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  • Writer's pictureMegan DiMaria

Why readers select a novel

Why do you select a particular book to read? I've been thinking about that lately, especially because as an author, I want readers to pick my books.

A book has to have a certain appeal. Not only the cover and title, but the story needs to connect with readers and appeal to their emotions. Ideally, it will contain several elements that draw a reader to pick it up.

Some reasons readers reach for a specific book are:

  1. A recommendation from someone they trust or admire.

  2. From a Goodreads newsletter or a NetGalley offer.

  3. It's a book from a favorite author.

  4. FOMO (fear of missing out), if several people are talking, posting, writing about a book, you want to see what all the hype is about.

  5. The story's premise is intriguing.

  6. The cover (or spine) jumps out and engages you.

  7. The title seems interesting.

  8. Good back cover copy. There must be a good hook, which is the idea that sparks interest in the story.

If I'm on my own looking for a book—and I don't have a particular novel in mind —my favorite place to find a new read is a brick-and-mortar bookstore or a library. There's something about being able to pick up a book, look at the cover, and read the back cover copy that appeals to me. If the cover or back copy is compelling, I'll try any genre.

I love for a cover to stir my emotions. Perhaps there's a photo of a character in the book, a symbol (if it's WWII fiction you might see a swastika), a setting, a scrap of paper with writing.

If an author I admire has endorsed the book, I'm more likely to give it a glance to check it out and see if it's something I'd like.

Talking with my book club, I've discovered the three most important factors in selecting a book are genre, author, and a notable review. Belonging to a book club is a great exercise to expand your boundaries. Some of the books my friends have suggested are ones that I would have never picked up.

Do you like to read a paper book or digitally? My first preference is paper, but I will read e-books too.

Q for you: what's the compelling reason you select a novel?



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