Randall Wood

Do comments lead to sales? Part Two.

If you’ve read part one of this entry, you’ll recall that last week I was sick, and while in the couch position I was spending too much time on the multiple writing blogs out there. That led to the question above and the following experiment.

I picked out a book written by a regular visitor and commenter to the popular blog known as The Passive Voice. It was the type of book I would not normally seek out. Not that I think it’s beneath me or anything, just not a genre I would normally read. I wanted to see if it would entertain me enough that I would consider buying another book from that author. In other words, does participating in the comments section with fellow self-publishers ever lead to a sale. I realize the scope of my experiment is small, hell it’s microscopic, but why not try it? Nothing really to loose.

So for the first time since The Millennium Man I bought a book about zombies. It was the author’s first self-published book. I bought it on Amazon and it cost me $2.99. I waited till the Nyquil wore off enough that I wouldn’t pass out and waded in.

Side-note: I made the decision when I started this blog that I wouldn’t review books as it’s such a double-edged sword, so I won’t mention this book or authors name until I’ve sent this entry to him and have approval to do so. (after all; I’m experimenting on him)

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The beginning had an overall military theme, and being ex-military myself, that served to grab my interest. There were the usual newbie mistakes of typo and formatting that we’ve all seen and been guilty of ourselves, and I had no trouble dismissing them for what they were. The story was what I was after and it was good. He painted his scenes well and I liked his dialogue. The plot grabbed me and held on long enough that I finished half the book in one sitting. The author also used the storyline to occasionally bring the funny. He does this often in his comments, so it was no surprise to see it in his writing. My wife just shook her head as I laughed out loud.

“A funny zombie book honey, really?”

“It’s going well with my Nyquil.”

I finished the book the next day and was happy with my experiment. The author was smart enough to include a preview of his next book at the end and I zipped through that as well.

But there was one problem.

His second book wasn’t a zombie book. It was something totally different, a completely unrelated genre.

So this threw a real wrench in the works as far as my experiment went. My decision to buy the authors next work would now have to be based on his writing alone, with no influence as to the type of book he wrote. If I decided that I now liked zombies and wanted another zombie novel, I would have to go elsewhere to get it. So what to do?

I’m debating. I put the second book in the queue for now; chances are I’ll give it a try later, after my zombie phase is fully flushed out of my system. If it had been another zombie book, sequel or not, I most likely would have bought it right then.

But I did thoroughly enjoy the first book. The author entertained me for the amount of my time that he asked for, and that is what any author strives to do. Well worth the price too. I’ll most likely watch for more books from him.

So that’s it, the experiment was a bust, but I don’t feel it was a waste of my time or money. I found a fellow author whose work I enjoyed and maybe answered my question, as least as far as my personal experience.

Do comments lead to sales?

 I can honestly say Yes…once anyway.


The book in question was titled Orpheus and was written by Mr.Dan Dewitt.

Dan was nice enough to contact me and welcome me to the Zombie genre. He also offered me a free copy of his newest book, titled Orpheus Born, a prequel novella. I turned down the offer and bought it instead. Support your fellow indie authors people!

I also picked up a copy of his other book, Underneath, I’m sure it’s as entertaining as his first effort.

Dan has a blog. Give it look, like I said, Dan brings the funny.

And if you’re reading this Dan, thanks for being my test dummy.

2 thoughts on “Do comments lead to sales? Part Two.”

  1. Good morning!
    I came to your blog from Passive Voice — he linked about this blog post, so you may see a bunch of readers soon. In my experience, comments can lead to both sales and reviews. I don’t comment much anywhere. I think Disqus tells me that I’ve made a grand total of 17 comments on their system on multiple blogs, and my lifetime total of blog comments is probably less than 100. Not exactly impressive. (I’m terrible at FB and Twitter, too — my FB page has 8 likes, I think. Whee.) But I’ve gotten a couple of emails from people asking for more information about my books from comments, three people have reviewed it on their blogs after finding me from a comment, a couple of other people have commented within comments about reading it, and at least one of my Amazon reviews and several of my sales came from a fun conversation — (hmm, make that 120 comments, I played in that comment thread for a while) — about imaginary book plots on a blog called Unfogged. But to the best of my knowledge, none of those sales/emails/comments came from a writing or self-publishing blog. I suspect that commenting on blogs that are more about what you like to read/write is more useful if you’re trying to sell books. I’d never actually thought about it that way, though, until I read this post and thought about my own experience. So yes, anecdotal, but I’d say comments have led to more than one sale for me. (Note, none of those comments were ever directly selling — the book was always tangential to whatever the comment was.)

    Anyway, it looks as if you’ve got lots of great information about setting up a business, which I’ve thought about doing but haven’t done yet. I couldn’t find a starting place, though, and the entries don’t seem to be consistently tagged with anything that would help me begin at the beginning. I know that might seem lazy of me — it’s not as if you’ve got hundreds of posts for me to wade through — but a business tag would be a handy tool. And so would an RSS button. I know there’s some way to follow a site without clicking the button, but the button makes life so much easier. 🙂

    And one last note — your comments plug-in doesn’t say what the fields are supposed to be. I went with the usual — name, email, website — but it felt like a bug. I would have expected them to be pre-filled with the name, email, website instructions? But if that’s what it was supposed to do, it wasn’t doing it.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the post. If you give me an RSS button, I’ll be back. 🙂 (I’ll bookmark you, but I check my bookmarks like once every six months. RSS is too much easier.)

  2. Hello Sarah,

    Thanks for the visit and the input. What started out as an experiment for myself seems to have grown, but I’m glad anytime I see new visitors.

    The business blogs are a few months post their actual occurence as I wanted to be able to correct any mistakes I made and avoid giving out bad information.Things are also changing frequently, and that’s always a challenge.

    I took your advice and tagged every one the posts as “Business”. I plan to better categorize when I have a few more entries.

    The RSS is back on, not sure how that happened. I’ll fight with the comment widget soon. Thanks for the heads up.

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