Why I Bought the Book: Consumer Edition

I’m a literary agent, but I’m also a reader. As a reader, I have reasons for buying a book.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. I’m a Fan: I may buy an author’s entire list of books when I’m a fan.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Repeated Ads: If everyone is talking about a book, even through paid ads, the book takes on worth in the reader’s mind.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

6 Responses to Why I Bought the Book: Consumer Edition

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser October 6, 2021 at 4:55 am #

    Among reasons to buy a book
    here’s one of which to be aware:
    The author’s name can be a hook…
    try ‘Somerset de Chair’.
    Now, when you think of ‘Somerset’,
    you likely picture Maugham,
    but not (yeah, I will take that bet)
    what you’re sitting on.
    And so now to adventure,
    and onto de Chair’s derring-do,
    and I’m willing to venture
    that as I read, before I’m through,
    if you, friend, are right to question
    this mode of purchase selection.

    de Chair’s ‘The Golden Carpet’ is an engrossing personal narrative of the largely forgotten relief of Iraq in May 1941

  2. Fran October 6, 2021 at 5:28 am #

    A concise and helpful article. Well done!

  3. Barb October 6, 2021 at 7:40 am #

    Love to hear that the cover pulls at you too! Interesting read. Thanks!

  4. Damon J. Gray October 6, 2021 at 8:02 am #

    Something that gets me to buy a book is hearing the author speak. An example of this is Tosca Lee.

    I heard Tosca deliver a couple of keynotes at a writers’ conference and was so impressed by her that I purchased one of her books. I was so struck by her writing that I bought five more books, including a trilogy she wrote with Ted Dekker. I’ve even purchased her books to give away as gifts.

  5. OLUSOLA SOPHIA ANYANWU October 6, 2021 at 12:21 pm #

    God bless you Tamela for this post. It is encouraging to note that few typo errors in a book or books with one star review do get people’s attention nonetheless! I agree with you about seeing a book cover over and over can bond readers to authors. It did that for me too. I get hooked to certain genres I love and always watch out for more of such books from their authors.Real lovely post. Thank you!

  6. Kristen Joy Wilks October 6, 2021 at 1:59 pm #

    I often read books by what tone they are told in and how I feel at the moment. A RomCom, Cozy Mystery, or fun YA adventure will delight me when I’m needing to relax whereas a literary novel, epic fantasy, historical fiction, or gritty sci fi may sweep me away, make me think, and look differently at the world.

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