Today we are pleased to have Summer Devon visiting Passionate Reads…
A while back I almost sold a book called Her Outlandish Stranger to a New York publisher. The editor finally turned it down because she was uncertain how to sell it. Was it a futuristic? Would she label it as a Regency-set romance? She explained that the publisher didn’t sell books to the reader. They had to pitch all their products to the bookseller. And the fact is bookstore buyers like books they know are easy to shelve—books will sell only if they’re put on the right shelf. They’d found that books that are hard to place will languish on the shelves because they don’t get discovered by the right readers.
Fast forward a few years. I sold that same book to Ellora’s Cave and it came out last week. Like most of my other books that didn’t sell to NYC , the book doesn’t fit easily on a single shelf. But that’s okay because these days, the shelves are gone.
Ebooks are in huge and ever-growing piles known as Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and all those other venues. It can look like an overwhelming muddle of books, lists of them, but there are ways for the books to get sorted.
I just got back from a conference where I saw Jon Fine from Amazon and Mark Coker from Smashwords and someone from Barnes and Noble whose name I forgot to write down. Whoops!). And according to these guys, the systems are always getting boosted and improved. It’s a priority for them. After all, it’s in booksellers’ best interest for the readers to click the buy button.
The easiest way to find a book you haven’t read before is to search by the author’s names, of course. But there are all sorts metadata things to help readers find a book (metadata was one of the buzzwords from that conference. So was “discoverability”)
Metadata turns out to fit all sorts of things. The little description of the book –on paper books the back-cover copy – is a source for the search engines to pick out words that match your favorite types of book and throw them onto your screen.
There are other places for little tags too. You can usually find them about half-way down a book’s page on Amazon. They usually include words that refer to the book’s setting, themes, the author’s name—that sort of thing. The label is “Tags Customers Associate with This Product.”
If you read a book and think hey, there’s no tag for a dragon even though one of the main characters breathes fire and goes by draco, that’s where you add the word in the little tag box. Adding tags will help the book end up in other readers’ hands. Apparently strange tags like “hotty man-child” can help get a book out there because readers search for very odd things.
If you click “agree” on the tags other people have left, that improves chances the book will rise to the top of the huge-and-growing pile I mentioned.
Someday soon, the process of finding books in ebook stores should be almost as easy as walking through a store. The ebook people say the virtual shelf is already more visually interesting.
I’m not sure ebook-shopping could ever be as tactilely fun—I love flipping through pages of a book or sitting in the corner of a store with a new book on my lap. But when I think of all the stories that wouldn’t have found homes in the old world, I guess it’s a trade I’m willing to make.
Her Outlandish Stranger Blurb:
In 2310, Jazz White is one of few surviving soldiers of a hated regime. Now “reprogrammed”, stripped of many of his memories and killing skills, Jazz is an outcast until he’s summoned by the government’s elite time-travel agency and told he must journey to the 1800s. His mission—to protect Eliza Wickman, an English woman trapped in war-torn Spain. Once he arrives in the dreadful place, it becomes clear he’s been tricked. His real mission—Jazz must father her child, who will prove important to the future of civilization.
Guilt-ridden by his deception, Jazz must keep Eliza safe while he escorts her to England, all the while fighting his attraction to her innocent eroticism. But an agent from his time has other plans, and does his best to sabotage Jazz’s efforts. As the connection between him and Eliza grows, the agent could be the least of Jazz’s worries. His biggest fear is far more personal—what will happen once Eliza learns the truth?
Excerpt & Buy Link: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-9875-her-outlandish-stranger.aspx