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FREE WRITING FOR YOUR FANS

April 3, 2019

How many of you authors offer up free samples for your fans? The question came up on one of the many forums I am on and I had to think about that one.

I often wonder what one would give from a current work to entice the reader to buy the entire novel.

That’s assuming one is marketing an entire novel.

How do you look at it?

These are my thoughts.

AMAZON

If you already have a book out, guess what? All one has to do is go to the “look inside” feature, and there you go. A free sample of the first few chapters for everyone to see. The reader can see right away your writing style and how you start the book out. If it grabs you, which is kind of the point of “look inside,” they’ll be more likely to buy it. This is kind of what agents and publishers do when they review manuscripts before taking on clients.

If you don’t grab them, or the writing sucks, it goes right in the trash can.

The same for readers.

So…

RANDOM CHAPTERS

When you select random chapters as gifts to the reader, to entice them to buy your book, you’re not really giving them a true representation of the book. You’re cherry picking parts. You may be giving away big secret plot points, or trying not to. At the same time you’re trying to entice them to buy your book but maybe, just maybe, you don’t know how to start it. They may like that ONE chapter, but when they buy the book, may get bored and put it down.

I, on the other hand, let my writing do the talking with the “look inside” doing it for me. While I don’t mind samples per se, I have a different way of approaching it.

UNRELATED SHORT STORIES

In my fantasy series, Meleena’s Adventures, I have a page on this web site called just that. There, I post a short story under the banner What’s Meleena Up To? These are mini-adventures, loosely in chronological order that are not related to any of the books I have out. They’re mini-tales I write when I feel like it. No schedule, no pressure, just random inspirations that hit me. They may be some little thing I may have forgot to throw in to one of the books, or something entirely unrelated that I came up with. They’re independent and usually have characters from the books, but the setting, at least so far, have all been in her hometown of Bug Flat.

As for my Gold series, I have what’s called The Limnophobic Chronicles. The title is based on the protagonist Detach’s fear of fresh water lakes. There are no stories, per se, but facts and insights into the research on my Gold series of adventure/thriller novels.

LEGALITIES

Some people worry about posting chapters from their books. Do they have to get permission from their publisher? If they’re not self-published, yes they do!

Can someone steal your ideas?

Here we go again. Anyone can steal anything but once you write it down, it’s yours. Someone else may use the same plot, but they can only tell it in their own words. The Lord Of The Rings has been done over a million times, but it’s never the same. The idea isn’t unique, so each time it’s a distinct story.

Get over it.

SUMMARY

To me, sample chapters should be left to Amazon, because that’s where people are going to be able to determine if they’re going to keep reading or put the book down. A cherry picked chapter later in the book tells the reader nothing. Oh, and if that chapter gives away the plot…

Happy writing!

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