I’ve been in on a lot of discussions lately about what draws a person to a book. Is it the cover art? The blurb? The title? The author name? The subject? Something else?
I honestly believe it’s a combination of all of the above. When I’m wandering through a bookstore, the cover art is obviously the first thing to catch my eye. Even if I’m looking for a specific author that I know where to go to find, other books may draw me in with the cover art. And I might stop and pick one up.
Once I’ve picked it up, I check out the title. Even with an amazing cover, “Following the history of libraries” would probably not be something I’d go for. So I’d look at the blurb on the back. I get very irritated with books that have no blurb. Or the blurb may be only about the author’s other books. I want to know about *this* book, not his or her other ones. At least, not yet. If you want to give me that info, put it inside, but give me a back blurb. A back blurb should be short and to the point. It should be intriguing enough to get me to actually open the book and look at a page or two. Some places get you with leading questions, other publishers don’t do this. That doesn’t matter to me. Tell me who the main characters are, what they want, and why they can’t have it. (Ever heard of Goal/Motivation/Conflict?).
So far, all this stuff is on the publisher (unless it’s self-pubbed). If I’ve gotten this far, I’ll open the book and read the first page. This is where the author has to pull me in. If you don’t catch me in the first page or two, that’s it. I’ll put the book down and move on – unless it’s an author I know well and know that the story will get significantly better by page ten or so.
Do I look at reviews? Rarely. An amazing review has never gotten me to purchase a book, nor has a bad one gotten me to ignore one. A review is just someone’s opinion. A few years ago, there was a book out that was getting amazing reviews. One of my good friends read it and gushed all about this book and how good it was. She even mailed me a copy so we could read it together (she lived across the country). I sat down to read the book… and hated it. I tried very hard to love the book. I really did. But I hated it. It was made into a movie. I watched the movie to see if that would make me like the book. It didn’t. Though it had two really good actors in the lead parts, I hated it almost more than I disliked the movie. I thought it was me, but in talking with other friends, I found out I wasn’t the only one who disliked this book. So reviews? They don’t do it for me.
So… cover art, title, blurb, first two pages – these are the things that get me to pick up a book and read it. What about you? What gets you to read a book?