The two kinds of authors that a bibliophile follows

I have to admit it – I am a huge bibliophile: for the past 20 years or so I have read on average a book per week. I cannot drift off to sleep without a book in my hand and it’s my default relaxation mode. I just love to read and must always have a book on the go.
Along the way I have noticed that there are two categories of authors whose books I read:

  • Those whose books I will pick up, think about, evaluate and then perhaps buy
  • Those authors whose books I will automatically buy without even looking at the name of the book: the authors name is sufficient.
Obviously most authors would dream of being in the second category: I literally will buy any book they every write without knowing anything more about it. I typically buy one of their books in paperback, get hooked, buy the next in the series in hardback and then buy one more of theirs – if that meets the same standards as the rest of their stuff then they move into the “buy on sight” camp.
Now: there is an obvious analogy here with websites and other content: are you maintaining the kind of site that people go to without needing to know what specific content is there? – or are you curating the kind of site that gets surges in traffic when an article is featured on Digg or Reddit, but that people do not return to?
One thing is for certain: the average customer does not buy on first visit: either they were not in “buying mode” or they are comparison shopping: in either case you are not going to close the sale this time – you need to get them to return. However: what if you do not get return visits? – what of you do not have a conscious policy of posting quality content explicitly designed to get people to return to your site? – so that on their second and subsequent visits you can try and close the sale.
No one buys on first visit: therefore if you do not have a policy to get return visits to your site you will never make a sale. (with the obligatory exception of Amazon: partly because no one is now visiting them for the first time!)
Now: how did I become aware of the authors I like? – well, unsurprisingly the sites that actively give their books away for free have made me become a lifelong fan of their authors – and have led me to spend much hard earned cash buying their books.
I am going to repeat that as it is so significant: I have become a fan of certain authors and spent money on their books specifically and solely because they gave them away for free.
What are you doing on your site to get people to return? – and what are you doing to let them try out what you do in a totally risk free and 100% anonymous fashion?

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So: what authors and what website? The site is Baen Books: and the authors are:

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