There is one question I know that burns in the brain of most authors I’ve met. It haunts them at night and causes loss of sleep, and, in some cases, forces them to do crazy things they’d never normally consider, like discounting their book dramatically, or creating a weird video of them dancing on the Internet (just me?). That question, ladies and gentleman, is:
WHAT MAKES YOU BUY A BOOK?
I know there is no hard and fast answer to this question, but I’d love to know what you think (to save more of those weird dancing videos I was talking about).
For what it’s worth, here are my two cents:
Yes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but do I? Absolutely. For me, an eye-catching cover will suck me in straight away and make me buy the book.
One such title that has inspired me to do that recently is this one:
Look at that colour! And the font! And the picture! And the bubble gum! And the … okay, I’ll stop gushing, but you get my point. And I know I’m not the only one who felt this way, as this book rocketed up the charts upon its release.
Logically, once the cover has sucked me in, I’ll read the blurb or synopsis of the book. This is also something that I think is super important, and a bad blurb can make click ‘close’ on that Amazon window quicker than a really fast-flying book.
One thing I’m seeing more and more, though, is the introduction of the very short blurb. Perhaps it’s because people are time poor — maybe it’s because we’re flicking through those iBooks descriptions so fast that short, snappy words are more likely to grab our attention. Either way, I quite like it.
Here’s one blurb that had me one-clicking straight away:
A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends – the Liars – whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense that will leave you reeling.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
This is from We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (and if you haven’t read that, then by all means, do yourself a favour and one-click that sucker right this second!)
(Seriously, I’ll wait …)
This is an item of contention amongst many authors. To discount or not to discount — that should have been Shakespeare’s question. Personally, I don’t go out looking for books that are discounted or on sale. I guess, for me, I think of things I buy quite regularly (e.g. a cup of coffee. Wine. More wine.) and when I compare the amount of time I’ll spend consuming those compared to how long reading a book will take me, it seems to make sense to just buy the book I want to read, instead of the ones that may be less attention grabbing, but are on sale.
Still, I know that so many people do love getting a book deal, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all! Hey, I’ve discounted my books on many occasions, and even given it away for free once. I absolutely get it.
So, tell me, what makes you buy a book? I’m giving away a copy of The Problem With Crazy, one of my reads, to a random commenter. Competition will close May 14, 2015.
Lauren K. McKellar is the author of the Crazy in Love series and Finding Home. In her spare time, she makes weird interpretive dance videos.