Are Amazon Revealing too Much?

I’m referring specifically to Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature. “A great idea”, many may say, both from an author’s and a reader’s point of view. For novelists it gives them the opportunity to display the quality of their work. Hopefully they will also be able to hook the reader so that he or she will want to read more and will therefore purchase the book.

From the reader’s point of view this feature is also advantageous. Often readers can tell in the first few pages whether they will enjoy a book. So, this facility gives readers the chance to sample the product before making a purchasing decision.

A situation where everyone wins, you may think. But what if you are a non-fiction author?

Amazon Look Inside FeatureThe Disadvantage for Non-Fiction Authors

This feature can cause problems for non-fiction authors. I will cite my first book “Kids’ Clubs and Organisations” as a specific example to illustrate my point. I think that the ‘Look Inside’ feature was detrimental to my first book and I remember feeling displeased when Amazon automatically added it. Although I had a good look around the author area I couldn’t find a way to opt out of this, but I am a self-confessed technophobe so it may just be that I couldn’t find the instructions. If anyone knows how to remove the ‘Look Inside’ feature I would be eternally grateful for your guidance.

The reason why I feel that ‘Look Inside’ has been detrimental to my first book is because one of the book’s selling points is that it introduces parents to kids’ clubs that they may not have realised existed. The contents page describes exactly what type of clubs they are, so some people, having been given the idea for free, could decide to do their own research. Of course, there will be many details that they won’t find on the Internet as I gained a lot of input from the organisations involved with the book. However, this is something that people won’t realise when they view the contents page. I think this disadvantage may have influenced the fact that I sold far more books outside of Amazon than I sold through the site.

I am not saying that this is the only factor that influenced my Amazon sales. Another factor may be because the title is quite formal and may make the book appear more like a library reference book rather than a book that parents and children can read together. I have addressed this factor with my new book by making the title more parent and child friendly. I also hope to include lots of lovely colour images. There is no doubt that self-publishing teaches you a lot and I have taken on board all the lessons that I learnt during the publication and promotion of my first book.

How my Second Book will address the ‘Look Inside’ Issue

With my second book I am avoiding the above situation by making my chapter headings more cryptic, then putting a sub-heading inside the book, which expands on the main chapter heading. The cryptic headings are also intended to add to the fun factor so that the book will appeal to parents and their children.

I have noticed that some authors put the contents page at the back of their Kindle books and I wonder if they do this so that readers don’t see the contents until they buy the book. From a reader’s perspective, however, I prefer to see the contents page at the start of the book, and this is the reason why I have decided not to follow this path.

N.B. My second book is nearing completion and I will be sharing more information about the book on this blog and on the books page of my website in the coming weeks.

If you have a view regarding the Amazon ‘Look Inside’ feature, I would love to receive your feedback in the comments box below.

Advertisements

Post Holiday Writing Plans

There’s nothing quite like a holiday to help you clear your head and put a new perspective on everything. Before I went away I was feeling quite stressed as I had a lot of things on the go. I still have many plans in terms of my writing but I’m now feeling more relaxed and prepared to take things in my stride. Instead of trying to do things all at once I will let them take their turn and will accept that it will take as long as it takes. Before detailing my plans I thought I’d share a couple of holiday snaps while the memories are still fresh: 20130714_16155520130714_16190120130713_194016 Book Promo I will be holding my first free book promo in the next couple of weeks for my book entitled “Kids’ Clubs and Organisations – A Comprehensive UK Guide”. I need to contact a few websites and other avenues first to ask if they will publicise the promotion so I haven’t fixed the date yet. I will make the first promo a one day only event and will give further information via the blog in the near future.

2nd Parenting Book My 2nd parenting book is about 70% complete. I have reached a bit of a sticking point with some of the research so I really need to push this further to enable me to finish the writing. I will be taking measures to complete the research and will give more details about the book via this blog as I get nearer to the publication date. It will include a few special features though, which will be likely to appeal to a wide range of parents and children.

Debut Novel I have already written my first novel and can’t wait to launch it but I’m waiting until after I have launched my second parenting book. I still need to edit, fact check and proofread the novel, which is a crime thriller. Not having touched the manuscript for some time it will seem strange to revisit it, but I am really looking forward to the task. I must admit that I am becoming a bit frustrated with the process of collating all the information for the parenting books, which are heavily research based, so it will be good to take a break from them and concentrate on fiction instead.

Client Projects I probably should have put this at the top of the list since client work has to be done as and when it is received in accordance with agreed client deadlines. In addition, I have a few regular commitments that I have to meet. It is for this reason also that the books will take as long as they take because client work must always take precedence.

Originally I planned to release the non-fiction book in the late summer and the novel at the end of the year but I now realise that I was perhaps being a little bit over ambitious. I’ll have to see how I progress with the non-fiction book and will detail my experiences via this blog as I go along.