Sunday, April 15, 2007

How Do Readers Pick a New Author? Part III

The infamous back cover blurb overwhelmingly had the most votes, but in second or third place, not in first. The back cover blurb wasn’t the key deciding factor for many readers. Perusing a sample chapter either clinched the sale or resulted in the reader deciding not to buy.

Readers said:

“The description on the back cover is the first test. Then, I read the first couple of pages. If I'm not hooked, I keep looking.”

“I pick the book up and flip it over to read the back cover.”

“Then I read the blurb and a sample chapter if they provide one. If not, I look for the author’s website and see if they have a sample chapter up.”

While many authors valiantly struggle to get reviews and endorsements from well known celebrities and authors, it really doesn’t hold much sway over the majority of readers. Reviews increase the visibility of an author and their books, but it isn’t the deciding factor of whether to read that particular book.

Readers told us:

“I don't go by recommendations generally...such as the pages and pages of book recommendations by newspapers, magazines, people I never heard of.”

“I only take notice of reviews from reviewers I respect, and who I've been reading regularly for some time.”

“I don't even look at the endorsements on the cover/inside the book by other authors. I once bought a book based on an endorsement by an author that I liked, and I hated the book. It left me wondering if these authors actually even read the book.”

Of course being selected by Kelly Ripa in Reading with Ripa, or by Oprah Winfrey is the exception to the rule. Carly Philips’ “The Bachelor” went to number one on in a matter of hours after being selected by Kelly.

So it would seem that the main factors in the buy decision are:

Personal recommendations
Cover art,
Back cover blurb,
The writing itself

But there were some interesting comments that really don’t fit in any of those categories.

Readers mentioned:

"I also like to attend local author presentations my library to show support for fellow writers.”

“I rarely will even look at a book with less than 375 pages long-- unless it's a beloved author or the subject matter has influence upon something I'm writing.”

“One of the authors in the anthology had such enthusiasm in her postings about her first published novel, that I wanted to show her that at least one stranger in the whole world cares enough to buy her book. I felt good doing it, and now I find it was a darn good purchase. I love that.”

“If it is by a new author I have met online or at the book fair at I felt was nice towards me I'll buy a book from them. I know this sounds vain but I refuse to support a person who is rude to me.”

Find out more about book publishing at

Dee and Brian are the authors of The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them and the novel Over Time

No comments: