As I look through free Kindle books it has me thinking about how I select a fiction book. Non-fiction is completely different. This is a much a message to me as anything else. I think my fiction selection generally follows this pattern:
- Author – If it’s by someone I like, nothing else matters. Preston and Child could write a vegetarian cookbook and cover it in a paper bag. I’m in.
- Cover – Yeah, we know, don’t judge a book by it’s cover but I’m a visual person. Cover’s tell me a lot. Is this supposed to be a thriller? Is it chick lit? Horror? Romance? A good cover at lease gives me the category. Joel Friedlander knows more about books covers than I ever will. The more of his stuff I read the more I notice covers.
- Description – I need to know the storyline. If the storyline and the cover match, then I’m really interested. If you give me a chick lit cover on a book about finding Incan gold while being chased by alien frogs I’m put off by the disconnect. It makes me think that you’re sloppy. I don’t care about blurbs. Blurbs are crap. I’ve watched celebrity endorsers scribble out a blurb in 5 seconds flat without knowing jack about the book.
- Ratings/Reviews – Yep, I read reviews. I tend to read them on Amazon and Goodreads. I to put more stock in the Goodreads reviews but I’ll check Amazon because of the volume. Anything really generic is ignored. I tend to read the good and the bad to get an idea of what to expect.
- Price – If the cover is good and the description works I’ll take a chance if the price is right. An indie author that no one has ever heard of trying to price their work at $9.99 probably doesn’t have a chance. Remember, the first criteria is author. If I like someone’s stuff I’ll buy it, even in different genres.
- Buzz – Rarely but occasionally I buy a book based on buzz. About half the time it works out. If someone is already getting that kind of buzz they don’t need me.
Author, cover, description. That’s the key, in that order. A good cover shows professionalism. A good description proves that an author can write. A review or two and a reasonable price gives me a reason to try. If I try a book and I like it, I’m willing to buy more.