E-publishing & Impulse Buying

I'm going to walk out onto a limb here and issue a caveat that will seem strange, given the fact that I'm less than a week from e-publishing a novel: Before you buy an e-book, preview it.

To be fair, this caveat includes all e-book purchases - traditionally published and indie published - because admit it, more than once you've purchased a book without taking the time to preview a little of it. It had a beautiful cover, was an author you liked previously, or was purchased on a friend's recommendation. You figured, "What's the worst that could happen?"

The book could suck ASS, that's what.

I read a lot, and I can't afford to waste time or money on bad books. Or even incompatible books. In the days of traditional book-buying, I swore I'd never buy another book without at least reading a chapter, even if I had to stand in the bookstore aisle because all of the cushy chairs were full. Even if I was buffeted by people passing behind me, my feet were killing me, and reading is not a standing sport.

Now we have e-books, and the need for preview is even higher, thanks to the fact that literally anyone can crank something out and throw it onto Amazon and call it a book. But guess what - previewing has never been easier.

I got a Kindle recently, and I love it. I see a book on Amazon I have to have and and BOOM, I'm downloading the thing and reading in less than a minute. Confession: I got lazy. I forgot my own rule. I was too busy thinking Talk about instant gratification!

Now let's talk about instant WTF is this shit? - because that's happened to me more than once recently.

I search through available books and find a novel with a fantastic premise. The cover looks good. The reviews are raving (that last one gets its own later post). CLICK, and I'm reading the first page... and then huh. Spelling errors? Multiple adjectives? In the first line? I trudge on, hoping it'll get better. I've read a few books in my life that started out kinda ho-hum and ended up amazing, right?

Trudge, trudge... oh shit. It's not getting better. In fact, it's going the other way. I have just wasted 99 cents - or $1.99, $4.99, and in one case (GRRR) $7.99. The worst part? This tragedy could have been avoided if I'd taken a few minutes and downloaded the freakin' sample. I don't care if it only costs a dollar. That's my dollar, and I don't want to waste it on something I'm not going to like, enjoy, or finish.

I'm about to e-publish a young adult contemporary book. It's romantic and sexy and (if you haven't figured this out already) I curse. My children curse, the students I advise every day curse, so yes there's cursing in my book. If you download a sample... you'll see all of the above. So please, when I put this out on Sunday, download a free sample to your Kindle (or your PC/ Mac/ iPhone /iPad Kindle app). If you don't like what you read, don't buy it!

I've been working on this novel for a year and a half. It's been through critique partners and multiple readers, several of whom tore it apart and forced me to make it better. I've worked harder on this than anything I've ever done. Hopefully, you'll read the sample and still want to buy it. If not, that's okay. Because I want to tell stories, not trick people into buying something they wouldn't find the slightest bit interesting.

Repeat after me: No impulse buying without sample previewing!

Happy reading!

Tammara Webber

New York Times and international bestselling author of contemporary romantic fiction