I enjoy samples.
When ordering ice cream, I’m one of those guys playing along to Spoonman with all of the mini plastic sample spoons I’ve been given. I want to make sure I’m going to enjoy something before I either open my wallet or invest my time, especially when it comes to something as important as ice cream.
I’m a fan of movie trailers and can, with almost 99% accuracy, determine whether I’m going to like a movie from the two and a half minute preview clip. It saves me from losing two hours of my time on something I’m not fully invested in. (And when I make the mistake of hoping something will be better than the trailer was, I generally regret it).
For the same reasons I have now become a “Send Sample Now” clicker for Amazon Kindle reads. I’ve purchased too many books based on an interesting premise only to find the voice or execution lacking, at least for my taste. “Sampling” a book, to me, is akin to watching that movie trailer. It gives you an opportunity to see if you like the writing style, the author’s choices, and are generally invested enough to keep reading. Rarely do I need to reach the end of a sample before deciding whether I will or will not be purchasing the book.
Recently I came across a new author, Douglas Clegg. While this author is definitely not new to writing and publishing, he was new to me. I liked the blurb on Amazon, so decided to sample his book, Neverland.
I was IMMEDIATELY hooked. Go on and sample this for yourself and you’ll see what I mean …
Never have I read a shorter prologue that gripped me and made me want to read more. I didn’t even read past the first page and instead went to purchase the book, regardless of the high eBook price. In a few paragraphs I had found an author that was writing for me.
These are the moments I live for — discovering a new author or artist, a new band that no one has heard of but that speaks to me. (On a similar note, please take the time to check out the band “Lost in the Trees,” absolutely amazing…) There is a joy that comes in discovering art that makes you feel something, that expands your view of the world and your place within it.
This is what we as authors and artists need to be doing — Creating content that grabs readers by the throat regardless of genre and makes them want to keep reading (or listening).
There are so many distractions available these days — video games, TV, social media, staring at blank ceilings; you have to give your reader a reason to keep reading, to make them skip meals and ignore loved ones and miss work, all in order to find out what happens next.
To me, this is what Amazon’s new Kindle Scout program will hopefully become — a place to browse new authors and sample their work. And when you find someone you connect with, a novel or musician that speaks to you, the joy of discovery is only enhanced as you share it with those you love.
(And here’s a “sample” of my novel, Housebroken!)
Don’t keep all that goodness to yourself — unlike ice cream, art only grows as you share it.