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Monday, April 2, 2012

Improve the Customers Experience

My day job is in the wholesale tire industry, which has no direct contact with customers, retail customers that is, the everyday people like you and me who would go into a tire shop to buy new tires. That doesn’t mean we don’t pay attention to customer service or what is important to the retail tire customer. If anything we are hypersensitive to what the customer on the street is looking for. The more we can do to help our tire dealers be more successful the more successful we will become as their supplier.

A big key in the tire industry is to ‘Improve the Customers Experience.’ Let’s face it most people never think about their tires unless they have to. Most people visiting a tire shop are there because they have to be there not by choice. So everything a tire dealer can do to improve the experience and make it more pleasant for the customer while getting their vehicle back on the road the better.

That got me thinking about as a writer, what can I do to improve the reader’s experience of my books?

One thing might be to give them full sized books for whatever the genre I am writing in. So far my books have fallen under the category of Science Fiction-Action Adventure, and full sized is 90 to 120 thousand words. I have been through the editing process more than twice with my first two books and will be revisiting that arena again very shortly. So I generally shoot for over the established average for a decent rough draft knowing bunches will be slashed by the ever loved and adored EDITORS!

I have seen them slash a character, and everything through a book dealing with a character, basically requiring a total re-write. Paragraph’s wiped away with the slash of a pen. Depending on your experience level and initial word count you could lose thousands of words to a frugal editor of words.

As I just stated my first two novels are going through further editing, and will be revised and re-released – closer to error free.

Secondly – To Improve, our readers experience would be to have as polished and error free manuscript as possible. It has been brought to my attention that many readers get distracted if not downright upset at stumbling over errors in written work. It has come to my attention that Editors are born with red pens in their hands and cannot read anything without making corrections along the way. God Bless Them! For where would we creative free spirited writers be if not for the Editors to correct our right brained muse infused flights of fantasy without the help of the Editors to correct it so others might also enjoy it, and hopefully want to purchase subsequent installments.

Thirdly – Make your covers as attractive and appealing as you can, this is for the customers benefit as well as the authors. The more appealing the cover is the better chance somebody may pick your book out of the millions of others out there to buy and give you the author a chance to WOW them with your wit. If they don’t download a partial copy or purchase it outright and download it to their reader of choice they will never get to the all-important point of actually reading your work. That’s our mutual goal from the start. To get the reader to try you out, to get discovered and if they like your writing, your story, your style they may grace you again by purchasing the sequel or another book in the future.

Fourth and Last way you can improve your readers experience is make your book affordable. I know all of us writers who have day jobs and are working as hard as a college student pulling 16 hours of class, working full time, and trying to have some semblance of a life in between can’t wait for the day we get to stay home to be full time authors!

Until we get discovered and build a following enough to generate sales of such magnitude to support our current life styles we will be working two jobs. In the mean time we have to walk the tight robe of pricing to make enough money to cover the costs of editing, art work for covers, proofing, and advertising so we don’t end up in the poor house trying to get our books published in a professional manner. I am all for the price of e-books going up, in spite of the fact that I still read a lot and it costs me more money to get the books from my favorite authors. The higher the average of selling e-books goes up the more potential money we as new authors can potentially make down the road.

At first until you have a following of devoted people who love your stuff, you have to price your books cheaply and in many cases give away copies to hopefully enlist future devoted fans. This really hurts especially when you have spent hours upon hours for months on end to finish your book, but in a flooded and very competitive market I don’t see any alternative. When you have built up a firm base of devoted fans and each new release brings with it a small windfall of sales from waiting fans, then you can move your prices up from the basement. Like with any other commodity supply, demand, and pricing is everything.

With E-books the supply chain is growing every day, the demand depends mostly on your skill as a writer, and the following you have built up over time. That leaves pricing! The better books you write the more you can charge. I have no problem dishing out $12.99 for my favorite authors E-book. We need to focus on our work, write better books, and the sales will come.

The one biggest factor in selling more books is to write great books, and the sales will follow.
Have a Great Day. It’s the beginning of a new month, in many places spring is in full blossom!
May God Bless You. Now quit surfing the web and playing around, and finish that masterpiece!


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