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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Readers have to have an attraction to a book or else they wouldn't buy it.

Since I’ve finished the first draft of my novel, I’m paying more attention to things like publishing and promoting. What will set my story apart from all the other stories that make their way to an agent's desk?

I believe I have strong, sensitive, charismatic characters and a plot that twists, turns and tantalizes the reader. It will be read, revised, and reformed before it begins its journey to the wild and wonderful world of publications.

What I wonder is why did you purchased the last novel that you bought? Here is a list of common reasons, you may have one that isn’t on the list.

You were already familiar with that author
Recommended by family/friend
Sampled the writing (read a page or two)
Read a review
It was nominated for or won an award
You liked the cover
The positioning in the store
An ad in a magazine/newspaper/radio/TV
You heard the author on TV or the radio
You met the author at a book signing
Because of who published the novel

The last novel I purchased fell into the not-such-a-popular-reason-to-buy-a-book reason. I loved the cover of “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire. The novel I bought before that was “D is for Deadbeat” by Sue Grafton. I bought it because I had already read a few of her books and I really enjoyed her writing style. The plot and characters are okay, but her style and the descriptive words she uses fascinate me.

Sure would like for you to share your reasons for buying the last novel you purchased.


Cher'ley's Creations


  1. The last book I bought was Paint it Black by Janet Fitch. I really enjoyed her first book, White Oleander. Both are dark and lyrical--I love her style.

    Once, I bought a book because I liked the title and the cover--Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress. But I didn't finish it.

    For a while, I was going through a book a week. It was getting expensive--and hard to find something I liked. I started asking the bookstore employees what was popular, what they had read, and what they had heard was good. I found some great books that way like The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. But I also ended up with a few duds that were national bestsellers, but they just didn't resonate with me.

    I've never bought a book based on the publisher. The covers and a catchy title always make me pick up a book. The back cover copy either reels me in completely or, more often, gives me a vague idea of whether I might like it or not. But I've learned to read the first 10 pages before buying any book. If I'm not drawn into the story by then, I know I won't finish it.

    I also read the reviews on Amazon before I buy--even if I plan to purchase the book in a bookstore. But I don't pay attention to the critics like Publisher's Weekly or Library Journal. Those reviews sound too canned and a lot like infomercials. I really like reading what the readers have to say.

    Now, I just need to get through that stack of TBR books on my nightstand...

  2. FYI the fur babies in this photo are my boxer Lizzie and my grandpuppy Rocky.

    Yeah, I have a hard time finding authors that I really enjoy reading, but when I do I want to read all their books.

  3. From Sue Nyoni:

    My reason for picking up the last novel I bought was two-fold: it was on the clearance rack and I liked the cover - which promised that it would be a type of book that I like.

    One of reasons which often lead me to buy a book and which you don't mention on your list - is the title of a book. This can be irrespective of the cover. If I love the title, I will buy the book without even reading a sample or even the jacket.

  4. I love this post and encourage others to respond to how they come to purchase books. I have to admit, since being in the publishing business, I no longer buy books, since I have soooo many that are long overdue and in need of reading... but, before that, I did purchase books for particular reasons. I'll tackle your list in order of my priority:

    1. "You liked the cover": I'm a sucker for a good cover and title. I want to feel like that book will be a beautiful addition to my bookshelf, and a retreat for my mind.

    2. "You were already familiar with that author": Okay, maybe I should change this to #1, but I'm going off of the presumption of purchasing a book from a new author (like yourself). But, of course, if I've read a book that I love, I'm the type of person that will go out and buy everything that person has ever written until I'm caught up, and my belly is full of prose. Once I LOVE (not just "like") a book, I'll do anything to get everything they've ever written, and I'll love it automatically. It's weird... it's like "owning" a brand, style, or piece of that author. I love thinking, "I relate to this author, fully, and completely. I don't care if anyone else does."

    3. "You heard the author on TV or the radio": nix the TV. This is another instance of "owning" something. There are several college and indie radio stations that I listen to that I feel I'm definitely a part of. This falls back into what I was saying before. I like to feel a part of something, especially, if it's not commercial. That's just me though. For instance, if Ira Glass from This American Life (on NPR, Public Radio) interviewed a hip, new author, I'd be all over it. I'd test it, read it, and see if I liked it. It would be the same as if someone you admired personally sent you a recommendation.

    4. "Recommended by family/friend": refer to above... although, I have to admit, I doubt my family would have any influence over what I read, LOL. Maybe friends, since we're more like-minded.

    5. "You met the author at a book signing": I'm always interested to read the writing of people I've met! An insight into their soul.

    6. "It was nominated for or won an award": As a "journalist" it would interest me enough to read it in consideration of a future story for the reader's benefit.

    7. "Read a review": reviews are great, and I love reading them... especially if I'm considering a book. That's seesaw push. If I'm teetering whether or not to invest in a certain book, the good reviews are definitely going to topple me to one side or the other.

    8. "Sampled the writing (read a page or two)": If I haven't heard of a book and then read a page or two and love it... heck yeah, I'm going to purchase it. But, remember, getting someone to read those couple pages is the tough part! If I happen upon a book (without any recommendation of any sort), and read a couple pages that rock my world, then, of course, I'll purchase the book to find out more. But, at this point, as an author, you should have something that already gets the reader to your fine excerpts.

    9. "Because of who published the novel": this only affects me if I'm doing something for a commercial aspect (interview etc.), otherwise it's irrelevant.

    10. The last two, "The positioning in the store," and "An ad in a magazine/newspaper/radio/TV": are of no consequence to me. Someone that runs an ad is less likely to make me consider reading the book. When I get those Borders announcements that say, "I think you'll like this..." Oy! they're always wrong and terrible. Likewise, the front tables at my local bookstore. I tend to ignore those because I'm just weird. I figure, if they are mass market and pushing them so much, why in the heck would I need to read them? I prefer finding a little treasure of my own somewhere deep within the shelves that I can cherish.

    In a nutshell, these tastes are only my own...

    I'd love to hear yours!

  5. I had to smile as I read your posts. I can see you out shopping this weekend for a new book. I'm like you, I have a few dozen books to get caught up on. Right now I'm reading all my cozy mysteries. Plus all my refrerence books on writing mysteries.

    My daughter said, I'd better hope the police don't come and look at my bookshelves that surround my desk. I have lots of ceiling to floor bookshelves, but I change the ones around my desk to adjust to what I'm writing at the time.


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