Sample Chapter for your BookWhat is a sample chapter, and why is it so important for promoting and selling your book?
In the old days of physical bookstores (grin), there was no worry about a sample chapter. If someone wanted to see what your book was like, they simply picked up the book and started flipping pages. They could read a few and see if your writing style was what they were interested in. They could see that it was well written and just what they wanted.
In our modern world of buying online, people can't play with that physical book in their hands any more. They have no way to "flip pages" (in a physical sense) to look through the book's innards. This means that there needs to be an electronic equivalent to that, to help close the sale. This is the part of the process where the reader is interested and needs that final confirmation that their money and time will be well invested.
Amazon provides that sample chapter by default for its CreateSpace paperbacks and Kindle ebooks. So if you're making your books via the Amazon system you're all set here.
You should always have your own website to help gather email addresses, build your branding, and coordinate your marketing projects. So you want to have a sample chapter on there as well. Having it as an actual webpage is preferred, because that way it gets into all the search engines. People searching the web on your chosen topic will find that sample chapter and then find your book. It's the perfect way to get found.
GoodReads lets you load a sample chapter of your book into their system. With so many readers using GoodReads to learn about new books, it's a great idea to take advantage of this opportunity. Make a document on your home computer system that has just that one first chapter. Load just that chapter up into the GoodReads system.
Lulu gives you access to the Lulu main system, to the Apple iStore, and to the Barnes & Noble Nook. There is a sample chapter aspect to Lulu. If you're using Lulu, be sure to customize this.
SmashWords will automatically create a sample chapter for you, as part of the uploading process. So people using SmashWords have that built in.
KOBO also automatically creates that sample for you.
It hopefully goes without saying that that first sample chapter has to be absolutely pristine. This is where you make-or-break your sale. If the sample is littered with typos, or has other issues, this could be what makes your reader click away and find something else. Make sure you show that first chapter to as many readers as humanly possible to track down every last misplaced comma.
The more readers you can get to read and enjoy your sample chapter, the more sales!
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