I Need Your Help

deadtown1I’m not going to be coy about the fact that I hope people will buy Deadtown when it comes out at the end of this year. I’m working on a promotion plan, and I’m busy finding reviewers, scheduling online events, and planning a few contests.

As a debut urban fantasy author with a new series, I’m asking myself how to get the word out. What I want to do is make my book visible in the places that readers are likely to find it. So I thought I’d ask: How do you discover new books to try?

Deadtown has a lot going for it: an eye-catching cover, some great blurbs, and (IMHO) a fun story that I hope urban fantasy fans will enjoy. If they can find it. Where do you find new books to add to your TBR pile? Please answer my poll at the right. Choose as many options as apply. If there’s a source I didn’t include, or if you’ve got a favorite book blogger or review site that you read pretty regularly, please tell me about it in the comments.


About nancyholzner

26 responses to “I Need Your Help

  • Dee Sobek

    Word of mouth recommendations and anthologies. I love anthologies as I can sample a writer’s work without shelling out for a book that I might not enjoy.

    • nancyholzner

      Thanks, Dee. Your point about anthologies is a good one. I pick those up, too — especially if there’s at least one author in the anthology whose work I already enjoy. I’ve followed up a couple of times on new authors I’ve found that way. Plus it helps that there have been a lot of fun urban fantasy anthologies lately.

    • Abigail

      Hi Nancy,

      There are a few great blogs (besides my own) that I rely on. I’m profiling the top three blogs for urban fantasy readers on my blog this weekend:
      Tynga’s Reviews
      Fantasy Dreamer’s Rambling

  • Sean Cummings

    You’ve got a pretty good mix of things and a statistical dead heat between browsing, blogs and online social networking. Great idea, Nancy – will be interesting to see the final results and read the comments.

  • Nicola O.

    Used to be mainly bookstore browsing — placement on the new release table, and then I’d read a page or two to see if the story sounds interesting and the writing seems competent.

    These days it’s mostly blog buzz, but that’s because I’m plugged into it — you may be getting a sort of self-selected sample here.

    • nancyholzner

      I’m like you, Nicola, in that I’ve switched from bookstore browsing to seeing what book bloggers are talking about. I like to write in a bookstore cafe, so I’m in a bookstore several nights a week. But if I do notice a new book that looks interesting, I tend to go online and see what people are saying about it before I buy. You’re right about the self-selected sample, of course, but I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to plan for promoting Deadtown, and gathering this info at least gives me the illusion that I know what I’m doing. ๐Ÿ™‚

      @Sean, that’s interesting, because those three options are my top three, too. Hoping this will give me a clue about where to invest my energy as Deadtown’s release date approaches.

  • Doug Knipe [SciFiGuy]

    Like Nicola I get all my reccs from online browsing of blogs and a few key websites. Bookstores drive me crazy as they rarely have a full selection of new titles on the dates that they are supposed to be released. I end up ordering online.

    • nancyholzner

      Thanks, Doug. Good point about bookstores. I still like to browse, but you’re right that staff can be slow about getting books on shelves on the date they’re supposed to be there. (Occasionally I’ll find a book show up a couple of days early; then I feel like I’m getting away with something.) But if there’s a book I KNOW I have to have on its release date, I’ll preorder it online.

      • Kate

        Speaking of slow, I’ve been in Chapters, which o=now has computers that you can search up where books are yourself. Which is great.
        Except that when a book says its there and you search where it says it should be, where it might be, and where an eclectic gnome could have hidden it. Then you must search the entire store for an employee, who repeats the process, usually less throughly then ‘checks the back’ and returns saying ‘it must be in a box still’.
        When a book comes out it should be out on the shelves. A week later it should not be in the boxes. If its sold out, well that sucks but there’s nothing more frustrating than hearing about the room where they keep the boxes.

      • nancyholzner

        I absolutely agree, Kate. One of the big bookstores in my town is pretty good about getting books on the shelves on their release date, but the other is very casual about it and can take weeks to put a new book on the shelf. It’s frustrating and obviously costs them sales, because not everyone is going to ask.

  • ilona andrews


    If you remind me about a couple of weeks before release, I can throw a nice banner up on my blog. I’m running Meljean and Devon’s right now, and Meljean’s should come off by then. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sage Darien

    Hi, Nancy. First of all, good luck with your book launch. You’ve got a great cover!

    I used to find all my new books by browsing Amazon’s Top 100 Sellers. Whenever I saw something that interested me, I either ordered it immediately, or (if money was tight) I’d see if I could get it from the library or I would make a note of the title and author for when I did have money.

    I only recently started a Facebook account, and I’m getting wonderful recommendations there now. (That’s how I found out about your book.) I also signed up for Library Thing, which is another great source of suggestions.

    Every once in awhile, a friend will turn me on to a book, but most of my friends don’t read as much as I do, so that’s pretty rare. I started reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon after a personal referral, but that’s the first in a long time.

    I’ll be looking for your book when it comes out! (There’s money for books this month! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Blake

    I learn
    about new books from Mark Henry’s Shopping List for People Who Don’t

  • Kimberly B.

    I’ve discovered a lot of books I want to read online, although I’m still a big fan of brick and mortar stores, as I worked at them for six years. It can be a little hard to separate the wheat from the chaff at a bookstore, particularly with a popular genre such as urban fantasy, but a lot of independent stores in particular have “staff recommendation” sections. So I think it’s worth it to try and get your ARCS in the hands of bookstore employees—they give great word of mouth!
    As far as the blogs from which I get good recommendations, I really like the Sci Fi Guy (www.scifiguy.ca) and the Book Smugglers (www.booksmugglers.com)—the latter in particular write very detailed reviews.

    • nancyholzner

      Thanks, Kimberly. I love reading those personal recommendations — even for books I don’t expect to buy. It’s just always so interesting to hear what someone thinks. Do you also talk with booksellers to get recommendations?

      • Kimberly B.

        Sometimes I do, although that’s often when I’m looking for a gift for somebody, particularly for a child. When I’m browsing for myself, I get into a “browsing-books-don’t-talk-to-me” stupor, I’m afraid. But like to keep up with new releases with my bookseller friends, and often help them discover new authors for them to read and their stores to carry as well.

  • Alana Abbott

    I get book recommendations from PW and SLJ (but that could come, in part, from working in a library). I also get a lot of book recs by livejournal or mailing list communities of urban fantasy writers (Mark Henry’s Glamazombies . For review sites, I turn to FlamesRising.com and BittenbyBooks.com. (Disclosure: I write reviews for FlamesRising as well. *g*)

    I actually came *here* via Mark Henry’s mailing list — and your cover looks awesome! So, obviously, by blogging, you’re already doing something right. I’m putting your book on my wish list.

    • nancyholzner

      Thanks, Alana, for your detailed reply. I’ve said it elsewhere, but I feel so lucky with the cover art. The first time I saw it, I thought, “Wow, that’s a book I’d definitely pick up!!!” And from the feedback I’m getting, it seems like other UF fans feel the same way. And thanks for adding Deadtown to your wish list! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Alana Abbott

        Absolutely! I’m looking forward to it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can tell by some of your previous reviews (re: Ilona Andrews particularly) that you’ve got good reader taste, and expect that’ll make your fiction right up my alley.

  • Terry Forester

    I learn about new books from Mark Henry’s Shopping List for People Who Don’t Suck!

    Sorry I was dared to say this…LOL. But seriously I do follow his blog for authors as well as several others so the firts thing would be word of mouth. Then I get newsletters from Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Harlequin.

    I get the majority of my books from Wal-Mart, only because they are cheaper and I live on a fixed income. If I can’t what I want there then I go to the book stores.

  • sadieloree

    I, too, learn about new books from Mark Henryโ€™s Shopping List for People Who Donโ€™t Suck.

    Well, I did find your blog via his dare anyway. And and happy I’ve done so! Your cover is fantastic and I can’t wait to read it! I also tend to get book recs from Amazon, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and lots of word of mouth. Good luck!

  • Glinda

    Recently, I have been getting a lot of my book recommendations from Twitter. I follow authors, publishers, book bloggers and Kindle bloggers and have gotten some great insights on books that normally I wouldn’t have heard of. Because I prefer to read on the Kindle, I get a lot of good recommendations from the Kindle message forums and websites.

    My husband and I are in the music business and have found many of PR guru Bob Baker’s self-marketing techniques to be helpful. An author himself, he also writes about book promotion. He is on Twitter as MrBuzzFactor.

  • James Kite

    You find a handful of sellers and then focus on funneling people to those sellers there by creating a concentrated focus rather than spread the word (so to speak) and have minimum interest.

    If for instance, you were to get your book stocked in a prime book store, it is better to have hundreds of sales from that one store than it would be to have the same number of sales spread across several hundred stores because the first creates media interest while the later does zip.

    Once you have an established fanbase, then expanding focus is the next step.

    Identifying the appropriate book groups/conventions/etc is but a small step.

    But seriously…

    The media gets very interested in a new author that has 100’s of copies stocked on the shelf of a primary bookstore that is selling copies hand over fist…especially if the store is carrying more copies than they do of more established authors.

    (This is how Matthew Riley went from self published author to established author in a very limited timeframe. He got his book (contest) into a single FLAGSHIP store in Sydney and then promoted his book to everyone and their dog across Australia and directed them to order copies from this one store he stocked. The rest is history as they say)

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