Monday, 27 February 2012

Gray Resurrection is out on March 1st…

…but there’ll be no sampling.

What? Hang on, you just spent two weeks promoting your post Kids, Ketchup and Books which is all about giving readers a taste of what they’re going to get and now you stop doing it with your new book.


Well, not really. You see, while Gray Resurrection is a good little read in its own right, it is much better if you read Gray Justice first. Thing is, I can’t guarantee that readers will have done that, and I can hardly open the book with “Thanks for buying this book, but you’ll have to stump up even more cash to buy Gray Justice first” can I?

So I’ve amended the opening to say “If you haven’t already read the first book I strongly suggest you to do so by grabbing a free copy from Smashwords. Simply do a Google search for “Gray Justice Smashwords” and you should be able to find the page quite easily. Go through the purchase procedure and at the checkout enter code XXXXX and click Update. The price will be recalculated to $0.00 and the book will be yours to enjoy. You can download it in multiple formats for your Kindle, Nook, iPhone, etc. I promise, you will enjoy this book a lot more if you read Gray Justice first.” Obviously that’s not the real code.

“But wait! I’ve just paid a dollar for Gray Justice and you’re going to be giving it away to new readers! That’s hardly fair!”

And you are quite right, it isn’t fair. That is why, instead of throwing it onto Amazon at $2.99 as I had been planning since last year, I will be launching it at just 99 cents – the lowest price Amazon will let me charge – for the first 4 days, so you have until the evening of Sunday the 4th of March to grab your copy on the cheap. Instead of paying $3.98 for both books you will be getting them for less than $2, which is still cheaper than a Starbucks and my way of saying Thank You!

I hope you enjoy it and look forward to your feedback.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Kids and ketchup...

…go together like kids and sweets or kids and scraped knees. When I was growing up, everything had ketchup on it, to the extent that I couldn’t eat my fish fingers and chips if the ketchup bottle was empty. The thing is, my kids wouldn’t touch the stuff until last week. Whenever I offered them some to go with their burger they just said “EEUUWW!”

It was the same with gravy, ham and a host of other foods: they didn’t like it, even though they hadn’t tried it. Whenever the bottle was placed on the dinner table they would push it away from their plate in disgust, just in case their food became contaminated by its mere proximity. What I had to do was get them to sample a little ketchup on a chip. “Go on, just try a little, see if you like it.” They still refused, until I promised to open the sweet cupboard after dinner (that always works). With fear and trepidation, the youngest opened her mouth and squeezed her eyes shut, as if expecting the chip to explode. It didn’t, and her face instantly lit up. “Mmmmm, that’s delicious!” Her twin immediately dived in and now we’re moving on to the next battle: salad!

That episode got me thinking, though. Gray Justice has had 17 reviews on Amazon US and 14 on Amazon UK (at the time of writing) and only four have been 4-star, the rest of the readers giving it 5 stars. Yet it isn’t setting the world on fire. Sure, the reviews tell people how good it is, yet there is still that reluctance to dive in and spend 72 pence on a copy.

I’m sure it’s not just my book, either. Many a reader will have their favourite authors and have an unwillingness to try something new, which means there are so many great reads they could be missing out on.

Can a little tell you a lot?

I guess for me it can, just like it does for my daughters. Like the vast majority of readers, I want a book to grab me from the first page, or even the first chapter. Unfortunately, in recent years I have purchased too many books that have left me bored to tears. That isn’t to say they are bad books, but they are just not for me.

This doesn’t just apply to self-published books, either. I have read bestsellers from my favourite genres, sometimes even my favourite authors, and yet I couldn’t quite get engrossed enough to get past the first couple of chapters, try as I might. Since I bought my kindle late last year I have added and abandoned five works and I knew it was time to take a different – and cheaper – approach to book selection.

As a member of Twitter and Goodreads I get recommendations all the time, and as well as reading the reviews (which go a long way to telling me how good or bad a book might be) I download the sample from Amazon. This can be done easily by clicking the Send Sample Now button, and the first 10% of the story will be delivered to your Kindle. For me, that is more than enough to make a decision.

So the next time you get a book recommendation but you’re not convinced enough by the reviews to make a purchase, try sampling first. In fact, why not try sampling now? US readers can get a sample of Gray Justice here, while those from the UK (where the book is set) can get it here

Like my daughters and their ketchup, I’m confident you’ll be back for more!
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