Why? Because reader-author trust is at the heart of everything happening in publishing today. Yeah, I really think so.
Here's a breakdown for the discussion this week. I doubt I'll be able to get to all these questions, but we'll start with this food for thought. Feel free to comment here and continue the discussion during the chats!
Monday, January 10, 2010 (4pm ET): What does it mean when a reader trusts an author?
You're a reader. Most likely you approach reading a book from a favorite author differently than you approach reading a book from a new author. Why? I submit that it's about trust. Whether you're a parent choosing an author to provide a religious view of the world for your children or you're a reader of erotica looking for a certain spark in the books you choose--you choose an author you trust to provide the reading experience you expect.
- What expectations do you have of the authors you read?
- Has your trust ever been violated by an author (examples if you dare)
- What happens to your relationship with an author if your trust is violated?
- Have you ever picked up a book because a trusted author recommended it?
- Do you ever stop reading new authors because you lack trust in the outcome?
- Have you ever read anything you wish you hadn't read? How does this influence your need for trust in other authors?
Wednesday, January 12, 2010 (4pm ET): How does an author establish trust?
As an author, how do you establish trust with your readers? How do you develop that relationship? In Readers Are Everything, I suggest that getting someone to buy your book isn't about the money. It's about the time involved in reading and it's about trust. It's even a bit like dating. How do you get a reader to give you a chance?
- Do blogs build trust with readers? (Is the experience different for nonfiction vs. fiction?)
- What is your experience with posting stories, excerpts, or first chapters? Does giving away writing build trust?
- Can you use a first book to build trust anymore--or does trust have to be built before the first book comes out?
- How important is it to stick to reader expectations? Are you worried about being pigeon-holed? (Dare I mention branding as a means of building trust?)
- What is the role of reader reviews in building trust? How does the source of the review influence trust?
- What is the role of sites like Goodreads in developing trust?
Friday, January 14, 2010 (4pm ET): What is the role of publishers in the triangle of literary trust?
Ah yes, so here we are. If it's all about building trust, what is the role of the publisher? Do traditional publishers have any edge over indie publishing? Let's discuss, yeah?
- As a reader, is there any publisher you trust to deliver books you will universally enjoy? Do you have loyalty to a publisher the same way you have loyalty to your favorite authors? (Example: as a reader of used books, I have a burning desire to own books from the classic Everyman's Library. Even if I don't like the author much, I enjoy the books and want to own them. Am I alone? I'm also developing a need to own some of the classics with gorgeous new covers. But is this about trust or art? Or are art and trust related?)
- How does the quality of the final physical product influence trust between reader and author? Binding? Cover art? Spacing inside the book? What about ebook formatting? Do readers trust an author more or less based on these details? How does this relate to the date analogy? Does the cover need to show up at your door on time and dazzle you with outward charm before you give the contents a chance? (And does traditional publishing have an advantage here any more, especially with ebooks?)
- How do traditional and indie publishers compare when matchmaking new authors and readers? Do established author blurbs from traditional publishers make a difference? Are traditional publishers going far enough in helping authors to meet their readers (book signings, support for online presence, speaking, etc.)? What responsibility does the author have in establishing new readers without this matchmaking service? Are indie authors more motivated to make connections with readers? Do traditionally-published authors expect too much?
- What is the role of traditional marketing in building reader-author trust?
- Where do bookstores and libraries fit into this equation of reader-author trust and how do publishing choices influence their role?
I'd love to see comments here, to be developed more during the live chat. Please join us. As I post this, the first session is just hours away!
January 10, 12, 14, 4pm ET: http://tweetchat.com/room/litchat