Five Questions with Amanda Moon of NoiseTrade Books

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I’m pleased to welcome Amanda Moon to the blog today. Amanda is a Minneapolis-based author and runs the innovative site NoiseTrade Books. Read on to discover how NoiseTrade can help authors connect with their audiences and vice versa.

1. What is NoiseTrade Books and how does it work?

NoiseTrade Books is geared toward helping authors and readers connect directly. Authors give away content, and when readers download it, they provide their e-mail address and zip code for the authors to use for direct marketing. Authors maintain ownership of both their content and the e-mail addresses collected through downloads of their content. On the reader side, we don’t ever sell or share e-mail addresses; the only way to get on an author’s list is to download their content.

2. How can authors participate in the NoiseTrade Books community?

Try it out! Set up a fan account and download some books off the site. If you find something you like, tweet about it or post on Facebook so other people can find the same book. Then create an author account and put your own book up. You can also share something smaller, such as an excerpt, an extra chapter from the perspective of a different character, or a collection of blog posts. Then keep an eye on your social feeds, and thank the people who download your content. And, of course, add them to your e-mail list so they can learn more about what you do!

3. NoiseTrade started off as a music-sharing site before branching out into books. What do you think authors can learn from musicians about adapting to a fast-changing industry?

Oh my. This could be a whole post in and of itself. Both my husband and I have backgrounds in the music industry. He’s still in the thick of it. Here are a few of my biggest takeaways from watching that industry and watching publishing:

  • Complaining about the changes isn’t going to help at all and only breeds negativity. You have to find the root of the issue and come up with a better solution. For example: Remember when Napster was shut down and there were all those commercials about kids being arrested for downloading songs? That didn’t help anyone. Napster was created as an answer to inflated prices and fans’ desire for immediate access. Rather than complaining and trying to litigate out of the situation, the music industry should have been faster at providing alternatives.
  • You have to create some sort of personal connection with your fans. There are more books and music in the world than anyone can ever consume, and the shrinking physical shelf space isn’t coming back. No author can write and publish as fast as readers will consume the content. You will always lose their attention, so you have to make a lasting impression on them so they’ll come back. You do that first through your book, but then you have to take it a step further and offer your fans the opportunity to connect with you on a more personal level.
  • There is a middle ground. Getting a major label contract used to be everyone’s end goal. Then there was a wave toward indie labels and artists doing everything themselves. Now, we’ve settled in the middle. Labels (of all sizes) have specialties that are great for some and not great for others, while some artists have the business acumen to be completely independent. I’m seeing this trend in the author community now as well. There is still a certain amount of cachet that goes with having a publishing contract with a big New York house, but there are a lot of smaller presses out there that are finding a specialty and doing amazingly well. And there are some authors who have what it takes to run their own business by self-publishing. Everyone needs to find what works best for them. There isn’t only one right way.

4. Tell us about some success stories. What sort of material has worked really well on the site?

David Gallaher has had incredible success with his graphic novels. The Only Living Boy series did so well on the site that he came in and guest curated an e-mail dedicated to graphic novels. We’ve now got an amazing community of writers and readers in that genre on the site.

We’ve had several authors who’ve been amazed by the response they’ve received. One romance author sent me an e-mail the afternoon we featured her telling me she’d added more fans to her e-mail list in just that day (about twelve hours since the e-mail had gone out) than she’d gotten in four months prior!

5. You’re an author as well—tell us about your personal experience using NoiseTrade Books.

I have two books out, and I’ve done NoiseTrade campaigns for both of them. I offered my first book for free for two weeks to build excitement for the launch of my second book. With that campaign I doubled my e-mail list and sold a good number of preorders. And I recently offered the second book for free in advance of the launch of my first audiobook. I used the follow-up from that campaign to focus on getting reviews for both books and the audiobook. The engagement of my readers has remained high, and I’ve got several on my Beta-reading team who are giving me ideas for future projects. Also, they give me reading suggestions a lot, which I absolutely love.

Amanda Michelle Moon writes books inspired by real events and runs NoiseTrade Books. Her first two novels, The Thief and The Damage, tell the true-life unsolved mystery of a pair of Wizard of Oz worn ruby slippers from the perspective first of a fictional criminal, and then of the people affected by the theft. Both books can be found at www.stealingtherubyslippers.com. At NoiseTrade, she helps connect authors with readers and readers with amazing content. When she’s not writing, she lives with her family in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Find out about her at www.amandamichellemoon.com and books.noisetrade.com