Saturday, January 11, 2014

Wish List for our Readers from the Jungle Red Writers

LUCY BURDETTE: Can you believe I read in a blog post this week that there are 3500 books published every day. 3500 PER DAY. wow. The good news for readers is we have access to more books then we ever dreamed of. The bad news, is figuring out what is worth reading.

There's some bad news for writers too: We can get swept away in the waves of published books. Wouldn't it be a nightmare, to write a wonderful book and see it sell poorly because the news didn't reach enough potential readers? Since three of us Reds have the books coming along the publishing pipeline in the next two months, and all of us have at least one book coming out in the next year, we thought it might be worth reviewing the power that readers have to support the series.
So I've asked each of the reds to tell us something on their wish list for readers. For me, I would love it if readers who enjoyed the Key West mysteries would post a review. It could be on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or good reads or library thing, wherever you find your literary water cooler. It doesn't have to be an English term paper, even a couple of lines will do. And, though we all love five stars, any review is better than none. How about you Reds-- thoughts about ways readers can support your work?

RHYS BOWEN:  I don't think readers realize they have the power to help us until we tell them. They think of us as powerful creatures, making millions (I wish) selling books like crazy. My Facebook followers have been amazed when I mention that reviews on Amazon/Barnes and Noble/Goodreads can really help me. Also if they don't find my new book in the library, they can request it and thus make the library order it. The most useful thing is to recommend their favorite writer to friends and family and many of my readers already do this. They will write to me and say "I got my mother/sister/best friend hooked on your books." That's the best publicity ever!

And another thing that really helps if they plan to buy the book is to buy it on the first day, or at least during the first week. That makes the numbers leap up--hopefully enough to hit some of the bestseller lists.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  Oh, my gosh. Readers, you have no idea how much difference you make. If you like our books? Just TELL someone. Tell a friend, tell two friends. Word of mouth is so critical. Buy books as gifts.  My secret worry: I always think everyone thinks that everyone else has bought the book. So people just-don't buy it, figuring oh, she'll be fine. 

My mother once told me--"I went to the bookstore to get your book, they said they were out of it. So that's good," she said, "Right? People are buying it." Yeah I said, but they were sold out. Did you ask them to order it for you? No, she said, I thought it was too much trouble. AH! Mom!

Pre-order, pre-order. You better believe I will tell you when TRUTH BE TOLD is available for pre-order. Those numbers are critical! And think how efficient that is! YOu'll never have to give it another thought until it arrives.

(No pressure, gang. It's just our careers...:-) )  Each and every book makes a difference. Each and every review and recommendation makes a difference. It truly does.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: We are only here, talking to you today, because of you, our readers.  We can't tell you enough how much we appreciate you. And I can only agree with what the other REDS have said. And I would add, not only recommend books you love to your friends and family, but LEND them.  I know that seems a bit contrary, because we want your friends and family and everyone you meet in the street to buy our books, but sometimes people are just not going to do that until they've actually read one.  So while they might not buy that book, we hope they will buy the next one. And then recommend to their friends. And so on.

Of course, if you've already loaned your friends earlier books in the series, they will run out and buy the new one, too:-)
HALLIE EPHRON: And when you go to the bookstore and you see my book on the shelf, turn it face out... just kidding. I only make my children do that.

The biggest thing is: Read. If you can't afford to buy the book, then borrow it from the library or borrow from a friend. Read it and tell friends, booksellers, and librarians if you enjoyed it.

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I'll jump on the library band wagon along with Hallie. For many of us, the first time we try a new author is at the library. According to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, there are 8,951 public libraries in the US - and that number doubles when you count branch libraries and bookmobiles. Robust library sales alone are enough to keep a mid-list author alive, and they can powerfully boost debuts and best-sellers alike. So, readers, visit your local library. If they don't have an author you like, ask if they can add his or her books to their acquisition list. Recommend the books you love to other library-goers. And needless to say, librarians can be the most influential readers of all. My first books were successful in large part to librarians thrusting them into the hands of patrons and saying, "You have to try this!"

SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: What everyone else and especially Hank said. If you like a book, tell your friends, your family, random strangers in bookstores and libraries. And the pre-order thing is amazing — and we REALLY, REALLY, REALLY appreciate it!

Lucy: that's it Red readers, back to our regularly scheduled program:). Tomorrow, a recipe from Downton Abbey Cooks--and 3 chances to win the cookbook!

For other writers reading this blog, any other tips that you think would help spread the good word?


  1. Thirty-five hundred books a day? I’ll never catch up!

    Let’s see now . . . reviews? Check. Recommend to friends? Check. Ask the library for the book? Check, but I still need the book in my personal library so I always drop in at the bookshop and request the book. I love pre-order!
    Lend my book? Well . . . no; I am way too fussy about how my books get treated, so there are only a very few people who are actually allowed to borrow any of my books . . . .

    Deborah says, “We can’t tell you enough how much we appreciate you.” That’s a two-way street and we readers can’t begin to tell the Jungle Red writers how much we appreciate you. To each of you, a heartfelt “thank you” for sharing your thoughts with us on this blog, another “thank you” for all the wonderful books . . . and we’ll be right there when the new ones are published . . . .

  2. Books are brain food.

    1. Blueberries
    2. Wild salmon
    3. Whole-grains
    4. Avocado
    5. Nuts and Seeds
    6. Books

    In fact books should be first on the list of brain foods, because we can read all about them in books.

  3. Read in public! Then maybe someone will ask you about the book you're reading (I do it all the time) and, if you're enjoying it, that person may just buy it for herself (or reserve it at the library). Word of mouth is SO important for writers who haven't written that blockbuster, so don't hide your books under a bushel (or on a Kindle). And always carry a book with the title up or out, and carry it proudly.

  4. I carryyour books along with me to read while waitingar my doctor,dentist,oral surgeons' offices. They all say they get their best reading suggestions from their patients.

  5. you guys are national Jungle Red treasures--thank you so much! Christopher and Julia, love the reading in public idea...that's what makes ebooks difficult:)

  6. Another tip: when it's your turn to choose the next book club read, choose a JR-written book.

    I'm in three book clubs, plus my mom and I share books, either she buys them or I do. And sometimes we both do, because we both read fast and we're impatient. :-)

    Susan, I just read Mr. Churchill's Secretary. Can't wait to read the rest of them!

  7. Thank you so much, Karen! and Reine — too funny. and Christopher, yes! Reading in public — for me that means on the subway — love to see what other people are reading (and one disadvantage of e-readers, at least for the curious onlooker...)

  8. Karen, My thought was book clubs too. Not only our own book clubs, but often, when I read a good book, I'll tell friends who are in other books clubs that this or that novel might be a good one for them. For example, my mom's book club wants to branch out, so I suggested they read some mysteries to see if that generates some different types of discussions. Once a book gets into the book club loop, it can really gain traction. On that note, it just dawned on me ... there are so many great book club websites - are there any devoted strictly to mysteries? That would be a great site!

  9. Oooh, this is reminding me. Invite me to your book group! I can come visit with with you anywhere, via Skype. We all can!

  10. Good point Hallie--visiting book clubs is so much fun! Either in person or by skype.

    The rest of you probably do this too, but I design discussion questions for each book and put them on my website. Oh, and we can consult on menus too:)

  11. I love the "reading in public" idea, too! And I wonder if readers realize what a kick writers get out seeing someone reading their book?

    I had been on book tour in Central Florida with Charles and Caroline Todd. Standing in the security line as I was getting ready to fly home from Orlando, I saw a man a few places ahead of me reading The Confession (then the newest Rutledge.) I had to text the Todds and tell them!

  12. Sharon and Kathy Reel had their names drawn to receive copies of THE SLEEPING DICTIONARY. Please send an email to Sujata with your mailing addresses.

    sujatamassey at mac dot com

  13. And, I thought I was behind on my reading before seeing the 3500 number. Wow! I love to publicize the books and authors I love, and you Reds making yourself so accessible helps in doing that. I have a blog, The Reading Room at where I talk about authors, books, and reading. I'm trying to get it noticed, so, while I'm not an author, I feel a little of your anxiety about getting the word out. In fact, it would be really helpful if the Reds would visit the page and become followers, maybe even make a comment occasionally (keeping fingers crossed). Since the Red authors are in two out of the last three posts, you might want to visit and see yourselves anyway. There are pictures, too! I would love for the other contributors and commenters here to join my blog, too. Everyone here is so interesting.

    Also, I have a FB book group called Bookaholics, This group currently has 384 members and growing steadily. It's just a place to talk about books, and I try to promote what I'm reading there, too. I love that there are members from all over the world, as it gives great perspective and a chance to spread what we're reading globally.

    Pinterest is something that I'm starting to use for author and book promotion, as well as my blog promotion. I've been on Pinterest for a long time, almost 10,000 pins now, but I've only recently started realizing the potential there to share my current reading activities.

    Twitter is something I need to get back to again. I used it more before and after Bouchercon than I have been lately, but I plan on checking it and posting reading selections there more, to.

    I love connecting with authors and helping them to promote their books. I met Jen J. Danna, author and research scientist from Canada, at Bouchercon and our immediate bonding led me to be a part of her advance reading team. I'm currently reading her book due out in May, A Flame in the Wind of Death. Jen, along with Ann Vaderlaan, writes books featuring a Massachusetts state trooper Leigh Abbott and forensic anthropologist Matt Lowell. I will post an advance review on Amazon and write about the book in my other venues. It will be a great review, as the book is. So, I have learned through Jen that I need to start posting reviews on Amazon to help my favorite authors, too. I promise to go back and pluck at least one review for each of the Reds and put it on Amazon, and in the future to do so.

    And, of course, word of mouth is something that I use to encourage friends to read all of the wonderful authors I read. Like Joan, I'm not big on lending my books out, as I'm fussy about my babies, too. Asking the library to order a book is something I've done before and a friend of mine does all the time (often from a suggestion I've give her--couldn't help adding that). Our library here is great about ordering books that they don't have. I think a lot of people just don't realize that they can ask.

    OK. Once again, I have rambled on. It's little wonder that my husband only gets the first of what I say. LOL! Just know, dear Reds, that I sing your praises many places. Of course, if you all didn't write such amazing novels, I wouldn't have anything to sing. Thanks for keeping me in material.

  14. I just saw where I've won a copy of The Sleeping Dictionary. I'm so excited I can barely type. Woohoo!

  15. Kathy Reel, I love your blog, and have signed up for it!

    By the way, my daughter told me the other day that she'd made a resolution to read 100 books in 2014!

  16. Just received my first e-reader (wouldn't have bought one myself) and while I appreciate the convenience, I prefer the physical book. And now that I have an e-reader, I'm seeing them everywhere else, but that hasn't stopped me from asking the reader what they're reading. Guess I'm just nosy that way.

    And, Reine, love your list and totally agree; thanks for the morning chuckle!

  17. Kathy Reel--I just visited your blog and will sign up for your Facebook page. Both terrific.
    And if you'd like an advance reading copy of City of Darkness and Light do contact me on my Facebook page ( I have a few ARCs to give to bloggers and reviewers.

  18. Deb and Rhys, thank you so much for visiting my blog and FB pages. I am over-the-moon excited. Two of my favorite authors! How cool is that? Uber cool!

    Rhys, yes, I would love an advanced copy, and I have commented to that effect on your FB posting about it. Deb, the main reason I was able to read 100 books last year was reading your series and all the other Reds' books and series before Bouchercon. As I stated on my blog, "one of my best reading years ever!" Good luck to your daughter on achieving her goal. I usually set mine at 75, but I always hope I exceed it.

  19. TFJ, I understand. I took over a Nook that was gifted to my husband one Xmas (he has a kindle). I find it handy to try out new authors when specials are run. But I particularly like it for short stories available only electronically, like Rhys's. It's just handier than loading it on my laptop.
    As far as reading, I always have a book with me for waiting rooms or car trips or whatever. I recommend favorite authors to friends and family. A good friend and I exchange mystery books for Christmas every year. I just loaned my mom (she turned 94 yesterday) all of Julia's books so she can read them in order. It's hard sometimes for her to get them from the library. I rely on the monthly newsletter from my library to read about mystery and suspense books they recommend. And I am always finding new authors from the emails I get from Murder by the Book here in Houston. Oh heck! And recommendations from you guys too!

  20. I agree with the idea of posting reviews, even if they aren't 5 stars. BUT If you don't like the book because of the subject matter or POV or other reason, anything except how it works as a piece of writing, DO NOT slam it in a review. The writer did not write it just for you. Check before you read. There may be a clue in the write up or book cover that will warn you that this book has elements you do not enjoy. Don't blame the writer and stick them with a bad review.
    If, however, the book is poorly written, needs extensive editing, etc. (Clearly none of the books by the Reds fit this!), then say so.

  21. I don't think anything beats word of mouth. I know I have a few friends, along with a few reviewers, who I count on for learning about "new to me" authors. They're people who are discerning in their reading, and honest in their reviewing. Also - support from other writers will always help a new writer.

  22. I don't think anything beats word of mouth. I know I have a few friends, along with a few reviewers, who I count on for learning about "new to me" authors. They're people who are discerning in their reading, and honest in their reviewing. Also - support from other writers will always help a new writer.

  23. OK, I promise that this post is my last. It's just that the subject today is one I'm extremely interested in and trying to be more and more active in promoting the authors that I love. If I can get people to visit the places that I discuss all these great books, then I can more easily pass the word along and add to your already impressive fan bases.

    I should have mentioned that I review my books on goodreads, and my page there is I have links to my goodreads activities and certain shelves on my blog, too. I have a review page on my blog, but I haven't been as good about posting my reviews there as I should be.

    Also, if, and I so hope you all do, visit my blog, please take a minute to scroll down on the right side and become a follower, as well as subscribe to my blog (that's at the top right). Thank you so much, and please let me know if any of you have a blog that I can follow and add to my list of blogs on my blog. Whew, that's a lot of blog.

  24. I agree with Kaye. Word of Mouth is the best way to spread your love of a book. And you just might end up with a new friend as a result of recommending it to someone.

    I find myself chatting with people in the mystery aisles of bookstores and typically, we both end up leaving with books that we didn't intend to buy.

    Of course, BOLO Books (my blog) is my focus for the posting of reviews and with enough followers finding that site, I am sure I have sold a fair number of books.

    It's the least I can do for the hours of enjoyment that authors continually give to me.

  25. thanks for all the good ideas and support Reds! I agree Pat, expecting a 94 year old person to pop out to the library might be unrealistic:)

    TFJ--love that you are nosy about what folks are reading!

    Kathy Reel--I joined the FB group and followed the blog. Sometimes the things we mean to read get overwhelming, don't they?

  26. I have to break my promise to reply to Kristopher. Meeting you at Bouchercon was such a treat, and BOLO is awesome. You are my inspiration and guru for blogging. I need to know your secret for your success. I want to pick your brain much more than I got to there, so please friend me on FB at Kathy Boone Reel (and, of course, anyone here), so I can message you some. I really don't message much. Honest. Hard to believe from all my chatting here today. Also, I need to double check and make sure I'm following your blog and list it on mine. So, please follow mine, too, and I will be a happy booker (please not the b and not h on the booker word).

  27. Hallie, I've never been able to convince my book club that I actually know authors. They all think I'm stretching the truth! LOL

    Hank did an email book club visit with my email-only book club (a diet/exercise support group that started on TLC). We read The Wrong Girl, and Hank was very nice about responding to us all over a 24-hour period. I think it would be an awful big time commitment for authors, the way it turned out, though.

  28. I do have some fave authors and I tell anyone who will listen about their books and something about them

    I love people to recommend books and authors I have not read, some I put on my wish list or purchase, others not

    I also try to remember to leave reviews on books I have read

    I often loan friends the first book in a series to get them interested in reading that author

    Keep writing ladies - we need books to read :)

  29. Word of mouth is so powerful. I'm always talking up the book I'm currently reading hoping to inspire others to pick it up as well.

    When I'm in a bookstore and see a favorite author's book, I pull it out so that it extends beyond the other books and I've seen people take it out and read the cover and back page.

  30. The reason I started reviewing originally at Amazon, then Epinions, and now my blog ( is because I wanted to help spread the word about authors I read and loved. It still drives me, although I do review much more than books on my blog. I love to read, but I'm not just a reader, and this keeps me interested in reviewing.

    I've also started a group on Facebook called First Line Monday were everyone is free to post the first line of their current read. Please come like and join the fun.

    And I want to thank the Reds for praising lending out books. I'm constantly calling out an author right now for her stand that libraries are good but readers loaning out books personal copoies of books is bad. As a result, it's nice to see authors praising any way to get the word out about their books. There's a reason I read so many of you, obviously.

    I don't tend to pre-order much, but obviously I need to rethink that. I certainly do want to do all I can to help my favorite authors keep in the business of keeping me entertained. (See, it really is selfish.)

  31. Before I joined Jungle Reds I had only bought Deborah Crombie's books. Now I've bought some by all of you and am enjoying every one. I'm working my way through Julia Spencer Flemings now after buying the latest one and being hooked! I lend books to friends who have since become devotees. And I now follow several of you on Twitter. You all have a devoted fan here in Canada! Thank you all. I'll continue spreading the word. And your books!