Today I’m joining in C.S. Splitter’s blog tour. He’s a funny guy who’s written a couple books I highly recommend you check out. Below is his guest post and at the end I’ll have links to where you can find him as well as his books. His debut action adventure novel, The Reluctant (Crayder Chronicles), is currently free on Amazon. So make sure to get your copy today.
I have no idea. If I knew exactly why people buy books, I would write the definitive book on selling books and sell a zillion books. I think the reasons people buy books probably make as much sense as that last sentence.
I have read the studies. Some people buy a book based on the cover…so much for that old judging books by covers thing. Some people buy because of the blurb on the cover. Some read a couple pages and decide. Some look for names of familiar authors. Some go by what Amazon says they should like. Some listen to friends and their recommendations. Some read reviews.
Maybe we are asking the wrong question? Perhaps the question should be: Why don’t people buy a certain book?
Now, given the struggles that I and other writers go through to get our books into the hands of readers, one would think we would be experts on just why people are NOT buying our books. But, we are largely clueless. I can only give guesses as to why people decide to not purchase a book.
I am not sure covers sell books (they might, I really do not know), but I know a bad cover will make someone decide not to buy a book. Probably, much like food which I DO know something about, a large portion of the enjoyment comes from the presentation. If food looks good, it probably tastes good. A good looking cover might make someone red the blurb and a bad cover will definitely make them stop and go on to the next book.
I have been told by just about every author that the first couple sentences sell a book. I get that. People are busy so they are looking for something that grabs their attention early. What if the author spent four months on the first sentence and three minutes on the rest of the story?
Blurbs are good. I really look at blurbs. A good blurb will make me look at the rest of the book. Did you know that blurbs are often NOT written by the author of the book? Some marketing person might have put together the blurb and, from some I have seen, reading the book was not in their job requirement.
People have written whole books on how to make a book show up often on Amazon. Their algorithms are a science unto themselves. How to get a book to show up as recommended for readers? How do their best seller lists work? “Customers who bought this also bought that.” How does one make these things work for their book? I am not even sure Amazon knows.
Name recognition is maybe the toughest nut to crack. Readers are much more likely to buy from James Patterson than C.S. Splitter because EVERYONE knows his name. Mine sounds like a 19th century surgical instrument.
Name recognition is why authors have annoyed readers since they figured out they could self publish their books. We have all been inundated with “Buy my book!” on forums, Facebook, Twitter, and other venues. Name recognition is why you see us on blogtours (taa daa!). Studies show that repetition is essential in getting a buy message across to readers. But, here again, there is no magic formula. What works for one will not work for another and, truly, a lot of readers have been turned off by the efforts of writers to gain recognition.
Lost in all of that marketing stuff is “write a good book.” J.A. Konrath preaches this. He claims that he really started selling books once he stopped trying to market them. That is working for him but it makes my head spin.
So…I don’t know. I think we need to do all of the above. Write a good book (which includes being well edited…), put a good and professional cover on it. Write or have written a good blurb for it. Maybe do a blogtour, have a blog, do Facebook, do Twitter. These things seem more like things you NEED to do rather than things that will sell books because I swear, I think consumers these days look for reasons NOT to buy more than they are influences TO buy.
About 20,000 copies of “The Reluctant” are out there now and I feel like an idiot (it is FREE right now on Amazon). It hit the bestseller lists and people started emailing me asking what I did to make that happen. The truth is: I have no idea. All of that happened before I really started trying to market the series. The eBook had a great cover (Dafeenah @ Indie Designz), my editor punched up my poor blurb, the reviews are really good, and the editing is quality (Tricia Kristufek), but all of those things had been in place for some time before it caught a little fire.
What sells a book? I have no idea. I do know that if you have a bad blurb or ugly cover, potential readers are more likely to pass up your book. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? Just make sure you have your bases covered and pray really hard because a lot of it seems to be luck.
Where you can find Splitter:
Splitter’s Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/splitter
SplittersWorld Blog: http://splittersworld.blogspot.com/
Where to purchase his books:
click images to view on Amazon
Currently available at Amazon for Kindle
The Willing (Crayder Chronicles)Book Two available at Amazon for only 99¢