In 2017, every Debut Author in our Spotlight was asked, "As a reader, what most motivates you to buy a new book to read?" Here are the results.
Favorite genres and good stories topped the chart. But two other big slices of the pie came from attractive covers and recommendations by friends. Established, favorite authors (like Patrick Rothfuss) ranked third as a motivation.
I have so many answers for this, but I'll try to keep it brief. I would say the MOST motivating thing is a recommendation from someone I know and trust. If a friend disliked a book, that wouldn't keep me from reading it, but it would make me think twice. But they would have to REALLY hate it for me to start questioning it. Also, if the story or characters pique my interest, like it's an interesting take on an old trope or has diverse characters - especially if it's people I don't know much about, then I will mostly likely add it to my tbr. I enjoy reading most when I get to see through different eyes. To be honest, I think that's the most important aspect of reading. How amazing is it that we get to step into someone else's shoes, if only for a few hundred pages?
Can I afford this? Does the cover excite me? Do I relate to some component of the book, the description, the title? I can be persuaded pretty easily to buy new books :)
I want to live in someone else’s universe. I want to baste myself in the details until I disappear into their environments and become a part of the world. If the rules are sufficiently complicated, make sense, and compliment but don’t distract from the character development, I’m in.
My workflow is the following. Is it by Patrick Rothfuss? If so, buy it. If not, does it check at least two the following boxes? `[ ]` Space. `[ ]` Sad robots. `[ ]` A journey through the wreckage of human souls. If two or more boxes are checked, buy it.
Word of mouth. When multiple people whose opinions I trust recommend it, I know it has to go on my TBR.
The synopsis and the cover.
Word of mouth, mostly. I will always buy books from authors I’ve previously read and enjoyed. But I buy a lot of books because a friend with similar tastes admits that they liked it or because I see a positive review on Goodreads.
The author’s name/pedigree and book reviews.
Most of the time, it’s because one of my friends told me how amazing a book was. (And they’re usually right!) Covers of course catch my attention, but I never judge books by their cover.
I’m a sucker for a great cover, but who isn’t? I will automatically pick up anything that has to do with prom, the boy next door, studying abroad, the UK, Paris, and swooning. I typically stick to contemporary novels, but there are many fantasies I’ve gotten sucked into (hello Sarah J. Maas!) and I love a good mystery or thriller every once in a while.
Humour is the first thing I tend to look for. I also enjoy books with complex and somewhat unusual characters.
I definitely am drawn to covers. But it can’t just be a beautiful cover. I’m most likely to buy a book if it’s YA contemporary or some comedian’s book. I love coming of age drama, but I also love a good laugh! I also stalk authors. So if an author I love has a new book out, I’ll buy it automatically.
I’m always a sucker for a good hook and a killer premise. I love books that can engage me from the flap copy or the first five pages.
Pretty much the idea I'll enter a new world. That's all I really need to know before I pick up a new book.
A great cover. Readers really do judge a book by its cover. Authors who have self-made amateur covers I always feel bad for. The cover must look professional and it needs to represent the story and genre inside.
I take guidance from the bestseller lists and award winner lists but also from my friends. If a friend recommends a book, especially enthusiastically, I will take a look.
I'll admit, I'm a super picky reader. I've been known to check out an armload of books out of our local library, take them home, and only finish one or two of them. Once I've found an author whose books I enjoy, though, I eat them up like candy. Things that always catch my eye: time travel (of course), unique fantasy elements, eerie and secluded settings, family secrets, and my favorite historical eras and events.
Is the book something like another book I'd read and enjoyed? Or is the book about something I want to learn more about? More and more, though, I buy a new book because I've met the author through social media or at a con. Or perhaps they're a friend of someone I have. After meeting them and becoming invested in them, I invest in their book. And get a great read out of the deal. What's not to like?
It’s not the cover – I’m not a massively visual person, although of course it’s good to have something nice to look at. A blurb that offers something new that I haven’t seen before will invariably hook me in.
If it's by one of my favorite authors, that's the easiest sale. But I didn't realize my other motivations until I started the "Down the TBR Hole" blog prompt posts on my blog. It turns out that I'm most motivated to buy any books about the Lenni-Lenape, and any books that remind me of my book or my characters.
There are authors whose books I buy as soon they come out, but my biggest purchasing motivator is story. Does the idea intrigue or excite me? I’ll spend twenty bucks on anything if I think the idea is cool.
The MC's voice. I'm always attracted to stories written in first-person, especially if the character is honest, funny, and has a unique point of view.
When the book is set is a big one. I like histories. I also like humor, and I tend more toward fantasy. Covers will sometimes do it. Word of mouth recommendations will sometimes do it. One of the biggest things is if I meet the author in real life or online, and the author is a nice person. That makes me more curious to check out their work.
Either the subject/genre or recommendation from people you know and respect. Eye catching bookcover.
It depends on the situation but usually the description on the back of the book is the deciding factor for me.
I am most motivated by the description on the back cover, and if a trusted friend or two shares their passion about the book beforehand. If a friend can sell me on it (and I’m pretty skeptical by nature), I will probably check it out.
I’m a sucker for a good cover. If it grabs me I’ll read it. I’ve been guilty before of not even reading the blurb.