Posted by: Phil Anderson | May 18, 2014

Fishing for Readers

There are a lot of books out there. What makes one book stand out from all the others? I’d like people to buy my book, but why would someone choose to read Pirate Journey over all the other choices they have?

At the same time, there are a lot of blogs online. What makes “Scribe of Theran” special? Why should someone read it when there are so many others to choose from?

Based on my statistics (both blog and book sales) it seems that at this point in my writing career, my biggest draw is a personal relationship. Most of my readers are people who know me, my friends and family. Now, those are important readers, I don’t want to lose them. But I definitely need to expand my reader base; I don’t personally know enough people to make my next book a best-seller.

I did some online research, and here are some other things that help a writer stand out and make people more likely to read their work:

  1. Fame – People will always read what Stephen King writes because he’s famous
  2. Bestseller status – If a book is already a bestseller, people are more willing to believe it’s good
  3. Reviews/recommendations –  If a lot of people post good reviews on Amazon or GoodReads, or hear a good report from their friends, readers are more likely to join in
  4. Title/Cover – When a reader is browsing the shelves (or the internet) and not looking for a specific title or author, it seems that an interesting cover or an intriguing title will prompt many give it a try
  5. Similarities – “If you like Harry Potter, you’ll also like…” will attract the attention of most Harry Potter fans
  6. Uniqueness – The most successful books all have some unique quality that makes them stand out from everything else on the shelf

The first two items, I can’t do anything about (yet). The third is up to you, my loyal readers. If you’ve read Pirate Journey, please leave a review on Amazon or GoodReads so that others can find it more easily. The last three items on my list are up to me; I’ll write in a future post about what I’m thinking and doing to stand out in those areas.

What makes you pick up a book or read a blog? What attracts your attention? Is it something from my list, or an aspect of marketing that I haven’t considered? Leave a message below and let me know what I’m missing.


  1. What makes me pick up a book is a good cover and an interesting synopsis. I don’t usually pick up books by popular authors, unless I love their writing style.

    At the end of the day, it’s really out of your control. If you’re an indie writer, you have to trust your work will stand out. Published authors have a marketing team backing them up, while indie authors can only hope their readers give them a shot.

    Anyway, all the best with your book. I’ll check it out 🙂

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