Recently, I was fortunate enough to receive a book voucher for a big bookshop in the city. I love spending these things – book purchasing without guilt! Of course, I do tend to go over my allotted amount, but spread over a few books, that still makes them great value. When I got my haul home, I stacked them up on the table to gloat for a bit, and realised that none of them are by authors that I haven’t read before. They are all books by authors I already adore. As someone who has just released a book (‘The Artemis Effect’), that lead me to some serious soul-searching.
Why would someone try my book, or take a chance on me as a new author?
When I do try a new author, what leads me to do so?
Is the cost of the book important?
Are people with different personalities more likely to take the chance on something new?
Does it make a difference whether the author is Indie or Traditionally published?
When I try a new author, there are certainly a few things which influence my choice.
Often I’ll take a chance on something new because it’s discounted. Most of the books I bought with my voucher were in the $20 plus category, and for me that’s a lot to fork out for something I might not enjoy. However, at the library, second-hand bookshop, or in the $5 pile, and I’m much more likely to give it a go. Once I’ve discovered something I do enjoy, I’m likely to stick with that author, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. Curiously, a book being free (as in Kindle Select Program release) does not make me more likely to try it – I suppose there is something in my head still which still whispers “You get what you pay for…”
I admit that I am shallow enough that a good cover can suck me in. Well, at least to picking it up in the first place, but if the blurb or section I scan don’t entice me, then the cover alone is not enough to make me branch out. A good example is David Michael Lukas’ ‘The Oracle of Stamboul’, which first attracted me because of its gorgeous cover art. Gave it a try, and what a find!
Being in the literary field, I do read a lot of reviews, and some of them have at least prompted me to add those books to be ‘To Read’ list, although to date I don’t think I’ve ever actually read any of them. Maybe that’s just laziness on my part. I sincerely hope that other people are more influenced by reviews than I am, or I feel it will be very hard to get the word out there about the new book. If there is an e-book I’m interested in anyway, then I’ll read the reviews before I buy it. Curiously, those reviews don’t have to be universally positive: one I read recently which stated that it was ‘gritty’ fantasy actually inclined me ion the book’s favour, as I’d probably prefer that to fluffy fantasy.
I have certainly picked up and read books by people I’ve met through blogging – most recently ‘Lupa’ by Marie Marshall, and also the novella ‘Prince of Graves’ by W.E. Linde. I’m only a couple of pages into Lupa, but I can highly recommend ‘Prince of Graves’, even though it is not normally the type of fantasy I read. Give it a go!
As to the question of different personalities – surely this must come into play. There are some people who adore routine, and feel lost without it. Others thrill at being avant-garde and cutting edge. I suppose that it may come down to your risk-taking profile. I’m perhaps best described as a calculated risk-taker. I’m done lots of physically risky things, (like parachuting, white and black water rafting, hang-gliding), and every time I tell my mother that I’m going on holiday, she asks, “Which dangerous place are you going this time?”. On the other hand, large scale public speaking scares the pants off me. However, trying a new author is a much smaller scale risk. It’s really a risk that you’ll be wasting your time, that most precious resource. Picking up (and persisting) with a bad book may take up time which you could have spent doing something much more fulfilling or enjoyable.
This point leads me to one close to my heart. I’ve often read comments from people (and indeed book reviewers) who say that they won’t read an Indie published book, as they’ve been burnt too many times in the past. Bad editing, poor spelling and formatting all detract from a story, and in some cases make it next to unreadable. They say that this dross will sink to the bottom of the ‘Amazon’ flood, but is this true? I’m sure that there must be great Indie books out there, wallowing in the silt at the bottom, who never had a chance because they were new and the authors never managed to break the ice of their anonymity. The trouble is finding them.
I would genuinely love to hear what factors make you more likely to try a new author, and also what makes you cautious! 🙂
Trying Something New – Psychology Today
Every New Author’s Greatest Enemy (and How to Beat It) – Jeff Goins