In a world of millions of authors and even more books, discoverability has never been easy. While the shift into the digital age has created new avenues of promotion, anyone can get published and everyone is promoting—more than ever. But I’m speaking from an author’s perspective.
What about the reader? How do you find a book you want to read? Do you stand in the brick-and-mortar store and browse the titles and covers and then read sample chapters? Look at the books on discount tables? Or do you read sample chapters online? For that matter, how do you even come across a book that entices you to read the first few pages?
If you’re like me, you have your favorite authors for starters. You naturally look for their next book. Covers used to entice me, and sometimes they still do, but when I browse the Christian fiction section of the bookstore, the covers are all gorgeous and look very similar. That means nothing stands out. Not a good thing. Although titles can intrigue me too, I’m no longer enticed to find out more by title alone.
No matter the transition into this digital age, word-of-mouth is still at the top of the list of influencing factors. If a writing friend shares about a book she or he liked and tells me why, then I’ll read a sample chapter. Never do I buy a book without doing that.
I admit, too, that social media has influenced my book purchasing decisions.
What about you—in this shifting environment, how do you choose your books? No, really, I want to know.
Elizabeth Goddard is the award-winning author of Riptide, Love in the Air, and Wilderness Peril.