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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What is it about a book that appeals to you?

I guess I've never really thought about it much before, since I'd just peruse the bookshelves at the store and find one I liked.
But now, as an author, I'm wondering when I go into a store specifically to buy a book, what intrigues me enough to dig into my wallet and come up with the $6 or $7 dollars to make that purchase.

I think the covers play a big role. A cover that despicts the story goes a long way. And it could be anything from a clinch cover, to a cover with lace and/or jewelry to a cover with just a man or women's face or body. The cover should go hand in hand with the title. The two should blend so perfectly that when a reader picks up the book, there's no doubt about what kind of story is represented. That's not always the case though and it takes a good art department to make a dynamite cover that meets up to the standards of the book.

The other thing I do is always read the back cover blurb. Does it appeal to me as a reader? Does it intrigue me? Do I really want to read this story? Back cover blurbs are hard to write. I'm glad I don't have to do them. Although, I've been asked to help at times, since no one is closer to the story than the author. But a dynamic blurb can help sell lots of books.

Then there's the inside pages. I love to read the first paragraphs of a book. It's a tell-all to what type of writing and storytelling I'm getting into. Ususally, it's the deciding factor for me. So, hooking the reader from page one is ultra important.

And lastly, I think author recognition is key. Many people wait for and buy books from their favorite authors. I was guilty of this too. I don't think it's a bad thing, it like going to the same restaurants over and over again, because you know the food won't disappoint. But it's nice to venture out sometimes. Lately, because I've read so many books from the same authors in the past before I became a writer, now, I try to buy a book from an author I've never read. In fact, it's something I do without exception. Every time I wander into a book store or buy online, I make my choice by trying a new author and maybe even a new genre. Granted, I love romance and don't care for stories that have little or no male/female relationships in them, I do tend to buy books that are either mainstream romances or suspense with romantic elements. But I might try a new regency writer, or a new light-hearted contemporary as well.

It's all good, as they say.

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BWW said...

I just love to read. Anything. Memoirs. Westerns. Historicals. SciFi. Even Romance - but only those written by Charlene Sands.
Some books are flat out hard to read. Sometimes it's poor skills by the author, but usually it's my being distracted, or tired.
I have been a big fan of books on tape. I listen to them in the car, at work. They even put me to sleep at night much to my wife's annoyance. A good reader can save a dry story and a poor choice for a reader can kill a good story. Even with books on tape, as you stated earlier, the cover, or packaging, can make or break whether I "read" it. Good covers go a long way. These days, with my time limited, I rely on proven authors. And I'll read books many times over.
Did I answer the question? :-)

Charlene Sands said...

bww - I agree with you. Some books are hard to read. Maybe it's style or subject matter and maybe the story just isn't compelling. I'm not one to waste my time on a book I can't get into. I know some friends who once they pick up a book, they'll read it until the end, good, bad or indifferent. I have to be drawn in and want to finish the story. Life's simply too short --

Charlene Sands said...
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