Reader Analytics for Authors

Surely everybody reads a book from start to finish especially if they paid cold hard cash for it! Almost every author believes that about his or her readers. I mean it makes sense doesn’t it?

The reality is different. Book publishers have known this for some time, though more as a kind of gut feeling rather than based on any kind of hard objective data.

It is the rise of ebooks that has changed what we can measure. Finally, we are able to observe readers unobtrusively based on software embedded in the book and measure if a book is opened and actually read.

The sobering reality is that the majority of book titles are finished by fewer than half the readers that start them.

Reader analytics is first and foremost a technique to measure how readers engage with books. It measures their engagement, their satisfaction and their likelihood to recommend the book to others.

Reader analytics allows you to test your book both pre- and post-publication through virtual focus groups of advance reading copies or complimentary books, but also by tracking if people read book samples, get hooked on the book and buy the full copy.

We would like to emphasise that reader analytics is not an editorial tool. It does not tell you, that readers drop off in chapter 18 or that they find paragraph 4 on page 107 boring. That’s what editors do. The reasons is that the data is neither that granular and that reader simply do not read in such a fashion. A reader who is committed will happily endure some poor paragraphs and chapters. Readers make up their mind in the first 50 to 100 pages of a book based on plot, characters, storyline, tone of voice and much. Readers pretty much judge a book as a “Gesamtkunstwerk”. Thus to improve your content, you need an editor, but to improve your marketing game, you can employ reader analytics.

Reader analytics is first and foremost a marketing tool.

The following pages are written with the self-published author in mind. We are speaking to the indie author who undertakes or directs their own marketing. However, as a legacy published author or hybrid author, you might also encounter reader analytics. Some large publishers already provide reader analytics as an author service.