I’m a literary agent, but I’m also a reader. As a reader, I have reasons for buying a book.
- Nonfiction Topics: The topic must address a need or want I’m feeling at that time. For example, if I’m cooking for someone who’s a vegan, I’ll search for books with ideas for vegan dishes.
- Fiction Topics: Some topics simply don’t appeal to me as a reader. Authors may note that some readers have triggers and will avoid certain topics. Two of my relatives, for example, can’t abide entertainment containing violence of any kind.
- I’m a Fan: I may buy an author’s entire list of books when I’m a fan.
- A Striking Front Cover: When I see a book cover over and over, I recognize and may even bond with the book before I open it. Once a reader opens the book, the author is on the way to a sale.
- Back Cover Copy: This should tell me if I like where the book will go and what questions the book poses and answers. This applies both to fiction and nonfiction.
- Repeated Ads: If everyone is talking about a book, even through paid ads, the book takes on worth in the reader’s mind.
- Professional Reviews: Even reviews that point out a book’s flaw(s) can be better than the book not being mentioned at all. I’ll often read books despite a number of one-star reviews.
- Reader Reviews: Because I’m a literary agent, I have made the personal decision not to leave reviews on popular sites. However, I enjoy reading the thoughts of others.
- Opening: Grabbing readers with that first sentence is critical. Once the reader passes the first sentence, then the second, then finishes the first page, the author should have the reader hooked.