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New Amazon Selling Strategies: Selling "Preview" Chapters

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

While checking my latest book, the 'readers of this book also purchased' field showed a story specifically labeled as a "Preview Chapter", available free on Kindle Unlimited, but costing $2.99 if you purchase it outright (I guess that means there are Kindle Unlimited members paying me good money for my non-Unlimited book!).

$2.99 for a single measly chapter? And it's nothing more than a ploy to get readers hooked so they're now 'on the hook' for a $10.50 paperback! What a scam?

Still, it's a new way to troll for new customers. Rather than selling it, make the chapter preview available only to Amazon Unlimited readers (if that's even possible), or make the chapter free if it's not.

However, it's reassuring to see the unlucky author has only sold 2 copies. One for FREE on Kindle Unlimited and one for the full $10.50. That's a pretty poor endorsement for such a sales strategy!

Researching it further, this is actually a trend which is catching on (though only 11 books offered by nine different authors). They range in size from 2 to 9 chapters, and the majority are, so I suspected, FREE for Kindle Unlimited and $.99 for paying customers. Still, nine chapters for 99 cents is better than one for $2.99, but in neither case can I discover whether the author has the slightest idea on how to close a story. (Sorry, the 9-Chapter Preview is totally free, and the description clearly states "A Sneak Peak the first nine chapters" (sold by Macmillan Press, no less). It's actually a New York Times Bestseller, so clearly someone is onto something! The full story still costs $14.99, though.

What do you think? Would you purchase a single chapter—even for free—if you knew you'd have to pay over ten bucks to finish the story?

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

And it's nothing more than a ploy to get readers hooked


My wife just finished a paper novel. After it ended, there were several chapters of another of the author's novels. I guess the author is trying to get the reader interested in her other novel.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

My wife just finished a paper novel. After it ended, there were several chapters of another of the author's novels. I guess the author is trying to get the reader interested in her other novel.

Now that I've done myself, as I'll typically include the first chapter of the sequel or my next book at the end of each story. In fact, the Direct2Digital distributor has that build into their submission system, where it will automatically link the first chapter from one story to another story to boost sales. So I guess, in that sense, selling or giving away the first chapter of a book as a 'giveaway' isn't really an over-the-top strategy. I think I was just surprised that the one author charged $2.99 for only a single chapter, even though it was free for Amazon Unlimited users, and then stuck them with a $10.50 tab if they wanted to finish it.

But as you noted, that's simply because they've already decided they like the story and would like to see how it turns out.

I can see charging for more chapters, but I'd definitely give one to three chapters away for free, but I'd likely charge a small fee for four to nine chapters, just because you're giving away a larger percentage of the story. Even if the like the book enough to buy the rest, there's an increased risk in giving away so much of the story, as we've seen several individuals who'll try to pass even incomplete works off as their own. If so, it could impact my reputation and their victims would never know the story wouldn't be complete. As such, it would be nice to get some competition, if only for that increased risk factor I'd be facing.

As I noted, it seems to be a new trend, just like boxed sets was the last trend in book sales, although this one is just starting, it's already captured the attention of some mid-range publishing houses (cough, cough, vanity presses).

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Keet

I would never pay for a partial story, either 1 chapter or 3 chapters. I'm one of those weirdos that don't read a chapter of a sequel at the end of a book. If I'm interested I find/buy the book.

I have set a personal limit to what I want to pay for an ebook ($10 per ebook). There is an author on this site that has pulled all his books and put them up for sale from 11.95 up to 14.95. He lost me as a reader. I would pay that for a paperback but since I read almost exclusively ebooks that's not likely to happen.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

What do you think? Would you purchase a single chapter—even for free—if you knew you'd have to pay over ten bucks to finish the story?

My reactions?

- being allowed to read one chapter for free would make me more likely to buy a book
- being asked to pay anything to read one chapter guarantees I would never buy it
- and I'm not going to sign up for Kindle Unlimited

To square that circle you'd need to tell Amazon to stop charging for single chapters.

But note ... my reaction is possibly irrelevant to your needs. I'm in the group that spends very little on books.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Keet

I have set a personal limit to what I want to pay for an ebook ($10 per ebook). There is an author on this site that has pulled all his books and put them up for sale from 11.95 up to 14.95. He lost me as a reader. I would pay that for a paperback but since I read almost exclusively ebooks that's not likely to happen.

I can understand that. Despite there being a mere $2 difference between my latest paperback book and the ebook, the only way I can actually sell a paperback book is if I encounter someone on the street, and interest them in me as an author. Even my close friends won't actually pay me for a book, although they'll all snap up an ebook for virtually the same price (especially since the traditional book publishers actually charge more for ebooks than they do for their print books!).

The publishing media is constantly chanting that 'ebooks are dead!', but the fact of the matter, they've never sold anywhere near as well as they are now. What the publishing media doesn't say, is if the ebooks cost more then print books, then most people will choose the cheaper option every time! To me, that means the polar opposite, because the traditional publishers simply can't afford to continue propping up their print sales by ignore the more profitable ebook sales for long. If they finally start selling reasonably priced ebooks (say for only $3 to $5 cheaper) it would likely return those publishers to the profitability they've lost over the last couple of decades.

But I agree with you, I wouldn't dream of charging by the chapter. As I said, I might charge if I was selling a 'preview' of six to nine chapters, but that's mainly to cover my ass because of the associated risks of someone trying to sell my books as their own, and even then, I'd only charge a minimal fee.

Replies:   Keet
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

My reactions?

- being allowed to read one chapter for free would make me more likely to buy a book
- being asked to pay anything to read one chapter guarantees I would never buy it
- and I'm not going to sign up for Kindle Unlimited

As I noted, the author who was pushing that books had only sold a single copy, and even then, the person who purchased his print book most likely got his preview for free through an existing Kindle Unlimited subscription. So, I'd say his marketing experiment was a complete and utter failure.

That said, the other book I examined (the one offering a $1 nine-chapter preview of a $14 book) is a New York Times Bestseller, and his publisher isn't even one of the major publishers. So clearly, the strategy isworking, but only if you give people something of value, rather than trying to profit from nothing at all.

To square that circle you'd need to tell Amazon to stop charging for single chapters.

They're unlikely to do that, because there are so many people selling 10,000 word novels on Amazon (less than the size of many SOL chapters), they'd be pissing away money by clamping down.

Amazon did curtail the practice substantially by changing how they pay for Amazon Unlimited downloads, so now they count the total amount of the book anyone reads in calculating the author payments, but they've never attempted to stop the practice of 'single chapter' books. Just like Facebook does from the Russian hacking, Amazon profits from people abusing their system!

Keet

@Crumbly Writer

The publishing media is constantly chanting that 'ebooks are dead!', but the fact of the matter, they've never sold anywhere near as well as they are now. What the publishing media doesn't say, is if the ebooks cost more then print books, then most people will choose the cheaper option every time! To me, that means the polar opposite, because the traditional publishers simply can't afford to continue propping up their print sales by ignore the more profitable ebook sales for long. If they finally start selling reasonably priced ebooks (say for only $3 to $5 cheaper) it would likely return those publishers to the profitability they've lost over the last couple of decades.

I still don't understand the idiotic price difference. Obviously the first stages for a book are the same for both print and ebook (writing, editing, formatting etc). If a book is print-ready it's just the choice how to print: on paper or to a file. And nobody can deny that paper-printing is way more expensive then file creation since the file used for printing is almost a ready ebook. Even distribution is cheaper for ebooks. You just need an on-line store that nowadays is used for selling printed books as well. For paper books might need a real store or at least a warehouse to store books before delivery on order. Paper books need to be printed in a certain amount to keep the costs down but if they don't sell you've got a hell of a lot to burn. Maybe that's where the term "Kindle" is founded on ;)

But I agree with you, I wouldn't dream of charging by the chapter. As I said, I might charge if I was selling a 'preview' of six to nine chapters, but that's mainly to cover my ass because of the associated risks of someone trying to sell my books as their own, and even then, I'd only charge a minimal fee.

I agree that selling 6 to 9 chapters is too much as a preview. A good synopsis and a first prologue/chapter would achieve the same or more but you would have to give that away because I don't think anyone is gonna pay for a small preview. The risk you mentioned is real so one more reason not to go there.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Keet

I agree that selling 6 to 9 chapters is too much as a preview. A good synopsis and a first prologue/chapter would achieve the same or more but you would have to give that away because I don't think anyone is gonna pay for a small preview. The risk you mentioned is real so one more reason not to go there.

'Giving away' a first chapter is no skin off my game, since I typically post three full chapters of each story I sell in order to interest readers anyway. Plus, it typically takes, in my case at least, three full chapters before readers quite understand the plot dynamics, but it's before any substantial plot giveaways, that that's really my magic number anyway. So rather than posting them to my website, where hardly anyone other than SOL members know about, I could give away the same three chapters as a text only Preview, and reach a hell of a lot more readers, especially if I make the Preview available on Amazon Unlimited (something I don't currently do).

It just seems a more logical way to reach a wider array of readers.

Now, the next logical question to ask is: do I offer my current book as a Preview, since it's the second in a three book series, do I instead offer the earlier first book in the series, despite it's not being as well-crafted, or should I offer both?

I'm leaning towards only offering a preview of the first book, regardless of which sequel I'm currently selling, as I'm interested in attracting readers to the series, rather than a single book.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Crumbly Writer

I'm leaning towards only offering a preview of the first book,

That's what I would do. I'm not very familiar with the publishing business but giving away a complete book on a commercial site seems counter-productive. Maybe that would work to promote a series of 10+ books or if you have 10+ books on the same site just to make readers aware of you as an author. In the last case I would choose a book that's short but shows a little of your best work.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Keet


That's what I would do. I'm not very familiar with the publishing business but giving away a complete book on a commercial site seems counter-productive. Maybe that would work to promote a series of 10+ books or if you have 10+ books on the same site just to make readers aware of you as an author. In the last case I would choose a book that's short but shows a little of your best work.


That's the key. The book in question is one of my shortest stories, but at over 3 years old, it's not one of my best works, as I streamlined it to focus on the action, rather than investing the time to develop the characters, which I subsequently did in its sequel. So do I promote a preview of the shorter, but somewhat inferior work, or focus on my more recent efforts (say maybe by promoting my other stories which didn't get as much attention because of their subject matter)?

I'm guessing, in the end, pick a single series Preview to experiment with, then evaluate the results before committing to promoting the rest. One key in my limited marketing, is that each new book I get people to read, typically sells anywhere from six to fifteen of my other books, and that's when I'm charging full retail (and way above the 'optimal' independent booksellers' pricing).

People like my books when they finally crack them open. My biggest challenge is getting them to read them! So far my SOL readers are keeping my efforts afloat, but I need to keep reaching new readers to expand my base.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Crumbly Writer

The book in question is one of my shortest stories, but at over 3 years old, it's not one of my best works,

Maybe readers value it differently, that's hard to determine. What you think is your best/worse work is not necessarily how readers see it.
Have you investigated how other authors do their marketing and what the results were?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I think I was just surprised that the one author charged $2.99 for only a single chapter, even though it was free for Amazon Unlimited users, and then stuck them with a $10.50 tab if they wanted to finish it.


I once asked Amazon if I could publish the first n-chapters of my novel "Last Kiss" for free to get people to buy the book to finish it. Their answer was to request a change in the Look Inside to offer more chapters for free and that what I requested wasn't allowed. It sounds like the author you mentioned sort of did what I wanted.

Here's Amazon's response:

Our KDP Terms and Conditions only allow for one edition of the same book to be published at a time.
Therefore you will not be able to publish the first 16 chapters under a new ASIN.


So the author offering the first chapter of the novel and the novel is selling two editions of the same book.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde
Updated:

I just borrowed 2 books for my trip to Italy in a couple of weeks. The 1st is "Kill Shot" by Vince Flynn. It's paperback. I went to the end to see how many pages it was and what did I find? Chapter 1 followed by an ad for another novel which I guess is Chapter 1.

The second is "The Hit" by David Baldacci. At the end he has the ad for another book with the words: "Please turn this page for a preview of David Baldacci's explosive new thriller! King and Maxwell" and then the 1st 4 chapters.

So I guess it's done a lot.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

The second is "The Hit" by David Baldacci. At the end he has the ad for another book with the words: "Please turn this page for a preview of David Baldacci's explosive new thriller! King and Maxwell" and then the 1st 4 chapters.


Scary factoid - I've read both of those!

AJ

robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Scary factoid - I've read both of those!

I'd prefer the vacation in Italy.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

Scary factoid - I've read both of those!


Are they good?
Which is better?

ETA:

Both of David Baldacci's books or both books I borrowed?

Crumbly Writer

@Keet

Maybe readers value it differently, that's hard to determine. What you think is your best/worse work is not necessarily how readers see it.
Have you investigated how other authors do their marketing and what the results were?

I've tried adopting several mentioned strategies, and while they help, they really haven't made a huge difference. In the end, most of those the marketing reaches are my existing SOL readers who follow me. I'm not really a social media guy, so I'm uninterested in playing the 'update your page so frequently you never have time to write again' game, so I'm unlikely to be as successful as many independent authors who know how to play the game (i.e. I'll like you if you like me).

Frankly, I've been debating simply picking a ebook marketing company at random, paying them whatever they charge, and see if it makes any difference at all, as I have no clue how to evaluate marketing companies (since they're often excellent at promoting bogus reviews).

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Here's Amazon's response:

Our KDP Terms and Conditions only allow for one edition of the same book to be published at a time.
Therefore you will not be able to publish the first 16 chapters under a new ASIN.

So the author offering the first chapter of the novel and the novel is selling two editions of the same book.

Clearly, the work-around is to publish the Preview as it's own book, with it's own AISN. In fact, the official title included "Preview Chapter", which makes it a unique title for that author, while still having the same title as the print version.

Amazon also doesn't allow any Kindle book to be priced at over $9.99, making most of my box set impossible to offer, yet publishing houses of all sizes are free to offer Box Sets of up to $40 or $50 dollars, so it's a question of their picking winners and losers, and authors are clearly the losers in Amazon's view of the world.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

ETA:

Both of David Baldacci's books or both books I borrowed?

Estimated Time of Arrival? Are you asking him when he plans on answering your question? 'D

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I'm not really a social media guy, so I'm uninterested in playing the 'update your page so frequently you never have time to write again' game, so I'm unlikely to be as successful as many independent authors who know how to play the game


The self-pubbed authors on wattpad say social media is ineffective and takes time away from writing. They suggest you write your next novel and the one after that. Release as often as you can. If your book is good it will sell the others.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Both of David Baldacci's books or both books I borrowed?


Both of David Baldacci's books.

I liked them. My recall is patchy but I think I preferred 'The Hit'.

Reading some of David Baldacci's later books, I get the impression his scenarios have run out of originality, and he seems to be turning to unbelievable, deus ex machina resolutions.

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

I liked them. My recall is patchy but I think I preferred 'The Hit'.


I didn't. "The Hit" was a good story, but (in my opinion) the author can't write. I liked the ending, though.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I didn't. "The Hit" was a good story, but (in my opinion) the author can't write. I liked the ending, though.

The problem with bad authors who just happen to write terrific endings is, you've got to keep the readers glued to the book until the very end. If they never reach the end, your ending won't win you any fans!

On the other hand, a weak ending can cost you fans. If you don't properly wrap up the various conflicts, if the ending seems incomplete or forced (i.e. unnatural), then readers will often avoid your books entirely in the future. Some books were written well enough to carry off a weak ending, but those were generally better authors who simply couldn't write decent endings. If you combine bad writing with bad ending, it's a terrible one-two punch to your very short literary career. (Note: Maybe that's why so many people on SOL write never-ending sagas, but it takes them anywhere from 50 to 500 chapters to figure out a decent ending?) 'D

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

The problem with bad authors who just happen to write terrific endings


I don't think people think he's a bad writer. I do. I found his writing boring. The ending didn't earn him the NYT best seller. He also has many other novels so people are buying his books. And awnlee liked it. So did my neighbor who loaned me the book.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

And awnlee liked it.


At least you finished the book, so unless you had nothing else available to read, it can't have been that awful.

I have a paper list of favourite action/thriller authors that I take to the public library with me when I'm intending to borrow new books. David Baldacci isn't on that list. But if there's nothing available by my favourite authors that I haven't yet read (e-books and austerity have severely curtailed the selection of dead-tree novels available), he's one of the stand-bys. At least he's above James Patterson in that respect, and it really is scraping the bottom of my barrel when I borrow one of his books. YMMV.

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

At least you finished the book, so unless you had nothing else available to read


I only brought that one book with me to Italy. There was reading time on the plane and bus and hotel rooms. I would have quit after Chapter 2 if I had brought more books. And the chapters are only 2–3 pages long.

I like short chapters, but he broke into a new chapter for no reason other than to keep his chapters a couple of pages or to leave with a cliffhanger. But why the cliffhanger? The chapters were only a couple of pages.

The book was also tell, tell, tell (show don't tell). I found that boring.

He head-hopped and had other technical "errors" I'm aware of, but it wasn't any of those that bothered me. It was the way he told the story. I felt no suspense/tension. I didn't live the story through the characters. Stuff like that.

But he's successful and I'm not so I guess it's his way of writing that people like.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

But he's successful and I'm not so I guess it's his way of writing that people like.


or a great marketing machine working for him.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

He head-hopped and had other technical "errors" I'm aware of, but it wasn't any of those that bothered me. It was the way he told the story. I felt no suspense/tension. I didn't live the story through the characters.


Perhaps I don't remember the story very well, but IMO Baldacci is pretty good at building suspense. The other faults (and more) I agree with.

More than anything, it shows that in order to shift lots of books you need to be perceived as a good storyteller. Compared to that, getting the footling technical issues correct is relatively unimportant - despite the pages and pages dedicated to them on this forum (usually without clear resolution).

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

getting the footling technical issues correct is relatively unimportant


Except I believe it is important. As I said, it was a good story. But he told it poorly. I was never on the edge of my seat holding my breath. And many times I'd say, "Not again. He already told me that."

I loved "The Da Vinci Code" yet the critics said Dan Brown can't write. Brown kept me turning pages.

btw, I saw The Last Supper in Italy. Leonardo Da Vinci left written notes which explains away all the speculation on what he painted. The woman is not Mary. It's not even a woman. It's a 15-yo boy.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

I loved "The Da Vinci Code" yet the critics said Dan Brown can't write. Brown kept me turning pages.


I think I've read three of Dan Brown's books and didn't begrudge the time. But they were all told at breakneck pace. There was no attempt to build-up characterisation, suspense or menace - events were machine-gunned at the protagonists and the reader.

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ernest Bywater

I wish to thank you all for this flurry of posts on Baldacci, because I've never heard of the guy and I've never seen any of his books in any of the many bookshops I've been in. From what's been communicated here it sounds to me he write a lot like Charlotte Bronte where he spends a heck of a lot of time on descriptions of minor aspects of the characters and the scenes they're in, which is not what I want to spend time reading. I now have him down on my short list of authors to avoid.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

footling technical issues ...

You can guess what sort of post this one is going to be already, can't you? :-)

You posted a link recently which mentioned that most compound expressions including a two-letter word are hyphenated.

That applies to nouns like 'build-up' and adjectives like 'built-up', but not, according to my dead-tree OxD, to a phrasal verb like 'build up'.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

I think I've read three of Dan Brown's books


Loved "The Da Vinci Code."
Hated "Lost Symbols."

Will never read another Dan Brown book because of "Lost Symbols."

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

More than anything, it shows that in order to shift lots of books you need to be perceived as a good storyteller. Compared to that, getting the footling technical issues correct is relatively unimportant - despite the pages and pages dedicated to them on this forum (usually without clear resolution).

Although I'm the main stickler for those issues, I agree wholeheartedly. While knowing what your doing helps the story, and makes the book easier to read for readers, without a decent story, it doesn't amount to jack shit!

The story is, and always has been, paramount.

That said, if you take pride in your work, then why not make it the best it can be? But, if no one likes your stories, all the technical expertise in the world won't improve it a bit!

(You'll note I've always stressed strong storytelling, even IF I also continually push many literary trends!)

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

That applies to nouns like 'build-up' and adjectives like 'built-up', but not, according to my dead-tree OxD, to a phrasal verb like 'build up'.

Except, EVERY dictionary I checked lists "build-up" as a single word (i.e. not hyphenated at all). In that, it's like "backup", already an accepted compound word.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

it's like "backup", already an accepted compound word


Depends on the part of speech.

I'll run a database backup tomorrow.
Back up the database right now.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

EVERY dictionary I checked lists ["buildup"]

Not every dictionary does that. I provided a link in my post to the OxD which does not.

This is another BrE vs AmE thing!

I did not notice this before, but the online OxD lists both 'build-up' as a noun in English, i.e. BrE, and buildup as a noun in US English.

I think the point I made to AJ is still valid for BrE.

I note that the article AJ originally linked to said what they had analysed was only tendencies, not rules, and IIRC their 4 simple rules [for dating an editor] still only get it right about 70% of the time. I'm pretty sure now that they meant right according to British dictionaries and their rules don't apply to AmE.

So, as best I can determine, the tendencies for the form of compound expressions are:
* phrasal verbs consisting of a verb plus a preposition usually remain open (two words) in both BrE and AmE
* nouns tend to the closed form (one word) in AmE. In BrE they tend to get stuck in the hyphenated form when the preposition has only two letters
* adjectives including a participle are usually hyphenated in both BrE and AmE, at least before a noun. In BrE it is a rule they are hyphenated elsewhere
* adjectives not including a participle can only be checked in a dictionary when used after a noun in BrE. BrE dictionaries list the form for use after a noun and assume writers know whether to hyphenate before a noun.

I have no idea how to look up in an AmE dictionary for whether adjectives used after nouns should be open or hyphenated. CMOS has a long list specifying which according to the parts of speech of words in a compound. As an editor, I tell authors writing in AmE that I will not check those for the usual style in AmE; I could advise them what I'd do when writing in BrE or they can figure out what to do for themselves.

My recommendation to all authors is to maintain their own list of preferred forms for compound expressions, and every time they look something and make a choice they add entries to their personal list. Note that three entries may be needed for the same expression, for verb, noun, and adjective after noun. They may all be different. :(

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

Depends on the part of speech.

Thanks, Switch. It took me 400 words to explain that. :-)

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

That's not a description of Baldacci that I would have inferred from this discussion.

If you're a fan of dead-tree thrillers, Baldacci is an author you shouldn't ignore. Try him - you might hate him or you might like him but that decision should be yours and yours alone.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Will never read another Dan Brown book because of "Lost Symbols."


'The Lost Symbol' had a really, really atrocious ending IMO.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I think the point I made to AJ is still valid for BrE.

I can accept that, as I rarely check the OxD when looking up meanings, since I've never yet set a story in Britain. If I did, I'd have to consult the OxD constantly! That's not a value judgment, as I've visited and enjoyed England and Europe immensely, but just don't feel qualified to capture the British psyche and wit, or feel qualified to properly describe the British countryside without a LOT of research! But that's never prevented me from enjoying British stories, plays, TV or movies.

Good is good, but crap is crap, whatever dialect it's written in.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

'The Lost Symbol' had a really, really atrocious ending IMO.

Probably because he fumbled and lost his story's symbolism. 'D

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

Oddly, I've never felt compelled to stretch myself to write about places I'm not familiar with. When i do stretch myself, it's often to capture a particular characters, such as when I wrote my ONE homoerotic novel, or my ONE lesbian detective story. I was willing to do the necessary research the characters to make the story 'ring' true, while investing the time to set a story in England isn't equally justified, as those are more easily written by those of British birth or disposition. Getting the details right is extraneous, rather than the point of the story.

On the other hand, doing research to get another American story to seen 'authentic' IS worth the additional research, as I already have the 'American' psyche in mind, though sometimes the dialect takes a bit of work.

That's why I don't ignore just how difficult it is for foreign-born authors to set their stories in America in order to reach a bigger audience. That's an unthankful, but necessary cost.

rustyken

In most cases I find the preview segment offered on Amazon sufficient, however I have purchased a few books where the preview turned out to be misleading in terms of MC personality or plot. As a result of being misled, I tend to avoid that author in the future.

To me the missing aspect of eBooks is the ability to preview several pages scattered through the book. This has been my approach to purchasing paper backs in the dim and distant past.

Cheers

Ernest Bywater

@rustyken

To me the missing aspect of eBooks is the ability to preview several pages scattered through the book. This has been my approach to purchasing paper backs in the dim and distant past.


That's why I create a preview of my own for the e-pubs I sell. I go through the story and select what I think a reasonably representative pages from throughout the full book. Instead of going with the default first 10 pages I usually have more than that from pages spread throughout the full book, but I know I'm not doing what most people do.

Crumbly Writer

@rustyken

To me the missing aspect of eBooks is the ability to preview several pages scattered through the book. This has been my approach to purchasing paper backs in the dim and distant past.

For every simple book I've published on Amazon, I've included at least 3 full chapters on my website. Any more, and it would include story spoilers. I also typically list 15% to 20% as 'free read' on other sites, though my 'box sets' throw those percentages off (where 20% could constitute an entire book!).

I dislike the Amazon 'teasers' too, though I dislike the 'random page' Amazon read-ahead pages even more than the sequential chapters. But like you, the FIRST thing I do in a physical bookstore is to pick out a book I might like, turn to the middle of a paragraph, in the middle of a chapter, near the end of the book (where they're not world building) and read a random sentence (in the middle of the paragraph so it's not a 'summary' line). If that single line holds my interest, it demonstrates the book is SO well written that I'll ultimately enjoy it, regardless of the plot.

Unfortunately, not many modern books pass that simple test (too short of sentences and too plain of language). :(

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