Life in progress

What Makes You Buy a Book?


As a subtitle to this post, I should write, “And What Turns You Off?”

The reason I ask: I’ve been told by the experts that I should be “spamming” my friends on my blog, and on all other social media, in order to entice everyone to buy my new novelette, All Good Stories. I told the experts, but I don’t want to do that to my precious blogland friends! but the experts were insistent. “Choose between your friends and your success!” they said. Chanted, really. It was like a waking nightmare until I thought, why don’t I just ask my friends what they think?

So, friends, let’s start with what convinces you to hit that “Buy It Now” button when you’re considering the purchase of the book.

Initially, for me, the cover has a lot to do with it. We do, in fact, judge a book by its cover. The artwork has to be attractive AND hint at what might be inside. It has to make me ask questions. Like, why the parrot? But it’s not only the front! The back (or the blurb in the case of an ebook) is a crucial part of my decision. It not only has to make me want to read the book, it has to be free of errors and give me a hint, through its voice, of what I can expect on the inside.

Reviews and recommendations come next. Even if they’re not jumping off the page to say “This was the best thing ever!” there has to be some consistency to them. For example, “This made me laugh!” and “I chuckled when I read this!”

But then there are those authors who keep on and on and on. Some of us can ignore it, turning it into white noise. I especially tend to disregard an ad if I’ve already bought the All Good Stories book. Then again, seeing “Buy it today!” or “Pre-order now, only 99 cents!” really seems to get under other people’s skin. There has to be a balance! Am I right?

What do you think? What’s most important to you? And would you spend .99Β’ to shut me up? (Please see the link at the top right-hand corner of this page.) πŸ˜€

Author: LindaGHill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

64 thoughts on “What Makes You Buy a Book?

  1. I usually buy books after I read them. Is that weird? There are exceptions of course, if I love the author or if it’s a series. But I like to take a test run before I buy it. Because if I love it, I will reread it over and over and over again.


  2. Hi Linda.
    Most times I buy book if it is an author I have seen mentioned somewhere. Some books I have bought because of their titles. Very few because of the reviews. The cover page hardly influence my choice. I can actually buy one with a bland cover but whose title draws my attention.
    As for your book, do you have epub?


  3. Reblogged this on Amusing Nonsense and commented:
    Linda G. Hill has a book that’s available for pre-release. Her writing is awesome, and you should buy her book. Just saying.

    Please note: comments are closed here. Please comment on the original post.


  4. I check out the cover, the title, blurb and I usually read a few paragraphs to get the style. Because I only guest post, I sometimes mention my posts in others’ comments. The reaction is wildly different. Many just come to read and I assume they are OK with the link. Some say nothing but never visit, so I don’t link on their site. One told me she did not want me linking in her comments and to cut it out. I did. I would say about 25% actively encourage me to link, and will ask what I have done recently if I go too long without a link. Of the 100 or so blogs I actively follow, one said “don’t” , about 5 I stopped linking as there was no response, about 25 ask me to link and the remaining 69 will see the link and come visit. I always phrase the request as politely as I can, being careful to make it clear that I know the readers time is scarce. And I do not over use this – linking to perhaps one in 5 posts, the ones I think would be most interesting. After a while some readers will come visit without any notification – I am careful to try and not link on those folks . They should not be subject to linking. Occasionally a reader will mention if I have linked them and they had already read the post and occasionally I’ll link the same site twice. I try very hard not to do either of those.

    So,my advice Linda is to send an ad for a book to each who you think might be interested, be polite (as you always are), be sensitive and send each what they wish and no more. If you are not sure, then send it anyways – many are quiet but will read what you send them. Do not use this mailing list for anything else or people will come to ignore it and see it as spam. Every one of us is a writer by definition (write and publish for others to read) and all know how hard it is to write a book and then sell it – you are accessing an empathetic demographic. I, for one would be pleased to get e-mail notifications of any new books you have written. I’ll be the first to start off your list with my e-mail: paulccurran@hotmailcom Please keep me updated.


    • I’m seriously considering starting a newsletter due to this comment – thanks for the suggestion! πŸ™‚ And, of course for volunteering to be my first guinea pig. … I mean follower. πŸ˜‰ hehe
      I’ve met quite a few people here in blogland who don’t like having links dropped in their comments. You must have some pretty special friends out there. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do have special friends out there Linda. friends like you. πŸ˜€ I think the key is respect . I see others sometimes linking and they are often crude and demanding in tone. I always make it clear that I respect the bloggers and their time. And I do – it amazes me the great writers and the honesty of writing and the big time commitment running a blog represents. Basically all these folks are giving of their time so the rest of us can learn and understand from their stories.


  5. I’ve been told by the publishers of the anthologies my work is included in to do the same, but I don’t, because it doesn’t work.
    If someone continuously spams my feed with plugs for a book/tune/event, I quickly get fed up and ignore all references to it.
    In fact, the repetition is more likely to actively DIScourage me from buying something, in the same way that I detest tv adverts (and have not watched one now for several years; thank you, Freeview+ box)

    I’m fully aware that advertising is required to promote these things, but commercials never leave any impression on me, so I’m not sure what to suggest.

    I’ve plugged my work on the blog and have a permanent slideshow on the sidebar with the cover art, but I can’t bring myself to batter everyone into submission with constant social media posts.

    Except on Twitter, which I don’t care about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Battering people into submission… I like that. Not as a practice, but envisioning it is amusing. πŸ™‚
      I’m not going to spam, I’ve decided. My post today will probably be the last for a while, and that one only because the release is today.
      Nobody cares about Twitter.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Linda, I just pre-ordered your book because I like you and want to support your passion for writing. How’s that?! Thank you for the opportunity to do so. As for sales in general, I appreciate the effort it takes to sell, persuade, and help people to find a yes. I’m especially appreciative of salesmanship that is authentic, engaging and funny, as shown clearly in the last line of this post. Much success to you and your book launch!


  7. I’d buy anything you write. Don’t care. πŸ˜›

    Buuuuttt… I’m picky. Really picky about books. I either have to have a glowing recommendation from another reader whose opinion I trust, or an established affection/affinity for the writer…Super picky. And I am a bad reader, because I hate to review books. Don’t care about covers, hate spam, blurbs have to lure me in with a personal connection. Told ya, picky.


  8. Book Cover and the way I perceive the artwork relates to the title are definitely what gets me to read the description (back of book, blurb or whatever you call it) and that is what makes the decision. I have bought and read a few books from bloggers I read because they blogged about the development process, something that moved them about the story they were writing, or about a point they got stuck and how they moved along.
    In my opinion, it’s interesting if I’ve read a few things about the process of writing it or a momentin the story and then all of a sudden the author puts up a post: “Ahhh! Can finally relaxed because book is done. It’s going to print on… Oh and by the way, if you want to pre-order here’s a link.” It’s less pressure and less salesman like….and then I’m more likely to bug and recommend after reading. But that’s just me


  9. For me, first is subject matter. That would be memoir, and anything that is a true story. I don’t read much fiction unless it is horror or paranormal. A true horror or paranormal is even better. So, the cover doesn’t matter much, but the part that tells what it it about does. If I see more than a few ‘buy my book’ come ons, I will definitely not buy. I do wish you well on yours! πŸ™‚


    • Thank you, Barbara! And I promise as of today you’ve seen the last of my “Buy my book” posts for a while. πŸ™‚
      P.S. Love paranormal and horror. Those are what I’m writing right now! πŸ˜€


  10. To be quite honest, the cover and then a very exciting “blurb” about the story. If it doesn’t draw me in right away then I quickly move on.


    • The thing is, there are so many blurbs that fall flat these days, aren’t there? It’s a difficult thing to get right though, admittedly.
      Thanks for your comment, Vic. πŸ™‚ I hope all is well with you and your family. I’ll try to pop over to your blog soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The social media assault doesn’t help get me to buy your book. I also rarely trust book reviews because most are very hard to read. I don’t have many (less than 10) books on the Kindld app on my iphone (no kindle) but I tend to keep a couple on there for travel. So, the next time I’m traveling, I might buy your book. I would buy it because I like the way you write and I think I’d like the book. So, I’d say, your blog is why I would read your book.


  12. Hmm.πŸ€” I’d have to say book cover/title, reviews, recommendations, and familiarity with the author all factor in my decision making. I’m on an extremely limited income, but I’m adding your book to my Amazon wish list!


  13. Well, the catchy title gets my attention, but a cover wouldn’t be the thing to do that for me. I have a limited income, but I would be happy to get your book sometime soon and review it on my blog. I know what you’re saying about promotion. I got a small taste of that last year when my story came out in the anthology, but I hope to find out fully someday.


  14. Book covers, referrals from friends, and reviews all help me want to buy a book. I have a list of books on a need-to-read note on my phone. Unfortunately, I don’t read them fast enough and keep adding more. I have an old Kindle but have only bought one book. I like the feel of an actual book and can drag it with me everywhere, even when I am deployed and there are limited recharging options. I also look at a computer all day a work so reading that way just has not clicked for me yet. However, for $1 it would hard to resist! I may have to break out that Kindle and see if it can still hold a charge under all it’s dust!


    • Thanks so much for your comment! πŸ˜€
      I enjoy holding a physical book too, and I agree, it’s easier on the eyes. But then, for me at least, the practicality of ebooks – not having to carry an entire bookcase with me for instance – is hard to resist.
      I hope you enjoy my book when you get a chance! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I think the idea with an icon and link to book after your posts sounds good to me. I switch off when I read tweets that say “buy my book its great” and more so if I get them every two hours. However, if the mention of the book comes with the authors experience of the writing/publishing journey then I am pretty interested. Both in the book and the author. So posts about what you do to advertise it, what works what doesn’t, mentions of reviews etc would work for me too. Excerpts, give-aways and 99p sales have worked too. You choose :-). Its your book and only what you feel comfortable with will work when it comes to advertising. However, Jason is right: only if you shout about it will it get noticed πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I predominantly buy books based on recommendations and by authors I like. Since my income is limited, I don’t get to buy as many books as I used to. If I had unlimited income, I’d buy more books.

    Yours is a book that I’m going to get, and soon.

    Speaking of spreading the word…


  17. Let me start off by saying that I don’t buy Kindle books, I only buy hardcovers and paperbacks (mostly paperbacks because they’re easier to carry around). As for what entices me – the cover might catch my attention, but it’s the story line that draws me in. If the story line is interesting, I then check the reviews – and I make sure they are legitimate reviews and not those early ones posted by friends of the author in an attempt to gain purchasers. Friends are seldom honest in their reviews. Even with authors I like and have read before, I go through the same steps – every author can have a bad book and I don’t want to waste money buying something that other people believe is not worth reading. Having said that, Linda, I would be happy to review your book once it comes out in print instead of Kindle, and I would give it the most honest review that I can, ummm, given that I admire you, consider you a friend, am absolutely sure that your book is outstanding, and if it’s not, I sure wouldn’t want to hurt your feelings or your customer base.


    • Unfortunately this one isn’t going to go to print. :/ When I printed it myself to edit it, it was less than 50 pages, so I don’t think it’s worth it. It would cost more to produce than anyone would be willing to buy it for.
      On reviews, I hope for honest ones!! I think even my friends know to “tells it like it is.” πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  18. First the cover attracts me. Then I read the blurb on the back or on the first page. Then I usually know. Sometimes I have to read a few pages to get hooked. Sometimes I get bored with how slow things are moving and I set it aside.


  19. If I like the person and their blog, I buy. Assaulting me with requests to buy: no sale. Looking forward to yours!!!


    • It kind of does feel like an assault after a while, doesn’t it? I promise not to do that. πŸ™‚
      I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of it! Thanks again, Pamela! πŸ˜€


  20. Spam is a harsh word for it, but it serves the purpose. You do have to continually show and remind people you have written a book. The tip about placing a icon and link in your blog posts is a good one. So is having a static page with your cover on it, creating a news letter with your book info in it. It is less about “spam” and more about finding a balance and a way of gaining notice. We can’t afford to sit and wait for our “friends” to share our stuff online because not everyone shares, cares, or sees what to pass on.

    Find the balance between promotion and annoyance. It can be done. πŸ™‚

    BTW: There are no blogging experts. Just people expert at giving their advice on blogging.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Lol! You know I already pre-ordered it too!!
    But I think it’s a valid question.
    I feel the same about pushing sales of my Poetry book. If a lovely review is put on then I’ll share it, along with a link to buy, but not constantly.
    Maybe after a while I may post about it, but as it was my dream to be published….I have that already now! It’s not that I don’t want sales…I do!
    But I want them because people want to read my words….
    If I read a blog regularly and enjoy the posts, then said blogger announces a book release, I will buy, if it’s my favoured genre. If not then I’ll support with words. But unless it speaks to me, I won’t automatically order it just because I get regular posts advising me to!
    (P.S. have you bought my book? Poetic RITUals… available on Amazon! πŸ˜‰)


  22. We must read different experts, lol. All the ones I have read say do not spam social media with ads, because it turns people off super fast. What I have seen which I think works pretty well, is to have a small footer image advertising your book at the bottom of your blog posts. So you could have something that says, “Hey, I wrote a book! You can buy it here!”

    As far as your blog posts go you really only need to have one post devoted to your book launch and then don’t really talk about it again.

    And I am very much like you when it comes to picking a book. Good cover, good reviews or a trusted name.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. I already preordered it , you only have to ask! 😎


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