Monday, 21 January 2013

What Makes Me Buy Books

A comment on Facebook had me thinking about promotion and what works. Now, there are all sorts of theories about this, ranging from dumb luck to relentless self promotion and all points in between. Yet I think the most important question to ask yourself is a simple one: what makes you buy a book?

The answer will be different for different people. I will impulse buy a physical book in general only if it is on the shelves of a book shop, where I can be caught by the cover, enjoy the blurb, and read a page or two to make sure I enjoy the writing. It's no surprise that this kind of presence seems to make a big difference for many authors' sales, yet achieving it without the backing of a large publisher is obviously tricky.

So what about online? Here's the thing. I will generally only buy someone's book, no matter how hard they are promoting it, if I have read their writing and enjoy it. Reviews occasionally influence me a little, but I don't read a huge number of reviews. Recommendations from friends will also make me buy books, but my friends don't make a habit of coming up to me and saying 'you must read this' even when they are voracious readers.

So mostly, it's about whether I have the opportunity to read your writing. Oh, and occasionally whether you have a really pretty cover. Which means that I now need to come up with opportunities for people to read mine. I sense short stories ahead.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, I don't post my writing online, as it's all ended up in my books. (Unless you count my blog posts.) Guess the covers will have to do.
And that's what draws me in first - the cover art. If the synopsis on the back sounds good, I'll try it. Also, I buy all of my blogger buddies' books to support them. Even read my first chick lit book last year. (Author Talli Roland.)

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

I'm a sucker for a good cover but that has let me down the odd time. It's always a good idea to get a sense of what kind of writer the author is, if you can.

Donna Hole said...

Short stories are good advertising for you as a novelist. Readers get a sample of your writing without a long time investment.

And yes, good covers work for me.