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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Reader Buying Habits: Online vs Brick-and-mortar

I've been doing some thinking lately about the similarities and differences between purchasing a book in a physical bookstore, versus purchasing one online. In particular, I've been thinking about how purchasing a digital-only book (an e-book) compares to purchasing a physical one at a physical store.

A survey I read recently said that, just like people who buy physical books, the vast majority of people who buy digital books don't know what they want to buy when they first visit the store. So, in order to get your book purchased, you need to focus on the following things, in order:

  1. Your book needs a great cover image, and it needs to look good as both a thumbnail, as well as in a higher resolution. Seeing a list full of book cover images is the equivalent in the "physical" world of someone standing in a bookstore and scanning over all the books on the shelves, from a distance. Clicking on a great looking book cover is then the equivalent of walking up to one of those books, picking it up off the shelf, and taking a closer look.
  2. Similarly, a catchy title is the next thing that gets a potential reader's attention, and it's what makes a reader want to read the synopsis of your book. This is the equivalent of a browser in a physical bookstore turning over the book and reading the blurb on the back cover.
  3. That synopsis, if written properly, makes the reader want to download your book's Free Sample, which is the equivalent of the reader flipping open your book in the bookstore and scanning through the first couple of paragraphs.
  4. Only if you've done all of the above right, and you've managed to grab the attention of exactly the right reader, does that reader click the "Buy Now" link. That's the equivalent of that reader carrying his new treasure (and your labour of love) with him to the counter to pay!
Despite the above similarities, I think are are two very big differences between purchasing books in physical bookstores, and purchasing them online (aside from the obvious fact, that buying books online does not require the reader to get out of his pyjamas's or go anywhere!):
  1. In the physical bookstore, once the reader has picked up your book and is heading towards the counter, he is still bombarded by every other book on the shelves, as he makes his way. He can always still notice something that he thinks is better, put your book back, and change his mind and pick something else. He can still do this online, but he's not forced to look at any other options if he doesn't want to. He can proceed directly to checkout and never know that any other options were available.
  2. Two words: Community Reviews! Community Reviews are an online publisher's bread and butter. They're kind of the equivalent of word of mouth advertising for physical books, but on steroids because readers can read what other people have had to say about your book, even though they've never met (and never will)! You simply cannot get that kind of exposure in a physical bookstore.
It's interesting to me to look at all the similarities in buying patterns, and what makes people buy books online, as opposed to in a brick-and-mortar store. What do you think about it? Have you ever sat and thought about it, or do I just have too much time on my hands?

If you liked what I had to say here, then won't you please consider taking a look at my short fantasy tale, A Petition to Magic? It's a story about a Wizard who has forsworn casting magic. The story has been described by reviewers as a fun, short read, with a clear message, reading almost like a parable. It's available at various ebook retailers. Please Google it, and have a look!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Psychology 101 for Writers & Their Characters

Psychology 101 for Writers & Their CharactersI read this little essay/instructional piece last week. I've decided that, at least once a month, I'm going to read something about writing. Whether I use the advice or not, it's good to get different perspectives on what to do and what not to do, as a writer.

My overall impression of Psychology 101 for Writers & Their Characters is that it contains some sound advice, but it's pretty poorly written. It speaks about various psychological aspects that may help or hinder you in your writing, and explains how to use those same aspects when describing the characters you write about, so that they come across as real people instead of one-dimensional cardboard cut-outs.

The problem seems to be, to me, that it's written much like a dissertation in psychology. The author uses very technical language, and jargon, which makes it difficult to follow at times. You can read my full (and admittedly, rather harsh) review on Goodreads, here. The article itself is available for free from various online ebook retailers. I'm sure a Google search will turn it up.

Oh, and while you're about it, won't you please consider taking a look at my short fantasy tale, A Petition to Magic? It's a story about a Wizard who has forsworn casting magic. The story has been described by reviewers as a fun, short read, with a clear message, reading almost like a parable. It's likewise available at various ebook retailers. Please Google it, and have a look!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

February Crossword Answers

And so, without any tweets for February's crossword puzzle, here are the answers.

I can only assume that people have been trying furiously to solve it since last week, and nobody has as yet been able to. Well, I think you're all going to kick yourself when you see this!

There'll be another puzzle in March. But for now, without further ado, let the kicking begin!

February Crossword - Answers

This crossword was created by Graham Downs with EclipseCrossword - www.eclipsecrossword.com

12
J Z
   
I E
34    5  6
S W I N C E R
7      8 
O R E A O F
  9  10 
F T A D V
1112    13 
A R T U M E
    1415  16 
A E P R U B Y
17    1819         
P I T T H I N K S O
   
A E
20    21    2223    24
S O D G L U G H E A D
        25 
S D E E A H
  26  27   
E L O I N M
  28     
D I D M E
29   
A X E
 
G
30  31  32
Q U E E N
   
N E

Across

  1. A roller for moving textile fabric through a dyeing vat
  2. Rock containing minerals with metals
  3. IATA airline designator for Air Finland
  4. First name of leader of American grunge-metal band
  5. A painting
  6. Myself and I
  7. Song by Kaiser Chiefs
  8. A hole in the ground
  9. 2001 Novel by British author David Lodge
  10. An unpleasant or obnoxious person
  11. Sound of liquid being swallowed
  12. You lose it when you get angry
  13. Abbreviation for ampere-hour
  14. A cut of meat
  15. Document of citizenship
  16. Used to chop wood
  17. Supreme ruler of a monarchy

Down

  1. A dynasty in Chinese history
  2. American pronounciation of the letter Z
  3. A long upholstered seat
  4. Synonym for us
  5. It has nine lives
  6. Football clubs in Blackburn and Tranmere
  7. Musical composition for two instruments
  8. Rodent with pointed snout
  9. The ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter
  10. The Internet domain for Bolivia
  11. The state of an unobstructed pawn (in chess)
  12. Meaning kept
  13. Weaken or subdue
  14. It lays eggs
  15. Female equivilant of knight
  16. A visual representation
  17. The fourteenth letter of the alphabet
  18. The US state of Nebraska


This crossword puzzle was created by Graham Downs with EclipseCrossword. Try it today—it's free!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

February Crossword Puzzle

January's crossword puzzle turned out to be such a success, that I thought I'd do another.

I hope you enjoy solving this one as much as last month's. Once again, if you have the answers, you can tweet me @GrahamDowns. The first person with the correct answers will get a mention from me on this blog and Twitter.

Answers next week. Good luck!

This crossword was created by Graham Downs with EclipseCrossword - www.eclipsecrossword.com

12
   
   
   
34    5  6
             
7      8 
           
  9  10 
         
1112    13 
           
    1415  16 
             
17    1819         
                   
   
   
20    21    2223    24
                     
        25 
           
  26  27   
           
  28     
         
29   
     
 
 
30  31  32
         
   
   

Across

  1. A roller for moving textile fabric through a dyeing vat
  2. Rock containing minerals with metals
  3. IATA airline designator for Air Finland
  4. First name of leader of American grunge-metal band
  5. A painting
  6. Myself and I
  7. Song by Kaiser Chiefs
  8. A hole in the ground
  9. 2001 Novel by British author David Lodge
  10. An unpleasant or obnoxious person
  11. Sound of liquid being swallowed
  12. You lose it when you get angry
  13. Abbreviation for ampere-hour
  14. A cut of meat
  15. Document of citizenship
  16. Used to chop wood
  17. Supreme ruler of a monarchy

Down

  1. A dynasty in Chinese history
  2. American pronounciation of the letter Z
  3. A long upholstered seat
  4. Synonym for us
  5. It has nine lives
  6. Football clubs in Blackburn and Tranmere
  7. Musical composition for two instruments
  8. Rodent with pointed snout
  9. The ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter
  10. The Internet domain for Bolivia
  11. The state of an unobstructed pawn (in chess)
  12. Meaning kept
  13. Weaken or subdue
  14. It lays eggs
  15. Female equivalent of knight
  16. A visual representation
  17. The fourteenth letter of the alphabet
  18. The US state of Nebraska


This crossword puzzle was created by Graham Downs with EclipseCrossword. Try it today—it's free!