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A look at the channels through which readers discover books and ebooks by indie authors

At the recent Tools of Change conference, Otis Chandler, c.e.o of Goodreads outlined the various means by which people discover ebooks. Here they are, in the order of most to least powerful, with a few suggestions of how to put these into practice.

  1. Friend’s recommendations: so - makes lots of friends!
  2. Media mentions: this isn’t going to be TV or national newspapers for most indies, however, don’t underestimate the power of the local press. Regional papers are always on the lookout for anything newsworthy so a local resident publishing a book is something they’d be interested in, particularly if you come up with a novel way of launching it. Some local radio stations have books or arts programmes so make contact there.
  3. Goodreads: if you haven’t already, join up at Goodreads describes itself as the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. In February it signed up its 15 millionth user so it really is pretty big. Goodreads allows you to keep track of what you’re reading and want to read, to recommend and review books, find out what other people are reading, to link up with friends and form book clubs. It’s been running since 2007.
  4. Goodreads Choice Awards: every year Goodreads’ members vote for their best books of the year. Again, most indies won’t feature here, but who knows? You might be one of the lucky ones who gets picked up. 
  5. Bookstores: only an option if you’re producing printed copies of your books. If you are, call on all your local bookshops and offer to do readings and signings there. Bookstores are always willing to host events as it’s good publicity for them as well as you.
  6. Libraries: as with bookstores, they’re usually receptive to events involving local writers. Make sure to get a few copies of your printed book into your local library so that word can be spread. If your library deals with ebooks too, then look into how you can get your own ebook into their database.
  7. Facebook: this needs no explanation at all. Use it as a promotional opportunity. Many authors set up a page for their books.
  8. Book clubs: if you know of any local or relevant specialist book clubs or reading groups, try and get your book into their hands.
  9. Blogs: you need to have a blog as part of your author platform so get cracking on that if you don’t already maintain one. And get onto other people’s blogs as much as possible via a virtual book tour or through guest posts.
  10. Twitter: it may be the bottom of the list but it’s still a powerful tool. I know I get most of my books from having seen them mentioned in Tweets.

A further idea - Pinterest wasn’t mentioned at all, but it’s another useful promotional social medium - and it’s quite fun to do.

And the final suggestion for how to get your book discovered - contact us here at as we’re putting together some book promotion packages that might interest you.

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