I enjoy writing for Book Business Magazine and my latest article is entitled, How Publishers Can Cure Ugly Sample Syndrome. Below is an excerpt with a link to the complete article. If you’re a publisher or an author looking to attract more readers, this is must-read information…
What if publishers could sell more books by learning the secrets of selling chicken sandwiches? When Chick-Fil-A first entered the fast-food landscape, they setup locations in the food court of shopping malls. I can remember walking past their storefronts where an employee was usually placed among shoppers with a large platter of free chicken nuggets. They would kindly offer, “Would you like a free sample?” Who can turn down a hot, tasty, free chicken nugget? It would be downright un-American to decline!
In contrast, publishers are woefully stingy when it comes to handing out free samples. Visit the average publisher website and you won’t see any samples up-front. Instead, the home page is covered with one book after another begging to be purchased. When a consumer comes by, the publisher websites seem to say, “Buy this book! Buy this book!” Click deeper onto any subpage in the website and same the issue occurs. “Buy this book! Buy this book!”
Publishers might defend their actions by pointing to all of the sample chapters they offer. But, let’s be honest. Most sample chapters are bland, similar to cold, tasteless, chicken nuggets. I call it the “Ugly Sample Syndrome.” Consumers look at the sample, don’t see anything appetizing, and just walk away.
How can publishers avoid the Ugly Sample Syndrome? Take advantage of all the content that’s already created. Repackage in-house material into attractive samples. Try these four ideas I’ve successfully used with my publishing clients: