Why Do You Read My Books

I have been talking to other writers and I watched a video this week about reaching¬† readers. One of the points made (by Becca Syme) is that there are a lot of books out there and finding new readers is about curating. That’s why Booktok is popular. Readers discover books they will likely like from favorite Booktokkers who’ve done the work of discovering if the book’s good or not and who will like it or not. It saves readers time and money. Now I think this applies to books that are not in something like Kindle Unlimited, where the reader pays a monthly fee and reads whatever she wants. It’s easy in that case to just stop reading, since you can move on to the next book without losing money.

I’m trying to figure out how I can get my books into the hands of new readers. Obviously if I get reviews on Booktok or other places, new readers might see those and take the chance. But what other ways are there? I’m not entirely sure. One thing that did occur to me is to wonder why readers read my books and what makes them come back. When they see a Diana Pharaoh Francis book, what are they expecting? So that’s what I would like you to answer: Why do you read my books? What brings you back? Do you have a series that you prefer and why?

I have thoughts on why people might read, but I’ve never really asked actual readers. It feels a little squicky, honestly, like I’m digging for compliments or something. I’m not. It’s a genuine why do you read my books question. I’m also trying to decide if I want to know what turns you off about my books. I’m not sure I’d change anything and knowing that might make me paranoid as I write and I might freeze up wondering if readers will hate something. So I’m trying to be careful about that, since as I told you, I’ve got depression and I’m doing all I can to maintain my writing. I’m afraid thinking about what people don’t like would derail me.

But knowing why people do read my books could help me figure out how to direct advertising or help me figure out how to get my books curated to new readers, which would really help me be solvent. I would really appreciate everybody who can take the time to answer.

In my next post, I’m going to ask how you find new books, but if you feel like mentioning that here, please do.

23 Comments

  • Diane

    I am drawn to strong women characters. They may have struggles to overcome but they can do it. That is what I find in your books. The second thing is setting or even worldbilding. You do a fantastic job of creating a sound stage for your characters. Third of course is the plot. I’ve liked your single novels,or at least what we have so far, and the longer arced novels. Some books are easier to step into.

    • Cindy

      I get most of my ideas for trying new books from Amazon. As far as why I like Diana’s books, I like strong female authors and define “strong” as being willing/ able to kick butt AND being willing to confront fears and outdated assumptions and being willing to risk vulnerability for healthy intimacy. I prefer a mix of suspense and character development. If I’m not engaged with the characters, wading through never- ending struggles just feels like work. Nothing but internal dialogue makes me roll my eyes and look for another book. Diana has an effective mix of suspenseful action and meaningful personal reflection / interaction with others. I buy my books and like to re-read them every couple of years so I appreciate a bit of complexity; I discover a few new things every time I re-read a series written by Diana. Dealing with depression and vertigo is like swimming through mud. Hang in there, Diana, sending healing energy your way. Given that I’ve had some similar challenges from time to time, I felt encouraged and energized by your honest sharing. Sending kudos and hugs from Indiana, Cindy.

  • Lise

    At the end of the day I like good stories, well told. I enjoy your well written ‘3D’ characters and world building. I mostly get ideas for new authors to try from Facebook groups like fans of urban fantasy, or from Amazon ‘also bought’ and especially from bookbub. Never heard of booktokk, going to have a look now

  • Kristi

    I like the world building and the characters. I love dialogue and some romance is a must for me. It doesn’t need to be instalove but I do want to it be a part of the story. Your female characters are strong and their relationships are important to them. They grow as the story progresses.

  • Jo

    I love finding the profound in the silliness. Strong character driven plot is a must. Thanks for truly enjoyable reading

  • Leigh

    I Love a well written books with relatable characters and a plot that keeps u turning the pages even though it’s 3 am and u gotta get up early. Beck does that for me. I’ve read PFIF I don’t know how many times, and, each time the story, although familiar, remains fresh. For me, you have good characters, a plot that moves (not one that takes 5 scenes and just rehashes them over and over again for word count) and lots of intelligent, snarky (not obnoxious) dialogue. The romance is not bad either. I Hate a book that is filled with so much gratuitous sex that the plot disappears altogether. Hope this helps.

  • Andrea

    I like how you create characters that are “real” and your world building. I also like the relationships between your characters, either platonic or romantic.

    I tend to find new books either from adds on facebook, Amazon recommendations, or from the email from Fussy Librarian and Book Barbarian.

    Just to let you know I have tiers for the authors that I read not just one favorite author. You are on the top tier with Marie Andreas, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Anne Bishop, Kristen Britain, Jennifer Estep, Jim C. HInes, Kim McMougall, & Lisa Shearin. These are authors that I have to buy the newest book the day that it comes out and have reread their books several times. (Sometimes to the point where I can quote from memory),

  • Joan

    I like well-developed characters and stories that keep my attention, especially if they make me laugh. When the characters’ relationships are fun and believable – even in odd/unbelievable situations — it is a win.

    Also, first found your stuff after a recommendation by another author I enjoy (Ilona Andrews) as I am a proud member of the BDH.

  • Katherine Klein

    I read them because I enjoy them. I love to read, and will read most anything once. The ones, like yours, that I enjoy I will read multiple times. Every time a new book comes out in a series I will re-read the prior books. I’m looking forward to re-reading Putting the Fun in Funeral. I’ve re-read the Path and the Horngate series multiple times, and I’m hoping to get some more Magicfall books, but anything you want to write is good for me. Hopefully your body quits messing with your brain soon! Feel better

  • Melissa S

    You create such complete new worlds. Even the urban fantasy take on a total life. You don’t get lazy and rely on the world as we know it. You invest in the details and textures to create a 360 experience.

    And I love your characters. Flawed, ferocious, even those who don’t become the hero willingly… They are as textured and as complex as the worlds you build. They are reliable in spirit even if they do something completely unexpected. I’ve never felt betrayed or wanted to give up on them. I empathize with them and cheer them on.

    Best escapism I’ve ever read.

  • Paula

    First and foremost, you have such strong, believable female characters as noted by many of the previous posters. They have flaws, but work through them. They are feisty and know what they want and go for it. At one time, I remember you indicated creating entire bios for the major characters so that their actions fit and they don’t behave out of character.

  • Tricia

    I love the way your stories flow. The story is complex and spins out just right. The female characters are strong even when they don’t think so; they have a hard uphill battle and are usually a bit reluctant while at the same time they are determined. The romance angle is just right. I love good romance in a strong story, and you do it just right. I anticipate the next book and that’s a great pleasure for me. I really appreciate your talent!

  • Tricia

    I love the way your stories flow. The story is complex and spins out just right. The female characters are strong even when they don’t think so; they have a hard uphill battle and are usually a bit reluctant while at the same time they are determined. The romance angle is just right. I love good romance in a strong story, and you do it just right. I anticipate the next book and that’s a great pleasure for me. I really appreciate your talent!

    When trying to determine if I might want to read an author I look for recommendations from other authors or “also might like” authors. My favorite authors, including you, also include Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock), Ilona Andrews, Lilith Saintcrow, Kalayna Price, Sarah J Maas and KF Breene. When I see these authors as an “if you like” then I’m going to try the book.

  • KAY BUTTS

    i read your books because you make me care about them. The books are entertaining, never boring, and I can’t wait to read what will be next.
    I have read you ror years and look forward to reading them for many more. Your characters are strong, and well able to take care of those they care about.

    Keep up the great work.

  • Marcia Wilson

    I floundered into your writing purely by accident when visiting a Barnes & Noble located in central Illoinis. The book’s cover caught my eye, the back pages looked good (because I always read the ending) and it appeared to have a strong female character in the lead. I purchased, I read, I figured out that It was a “middle” book of the Horngate series and I was immediately hooked.

    I love your writing style, the world-building, the characters, and I was thrilled when I figured out that I had even more of your books that I needed to purchase immediately.

    There are very few writers (OK….FOUR) that I auto-buy and purchase in multiple formats. I have all of your books on my Kindle and in “paper” on my shelves to keep and re-read over and over. You bring happiness, because I know that I am going to read your books and be transported to a different world than the current “real” one. There are too many unpleasant idiots in areas where I can’t escape them (TV, radio, Intenet)! Thank Goodness for your writing, your characters and your willingness to keep producing such quality works.

    Hopefully, you will know you are greatly appreciated….every day!!

  • JenM

    I first stumbled on Bitter Night way back in 2010 when I discovered UF. The storyline was very different from the usual vampires, werewolves, etc. and I loved it, so I dove into the Diamond City Magic series when it was first released and loved it also. Again, it was very different from the usual UF. I think that is what draws me to your books. The plots/storylines/worldbuilding are fresh, different and imaginative and they draw me in. Of course, it also helps that I like your writing style and usually can relate to the characters and to their determination to do the right thing, no matter what obstacles they encounter.

  • Mary Winger

    I read your books because as soon as I open the the book, I’m immediately drawn into the story and feel invested in the heroine. While you are also doing the worldbuilding of the story line, you are also opening up ‘who’ the heroine is based upon how the world is built. The descriptions are coming from her and the things about the world are from her view point. All that quickly builds a full picture of her and who she is. Loved the Diamond City series and impatiently waited for the Horngate Witches books. I began reading your books with the Path Series and could not wait for the next books you put out. And, as always, smart mouthed, capable heroines are ALWAYS at the top of my reading list. ;-9 Plus ALL of your stories leave me wanting MORE STORY!

    Good luck with your physical therapy. And thank you for your contributions to my mental health well being by offering some GREAT Escapes (or is that Escapades?)!

  • Barbara

    I love your writing. It is thoughtful, the characters are well developed, and the worlds you build are detailed and rich. I love the range, from old school fantasy to modern day urban fantasy. When I read a Diana Pharaoh Francis book, I fall into the story. I feel apart of and engaged in the world that you have created. I like that you write strong female characters but give equal time to strong male characters. Your stories are original. That says a lot given how much is written in the fantasy genre.

    I enjoyed everything I’ve read but the Crosspointe series will always be my favorite. I will read your writing as long as you continue to write!

  • Adrianne

    I’m looking for women who are secure in themselves, and who don’t have to spend all their time putting overly agressive men in their place. I also like a sense of humor in my books, and that’s a tough one because I don’t understand a lot of humor. I understand yours.

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