Mar. 23, 2016

Books I Avoid When Making a Purchase

I love fiction. It is a fact that is unquestionable. The love of being introduced to new or sometimes familiar characters with interesting characteristics fascinates me. I love sharing in their plights, their fear and smile-inducing moments of triumph. I purchase approximately 30 – 50 books a year, and because of this, I subscribe to online book sellers so that I can conveniently see what books are being offered for the week at a discount.

Here’s something to ponder, and I thought worthy of a mention. As a reader, there are several things that will instantly cause me to reject a purchase, even if it’s free or reduced to $.99. Think of it this way; time is valuable. No one wants to commit 4-5 hours of leisure time (the average time to read a 400 page book) to something they conclude may be humdrum, mundane, stale or even irritating. The extra adjectives were used to cement my point. If I, an avid reader, avoid books that contain the following below, the possibility that other avid readers are also avoiding books for similar reasons is likely. This post is not to bash or put down authors and publishers. It’s an assist to those who are planning marketing ideas and want to avoid a possible loss of sales.

Here is my list of Look-Away-Don’t-Purchase or download for free instinctive guidelines.

  1. The reuse of original titles of extraordinary books that many have loved UNLESS the original author has written it. This seems to be a sudden trend that I hope will quickly go away. Seeing titles such as To Kill a Mockingbird Again or Sixty-Two Shades of Grey isn’t appealing. As a reader (although I’m an author, I’m giving my reading preference point of view), seeing titles like these makes me think the author was unimaginative. If they’re unimaginative with the title, they may be unimaginative with the storyline as well. Why take the risk?

  2. Book covers that are complex or hard to understand. In example, one of my subscription ads sent a promo for a reduced book. The cover made me squint and lean closer to my monitor, because I was confused as to what I was looking at. After heavily scrutinizing, I realized I was seeing talons on the lower half, parts of a pistol mid-center, and the left side of a man’s face at top. Sounds cool, right? The problem is, the entire cover was smeared with a red foreground with designs running through it, and the images were peeking through. Most readers like feeling some sort of connection to the cover and title. If not, readers usually move on, as once again, time is precious.

  3. Book covers that are poorly put together and possibly made from any computer using simple programming, as well as contain overly used fonts such as Comic Sans or French Script. If the publisher/author didn’t care enough to clothe their novel with attractive skin, perhaps the care of its contents is equal. Is it edited? Did anyone bother proofing the plot? Why take the risk and spend money on this one?

  4. Titles in contrast with the picture on the cover. If the title is, The McMillan Werewolves, why is a scantily clothed woman lying in an erotic position on top of a bed? Is this werewolf porn? Do I have time to read the blurb to find out what this book is about? Usually not. Let’s see what other books are discounted this week, which means I, and perhaps other readers, simply move on.

  5. Too long titles that doesn’t seem appealing. Unless this title is listed on a bestsellers list and I want to know what all the hoopla is about, I usually keep my search going and avoid this one. However, if the title HAS appeal I’ll continue at least to check it out. For example, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has some appeal, in my opinion. It definitely captured my curiosity. Compare that title with Stealth: The Guyana Dilemma (The Joseph Taylor Chronicles) (Volume 1).

  6. Poorly written blurbs with grammar issues and incorrect spelling. I haven’t seen this often, but enough times to make a mention.

  7. Blurbs that read similar to recent bestsellers. I’ve read that story. No, thank you. I don’t wish to read a different version again at this time. As a reader, I’m looking for something original and ‘new.’

  8. Pricing books can sometimes be difficult. Here is my rule of thumb. If I’m purchasing a novel from one of my favorite authors, price doesn’t matter. I’m so sure I’ll enjoy the novel; I’ll get it to add to my growing library to read now or even later. For unknown authors, I’m willing to spend $.99 per 100 pages. It doesn’t sound like much, but think of it this way. Paying $6.99 for a fiction novel that is less than 200 pages from an unknown author isn’t an investment I would like to make.

  9. Novellas. Any fiction less than 300 pages I avoid. I will purchase $.99 flash fiction if the cover and blurb is appealing, but from authors I’m familiar with only. For example, New York Times Bestseller James Scott Bell has a flash fiction series that I love. Unknown authors I typically avoid, unfortunately.

  10. Genres that hasn’t been established in the literary world yet. Most readers are creatures of habit. They know what they like and usually don’t deviate from it. The most common and bestselling fiction genres are (in no particular order) Crime/Detective, Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction, Suspense/Thriller, Literary and Romance. Popular genres such as YA, Erotica, Westerns, Paranormal, etc., usually fall under one of the previously mentioned genres. For example, Paranormal is usually found under Horror or any of the others.

If you’re an aspiring author or currently planning your marketing strategies, perhaps these few points can help you.

 

Te dua!

Shelley