You Tell Me: What Sells a Book

You Tell Me: What Sells a Book

Posted by on Jan 23, 2013 in You Tell Me | 13 comments

When it comes to books, it’s almost impossible to discern the ‘it’ factor for any given title. The reason being, to be cliche, is the missing link. The missing link isn’t just luck. You don’t just happen to sell a million copies. You don’t just happen to make it on the New York Times Bestseller lists, or the Amazon Top 100. That doesn’t just happen because of luck. Sure, if your an author and it happens to you, you’re lucky, but that isn’t the only factor. That book has something  about it that pulls readers in, and it continues to do so. There is something inside the story that does that, and word of mouth starts moving and before you know it, you’re getting “lucky.”

But before there was luck, before there was word of mouth, there was something else. Something that made people pick up that book. Not everyone will have a built in audience, so it isn’t always just past readers. Because really, if you had millions of readers for a past series, chance are you were already a bestselling author. Based on some bestsellers, we can agree that it isn’t just positive reviews. So what was it that made readers pick up that book in the first place?

For me personally, I pick books like I pick movies; if I like the cover, I’ll pick up the book and read the synopsis. For me, synopsis does it all. That is the factor that decides if I want the book, but the cover has to get me there.

It’s worth noting that if everyone is talking about a specific movie or book, I’m going to check it out. But I won’t buy it for the simple fact that other people love it. That love and word of mouth gets me to the book, but after that, usually, it’s the cover and the synopsis that hold the tipping scale. The reason for this is, I can respect the fact that taste is subjective. What everyone loves, I may not like. And this goes for everything. Movies, books, food, etc. So, at some point, it all boils down to our judgement.

So for me, cover and synopsis are essential factors. Do they ignite the desire in me? The desire to know more, the desire to meet the characters, the desire for me to experience this journey? If yes, then I’m buying it. But what about you?

You Tell Me: What sells a book to YOU? Is it the cover, synopsis, price, reviews, word of mouth, where it’s ranked on the charts? Something totally different perhaps? Maybe it’s a book trailer or a marketing website. It’s discussion time today, so tell me what it takes for you to click purchase?