From Anne R. Allen’s Blog:
I never have as much time to read as I think I will, and my trusty old Kindle is pretty loaded up. So I’m a picky book-buyer. Unfortunately, there are a lot of readers like me out here, and you don’t want to lose us.
I’m often intrigued by a book’s cover and blurb, and sometimes a glowing review on Facebook or a book blog will send me to a buy page.
But I never buy without checking out the “LOOK INSIDE!” On most retail sites, that’s 10% of the book—which anybody can read free.
That “LOOK INSIDE” freebie is your most important book sales tool.
Make sure it’s going to snag readers, not kill book sales just as you’re about to close the deal.
With many books—not only self-published, but trad-pubbed as well—the first few pages will stop the sale for me.
. . . .
I’m a grammar freak, so a misplaced apostrophe or verb/object disagreement will stop me. I know not everybody is such a stickler. But I think all readers want to see that a book looks professional and polished. They don’t want to invest time in a book—even if it’s free—unless they feel they’re in competent hands.
. . . .
1) Consider Chapter Titles
The first thing the reader sees when he hits LOOK INSIDE is your “Table of Contents” (unless you have a formatter who will put it at the end. Unfortunately the Big Five don’t ever seem to do this.)
Why waste your first four pages with Chapters titled:
You might consider going back to the old-fashioned device of text in chapter titles. Yes. I know they’ve been out of fashion for a century or so. But ebooks are bringing them back.
You don’t have to go all 18th Century and write:
“Chapter the Tenth, In Which Our Intrepid Hero Encounters Several Not Terribly Nice Ladies, Some Very Strong Spirits and a Face Full of Gravel, as he Searches for his Long-Lost Brother Murgatroyd, and their Father, who May or May Not be Lord Mayor of London.”
But modern chapter titles can give an idea of the action to come.
Chapter titles can also be a major sales tool. Here are the first four chapters of my rom-com mystery The Best Revenge
- The Color of Fresh Money
- Debutante of the Year
- Something in the Woods
- King of the Chickenburgers
You know there’s something weird going on with rich people, and it’s probably funny. Isn’t that more informative than a list of numbers?
Link to the rest at Anne R. Allen’s Blog
PG doesn’t use Look Inside very often, but he may be aberrant.
PG would be interested in knowing how many visitors to TPV are regular users of Look Inside and what they are particularly looking for when they do.