Like many book lovers I resisted buying an e-reader at first but now I’ve finally succumbed there’s no going back for me. We’re in the midst of a huge change in how writers reach their readers as the publishing industry is going through a shake up similar to that faced by the music industry when MP3 players took over the music scene.
Several of my friends and colleagues with e-readers admit to much greater experimentation in their reading habits and that they’re more inclined to give new authors a chance. They no longer choose a book by its cover and rely instead on friends’ recommendations, the blurb and other readers’ reviews. Readers’ hunger for an interesting, entertaining and well-written story remains undiminished. But now they are no longer restricted by what bookstores stock and display and, as more and more new authors self-publish, a readers’ choice has never been greater. Word-of-mouth was always important but now it plays a bigger part than ever before in how they make their final selection.
But perhaps the newest and most useful feature, in my view, is being able to download the first few chapters for free and try-before-you-buy. I nearly always download a sample before I gamble on a new author and will only buy the rest of the book if the opening ‘hooks’ me.
For us writers, the need to polish our prose and grab the reader’s attention right from the start has always been important but now those first few chapters must be perfect if we want to sell our work. I’m off to do a bit of polishing and perfecting now…