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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.bardsandsages.com/randomstuff/authors.pdf

OK, so most of you know that I'm working on this little ethics project and I've been conducting some surveys. Based on data from the previous surveys, I created a new survey and posted it in the Amazon forum to get feedback from actual Amazon customers. Well, I won't get into the sordid details of how that went down, because what happens on Amazon stays on Amazon. Suffice it to say, I only got about half the number of responses I was hoping for. BUT, I thought you would find this bit of data fun anyway. One of the questions listed a random selection of authors names, and asked respondents to state how familiar they were with the author. I pulled the list of names from the NYT bestsellers lists, winners of major industry awards, and threw in some names I suspect some of you might recognize. ;D ;D ;D I specifically avoided including the "Brand Name" authors like King, Meyers, and Rowlings.

The purpose of the question, for those who care, is to address the author argument that "unknown" authors need to do anything and everything to get their work out there. And if you don't care about the purpose, you may find these admittedly incomplete results funny anyway.
 

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Did you make it out of the Amazon forums alive or am I allowed to ask?  ;)

Those results are just... weird. I don't know what to make of them.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Amanda Brice said:
I think this just goes to show that most authors are unknown to someone. An author who is considered a household name in my genre, might garner you blank stares in a different genre, or just amongst the general populace as a whole. And vice versa.
That really is sort of my take on it as well. Even though the sample size was small, this really does show that all authors are unknown to a portion of the population.

What I found funny was that a couple of KB authors actually had more "name recognition" at the forum than some NYT bestselling authors, but I think it had to do with them actually posting on Amazon so people recognized their names!
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
rexjameson said:
This is funny stuff. Thanks for posting.

Of course, I wouldn't look too far into this. I've seen similar polling about former presidents, and let's just say that it is depressing.
I think all it says is not to worry so much about being "known" because that is a rather fluid concept.

P.S. And have I told you how much I love your book cover? It is just gorgeous!
 

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Amanda Brice said:
I think this just goes to show that most authors are unknown to someone. An author who is considered a household name in my genre, might garner you blank stares in a different genre, or just amongst the general populace as a whole. And vice versa.
While I agree with your point you still have to wonder if any of those surveyed actually read.
 

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tim290280 said:
While I agree with your point you still have to wonder if any of those surveyed actually read.
Not necessarily. If you'd conducted this poll outside of a grocery store, I'd tend to agree with you. But since it was on the Amazon forums, I'm going to assume that not only are they readers, but they're fairly avid readers.

But just because they're readers doesn't mean they read the same things you or I do, or that they necessarily read the NYT list books.

I took a look at that list, and I will admit that for some of them, I only had the slightest, most vaguest idea of what they might actually write. I may have heard their name, but only in the context of being a book on the NYT list. Yes, being on that list means you've sold a lot of copies, but there are many, many more readers out there than the number of readers it takes to hit a list.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Amanda Brice said:
Not necessarily. If you'd conducted this poll outside of a grocery store, I'd tend to agree with you. But since it was on the Amazon forums, I'm going to assume that not only are they readers, but they're fairly avid readers.
Now I'm wondering if I should conduct this poll outside of a grocery store...or a bookstore. What would it say if I got the same results? :-\
 

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I was one of those that did that survey. I didn't know most of those names. I read a lot, I read 100's of books a year. It all depends what you read. There are genres I just don't read, period. I like what I like. My preferences have changed over the years, but what I used to read, most of you wouldn't know either as it was german authors a lot then.

I also don't really check or look up whats on the NY bestseller list, I have no clue.

Lets not insinuate any kind of degree of being well read or not, just because of a list of names. A small list  it is, in the world of authors and genres out there. Any insinuations just come across as snobbish.


eta: to add, in some cases I might know the title of the book, but couldn't for the life of me recall the name of the author. So I might have seen books of the authors on that list at some point, who knows.
 

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Atunah said:
I also don't really check or look up whats on the NY bestseller list, I have no clue.
I generally don't either, but when I hear that a friend of mine or chaptermate has hit the list (usually the extended list), then I will. But even then, it's not to find recommendations, but really just to gush over my friend's name.

Seriously, half the names on the list for that survey I couldn't have told you what they write. I maybe vaguely recognize the name, but only because I'd heard it bandied about. But I've never read them, and likely never will. It doesn't mean I'm not well read, I just read what I want to read.
 

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Atunah said:
eta: to add, in some cases I might know the title of the book, but couldn't for the life of me recall the name of the author. So I might have seen books of the authors on that list at some point, who knows.
Another good point. I'm much more likely to know the title of a book but not the author, so by conducting a survey like this and only polling on the basis of authors' names, I'd probably answer "not familiar" or "somewhat familiar" to most of the authors, even if I've heard their title all the time, simply because I don't realize that's who wrote it.

I read a lot. 100+ books per year. But just because I don't read most of the authors on that list doesn't mean I'm "not a reader." It just means I have different tastes in reading than you do.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Atunah said:
I was one of those that did that survey.
Thank you for taking the time.
(And for not flailing me. At least, I'm assuming you aren't one of the ones flailing me!)

I'm the same way. I read a lot of off-the-wall stuff. My bookshelf is a who's who of obscure authors :eek: :D

And yes, I have books that I have read and don't remember the author's name, particularly if it is a common name or if they have use variations of their name (i.e. ***** *****, ***** Ann *****, J.A. *****, etc).
 

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What a great survey and what it demonstrates.  There were clearly some Brand Name A list authors there on your list who were barely recognized by many.

I think most people would recognize the top 10 selling author's names like Grisham, Patterson, etc but after that they get fuzzy.  People who are avid readers in specific genres probably know the authors in their genre better and your list crosses many genres.

This really surprised me  :eek: :eek: :eek:  Maybe author name recognition is not as critical as I had believed or beeen told.  There were some heavy hitters on that list too???  Thanks Julie.
 

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jackz4000 said:
Maybe author name recognition is not as critical as I had believed or beeen told. There were some heavy hitters on that list too??? Thanks Julie.
I don't think it shows that name recognition is not critical, just that name recognition is often very genre-specific. Sometimes people on here namedrop and I stare blankly at the screen and say "who?" and I'm sure the same thing happens when I namedrop. We don't all read the same books, and that's not surprising.

Household names can vary depending on what circle you run in, and what genres you read.
 

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tim290280 said:
While I agree with your point you still have to wonder if any of those surveyed actually read.
I read a LOT, and I have to say that I have never heard of at least half of the people on that list. (Most of whom had the highest recognition factor in the survey.)

It is absolutely true, that most authors, no matter how famous, are unknown to most readers. We know our genre -- we know what we're interested in. We may see books by others, but if it's clear that it's not the kind of book we like, we don't even register the name.

Camille
 
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