Survey Results

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: SURVEY RESULTS!

Now, if you’re particularly internet savvy, you may have noticed a button below each survey question that said, “View Results.”

And if you’re a particularly daring, devil-may-care type of person, you might have clicked that button.


So, many of you already know what your colleagues said to each question. But I’d like to break down the stats for you anyway. (And, truth be told, I want to break them down for me.)

A whopping 87% of voters said they feel more connected to an author if he/she has a consistently updated blog.

I am TOTALLY with the majority here! Some of my favorite blogs are those of Kiersten White (author of Paranormalcy) and Beth Revis (author of Across The Universe). I feel like I know them, and if I get a chance to meet them one day, I’ll have no problem saying hello and feeling comfortable with them.

Best part? They take the time to update daily, or almost daily. It creates a feeling of comaraderie with their readers. I feel that they really care and want to reach out to us. They want to connect.

70% of voters had at least considered unplugging from an author because they overpromoted their book.

Of that 70%, 51% actually did unplug.

This is an easy trap to fall into: “LOOK! I wrote a book! Have you read it yet? YOU HAVEN’T?! Oh, but you must! Now! Go buy it right now! I’ll wait!”

Or: “My book won this award! Look at this great review I got! Look at this person’s tweet about my book! LOOK LOOK LOOK!”

NO. Stop.

An occasional comment is fine, I think. Something along the lines of, “Hey friends, thank you for purchasing my book this month. It’s done better than ever before. Hooray!”

This doesn’t bother me at all. Why? Because A) It’s filled with gratitude toward those who have spent their hard-earned money on the book, and B) If we’re assuming this is an “occasional” comment, then that means it’s rare to see something like it, and the reader doesn’t feel nagged.

True story: I have unplugged from a couple authors because of Publicity Vomit.

I also unplugged from Justin Bieber for the same reason, SO THERE, Justin.

People most enjoy personal blog posts (83%) and/or writing tips and techniques (56%).

The first thing you’re thinking is, “Um, I know you’re a Spanish teacher and all, but like, those numbers DON’T add up.”

This is true. People could choose up to 2 of their favorite blog topics, though. Hence the apparent math discrepency.

I’m with the majority again; I love these two topics.

People don’t enjoy event recaps (53%) and/or posts where you brag about yourself or your book (50%).

Again, I agree. Because here’s the thing: If your book is not good and you have not engaged me as a person, I don’t care about your book signing or how many prizes you’ve won or how great things are going.

Even when I do care about the author, I skip blog posts about events and awards and what country has bought foreign rights, yada yada.

60% of voters were at least sometimes bothered by authors who directly ask them to publicize their book.

Here’s another true fact about me: If I loved your book, you don’t have to ask me to leave a review somewhere. I’ll do it on my own. And I’ll tell my friends about it and maybe post about it somewhere.

If I didn’t love your book, then asking me to say I did puts me in an awkward position, and then I’m liable to just avoid you altogether.

I think it’s best left up to the reader whether they want to publicize your book or not. Because what you don’t want to do is come off naggy and desperate.

92% of voters said that an enjoyable blog motivates them to buy the author’s book.

Don’t think I need to break that one down for you.

The best form of advertising for your book is word of mouth (82%).

And remember: If people love your book, they will do this part without you having to ask!

Any final thoughts?

19 thoughts on “Survey Results

  1. These results don’t surprise me at all, and I will be the first to raise my hand and admit I most definitely over-publicize my book. And I know better! I’ve unplugged from many an author’s blog because I can’t stand the constant promoting and “Wowee, look at me!” However, as a self-published author, I feel desperate to get the word out. Unless you are a published author yourself (especially self-pubbed) or a loyal fan of a particular author, I’m not sure it always dawns on readers how absolutely necessary word-of-mouth advertising is. I’ll definitely tone it down after this, though. The last thing I want to do is drive potential readers away. The entire self-publishing process has been very . . . enlightening for me, to say the least.

    1. Well, I think the main thing to remember is that word doesn’t get out about anyone’s book overnight. TWILIGHT was published for a while before it really caught on. It just takes a while for the word to get from someone’s mouth to someone else’s ear, and we have to be patient. We have to do our part, of course, but we have to be very patient.

  2. Love the survey results, because they were honestly what I was HOPING to see! I do think there’s a place to report on awards and foreign rights and stuff–either in the FAQ (I often see a FAQ on author pages along the lines of “Will AWESOMEBOOK be available in my country?” and then an answer) or in a sub category on the book’s actual page. Because I do find that stuff interesting (I always want to know what’s up in the industry! And I like looking at foreign covers) but I would always rather read more personal things from an author. 🙂

    1. I think you’re right – there’s a place for it, but perhaps not on the blog. I try to put stuff like that in my “News” section. And the FAQ section is a great idea – people will find it, but in the aoppropriate spot!

  3. Interesting results! I try not to do personal posts too often because I think it bores people, but I guess the survey results don’t lie!

    1. I suppose it depends on what kind of personal posts you’re doing. If it’s all about what kind of cereal you had that morning, then yeah, it might be boring! But if it’s something cute about your family or some little quirk you have, I think people love it. I know I do!

  4. This was a lot of fun and it’s really interesting to see the results. I don’t mind authors plugging their books on occasion and letting readers know how it’s doing with awards and such, I just like them to talk about MORE than that too. I’m jotting this down to apply to myself in the upcoming months…

    1. I don’t mind the occasional comment, either. But that’s the key: It has to be occasional.

  5. This is really interesting. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us. I’m finding it’s easy to see what I don’t like in others…but I can’t as easily recognize the same behavior in myself. This, I hope, will help me reign it in. 🙂

    1. I think that is a problem of mine in general life! I can see other’s problems, but not mine!

  6. Feels like common sense, but eye-opening as well. I can see how authors could panic and feel like they have to promote all the time. I’ve unplugged because of too much rah, rah, rah before. I also have a bit of an issue when an author starts referring to themselves in third person a lot. That might just be a nitpick on my part. I haven’t unplugged because of it yet, but I’m tempted.

    1. There are very few outlets these days for book promotion, and even if you’ve been published through a press/small press, you still have to promote your own book. I agree: do it tastefully. And my preference has always been the personal blog. Writing tips: how much can be said about this, after all? But the personal is unique. I find that if I put up a post about a writing related topic but then end with something personal especially about my lovely disabled daughter, most of the comments focus on the daughter!

      1. Ann: Yes, I agree. Writing tips – the really helpful ones – are few and far between, but whenever I discover something that blows my mind (like my recent post on redundancies) I feel I have to share it. But you’re totally right that people focus on the personal stuff, because that’s what makes us relate to each other!

    2. HA! You know, that kinda irritates me, too! And yes, I think the word “panic” is exactly what it is. The book is published, and when it doesn’t sell 100 copies the first week, the author is like, “Well, I better start talking about it!” And before they know it, they’ve lost control and everyone’s annoyed with them. And that can be really tragic because their book is probably great!

  7. Anne,

    I found you through Melissa (:: waves at Melissa ::) and am so glad I did. Thanks so much for sharing the results of your survey. I wish I could figure out how to do one. Back in the old days…*groan* I can’t believe I even started that sentence! Never mind my olden daze.

    I thought carefully about my Webbiegrrl’s Writings blog and how I wanted to publish it. I have a VERY tight schedule, half of which I cannot control at all, so I had to work within the confines of a structure beyond my control or influence and still make it all work — for me AND my readers.

    Also, I wanted to sell my blog on KindleBlogs (which I haven’t actually done yet *pout*) so I had to consider the content in the context of “What if someone actually pays money for this??” It’s kind of daunting sometimes if I think about it too much.

    I decided on a balance, I guess. I mix and match my blogs all week long. I have a set schedule, a different kind of focus each day when I do blog, but I only blog 4 days a week–and often, I’ll prepare a post ahead of time and use Blogger’s nifty-keen “Scheduled” feature to let it publish itself while I’m off working the day job and can’t click the stupid button at the specified time. Oh and yeah, I set and announced a specfiic time each “blogging day” when the post for that day would be up–guaranteed. THAT has been one of the hardest things to adhere to for me. I keep wanting to do email (I have 8 inboxes), hang on twitter (I have 2 accts), visit my Facebook Pages (I have 3) but instead, I drink coffee and stare at the blogger “Compose Post” screen until I am ready to click “Publish.”

    Then all that fun social media is my reward for delivering what I gave my word to my readers I would deliver, when I said I would deliver it.

    I didn’t see that kind of question on your survey but I think I’d add it. One of the things readers want the most is predictability. They come to the blog with expectations. They want to be able to predict their experience there. If they can’t, then they become less motiviated to return, given they have no clue what’ll be waiting for them if/when they do. Getting return visitors is how to convert blog readers into book buyers. Or so I think. I haven’t proved that yet *LOL* I’m still working on my first book’s cover art so I can re-release it before I try to market it and I have several works-in-process not even close to being done enough I can sell them, so for now, I’m just TALKING about how to do it.

    And that’s why God created blogs.

  8. I love that you did this!

    I am much more likely to buy a book if I like and follow the author on twitter/read their blog.

    In fact, getting to know them through Twitter alone makes me want to like their books that much more..if I like them as a person. Even if I’m not blown away by their books, if I like who they are as a person, I’ll probably like their book just a tad bit more.

    It works both ways though, I recently quit following an author on Twitter because something about her rubbed me the wrong way and it really made me not want to read her other series.

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