where were you yesterday? :)


    You wrote:

    “That is the difficult part!!! On the one side we have people telling us that developing a following means social networking our you-know-whats off.”

    I know this and I think so much of social networking is a waste of time. But I don’t know this and each author is different. Authors measure success with different numbers. A lot of social networking is people social networking. Friend collecting.

    I don’t know how much a really good social network site is worth in real sales. There are too many variables by author.

    Marketing always needs to be tested and that is hard to do. I ran a lot of advertising a month for a furniture store. One time the owner got mad at the radio station and pulled all our ads, about $7,000. It had no effect on our sales! None. That was the end of radio. But what if we had not tested? The money was doing nothing that our other ads were already doing for us.

    Once we pulled all the newspaper ads and put that money into TV. Sales fell so much the first week the owner put the money back in the newspaper.

    How do you know if you don’t test?

    This is a marketing area that really needs to be investigate by people who know what they are doing.


  172. Hi Vince,
    Your post on Marketing and Covers, I think this next week. I have a couple of questions for you to clarify, natch.

    Free is bad for me, b/c of the concept as I said of perception and the fact that "free" is what readers will only search for. I think we are hurting ourselves.



    You are right. Ownership is a problem with eBooks. This has to be worked out.

    You make many important observations about print verses ebooks. I think this points out that eBooks will effect different people in different ways and when we make generalizations, that’s just what they are. But we have to work with something. So we will do the best we can to make sense of all this.

    Thanks for your comments they will help my in my work.



    You wrote:

    “…the best marketing is consistently good writing. That's the goal.”

    This may be the most important thing said today. That’s why I think so much of social networking is just too costly in time. Even when it seems to work, it may not begin to pay back the time it took away from a talented writer.




    You wrote:

    “I like the win a coupon code idea over a free book” .

    I also like it a lot because it can self-select the serious prospect. Many people would like a free book. Even if just to give away as gifts or just to say they won something.

    Yet if a person tries to win a discount for a book, they must want to read the book. Since it cost nothing if not used, an author could give away several codes in one contest. I like a contest where a person has to do something like name the heroine in your last book or something that shows an interest in the work.

    Good idea.



    Yes I have heard of “Plato and a Platypus walk Into A Bar... Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes”. But I don’t know if I have read it or have it. I have read several books like that and they were all good. They do make a good review of the big picture. I’ll have to look into it again.

    JE’s books are very good when put on audio. However, that movie was so bad, I hope it did not hurt her book sales. Did you see the movie? Very bad casting – except for Ranger.


  177. Lordy! I was to busy today to check in until now and there are 175 comments! It will take me all night to read them.

    So instead I'll just say: Thank you, Vince for this amazing information!

    I especially like the part where you say - let the characters have some good times along the way (paraphrased!). Everyone keeps telling writers to make things constantly worse for the hero, but as a reader I like to experience some fun, sweet scenes in between all the suffering! Please... we can't be miserable for 298 pages and then ... poof ... in 2 pages they're in love and getting married. That's when I want to throw the book! LOL.

    Great topic!



    I’m with you. Copyright with Australia seems to be a problem. It makes it hard for me to get the newest Medical Romances but it makes it hard for you to get almost everything else.

    It might be a lot cheaper to get someone to buy the ebooks, put them all on a Kindle and then send you the Kindle. Kindles get cheaper all the time.

    I’d get the paper books from Australia from Mills & Boon but the postage is just out of this world!

    But then there are thousands of books that are available for us to buy. Good luck on the bookcases. I gave about 100 LI to our ACFW local club. I want them to be read.



    I agree, change is scary and we can never be sure things will turn out the way they are headed. Thanks for coming by.


  180. Thank you, Vince, for a great post! I'm just a reader and love to read. After giving my small church library 275 print copies (they have no space for any more), I read mostly Kindle now! I love Christian fiction.
    Jackie S.


    About free ebooks: there are two POVs. Free books can be good sometimes for an individual author. I’m with you however in that they are bad for the market in general. All authors may be hurt while a few might make out big at the expense of the others.

    Are we going to go the way of a subscription service: $10 a month and you can download all the books you want (of course, when you download one, the other one is erased.) This model may come. It works for movie rentals. Who knows? We just have to be ready to adapt and it is the early adapters who tend to survive.



    Don’t worry about being off topic. I already off topiced that to death yesterday. It's karma. I hope Mary is still talking to me. : )

    It’s not just the hair. The photo is outstanding too.



    The Kindle and Nook could lead to millions of good Christian books being donated. I’ve given away hundreds of LI books. I want people to read them and I can’t read them anyway as the type is too small for me. Books are good too because they can get wet, are not a great loss if stolen, can be read around water, can be lent easily, and require nothing but a light source to read.

    I think it is a good idea to donate paper books when we can. Thanks for your nice comments.


  184. Wow! That's a LOT of information to absorb. Vince, I've said it before, but I'll say it again... you, my friend, are amazing.

  185. I didn't see the movie. I'm not a fan of books turned into movies, although I've watched a lot of them lately.

    When I worked as a children's librarian, I made a bulletin board display that had all the books made into movies in the past five years and it said,



  186. Wow! My brain overfloweth with all this great info! Very helpful. Thanks, Vince!

  187. Oh my goodness Vince! What an awesome post. I felt like I was sitting in a classroom. Best thing about it is I can print out the notes and my hand isn't sore or cramped.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  188. I'm going to try this again...blogger ate my comment. :(

    Vince -- Thanks for buying "Look-Alike Lawman!" Have you read the first 3 books in the "Texas Twins" series? I'm looking forward to reading the last two yet to release. It's been fun seeing how the different authors took "bare bones" basics provided by an editor and make them come alive!

    Thanks again, too, for such a RICH post and all your helpful comments. I hate it when the day job keeps me isolated from all the Seekerville fun, but I'll take some time this weekend to read thru the questions and your responses.


    You wrote:

    “Everyone keeps telling writers to make things constantly worse for the hero, but as a reader I like to experience some fun, sweet scenes in between all the suffering! Please... we can't be miserable for 298 pages and then ... poof ... in 2 pages they're in love and getting married. That's when I want to throw the book! LOL.”

    I’m totally with you on this comment. I call such a book a downer and I won’t finish them. No HEA is worth 298 pages of down emotions. I’m not a big fan of ever increasing conflict unless it is a thriller. Yes, you can command the readers attention with ever increasing conflict just as you can keep someone’s attention by playing a siren ever and ever louder – but it is annoying and you will be turned off doing this most times.

    You can reward readers with a lot more than just tension. Use many ways. Thanks for coming by. I enjoyed reading your comment.


  190. Myra! The new picture! You look great!


  191. Vince....WOW---sooo much to absorb here--think I need some peach cobbler before I re-read this....and maybe coffee too (hope some of Helen's coffee is still in the pot)...You really made some great points here--felt a little overwhelmed at first (I'm one of the very few who doesn't "do" e-readers--at least, not yet.) But you offered tons of solid pointers, and I appreciate your taking the time to write this post for us. Did I mention WOW?! Heading for my peach cobbler before reading again! Blessings, Patti Jo

  192. p.s. MYRA!!! Great photo! You look elegant! ~ PJ


    Thanks for your comments. My book on Rewards Per Page will have as many examples from Seeker books as I can find. There will be at least 40 ways to reward a reader. I hope I can add some more. So I’m glad you like examples from Seeker books.



    I’m happy my post stimulated a desire for peach cobbler. I hope you find both very tasty. Thanks for your comments.



    “Look-Alike-Lawman” is the first in the series that I will be reading. I was waiting to read your book first. I did read all nine books in the Alaska LI double series. There were three historicals and six contemporary – all taking place in the same small town. Very creative. I hope you’ll blog on how you work with other authors on a series like that.

    I hope you can get a lot done this weekend.



    It is like having a classroom and teaching as I try to answer these comments. One nice thing as you mention: this post will be there to read this weekend and perhaps for many years of weekends to come. That is one of the never ending rewards Seekerville provides to all. Thanks for your comments and enjoy your weekend.



    I don’t know if you read my comment about teaching from the overflow but you’ve made the perfect match: learning from the overflow. I have not heard it that way before but it is a good idea. Thanks for you comment.



    You said this was a lot of information to absorb. Yes, but it is written is nice little bite size pieces. Bon Appétit.

    Thanks, I enjoyed your nice comments.


  199. Myra said: Ruthy where were you yesterday???

    Ruthy tried to remember yesterday but couldn't get beyond the mound of diapers and outside activities a nice day brought. With possible Popsicle leakage everywhere.

    We'll just call it "Internet Inaccessible" and leave it at that!