I was recently browsing the blogosphere for eBooks on self-publishing and blogging when I came across Kristen Lamb’s eBook We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. It sounds like a very interesting read based on the blurb at Who Dares Wins Publishing. Will I buy it? Not without a lot of thinking and considering.
The information available in the book sounds great. I enjoy reading Kristen’s blog. I’m looking for whatever new info I can get on self-publishing and blogging. The price for the print version ($14.99 @ Amazon) is reasonable for a self-published book. The eBook version is also not terribly high ($7.99 for .pdf, .ePub, MS Reader, .mobi and Kindle). So why not jump on it? Because I have no idea exactly what is in it.
Think about the pull bookstores have on potential readers. What’s the one thing they still have in their favor? You can sit and peruse a book before you buy it. It’s the same reason customers prefer to buy books on Amazon that have the Look Inside feature. No matter how fantastic your blurb is, it will never fully capture what lies between the covers.
I could buy the less expensive eBook version of We Are Not Alone, but I’d still be out $7.99 if I don’t like it. (Even if I hate a book, I rarely return it or try to sell it.) That’s often the risk readers are faced with when looking at self-published books/eBooks and, with people reigning in their spending, giving away a free sample can mean the difference between a sale or clicking on by.
There really is no excuse for not providing a sample, especially if you do the work for your book yourself (which is what self-publishing is all about). I know of at least three ways to make a sample available to potential readers.
- Create a .pdf version and make it available for free download on your web site. You’d want to create something similar to an Amazon Look Inside for it to be of real value to potential readers. Hacking up your book into sample bits like this can be a challenge, but it’s better than not having a sample at all.
- Use a service such as Scribd. Again, this means creating your own .pdf sample of your book, but you’ll reach an audience you may not reach otherwise.
- Go with BookBuzzr. This service is by far the best available to Independent Authors. They will hack your book however you want and give you widgets to use for your blog, facebook and email. Beyond that you can set up automatic tweets to market your book.
If you plan to sell your self-published books, you must reach readers, entice them to give you their hard won money, and the best way to do that is to offer them a sample of your wares on The Road to Writing.