Friday, May 1, 2015

What’s a Reader to Do? By Melinda Viergever Inman

Melinda Viergever Inman

There are now 8 million books on Amazon. A year ago there were “only” 2 million.

What does that mean for you, the reader?

You have an abundance of choices. This is the good part!

But that brings a dilemma. More than 300,000 titles are published each year in the United States alone. A new title is added every five minutes on Amazon. Which books are good? How can you know?

This produces an unexpected outcome. Some of your favorite authors will quit publishing, because not enough people discover their books.

Publishers no longer provide much publicity for their authors. This means excellent books are never discovered, unless you step in and change everything. How?

Tell others about the books you love. As a reader, it’s all in your hands.

If you don’t act, even great books won’t make it. We writers know you didn't want this responsibility. We’re sorry. It wasn’t our decision. We would never have done this to you. You simply want to read books and share them with your friends, like we all did in the good old days.

Back then the publishing houses deliberately kept the supply low, so they could keep the prices high. They invested in publicity campaigns for their authors, driving book costs even higher. With few books and high prices, we passed them around.

Then came Amazon. Writers and small publishing houses had grown tired of great stories never making it to print. Inexpensive e-books and indie publishing arrived on the scene, and now the publishing industry has changed forever.

As a result, you have been given this job.

You now have more stories to read. But now you, the reader, must act. You have the power to determine which stories are discovered in that enormous book pile.

If you lend out your copy and allow it to be passed around, the author and publisher will not recoup their investment. There won’t be enough sales to prompt the publisher to produce the author’s next book. That tactic will put her out of business.

If you don’t tell others, if they don’t then buy their own copies, and if many of you don’t write reviews about the books you love, no one will ever find them.

“Given the junk available, reviews and rankings become ever more important. And, when that happens, even folks just under the top 100 can fall into oblivion.” (Source:

In this scenario, authors grow desperate. It happens every day.

We may try to go it alone, something no author does well. We may stop waiting for our publisher and skip the advantage of hiring professional editors, because we don’t have the $3000-4500 needed for a content and a copy edit. We may simply slap our novel up on Amazon for public consumption. (Why this is a terrible idea:

Then you, the reader, will be faced with an enormous pile of rough drafts, books that weren’t fully developed or edited and yet were published anyway. This is one reason there are so many books on Amazon today.

If you want to read quality stories, you must act.

The publishing world awaits your decision, and so do all your favorite authors. We can’t move forward with our next novel until you decide, even if we have the manuscript sitting right there ready to go.

What will you do?

(Dear writers, to encourage you today, I address our readers. Share away.)

Nudged toward evil by Satan, Cain 's hard-hearted hubris results in Abel's murder and Lilith's broken heart when he is banished, splitting the family and propelling mankind toward ever-increasing violence as their siblings seek revenge. Crushed by what he's done, Cain runs, certain he's destroyed Lilith, his parents, and the entire family. With Satan hounding his every move and no idea of the forces arrayed against him, can Cain ever find God after he's committed a sin of such magnitude? Can he ever be forgiven?

Melinda Viergever Inman was raised in the tornado capital of the U.S.—Wakita, Oklahoma, of "Twister" fame. There her parents met. There her roots were sunk in a storytelling family. During years of relocation, tragedy struck. Wounded and heartbroken, Melinda forsook her roots and ran from herself and from God. A journey of trial and heartache brought her home again. A prodigal now returned to her secure foundation, she writes with passion, illustrating God's love for wounded people as he makes beauty from ashes. Refuge is her first novel. Melinda shepherds women in church and in prison ministry and writes inspirational material on her biweekly blog at With her family she is involved with Mission India, rescuing orphans and providing theological and job training for impoverished students—
You can learn more and connect with Melinda here:



  1. Thanks Melinda. I pray this message will be read and shared by many. With the rapid changes in the publishing world, even quality manuscripts may never reach the readers.

  2. You're welcome, Bruce! We who write and deal with this industry every day are familiar with these facts. We have to cope with their effects every day. But our readers aren't usually acquainted with these details. They don't know our industry as well as we do. I think it helps to repeat these truths periodically, so they understand their part. Everything has changed, and it takes time for all of us to adjust to the wild ride!

  3. Thanks for reminding us, Melinda. Since joining Christian Reviewers on Facebook, I've made it a habit to try to do a review for every book I read. Definitely don't want our favorite authors to stop putting out their wonderful books! Blessings

    1. Marie, I bet the authors you read love you for it! Thank you!

  4. This will probably be considered a rant...I'm an avid reader; I would love to buy many more books than I do each month. If I share books with friends, it's not a "tactic" to deprive an author her/his investment, it's because I don't want to live in my car. The price of paperbacks goes up every year, but my salary does not. I could spend an entire paycheck on books from my favorite authors, and still not be able to purchase books from debut or new to me authors. I have read so many articles about authors, publishers and Amazon fighting over who gets what percent. The money you are fighting over is the readers’. Amazon does not negotiate with us, they charge a price and we pay it or don't read. After I purchase a book, it's mine, if I read it, throw it away or gift it, that's my decision. Don't overlook the benefit to book sharing; it brings you new readers. When I give books to people it usually turns them into book addicts because I share the good stuff I know will get them hooked. I absolutely love authors, especially Romance and Christian fiction writers. I hear your appeal, if you lose, then we as readers lose. I will make a commitment to leave reviews, revive my review blog and help promote your work. I want you all around forever. I plan to be reading for a long time, in fact I believe the last sound I hear before I go to glory, will be the sound of my book or e-reader hitting the floor.

  5. Lynne, I understand your frustration! We're all frustrated. Many authors are seeking creative solutions, such as indie publishing and Kindle Direct, precisely because they feel this situation is unfair to their readers. Prices go higher and higher, and now publishers expect readers to also help with the marketing. As an author, I'm constantly seeking creative solutions that benefit my readers. E-books can give some wiggle room with our publishers. I actually asked my publisher to drop my e-book price, because I felt it was too high for my readers. We're on YOUR side. We want people to read our stories. But we have to at least break even. As much as it costs to create these stories and to market them, we have to have some return for our labors. If all our readers had as much passion about reading as you do and turned that passion into writing reviews and promoting the books they love, we'd all be in a very good place! Thank you for your comments, and thank you for reading! I'm with you!


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