Note: This blog post from August just up and disappeared; Luckily, I was able to recreate it because my blog also posts to my Goodreads page. If someone could tell me why WordPress does that, because this has happened to me before, I’d love to hear it.
Note the second: And at this point I read the anthology and truly enjoyed the poem that kicked off this journey and the rest of the stories.
I just bought a book. This is hardly unusual, but I thought it was interesting to tell you how I came to decide to purchase the book within all of 15 minutes from start to finish because it shows a confluence of factors that help book sales.
Why we buy is as important as what we buy, and these decisions are so emotional as to be inexplicable. I’ll try to explicate it anyway.
On July 31, Apex Publications posted on its blog, Bag of Holding: Top 5 Necessities for Con Survival, a timely article because WorldCon is coming up.
I read it, liked it, and shared it on my Gordath Wood Facebook page. One of the authors profiled in the post is LaShawn M. Wanak, an author I hadn’t heard of before. And this is where emotion kicks in. I liked what she had to say about cons and what to bring (I’m a sucker for snappy and self-deprecating, plus Totoro badgeholder, and where can I get one?).
Then I followed an Apex link to a fragment of her poem “All this pure light leaking in,” which was published in their anthology, Dark Faith: Invocations, and I wanted — needed — to read the rest.
I followed the buy links and the book is waiting on my Kindle for me.
If it’s shelf-worthy, I may do what I tend to do, which is buy it in paperback so I can get it signed. (Yes, I’m that kind of book buyer. Would that there were more of us.)
Why it was easy
Even though I’ve been telling myself to hold off on book purchases, since I am going to the biggest science fiction convention in the world in a few weeks, I still bought. Here’s why:
- I like Apex — they bought one of my short stories years ago — and they have a good reputation. So I already knew I was going to be in good hands.
- The price was right. We don’t like to think about it, but it’s true — we’ve been conditioned by the downward pressure on pricing to buy only at certain price points. Apex hit the sweet spot with its e-book pricing.
- I really wanted to read the rest of the poem, and the table of contents convinced me that I wouldn’t be disappointed with the rest of the anthology.
So there you have it — the anatomy of a purchase.
What we write has to hit someone at an emotional level. Then they have to find it. Then they have to be ready to buy, so we have to make it easy to do so. That moment used to be in a physical bookstore, where people could browse to their heart’s content. Now the browsing is online.
Many times authors feel that it’s like shouting into a wind tunnel to promote their work. And a lot of times it is futile. There’s a lot of noise out there, and getting your signal out to rise above it contributes to someone else’s noise.
But sometimes the signal does get through, loud and clear. And then our readers buy. I am convinced that it’s just as important to try to have a conversation as well as an efficient marketing presence to help readers find us, meet us, and when they are ready to try our books, to put it in their hands at the right moment. I’m still working on that with my web presence. Apex shows how it can be done.