Monday, April 8, 2013

Why I Won't Buy A Book--As a Reader

I am a writer. But before I was ever a writer, I was a huge reader. Still am. With the plethora (my word of the day *grin*) of books out there, thanks to our new digital age and self-publishing, there's just so much to choose from.  So when my favorite authors have nothing new for me to read, I go hunting.

What do I look for? It's pretty simple for me. The publisher is not as important as it used to be, but with so much--well, crap--out there today, I sometimes hesitate to buy from a place where I've consistently read poorly edited or just badly written books.

When wearing the author hat, I try to think of myself when writing a book. Sounds funny, I know. But as a reader, I want certain qualities to be true. As a writer, I try to follow these guidelines:
  1. Good cover. To me a, a do-it-yourself cover normally looks like you did it yourself. Unless you're proficient in Photoshop or graphic design, it's obvious. So when a book looks like the characters have been pasted into backgrounds or drawn in, I pass.
  2. A blurb without errors. Considering the blurb and cover are what draw readers to a glimpse of the book, if the author can't even get the blurb right, I don't buy it. I mean, he/she can't edit one simple paragraph? What can I expect from the book?
  3. Pricing. This is a dicey one. I admit to being somewhat thrown by a 100,000 word book that's only 99¢. Unless it's a promotional discount for the first in a series, or a one time sale, I steer clear. Otherwise that price reeks of desperation. However, if the book is short in length, the low price makes sense to me. Oh, and I refuse to pay $3.99 for a 10,000 word short story. Period.
  4. If I've been convinced to buy a book that no where advertises it's a serial and I'm left hanging at the end? Definite turn off. Won't buy the next book out of principle.
  5. I like reading the first few pages of the book, and with so many sites offering that option, I can often read the first chapter before purchasing. If the writing isn't there and the grammatical errors are peppered throughout the passage, it's a definite rejection.
  6. Lastly, I do sometimes check out an author's website if the book looks promising, to see if they have anything else out or if they have more details on the book I'm thinking of purchasing. If the website is shoddy, or *gasp* has music, this can often be enough to have me leaving the book far behind.
If you care to share our buying pet peeves, I'm all ears. Now I'm on to coffee and finished up a project. I would cheer, but bleh, it's Monday.


Getbck Loretta said...

My biggest is being ask too pay 14.99 for ebooks. Fine, I understand it might have just come out. I can wait a week for a hard cover at the same price. Or that an ebook cost the same as a paperback. There is cost in printing so understand. As far as covers, if you've never read the author it is everything. You need me to pick up the book.

seelk said...

Being a graphic designer I understand the need for a good cover, it has to pull me in, but I don't stop there, I need the blurb to get me to stay. Typos are a turn-off for me too. Price is not so much of a deterrent, I don't mind paying a little more if the quality is good.

julie beasley said...

lst off im a cover lover, cant tell you the amount of books l bought just because i love the cover. i love a HEA i dont want it rushed either, i like to take my time reading it. Dont mind paying .77p for a short story, but ive noticed that the e books are creeping up in price, and some are just not worth it. i like serials but sometimes they can go on too long and the same stuff is hashed out with different names. i like checking author sites to.

Karen Duvall said...

I do everything you do, Marie, and I have to say the cover is first on my list. I design book covers as a primary source of income, so I know how important that first impression is. If the cover is amateurish, I'll pass because it tells me what's inside is probably just as bad.

I read sample pages mostly for voice and language. That's huge for me as a reader. If it's competently written and error free, but the spark is missing, I won't buy. I keep in mind that many self-pubbed novels suffer from contest-itis. The first 3 chapters are polished to perfection, but after that? Yikes, it's anyone's guess. However, there's no way to know until you read that far. If the author has a compelling voice and an intriguing way with language, I'm more likely to forgive a so-so story.

Marie Harte said...

Loretta--exactly. Even 12.99 for an ebook seems excessive to me, though I admit to paying that if it's an author I am ga-ga over.

Seelk--cover, yes. Quality to equal amount? Double yes.

Julie--I don't understand the pricing on many ebooks. Most authors are pretty fair, but some self-pubbed folks expect me to pay 4.99 for a 20K story? Um, no.

Karen--you'd know good covers. So I bet it's even more important to you to see great cover art.And yeah, that contest-itis can be harsh. The beginning of a book is stellar while the rest pales in comparison.

It doesn't take much to turn off a reader, unfortunately. Sometimes you only get one shot.