Angling For Readers
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to include the TITLE, the AUTHOR'S NAME as given on the cover, a BLURB, and -- this is very important -- an AMAZON LINK.
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