Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What makes you choose a certain book?

A few days ago a read a blog post entitled Looks Matter. It was all about book covers and which ones tickle your fancy.

It got me thinking about why I choose to read certain books. What makes me pick up a book I have never read before?

First and foremost, I choose to read a book based on the author. This is, of course, if I know the author and have read and liked their work before. This doesn't guarantee me the best read ever, but I'll have a pretty high chance of enjoying the book.

Secondly, word of mouth. If someone recommends a book, I'll look out for it. If I read a good review on a blog, I'll hunt the book down.

Thirdly, genre. If I'm in the library or a bookstore I head towards the YA section and can usually find a book that suits me, but this is where the cover and title become important.

Fourth reason I choose a book - the title... when books are stacked on shelves you are usually looking at their spines. The title needs to be catchy, strong, quirky... something that will grab my attention. If I like the sound of it, I'll pull it out and take a look at the cover.

Fifth reason - the cover... it has to be striking, and I often find the simpler the better. The Twilight covers - I love those and Amanda Hocking's Trylle trilogy... the new covers being produce by St Martins press are gorgeous.

Once I like the cover, I'll skim the blurb. If it's exciting or, okay I'll be honest, romantic in anyway I'm going to be interested.

Lastly I'll give the first few chapters a skim. If they grab me, I'm walking to the sales counter.

Now, if I'm getting a book from the library, I will usually give the author a minimum of six chapters to grab me. I know that is far more generous than most agents and publishing houses, but I have had the odd occasion where my persistence has paid off. When I was younger I felt absolute guilt if I did not read every word of the book, but I just don't have that kind of time anymore. I still remember when I returned a book to the library unfinished... it was a very bizarre feeling.

Okay, so the point of me breaking this all down, is that it has made me realize just how important each aspect of this process is. It's made me think about what I need to do to in order to make writing a career.

1. I need to continue learning and training, so I can be the best writer possible
2. I need to use social media to build a name for myself
3. I need to write in the genre that I love, keeping this whole process enjoyable. I also need to keep reading and reading so I can stay up with the play on market trends and also hone my writing skills further.
4. I need to make sure my titles are catchy and engaging
5. My cover art needs to be simple, yet breath taking
6. My pitch/blurb needs to grab the reader
7. Back to my first point again.... my writing needs to be sensational - particularly the first few chapters :)

Feel free to disagree with any of my points, I just found this a very interesting exercise, particularly if I do take the road of self-publishing.

What makes you choose a certain book?

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