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:
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.