The sneak preview: Does it hurt or help?

A little exposition is in order.  I wrote and developed my first two novels chapter by chapter, posting them on my deviantArt page to gauge the opinion of the community there.  At the time, while serious as to writing professionally, I was unsure if I really had something people would like, so it seemed as good a way to any to look.  Despite being entirely original works with no basis in any particular fandom (a popular thing on dA), I acquired a fair number of regular readers and even some amount of community goodwill.  I obviously had something worthwhile, so I finished, edited (something I have learned that I need even more help with), and published.


So here are is the question:  Did having the rough manuscript, chapter by chapter, already out in the public hurt me?  How many people were content to simply copy and paste it into a book?  How much, if any, of my subsequent books should I post for free?


Instinct makes me think I should at least post the first couple of chapters as teaser material.  Whet the appetite of the public and all of that.  Even that, though, I remain unsure on.


If you’re a writer and you read this, hell even if you aren’t, what do you think?


  1. Who knows? My first review was from an ARC that I gave away to another Indie author. The reviewer gave it 3 stars at Goodreads and 4 stars at Amazon (same review text, almost word-for-word). One sale resulted (many months later), and that customer kindly posted 2 reviews, too, but there’s been no sales activity since. At my blog, I put up a link for “Three for Free” chapters that readers could download in PDF. They were there for more than 6 months, and nobody downloaded. Took’em down. Published a year ago in e-book at Smashwords, one sale almost immediately, none since then, despite having put up there a 51% preview (which has had 49 downloads). Put up a 51% preview at Goodreads that nobody has downloaded, although about 2 dozen people there have the book listed as a TBR, and there have been a couple of people there who put up star ratings, but no text to say where they got the copies they read – maybe they were rating the Smashwords preview? Put up first 4 chapters on a special page at my blog, and Chapter 1 has had, I think, 3 hits, and the second, 1 hit. No feedback, no sales.

    Some writers swear by giving away free copies or running 99-cent sales, but others say that just encourages people to wait for other books to go for free, and that cheap or free books encourage piracy (I’ve done some discount sale events, but got no response).

    But I think the real issue for most Indie authors is not having any “opinion leaders” among early readers – those folks who would say to others, “You gotta read this book – I couldn’t put it down!”

    My novel crosses several genre lines and deals with some controversial topics, so I’m well aware that it wouldn’t have wide appeal. But it is discouraging to get absolutely no response, no matter what I do.

    1. Definitely good food for thought. Yeah, my own attempts at promotions and the like have so far not gone far. What I find strange is that I know there are people who like my works, who have supported me in a lot of ways, yet they seem eternally bashful about posting a review, even just slapping a rating down. I would think that is the most important form of support: the support of good words.

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