What makes you buy a book?

What makes you buy a book? I thought this was a simple enough question. The cover! It’s colours! The title! It’s colours…The blurb. It’s colours…Duh! The text is usually black.

Ok, the first chapter! Who doesn’t stand in the book shop and read? The ones with cafes are great. You can finish the novel and quietly put it back on the shelf. They used to be called libraries. Some of them are still called book shops – if you’re lucky enough to have one of those in your town.

Anyway, I’m about to design the book cover for Martini Bond. I’ve got fed up with waiting to hear back from “waterlogged” agents (Wade in and pick my book – before I make you redundant!). Yes, I’m beginning to think self-publishing is the way forward. Just like JA Konrath, a renowned self-published author.

But before I do any of that, I need a cover that grabs readers’ attentions. I’ve got the image – a cartoon by Judy Walker, former Sun newspaper cartoonist.ย By the way, thanks to everyone who voted ย recently – it is the image with the gun.

Martini Bond holds gun in cocktail glass This will be used in all promotional material for the play – but I’m digressing again.

I’ve got to work on the fonts for the title and, of course, MY BYLINE. Should that be bigger than the title? Oh, how tempting, you foolish WomanBitesDog.

But while I’m making up my mind what to do, I’d love to hear from you about what makes you buy a book?

May 22, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Comedy, Comedy writing, Humour, Publishing.


  1. crubin replied:

    If it’s an author I love, then I usually don’t need any convincing to buy the book. But if the author is new to me, for sure the cover draws me in (we’d be lying if we said covers don’t matter), but I also read the first few paragraphs. I can usually get a feel if the writing style suits me. Sure I may miss out on a good book if the first page didn’t grab me, but I guess that’s why they say those first few paragraphs are vital.

    • WomanBitesDog replied:

      First few paragraphs…this is becoming a theme. I’m going to re-check the opening paragraph of the play…perhaps I’ll blog it and get it reviewed in the blogosphere…

  2. pushthedumpfatbutton replied:

    Reblogged this on Pushthedumpfatbutton/weightloss/Living healthier/Exercise/Gettingthepoundsoff.

  3. mskatykins replied:

    Hi there, found you via jmmcdowell and I’m glad I did! Great posts and what a great question. I have different reasons for buying particular books. Firstly, there are the ones I already know I want to read. Secondly, I sometimes just like the feel, the look, the mysterious nature of a book… Thirdly, reading the first line can be a deal breaker for me. Either it’s grabbed me straight away and I know I want to take a chance or I’ve not clicked. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not so shallow that I won’t give texts in the latter category a chance, it’s just that, in my experience, it can turn out rather like finding out that you and another person don’t click during the first kiss. Know what I mean? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Looking forward to reading more of you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • WomanBitesDog replied:

      I know exactly what you mean! First kiss and all that. God, I’d better get that first line right. Thanks for visiting my blog – and sharing your views. Now I’ve got to act on them.

      • mskatykins replied:

        Ha ha, I’m sure your first line will be fab! I’m just weird, lol! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for visiting my blog as well. I’m looking forward to following you (but not in a seedy way!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. journeyofjordannaeast replied:

    The title and the summary. I’ll often overlook a crappy cover if the summary is very intriguing. On the other hand, if the title and cover catch my attention and the summary sucks, I’ll pass.

    • WomanBitesDog replied:

      Everything’s got to work! Better start thinking. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  5. jmmcdowell replied:

    An eye-catching cover never hurts. But the title catches my attention first. And then I’ll read the “blurbs” on the cover jacket. If it still looks interesting, I’ll read the first page. If that looks good, I’m in. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I also wanted to let you know that I’ve presented you with the Tell Me About Yourself award. There are no obligations to join in, of course. But I enjoy the opportunity to bring new blogs to people who may not have seen them before.

    If you’d like to participate, you can find the details at http://jmmcdowell.com/2012/05/20/id-genuinely-appreciate-it-if-you-tell-me-about-yourself/

    I’m enjoying your blog!

    • WomanBitesDog replied:

      Thanks for the award invite.I’ll drop by soon. In the meantime, looks like I must focus on the first page.

  6. Claire Cappetta replied:

    OH WOW! My timing for reading this is spot on today!!!
    I’ve just spent today designing 3 covers for mine, each completely different! I showed them to my husband and he picked one for me! lol I do like it and hope others will too as I think it’s kinda magical.
    I just started to read JA Konrath last week, Isn’t his blog great?
    So much information! I’m going to publish Indie only because I’m a control freak and think it will be more fun than handing it over to someone else… after all it’s your baby, right?
    I hope you have a wonderful journey with your book, which ever way you chose to go ๐Ÿ™‚

    • WomanBitesDog replied:

      Hi Claire
      Glad we seem to be coinciding on what info we’re looking for on the web! Have you asked your fellow bloggers their views on the design covers?

      • Claire Cappetta replied:

        I asked one blogger, who preferred my original design of a couple of months ago, but I lost the picture when my laptop crashed ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
        Vin and my sister-in-law like one of my new designs but say it’s not ‘busy’ enough! lol

  7. Amritorupa Kanjilal replied:

    hi WBG, I generally pick up a book based on what I’ve heard about it, or what synopsis i’ve read. If i’ve never heard of the book, I usually read the blurb and take a spot decision about whether I think I’ll like it.
    I have bought books solely because their title seemed fascinating, though not very frequently. But covert design very rarely influences my decision to buy a book (though admittedly it could make the book more noticable among other books in the shop…

  8. 4amWriter replied:

    Honestly, I only buy books that I will read over and over and over again. The reason is that I have limited space in my house, and I can’t have a gazillion books. Trust me, if I had my very own library in my house it would be filled corner to corner. I can’t stay away from books!

    This means that I am constantly at the public library, lol. I first borrow books from the library or a friend. Then if it’s a book I know I’ll read again and again I will buy it for myself.

    • Gina replied:

      But how do you know if you’ll read them again and again till you’ve read them…I am intrigued!

      • 4amWriter replied:

        Haha, well, that’s why I borrow them first from the library. Once I read it then I’ll know if it’s a book I’d read again, and I’d go and buy it to have on hand for when the mood strikes!

  9. WomanBitesDog replied:

    That’s the one thing about ebooks I’m not sure about – can you share them via a Kindle? I don’t know – I don’t have a Kindle even though I’m thinking of publishing on one…But there’s nothing like a well-thumbed book you lovingly share with friends – only never to see it again?

  10. Gina replied:

    Ooh, meaty subject WBD! Covers are important and so is reading the first chapter but this isn’t foolproof and can be misleading. My favourite books have taken me a while to get into, past difficult past chapters. Word of mouth is always best. I’ve been so disappointed with hyped books or books on awards lists than I tend to avoid them. Worse are the cover comments which are invariably by other authors from the same publisher or agent or a reviewer mate (well, you would, wouldn’t you?) I also look at the amazon reviews, starting with one and two star reviews. There are always marmite books (Wolf Hall, The Slap, for eg,) which people have strong opinions about and either love or hate but no one says, ‘meh, it was ok.’

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