Good question. Covers may catch my eye but I will be just as quick to put it back down if the book jacket synopsis and first couple pages don’t pull me in. Things like characters and diversity and world-building will keep me reading (or not, if they’re not well done), but at that point I’ve already made the investment.
For most books that I might see in a bookstore I almost never buy impulsively. I’m a targeted buyer. I always go on Amazon and read reviews: positive, negative, and indifferent and then make the decision on whether to buy.
For self-published authors (like ourselves), it is very difficult to base decisions purely on posted reviews because it is getting harder and harder to know if those reviews were either paid for or posted by friends of the author. Therefore, again, I will go by the synopsis (does the pitch hook me?) and the first few pages (do I like the author’s writing style and does the work appear professionally edited?).
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