Are you writing a book? Great. Here’s the best tip I can offer you: build your readership as you write.
The easiest way to build your readership is by blogging.
You can also build your readership by selling a snippet, or excerpt, of your book-in-progress (or any of your published books) online.
This article, Publishers to Use Digital Works as ‘Literary Appetizers’ for Novels – WSJ.com, talks about Ballantine Books and Harlequin selling “bridges” (excerpts) of authors’ works and says about author Steve Berry’s snippet:
“The 6,000-word piece, ‘The Balkan Escape,’ is too short to have been published as a paperback original. In effect, it is a literary appetizer, inexpensive enough to attract potential readers who might otherwise not be willing to buy a new novel from an author whose works they haven’t yet read, said Mr. Berry.”
Should you give your snippets/ excerpts away?
The notion of selling excerpts from your books brings up the question: “Should you give your excerpts away to build readerships?
“Free” worked very well online for a long time. However, in 2010, I think people are over it. Here’s the thing about “free”: it will devalue your product.
You can certainly give away a “free” first chapter — or part of a first chapter, under 1500 words. Once you’re giving away two or three thousand words, or more, you’re devaluing your product.
Everyone and his dog gives things away these days as a marketing ploy. For authors to give away parts of their books is ineffective. No one values what they get for free. Charge a nominal amount for your excerpts, and there’s a chance that people will actually read it, rather than just download it, and forget about it.
Another tip: build a list of your readers while you’re selling snippets — ask for readers’ email addresses.
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