I get the idea; when surfing for books to download or buy from a store I have to say that the cover image does play a part in helping me to decide whether to stop awhile or to cruise on. So does the title, probably to a lesser degree. The author's name may influence me; like all creatures of habit I return to authors who have provided me with reading pleasure before and, critically, I fast-forward past those who have let me down previously.
But the real lever on my wallet is the blurb, the several hundred or more words that give me a flavour of the book's worth. I reckon that the blurb is the hardest piece of writing in any book - it has to be concise, gripping, capable of placing the reader in the middle of the action and all without revealing too much of the plot, especially the ending. The phrase 'and he dies at the end' probably would ruin the degree of expectation we want to experience in a good read.
I've written a few blurbs in my time, and I can confirm that they are blooming hard to write. Sure, I've agonised over the odd paragraph in my books, modified a passage one way, then back again. I've even come close to the old adage of spending all morning deciding to put a comma in and all afternoon deciding to take it out again. But that blurb; you just have to write it, re-write it and then leave it a few days before returning. You don't even get the luxury of writing the one blurb, either. Smashwords insists on two versions to satisfy the different requirements of their channels.
The blurb is probably the true constant in book publishing, from the far right of conventional publishing to the radical left of self published books. All books need a decent blurb. Taken to it's extreme point, nobody but an absolute fanatic is going to buy an otherwise unknown tome without some indication about the content. So it is disappointing to report that Amazon seem to think that book buyers might just make that extreme leap of faith. Over three weeks after they ported my four paperback books from the US Amazon site and still only the German Amazon site has the blurb attached.
I've got to the point where I periodically email Createspace once a week just to confirm there's someone at home. They've confirmed that 'in some cases, metadata and pricing information is not updating on the Amazon Europe websites', Well, apart from the point that I alerted them to this problem, it isn't quite accurate - the Germans seem to have managed it fine.
Hopefully they will sort out the issue soon - I certainly don't feel inclined to promote my books while the critical blurb is missing. When they do, they could send me a picture. But really, all I want is seven small words - 'your blurb now appears with your books'.
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Digital Life Form is available on Amazon.com in paperback for $7.99
The Journeymen is available for $8.99
Skin is available for $9.99
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