I love reading in general. Romance of course is my typical read, but I do enjoy other genre. My favorite online hangout is twitter where I find new authors daily through the various tweets. I thought I’d share my process for picking books to read. For an easy generalization I’ve picked Amazon’s platform for this article.
The first thing I do is of course follow the link. After that I have a process I follow in choosing a new book to read.
- Book Cover – The idea of first impressions is key here. If the cover looks cheesy I will usually pass.
- Synopsis – This along with the cover is a very important market tool for authors. This tells us readers a little about the story and is a huge deciding factor on whether or not I buy.
- Price – For a new author I will never pay more than $4.99 for their book and that’s only with extenuating circumstances. I prefer $3.99 or less for an unknown. *
- Book Length – This goes hand and hand with pricing. If the book is 50 pages long and they’re charging $2.99 or more I will never buy it. **
- Reviews – There are two reasons I look at reviews. 1.) I will look for a 5 star review that gives more details on the story, using it like a more in depth synopsis. 2.) I look at the 1, 2 and 3 star reviews. I read each review noting what the complaints are. Things like: “I hate this book…” or any form of “I couldn’t even finish it…” automatically gets a No this wasn’t helpful vote from me. Things I’m looking for: An abundance of complaints involving formatting, spelling errors, wrong words used or continuity issues. These are my main pet peeves and I will pass on a book for any of these reasons.
- Look Inside – For an e-book this is the best option ever. It gives a reader a chance to sample a small amount of the author’s work for free. Then we get to make an informative decision and don’t waste time and money on something we wouldn’t be happy with. It helps if the author minimizes their front matter by shifting it to the back of the book. Most e-readers allow readers to access the table of content at any time so putting it in the back of the book is a win for everyone. Save all the flashy front matter for your print version.
While these factors will not stop me from buying a book they do show a certain amount of professionalism.
- Author page – I like to look at the author page reading the bios and taking a cursory look at other works they’ve written. Their twitter feed and any blog posts they have linked.
- Author’s webpage – A professional looking webpage goes a long way to bringing me back to an author. The first thing I go to is the bookshelf. If an author has a large list of books I like to see them separated in some way. Separations by genre or series are both good options. The other thing that drives me crazy: I want to see a buy link. Nothing worse than making your readers search for a book at retailers. You will lose potential customers this way.
Author’s Blog – I know a huge emphasis is made on blogs, but honestly it’s the last thing as a reader that I look at. While a blog is helpful in building a following it’s not going to stop me from purchasing an author’s book if they don’t have one. Now let’s look at this from a different view: If I read a blog article from an author that I really liked I would be more likely to consider buying a book from them.
If they’re doing a free promo I will normally pick up the book and judge for myself on what kind of author they are. If it’s an author I’m familiar with 1-4 still applies.
*There is always an exception to every rule. If the book is priced to high, I’ll often look for another book of theirs that’s on sale. If I like their writing style I will go back and purchase the other book.
**Everyone has their opinions on e-book pricing, myself included. Since this post is based on my own opinions I will list those. I base everything on pages, but some sights don’t list page count. It’s generally accepted that 250 words = 1 page.
Less than a 100 pages = .99
100-200 pages = $2.99 or less
200+ pages = $3.99 or more
I don’t care what your name is, if the book is under 200 pages I won’t pay more than $3.99. For bigger named authors I’ve been known to pay as much as $7.99 for a book 200+ pages, but that’s rare. A perfect example is Sherrilyn Kenyon’s new book Styxx: 848 pages for under $8 is a steal. By the way that was an awesome book.