Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Selecting a Good Book

 As a book buyer, when you go into a book shop, what are you looking for? Or when you trawl the on line stores how do you select what you down load onto your Kindle?
 I'm always searching for a good read: a book I know I will enjoy. How do I select that book? Hopefully I have a recommended title. If not I wander the shelves looking at displayed stock. I go to the fixtures and check out authors I have previously enjoyed in the hope they will have released another title.
Over the years, I have bought many disappointing books. Some books don't grab me, or the plot gets lost somewhere in the detail, or they are boring. Many books languish on my shelves having never been opened past page twenty .
So I'm careful when looking for something good to read. I love a good fiction, a meaty, challenging story with a satisfying ending, but struggle to find them.
So, as an unknown author, how can I help readers to buy my book; an unknown title ? What would draw a buyer to take a risk and purchase an unproven book?
As I pondered this question, an idea formed in the back of my brain. A God idea perhaps. Crazy, but maybe it was worth trying.
With my publishers assistance, I offered my book to readers as 'a guaranteed good read'. The WORD book stores agreed to promote it and Though the Bud be Bruised went onto the shelves supported by an author guarantee.

"I believe ‘Though the Bud be Bruised’ is an enjoyable, satisfying and compelling read. I have taken every care to supply you with a book that is professionally published, well written and interesting to the last page. If, for some reason, you are disappointed in the reading experience, contact me, within 30 days of purchase, and I will send you a voucher to buy another book."

I supplied the posters, shelf talkers and coupons to the book stores and I carried the total risk for this venture. The statistics were clear. For every claim, ten books must be bought for the venture to break even. But if the strategy sold ten books, ten more people would have the book on their shelves. How many of those ten would read it? As they bought it intentionally, I felt most would start it. Once started a good percentage would finish it. Hopefully half of them would give it to someone else to read and maybe one of those would buy their own copy to pass on to another. 
Yes, that would be a good result. I'm confident this book will make a lasting impression on any reader. God will use it to encourage, challenge or inspire. So the risk taken in offering a guarantee seemed tiny compared to the fruit reaped from selling more books.

Every time I get a letter addressed to 'Though the Bud be Bruised' my heart leaps into my mouth. Is this person claiming the promised voucher? The first envelope contained a beautiful card from a lady in Victoria who congratulated me on my book She went on to say, "I really hope no one asks for their money back as there would be no reason to." Two other vouchers have come in, both thanking me. "Thank you for the most valuable time of healing and restoration." Meanwhile WORD have sold over sixty copies. And for every book sold, more people hear the message.

We have a message of hope to bring the world and we must help the world find it. Who is your costumer? What will help them purchase your carefully crafted book? 

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Jo & Steve Wanmer live in the outer suburbs of Brisbane. Her book, Though the Bud be Bruised, was released on June 1st.  A faction, it is a testimony of God's great love and faithfulness, set in a background of a family struggling to come to terms with child sexual abuse in their home and church.


  1. A fantastic idea, Jo! It certainly draws attention to your book and increases the 'conversation' around it - which is always great as we know even in this world of social media/online platforms etc word of mouth is still the best way to sell a book.
    I'm keen to get through a few more books on my shelf so I can buy a copy of this myself.

    1. Thanks Penny. Do you have any other good/ God ideas?

  2. There's nothing more powerful than a gripping story from life. Jesus himself told of the prodigal son which may have been fiction but certainly was faction. We hear of that story being enacted in real life all so frequently today.
    I'd rather pass on a book like that than a tract which could easily be thrown into a bin. A book like yours should stand the test of time and I pray it will be used mightily.

    God bless

    1. Thanks Rita. I'm sure books would grip people more - if we can only get them to read them!

  3. Hi Jo,
    I certainly found your guanantee very attention catching. What great results it's yielding. I've always been the type to rely heavily on the blurb when it comes to choosing books. As Rita says above, I'd love to go around the city, handing out our fiction novels in place of the tracts we get from many others.

    1. Yes Paula, I've come to understand that the blurb is the most important marketing piece we ever write!

    2. From time to time I've actually left copies of my books at airports because people have to fill in time. I've seen them being picked up.

  4. Jo, Congratulations on the release of your book, and your innovative guarantee. It is always most satisfying to receive positive feedback too, bless the ladies who took the time to write.