One of the first things impressed upon new authors is the importance of connecting with readers. Traditionally, we do that by establishing a social media presence, participating in conferences, appearing at book club events, holding book signings, starting a blog, and most importantly, compiling a list of emails for a newsletter. This all takes time, of course, and it isn’t easy or automatic. If no one knows your book exists, they won’t read it. If they don’t read it, they can’t love it and recommend it to others.
NEWS WAYS TO CONNECT
Fortunately, there are new ways of getting your book and your name out there. Among the most effective, in my opinion, are websites designed specifically to connect authors and readers. A new website called Shepherd.com exists to do just that. The beautifully designed online book-discovery site was established by Ben Fox, who describes himself as “a serial entrepreneur who loves to read.” Ben lives in Portugal with his wife and five-year-old son, Calico Jack, named after the pirate.
SHEPHERD’S BEST BOOKS
Shepherd was inspired by a local bookstore that put little notes next to their team’s favorite books. In that spirit, Shepherd asks authors to recommend their favorite books, usually five, around a topic, mood, or theme and say why they love those books. These “best books for [a certain topic]” form a virtual and searchable bookshelf. Shepherd then creates unique ways for readers to explore and browse those books while meeting the author who made the recommendation and learning about their latest book. For readers, Shepherd’s is a bit like wandering around a bookstore and letting random books capture your attention. While nothing can replace a local bookstore, Shepherd’s makes the process of finding new books easy and exciting.
MY LIST ON SHEPHERD
As you know, I love British crime fiction, and I just shared my favorite traditional mysteries that evoke the golden age of detective fiction on the Shepherd website. Click on the link to check out my top five picks!
Shepherd just launched bookshelves about detective books and Scotland Yard, both of which are right up my alley. They will add filters this winter so readers can show only fiction or non-fiction books and other genres.
Connecting authors and readers is never easy, but new ways like Shepherd’s Best Books can really help. So how about you?
Readers, how do you find great books to read?
Authors, what is the best way you’ve found to connect with readers?
I submitted my list last week The best mysteries with sleuths with canine companions.
What a great topic, Darlene. People love animals in books. Heading over to read your picks.
Connie, if there is a best way to connect with readers, I haven’t found it. So, like you, I do social media, I blog on Miss Demeanors, I attend conferences (not so much lately), do readings, and try to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. Shepherd was one of those and I also have a favorite list posted there, best books/mysteries that feature two detectives.
Catherine, I think it’s a matter of “do it all.” There’s no shortcut.
I’ve done Shepherd too! The best books about second chances (from an author who’s on her fifth chance.) They seem like lovely people.
I agree. Working with Shepherd was a very easy and pleasant experience–and I admire the design of their website. Professional and interesting.
Thank you for the kind words Connie, and everyone else. It is good to hear that we are doing well in this aspect 🙂
I will pass this on to Serita and Cathy as well 🙂
My pleasure, Ben