Angling For Readers

Readers are wary fish.  You must take them by surprise and hook them before they know what hit them.

Readers are wary fish. You must take them by surprise and hook them before they know what hit them.

So, last week I  [This is Sarah] was on the internet, minding my own business, when someone posted an chapter of a book about burials in London.

Last thing I could possibly be interested in, right?

Except that it was fascinating. Having grown up in a place that has been populated and arguably civilized (for a meaning of civilized that restricts itself to some form of writing, and some form of social organization) since before the Punic wars, I’m familiar with the idea that what the great cities of the world are actually built on is… more of themselves, including their former inhabitants. But even so I hadn’t thought of things like the London subway having to detour around forgotten plague pits where the bones were packed so tight as to become impenetrable.

The flesh is weak and I ordered the book, Catharine Arnold’s Necropolis. As often happens (and this is inexplicable) the book was something I needed to read before I started the next book – Darkship Revenge – though no, it has nothing to do with funerals. It’s also a very good book in its own right, at least if you have the type of stainless steel lint trap of a mind that enjoys reading odd details of how such eternal things as burials were done in the past.

And the way in which I purchased it might be the only infallible way of attracting readers on the internet: if you give away a bit, and they like it, they will come.

It’s quite possible that nothing offends my sensibilities as much as a good writer giving away his work. It makes people think all of us should work for free.

On the other hand, like the bait hiding the hook, sometimes to give away a little only sells a whole lot more. After all, Jim Baen found that when a book went in the Baen electronic free library, it would only sell more copies in paper. And I have found that having a short story free on Amazon bolsters all my sales for weeks.

Sometimes we need to remember to be like pushers – the first hit is free.

This is something that traditional publishing – other than Baen – struggles to understand, and often it seems – witness the whole price fixing thing – that they don’t even particularly get “Loss leaders.”  But we who are indie and have to make it on our own would better understand both concepts.

After all, no one is going to market us if we don’t.  To be fair, that’s also true for traditional writers, most of the time.

And don’t forget, this week, that just about all the books we link here have a preview function, and the ability to download it.

Give yourself a chance to be hooked!


Send books to be plugged to [email protected]. Remember to include the TITLE, the AUTHOR’S NAME as given on the cover, a BLURB, and — this is very important — an AMAZON LINK.



Notes To Stephanie: Middle Aged Love Letters And Life Stories
By Jeffery W. Turner

Young adults are not the only ones that fall in love and get married. People in their middle age do that too. This book is the story of one such couple as told by the “notes” written by the husband to his wife. These notes are not just love notes but also tell the tale of how life tests people and how its events sometimes feel overwhelming. They also show how couples do get through difficult times and proceed on through their lives, not knowing to what destination many times. If you sometimes wonder if you are the only one over 40 with a difficult adult child, a conflict at work, or something else trying your patience, you are not alone. You will also know that life is also good, and sometimes filled with hope and love. Even for a brief time. These tales of life’s events and stories that we all share are contained in these pages, these “notes to Stephanie”.


Notes To Stephanie: Days Remembered
By Jeffery W. Turner

Continuing the stories told in Notes To Stephanie: Middle Aged Love Letters And Life Stories author Jeffery W. Turner tells us about days he remembers with Stephanie. Days that were good, frustrating, funny, or simply important in their lives. The days cover things like how Hurricane Ike effected them, places they drove to on Sunday afternoons, family gatherings at Christmas, their church, and many other things that all of us can identify with in our own lives. Regardless of what happened on each of these days remembered, they are days that one can treasure and enjoy reading about.


A Guardian From Earth (Rediscovery book 2)
By Dan Melson

Graciela Juarez has become the first operant on Earth. Her mentor taught her the basic building blocks of her new abilities, but the Empire has had billions of operants for a hundred thousand years. They can teach her more in a few months than she will learn in years – abilities she can use to help Earth through a coming crisis. She undertakes a journey of self discovery and learning, and begins the hard work of secretly readying Earth for the coming crisis.