Thursday, 20 February 2014

Getting readers to read your #science-fiction

Selling books is tricky. Most of the indie authors I speak to seem to find it almost impossible, struggling to sell even one book per day. If you are not already well-known, it's hard to persuade people to part with their money. It's a gamble for them but there's a way around that.

Amazon and Smashwords both provide a try-before-you-buy option that authors can offer to potential customers. The problem seems to be that few readers seem to take advantage of it. We all need to make an effort to remind readers that the facility exists, allowing customers to download a portion of the book to their favourite e-reader device for free. It costs authors nothing and takes away the risk of making a bad purchase for customers.

Over the past months I've also posted free samples in a variety of other places, including Goodreads, my Astronomicon blog and Wattpad. I've given up on Goodreads as I've made no headway at all with that, and my blog doesn't really get enough visitors to make any impact. The only place I've been able to successfully encourage people to take a look at my work is, and I would not rate that as a great success. Like any popular social site, it's hard to stand out from the crowd and get that all-important word-of-mouth marketing going.

My most successful offering of free chapters has been Astronomicon: The Beginning on Wattpad. I've managed to get a few hundred reads there, but I'm still looking for that elusive means to turn it into tens or even hundreds of thousands.

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