Today I'd like to pose a question: What makes you pick up--and most importantly--buy a book by an author you've never read before? Is it the cover? The title? The blurb on the back of the book? The excerpt? Did you heed the recommendation of a friend? Or are you truly intelligent and read the blog Smart Girls Read Romance and decide to take a chance?
We're all creatures of habit. We tend to gravitate toward the familiar whether it's with restaurants, clothing labels, brand names at the grocery store and, yes, authors. We know what we're going to get. There's a comfort zone we have trouble leaving. As an author, I learned a long time ago that leaving my comfort zone produced a better product. So, I can only answer the question by giving you my reasoning for taking the plunge a trying something new.
The first thing that attracts my attention is the title. Since I write romantic suspense, words like "murder," "death," or "body" grab me. My eye then travels to the cover--the darker and more menacing, the better. Bodies, blood, obviously terrified heroines running for their lives strike a nerve.
If I'm hooked, I turn the book over and read the blurb on the back. Give me a hero and a heroine who are thrown into a deadly situation by no fault of their own and are teaming up to stay alive. They try to solve the mystery--sometimes helping the authorities, sometimes by themselves--before the killer can add them to his/her list of successes.
Okay, now I'm ready to read the excerpt. This is crucial in my opinion. It can be either a suspenseful passage like a main character in danger or the beginning of a hot love scene. It doesn't matter, but it HAS to be dramatic. After all, the excerpt is a part of the book. You've written it. If I've gone this far, I'm already interested, so suck me in further. MAKE ME CARE!!!! This is the final step before walking to the cash register.
I've been lucky in the title department. My publisher, The Wild Rose Press (IMHO, the best), allows me to chose my own. The only time they requested a change was because another book had recently come out with a similar title. So, "Trust Me" became ALL IN THE FAMILY
I'm also grateful that TWRP has terrific cover artists. They inevitably catch the essence of the story and don't get bent out of shape if I catch a mistake. I have a friend who writes for a large publisher. Her last book took place in the Everglades. The artist had a mountain slap dab in the middle of the cover. Uh, no, I don't think so. All she could do was groan.
My back cover blurbs are a combination of my input and production or marketing. I've never been disappointed. I leave the excerpts to my editor mainly because I have a severe problem making a decision. Once again, she's always nailed it. And I often make a purchase on the recommendation of a friend.
Now, to perhaps help you, the reader, make a decision, let me say that my latest book, RENDEVOUS WITH DEATH was released last Wednesday. Check it out either at The Wild Rose Press or over at Amazon and let me know what it is that grabs and holds you.
Have a good day and I'll see you next month.