The Write Calling

Is writing your true calling? Here you'll find encouragements for writers, book reviews, publishing industry insider tips, and market news. Read musings on writing and publishing by Katey Coffing, Ph.D.: Life Coach for Women Writers.

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Published fiction and nonfiction author who embraces her creativity and coaches other women to do the same. For information and prices, visit

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rant from a reader of self-help books: Authors, don't do this.

Music I'm listening to: "Red Rose" by Alphaville.

Argh, I hate it when I read a healthy sample of a self-help book for the Kindle, like it, then buy the book--and the author continues for another third of the book trying to convince me how useful said book will be and how much I need their method of doing whatever it is. Look, if I'm able to get that far in the book, it's because I already bought the book.

Dear Self-Help Authors: I've already handed over my money. You don't need to convince me anymore. You just need to give me the information you promised in the sample.

That's right, the sample. Ask your publisher how much of the book they'll offer as a Kindle sample. This is becoming a very useful piece of information. It can and should affect what you write and how you organize the book. Yes, you'll have to consider how much front matter you have (title page, acknowledgments, table of contents, etc.), so your guess won't be exact, but you should still be aware of a reader's patience (or lack thereof).

If you self-publish, the sample will be 10% at Amazon and B&N, no more and no less. You can offer a different amount through Smashwords, but the bulk of your readers will come from the first two.

Heck, Mr./Ms. Author of the more traditional mindset, even if I were reading a print copy, do you think I'm going to stand around in the book store and peruse a full third of the book before making a decision?

Just get on with it, folks. No need to pad the page count--or waste the reader's time, which is likely as precious to her as her money.

Thank you in advance for being efficient.


Blogger Jill Shure said...

I totally agree. Sometimes the information inside the book is so flimsy, that the book doesn't live up to its promise.

February 16, 2011 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Savanna said...


It's actually a little humorous that writers choose to do that. It's the content inside that matters--even sells, and it's interesting that some writers have yet to realize that.

MyForgottenPen (A Progressive Writing Guide)

December 02, 2011 10:47 AM  

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