Online sample chapter encourages buyers

Whether to put your carefully honed, obsessively slaved over and (hopefully) arresting first chapter online for the world to pick up, pick over and pick apart is a question asked by most writers these days. Copyright fears combine with the ever-present worries about your own abilities, to create quite a reasonable argument against. But just listen to the argument for: viewing chapters online has a positive impact on purchases.

According to Reuters, LibreDigital found that for one big publisher one in three of the folks browsing ended up buying the book they sampled. That’s pretty astounding.

I’m sure I’m not alone in being wary about putting short fiction online – it’s not because I’m scared about people taking it or slating it, it’s merely the fact that my online presence and audience is small and once you’ve published something on your blog it typically isn’t accepted by magazines or anthologies and therefore won’t have a chance at reaching a wider audience.

However, LibreDigital also found that the most popular books browsed online were romance novels, followed by teen/tween writing and business books. Maybe I won’t get too excited just yet. Still, it raises some interesting questions about pirated books online. I’m sure plenty of people are searching pirated versions to read a little and check whether they like the style in much the same way they would sample a few tracks from an album.

Maybe I should take these findings on board and publish a chapter online. Or maybe I should write a teen romance featuring plenty of business advice.