By Barbara Fister
We’ve had some very busy days at the American Library Association convention in New Orleans, and they're not over yet. Your SinC Publishing Summit team has been meeting non-stop with people who can help us understand better how readers discover the books they love.
After a series of annual summit reports that gathered insights from publishers, editors, agents, distributors, wholesalers and emerging digital publishing platforms, we thought it was time to focus on the readers, because when you get right down to it, they are the people who matter.
We’ve held focus groups with adult services librarians, librarians who plan events and specialists in young adult literature. We talked to the founder of the first social network for bibliophiles. We met with “rock star librarians” who are renowned for their expertise in "reader’s advisory,"– the art of connecting readers with books that they will love.
We learned that it’s critical to coax out what readers like to read – and why. Subgenres don’t matter as much to readers as the underlying factors that make an appealing book: tone and mood, characters you know well or those who might surprise you, fast-paced stories or language that makes you want to slow down and savor the words.
More books are published every year, and that makes it challenging for writers to connect with their audience. We hope that our report will illuminate ways that readers discover books and will help our member authors connect to their audience.
But, first, you’ll have to give us a chance to let our heads stop spinning!
Photos of New Orleans by Barbara Fister.
Barbara Fister is the author of the Anni Koskinen mysteries. The most recent title in the series is Through the Cracks. She is an academic librarian and serves on the SinC board as Secretary.