What do you look for in a book?

Created about 2 years ago by C. Brennecke with 2 comments
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Self G. R. Paskoff · Author · edited about 2 years ago · 1 like

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?).

Img 0137 p bw C. Brennecke · Author · edited about 2 years ago · 1 like
When choosing a book to buy, what do you base your decision on? Do you look past the cover and start reading a random page? Or do you rely on the recommendations of friends?

I must admit that the cover is often the thing that first catches my eye. But before making a decision I always read through the first few pages to make sure the book is for me. These are the things that I look for:

1. Characters that make me smile. Whether they’re gushingly romantic or cuttingly sarcastic, a little bit crazy, a lot bit charismatic, wickedly clever, or charmingly cranky, I want to read about characters that are engaging, memorable, and fun.

2. Diversity. This can come in many forms; race, gender, sexuality, creed, culture, class, species, or philosophy. New and balanced points of view are important. Nay, they are necessary.

3. Poetry. Beautiful words have a way of making me fall in love. Lush descriptions, rhythmic sentence structure, poetic endings, a smart use of similes...Use any of these and you will win me over. Promise.

4. Magic. The very best stories instantly sweep you up and paint a lush and vivid world in your mind. Not only can you feel it come to life while reading, but it actually stays with you long after. That’s what I hope to find every time I pick up a book. If you can capture that, you’re golden.