Indie authors asked and now I’m answering. Here are some of the questions on their minds.
How do you choose the books you read? How much do covers, blurbs, price, recommendations/reviews come into play? -H.S. Stone
I read what sounds interesting to me. I’ve been reading long enough to know the types of books I like.
Covers can be pretty important. If I’ve never heard of a book or an author and I’m scrolling through Amazon (or Goodreads), the cover is going to be what makes me stop and take a closer look at the book. I know indie authors don’t have thousands of dollars to put towards covers but I want a cover that shows me you’re serious about writing. If your cover looks like it was thrown together in Microsoft Paint in an hour, I’ll pass. If the cover looks that bad, I don’t want to waste my time on what I can only assume is rough writing. Go ahead and save up a couple of hundred dollars to get that semi-professional cover made. I do think it would be worth the money.
Blurbs are the second thing I generally look at so this is the make-it-or-break-it point for me. I want to be hooked pretty quickly. I want to know why your book is different and worth my time. I read quite a bit of sci-fi and fantasy books. That means there can be a lot of overlap with subject materials. Your protagonist is the chosen one to save the world from destruction? Awesome. Why is this world different from the dozens of other books I’ve read like this? How is your protagonist different from all the others? Don’t make me read the book to try to see how your book is different. I don’t really care for blurbs that are made up quotes from other authors (or even readers). That’s lovely that so and so liked your book but I know little about their reading tastes. I want to know about your book; not what other people thought of the book.
At this point in my life, price is a huge influence for me. I’m a big reader so I need to be frugal about the money I spend on books. I’ve been reading over a 100 books a year for the past few years. I would love to be able to give all the authors I’ve read the money they deserve for their writing but there is no way I could afford to do that right now. As a result I have to be picky about the books I buy and how much I spend on books. I spend very little money on ebooks. There have only been a handful of times where I’ve spent more than $3.99 on an ebook by anyone.
The perceived value of indie books is what I focus on. I love the trend of first in a series books being free. I am very hesitant to spend money if I don’t know how I’ll like the books. If you can get me interested in a series, I will go back and buy more books. I bought the Wool books by Hugh Howey and Priscilla the Great books by Sybil Nelson after enjoying the first books. I’ve been willing to take a chance on buying bundles from indies even if I don’t know much about them. To me, buying a bundle for $3.99 and getting 4-8 ebooks is a great value. Yes, I may find a few ‘duds’ in the collection but I should also find a book or two that I do like. That will balance things out for me. The price per page is a huge thing for me. I could not spend $2.99 for a 100 page story. To me, $2.99 for a 300 page story sounds a bit more reasonable.
Reviews and recommendations can seal the deal for me. If I’m spending money on a book, I absolutely look over reviews. I don’t necessarily read over every single review but I skim over them to get a general feel. Do people mostly like the book? Is there an issue that I need to be aware of going into the book? If someone in my circle of people online has enjoyed the book, I’m reassured with my decision of buying the book.
What makes you decide to read a book from an unknown author?- H.S. Stone
Intriguing blurb, generally positive reviews, and a really good price. I’m obviously willing to be more adventurous with free books but I’ve become a bit picky with freebies. I’ll look on Goodreads and Amazon to get a feel for the book.
How do you choose the next book to read from your TBR pile? -H. S. Stone
I keep my reading schedule pretty light so I read whatever catches my interest at the moment. I do get influenced by the blogs I read. If a blogger reviews a book I have in my pile and they enjoyed it, I’d be persuaded to pick that book up sooner rather than later.