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Sample, cover, and blurb. One, two, and three.

I will say that although the sample is probably the greatest stimulus to buy, it's always going to be the cover that gets a person to read the blurb and sample. It's the visual impact that gets the buyers attention. Of my four books, Fallen Out was my best seller for all of July, by a two to one margin. Yes, it's also a dollar cheaper, but it's about half the length also. That bright orange and yellow sunset GRABS your eyes.
 

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This looks like a pretty small sample size, but I do think it confirm a lot of what we already know -- cover, blurb, reviews.  I was sort of surprised by the influence of the sample.  I rarely read samples unless I'm suspicious about the book because the cover is weak.
 

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rjspears said:
This looks like a pretty small sample size, but I do think it confirm a lot of what we already know -- cover, blurb, reviews. I was sort of surprised by the influence of the sample. I rarely read samples unless I'm suspicious about the book because the cover is weak.
I'm not a sampler myself, but I know that a LOT of folks use the sample to guage, at a minimum, whether any care has been taken in the production of the book. Early in kindle history self published titles were MUCH more likely to be filled with bad grammar, punctuation, usage, or other errors easily caught by even a casual reader. Not to mention weird formatting choices. Many got in the habit of sampling first to make sure the book would be readable -- no matter how attractive the blurb and cover.

For me, the need to do that has lessened. And if there's a problem it's probably mentioned in the 1 star reviews.
 

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A "sample" size of ONE isn't serious, but her graph was fun.  I agree with others above... cover, blurb, sample (in any order).
 

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I think that most readers aren't aware which books are self-published.  They see a book that interests them, they check it out a little, read the sample, and if they like all that they buy it.

Of course, some of the problems that follow along with some self-published books, such as poor covers, shoddy editing, and poor writing, will cause someone not to buy those.  But I don't think most readers consciously think, this is self-published, so I'm not buying it. It's more like, this book isn't worth the money they're asking.
 

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Pretty much how I chose any book:  Cover/title (they can be tied so closely together, I don't make a distinction) gets me to stop, blurb gets me to sample, sample either sells it or doesn't. I tend to look at lower starred reviews, and ignore the four and five star ones.

I do still sample, because I find the style of the author's writing does make a difference to me. Also, it eliminates getting something told in present tense, which I dislike immensely.

Oddly enough, when I'm checking out ebooks from the library, I don't read the sample. Maybe because it's not costing my anything, and I can just return it -- or let it time out. I've gotten burned recently on two books I checked out, one of which was third person, present tense. What a nightmare that one was. And a shame, because it looked like just the sort of book I would love.

I'm surprised to see how highly the author's blog/site ranks. I guess I'll keep writing the blog (which gets sent out to FB and Twitter -- or it's supposed to, I should check that). Pity the readers that visit there, as they've set themselves up for some sarcastic, though hopefully amusing, stuff, with the occasional pity party. Not to mention more information they could possibly need or want about my chickens. :p
 

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swolf said:
I think that most readers aren't aware which books are self-published. They see a book that interests them, they check it out a little, read the sample, and if they like all that they buy it.
Yeah, for any book, no matter who published it.
 

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Wayne Stinnett said:
Sample, cover, and blurb. One, two, and three.

I will say that although the sample is probably the greatest stimulus to buy, it's always going to be the cover that gets a person to read the blurb and sample. It's the visual impact that gets the buyers attention. Of my four books, Fallen Out was my best seller for all of July, by a two to one margin. Yes, it's also a dollar cheaper, but it's about half the length also. That bright orange and yellow sunset GRABS your eyes.
You know I honestly never dig into the sample unless the cover's shoddy enough to make me suspicious. If I like the genre, like the cover, and like the reviews, I'll buy the book. I hardly, if ever, read a blurb or the Look Inside. If I like the title and cover I go straight to the reviews and read a few. Those will determine if I pick it up.
 

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I know if I choose a book, it's either free, nearly free, or I liked the sample. I don't get distracted by blurbs that much anymore because the blurb might make it sound like its the most exciting book ever. But if the style sucks, I can't read it.
 

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If I'm interested in a book, I ALWAYS read the sample - unless it is free or a borrow. 

I agree that most people will buy a self-published book - but there are some that won't.  If your cover or interior formatting looks self-published, you may be turning off those readers.
 

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Nick Bryan said:
It never even occurs to me to read the sample, but I guess I rarely browse for stuff casually. Most of my purchases are based on recommendations of some kind, either from friends or on Twitter.
Same. I've never read a sample. I look at the reviews (if there are any), cover and blurb.
 

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After the cover draws me in I find the sample pretty important. Good prose goes a long way with me, and how the author handles the setup is how I predict how well the rest of the book will go. If the sample doesn't "feel" high quality I am much less likely to take a chance, unless the book has already attained wide acclaim.

I'm talking in particular about science fiction. If a book is too "genre", relying on a lot of science and math fluff, I'm less interested. After a while of reading science fiction all of the cool tech hooks are more or less familiar. I want prose, characterization and theme at the beginning and if the book feels flat I'm less interested.

I guess I could say when I see an unfamiliar book I read the sample and compare it to Iain M Banks. He's my standard.
 

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swolf said:
I think that most readers aren't aware which books are self-published. They see a book that interests them, they check it out a little, read the sample, and if they like all that they buy it.
I agree. I'm sure many people are aware that self-publishing exists, but I think they're more likely to judge a book by its cover and its content rather than by its publisher.
 

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The cover stops me. I'll usually read one or two spoiler free reviews then I ALWAYS read the sample to make sure I like the writing style and if I want to keep reading. With so many books to read I try to only load my kindle with books I genuinely want to read.
 

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The title and cover will catch my eye, and then I read the blurb. If the blurb is intriguing, I will read the sample chapters. Prose style and dialogue are the deciding factors to purchase or pick it up if offered for free. I put some stock in reviews, but they are so subjective and the sample will always be the main drive. Whether the author is independent or not doesn't matter. The biggest burns I've had are purchasing books based on author radio interviews. I think I've only been happy with maybe two. I always read the first two or three chapters now on all books no matter how I come across them.
 
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