Commentary by Cherie Jung

(23 January, 2015)


For some time now, I’ve been hearing (and reading) complaints from what we used to call, “mid-list authors,” established authors, and new authors about their books not selling (and what they can or should do to increase sales). Discussions and suggestions have ranged from the practical to the impractical, from old-fashioned marketing tips to how to get the most out of the various social media sites; the pros and cons of the free book giveaways, the 99 cent book pricing, the $1.99 book pricing, and whether or not “reviewers” feel it’s okay to trash the low-priced books. I found that last little gem rather offensive but I’ll leave that issue for a later commentary. But I can assure authors and readers that pricing doesn’t even enter the picture with omdb! reviewers until we’re ready to post the review online and we look it up.

I’ve also been hearing and reading complaints by readers.

To be fair, except for the social media chatter and the self-pricing of books, most of these complaints have been voiced repeatedly over the past few decades, with emphasis on the particular complaints mostly depending on the complainers’ perspective.

It struck me that wouldn’t it be interesting if one of those professional survey companies ran a survey amongst mystery/crime readers and authors? Or even an international survey?

I’d like to propose a few questions.


Are there too many authors writing too many books?

Do you really read those freebie/giveaway books you keep downloading to your e-reader?

(Do you read any of them?)

Where do you purchase books (if you purchase books)?

Online? At an authors’ website? An online store such as Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com? A “Bricks & Mortar” bookstore?

Is the number of mystery/crime readers dwindling?

Have the majority of readers passed into that “elderly” age-range?

Have readers moved on to TV and DVD mysteries?

What kind of advertising do you rely on for helping you choose new mystery/crime books?


I wonder if anyone would be surprised by the responses revealed in the survey. I also wonder if the survey would indicate that the responses fall somewhere between too many books and too few readers?


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