The "flogging" in the title of my blog refers not only to the writing of fiction, it refers to the marketing as well. I wrote about this recently on Writer Unboxed, but thought I'd seek your views, too.
At the Wordstock Festival at which I presented a novel, conducted a workshop, and took part in a panel, a large hall was filled with booths of publishers and booksellers. There were hundreds and hundreds of books stacked on scores of tables. I was able to offer my novel and writing book at Broadway Books. Unfortunately, I have been selling The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles (several sold at my previous two workshops and I hadn't restocked) and I was only able to bring 6 copies.
The thing is that, despite so many competing books on display, my little novel had sold 4 copies before the presentation, and immediately sold out after it, and after my panel discussion another person wanted it but was frustrated. Lesson learned about having plenty of books on hand.
Here’s the dilemma: In the flesh, the book attracts people and sells itself. I’ve sold 15 copies at my local animal clinic by just having it on a stand on the counter. A bookstore in Brookings, OR has sold 18 copies by, basically, just displaying it—readers are attracted to it and inquire about it.
But, it seems, not so much on the Internet at Amazon and the other vendors. Of course, I don’t know how many people actually come to the pages the book is on, but sales trickle. They don’t die, but they are far from viable.
But why not? The cover art is the same. You can “read inside” on Amazon just as a person can with the actual book in their hands.
It’s a puzzlement. There’s something about the title and book cover that invites picking up, but not clicking on.
What about you? How are you on buying in-the-flesh books versus buying online? What makes the difference if there is one? Do you see differences with your books?
Update--after a comment on thumbnails for the Internet: as a book designer, I'm well aware of that and design for it. Here are are two typical thumbnail sizes: 100 and 75 pixels wide. I think it holds up well. You can see the city skyline, and the title and author's name are legible. It does as well as most books--but no thumbnail can have the impact of a full-size book.
© 2012 Ray Rhamey