Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Playing the system

I admit here and now that I'm no supporter of the idea of giving away books (and nor are any of our authors). Yes, it is founded on a good idea - the notion of giving free samples to customers in order to entice trade. My uncle used to be a rep for a chocolate company and he'd have boxes of sweets to give out to shopkeepers to 'try' (in the comfort of their own home, of course). I know for a fact that this ‘generosity’ ultimately resulted in lots of sales.

Don't make publishing a game of chance
I'd say the same for the modern book giveaways but just look at it from a customer's point of view. The average reader simply wants a (good) book so, unless they're seeking out a specific title or author, why should they do anything other than pick a freebie. After all, that same book could cost as much as $10 tomorrow (probably not but it could).

The sad fact of life is that there are just too many blasted books being given away for your novel to be noticed once it stops being free.

Based on the theory that goes 'if you can't beat them, change the rules', when you're looking to write a new book, make sure that you download all the top reviewed freebie books in your field. You'll need to do this over the space of about a week so that you don't miss any important ones.

Having got the books, quickly analyse them. How do they begin? How many principal characters? Do the books generally have happy or sad endings? What about the locations?

Because of the range of different genres, it's impossible to come up with an exhaustive list of questions but you get the idea. Find out what makes these books tick. Grab 20 or 30 and really see what the common thread is - that's what you're going to gain from this exercise from a writer's perspective.

Having done that, now look at the covers. For this part you can also go to the paid-for books but obviously don't download them unless you really want to buy them!

How many words do the titles have? What words keep appearing? How many images are the covers made up of? What do they have in common? Where is the title - top, bottom or middle? What about the author's name?

This sounds like a lot of work. True, but it's nothing like as much work as goes into writing a book. Given that all the invaluable research I've set out here shouldn't cost you a red cent, what can be the excuse for not doing it?

Not only that, the days of so many freebies to choose from has got to be numbered and they’ll soon disappear along with the incredible wealth of information that's currently a mere click or two away.

Any Subject Books acts as a conventional publisher of e-books and POD's as well as providing a full range of services to the self-publishing and independent author. Not sure which applies to you? Follow the link to the publishing services page.

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