What makes you buy the book?

After snagging a 2 million dollar deal, Amanda Hocking was quoted as saying “I want to be a writer,” she said. “I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling e-mails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc. Right now, being me is a full-time corporation.” (Quote courtesy NY Times, click here for the full article).

Maybe with a two mil deal Ms. Hocking can now simply sit back and solely write , but the reality is that for the rest of us, all those things are an everyday responsibility and many of us still have full time jobs.

Which brings me to the point of today’s blog. To be a full time writer you have to sell books. If you don’t, you don’t get paid and eventually your publisher will drop you. That doesn’t mean that your not a good writer or your books aren’t good, it just means that you didn’t sell enough of them.

Why not? What makes readers buy a book? Here are a few things I can think of, but I’d love to hear from you. With a few books about to be released this year, I’d like to know that I’m focusing my efforts in the right direction.

Is it the cover?

Reviews from book bloggers?

Reviews at the online retailers?

Videos, whether chats or movie-style trailers?

Word of mouth?


Or is it something else. Inquiring minds want to know. Please leave your comments about what influences your book buying.

16 thoughts on “What makes you buy the book?”

  1. Mostly author first, then the cover and blurb… I have a book budget and will admit that it is getting harder and harder to choose which books I will buy… I have found so many authors and books I would love to read through blogs, but I can not treat myself to all of them… 🙁

  2. Now I never buy a book based on its cover; however, it does garner a look see. If a cover grabs my eye going “Yoohoo! Rao come check me out.” I will go over, pick up the book and flip it to the back to read the back synopsis.”

    Now if they have keywords like: Druids, Celts, Elves (drow), dragons, scots, Highlanders. There’s a damn fine chance that book is either going in my cart or be on the list to buy later (First I have to check and see if the book is in the series or not). I hate buying a book then learn it’s third, fourth in a series.

  3. Hi…What catches my eye is the author…I tend to stay with the same ones until someone tells me about a story that is good and then I will pick up a new author…

  4. I look at the covers, read the blurbs and usually make up my mind from that….if a book is iffy for me ..then I will look for reviews or word of mouth from other readers that I know…but a cover and blurb are what draw me first…if I’ve read other books by the author then they are usually an auto buy unless I hated what I read..lol

  5. #1. New Release from long-time read authors.

    #2. Friends releases…like Aztec Gold! Always good to support writer friends.

    #3. If everyone is talking about it, ie: Harry Potter, Twilight, I’ll check it out…won’t always like said book ie: Twilight, but I try.

    #4. Maybe the cover…but only if the back blurb catches my interest.

  6. A known author is the first; word of mouth is a big one too. Then author websites and the blogs. A book magazine with some blurbs about the book. Mostly it’s the first though for me.

  7. I love browsing through a bookstore (stone & mortar – hate online browsing). I always start with writers I know and love. For these, its the back cover blurb & the first page or two that decides for me if I’m going to buy it.
    From there, I look at genre, title, the cover helps a little (but most blend with the next). If something catches my eye, I flip to the back cover, from there the first page or two.
    I don’t really go on blog reviews, but I do check out friend’s recommendations. If I happen upon a blog where I like the writer’s style I may check out their book that way as well.

  8. If I don’t know the author or haven’t connected with her on a cyber-site, the cover is what catches my eye, but I don’t buy unless the blurb catches my interest.

    Once in a while I will search for specific interests, like holiday themes and then I’m back to cover and blurb.

  9. Covers are the biggest draw for me when it comes to authors I haven’t read before. If it catches my eye I will pick it up and read the back. If it sounds exciting and interesting, I will buy it. If I really like the book I’ll go back and purchase earlier books in the series (regardless of cover) or other stand alone books by the author. Rarely does a review sway me into not reading a book, unless most all the reviews are negative towards it.

  10. I’m not influenced by blog reviews. I’m not swayed by reader reviews. If a cover catches my eye I will check the book out,but that doesn’t mean I’ll automatically buy it. When looking for books I type in key words that are of interest to me and then go through the books that match my areas of interest. If I like the sound of a book and enjoy the excerpt then I’ll give it a go.

  11. Cover is what gets my attention with books I haven’t heard of before. Then, if the back cover copy sounds intriguing, I’ll bite.

    The other way I get my books is by visiting blogs and review sites. It generally takes me a few times of hearing an author’s name before I look further into that book. If it sounds good, I’ll try it. That’s why I think authors need an online social presence. It’s probably impossible to track, but I think it must make a measurable difference in sales when authors continually put themselves out there.

  12. The cover catches my eye, gets me to pull it from the shelf (note, I did not say–flip through my ereader) and check out first the author then the back. If there is anything other than a half naked guy on the front, I have to read the back copy to see if there’s that little something that grabs me. Very infrequently, I will search for a book someone else has recommended.

  13. I will buy a book, not for the cover, mostly its because of the author. There has been a few times I have not because I did not like the story line. I sometimes will try a new author if I like what it is about. The cover to me means nothing it is whats inside that matters.

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