Thursday, February 16, 2017

Using Amazon Free Samples to Better your Writing

I have a confession. I may or may not be addicted to those free samples on Amazon. You know, the teasers you can download to convince you to buy the book? 

It’s a great marketing tool, and an awesome way for readers to decide whether or not they want to invest in the characters. For writers, it is also a fantastic way to really study the beginning of the competition. 

When I read these beginnings as an upcoming author, I like to look at the first line and see if it hooks me. Examining the sample allows me to figure out the best way to convince a reader that my words are worth their time and money. How does the author make the character or their plight memorable enough to warrant further reading? What unique features of the world or magic system (I love fantasy!) or government or society are highlighted so the reader is immersed? How can I apply those calculations or techniques in my own writing to make my agent able to sell my books to editors who can sell them to the public?

Do you utilize those Amazon samples as a reader or writer? Or do you study the beginnings and blurbs of books you buy? Have you ever done this to improve your writing and/or marketing strategy? Let’s chat about it in the comments below!


  1. As a reader, I use the Amazon samples most of the time. They help me to decide if I want to read further and spend my money. As a writer, you are correct in saying that they are useful in showing me what works in an opening - and what doesn't. My Kindle always has lots of samples for me to taste.

  2. I've done this with physical books either at the library or bookstores but have never thought of using Amazon samples. I can see the advantage of going through a lot of books at a time.

  3. Hi Terri! Yes, especially if you're wanting to study within a certain genre or subgenre.