Saturday, May 9, 2015

Getting Readers to Buy Your Book in One Click!

 Thanks for stopping by! Today I'm excited to present a Q&A session with Lori Follett of on what makes her decide to spend money on a book. 
 Lori designs book covers for a living. Here's a sample of one of her favorites.

Read on for golden tips that could help you get your book on someone's One Click list!
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> As a reader, your time is precious. What first catches your eye about a book's cover? (Especially considering you design covers!) This is a tricky one for me because I do design covers for a living. If a book does not have a clean, professionally designed cover, as bad as it sounds, I won’t even read the blurb. In my mind, if the author believes in themselves enough to invest in professional services, then they deserve my time. Also, typically speaking, those without professionally designed covers are also not professionally edited, which is a huge pet peeve of mine. There’s not much worse than getting distracted from the story than glaring grammar and plot mistakes. >
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 > Do you find yourself buying books that are similar to each other...I mean, is there a go-to formula that really works for you and that you enjoy reading again and again? I do tend to read a lot of the same style books. I have a weakness for paranormal and romance novels, but I like to be open to other genres as much as possible. If a book is recommended by people I know (either in real life or through social media) time and time again, it will peak my interest and I may check it out if it sounds interesting and has good reviews. >
 > How long does it take you to decide to buy a given book? If the book is by an author I have enjoyed before and it sounds good, I can be a bit of an impulse shopper. If the author is unknown to me, I do have a process. Typically, I come across the book because I have seen it posted a lot on my feed by readers. I tend to steer clear of those that I only see posted by the author repetitively in Facebook groups and the like. I find it annoying. Once something peaks my interest, I’ll skim through the Amazon reviews. Generally, I’ll read a couple 4 or 5 star reviews, a couple mid-range reviews and a couple 1 star reviews. Every book isn’t good to everyone, so I take both 5 star and 1 star reviews with a grain of salt. If the one star reviews complain about a lack of editing or poor formatting, I will generally move on. If the book still sounds like something I’d like, I’ll add the sample to my Kindle (sometimes to read later, sometimes I’ll read it right there in the browser). If I get through the sample and want to keep reading, I’ll buy it. If it was just okay, I might save the sample in my Kindle to check out again later. Sometimes I may have just not been in the mood for that particular book. Otherwise, I delete the sample and move on to something else. So sometimes, I’m impulsive. Other times, I’ll take 15 minutes or so to go through reviews and such and purchase. Sometimes, I will debated on it for a few days. Then, if I see people talking about it, I’ll generally go back and purchase it. If I am sucked into what I am currently reading or have an immediate plan to continue reading through a series before I start a new book, I’ll just download the sample to remind me to purchase it when I’m ready to buy and read it. >
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 > On a scale of one to ten, how important is the cover in your decision process to buy? As much as I don’t want to be that person, I am and it’s a 10. I just can’t bring myself to invest time/money in someone who won’t invest in themselves.
> On a scale of one to ten, how important is the blurb in your decision process to buy? The blurb, while it’s important, I know how difficult it is to write and I tend to put more stock in the reviews than the blurb, so I guess I’d give it a 6.
 > On a scale of one to ten, how important is the sample? The sample is crucial. It’s an 11. I have to be hooked to be motivated to purchase the book. The only time I may not take this into consideration is if the book is free. Generally, if the reviews and blurb sound promising AND I’ve seen it come across my feed from readers/bloggers, I’ll buy it to check out later. >

 > Can you sum up your thought process in deciding to buy a given book? If I could say anything to authors about my personal buying habits, it’s that the cover draws in readers. People are naturally visual and motivated by visual elements. Everyone these days has Photoshop, but not everyone can design a pleasing cover. Homemade covers look amateur and as an author, you are represented by your covers first. Because I am a designer, I also tend to skip past books that are generic looking. Next, edit, edit, edit and then proofread again. Everyone makes mistakes and a few here and there are to be expected (even in big publishing house books), but you cannot edit your own work and your friends and family, while helpful, cannot be your only source of editing and proofreading. Get beta readers, get a good editor and a different proofreader. Even the best editors miss things too! There is nothing worse than being dragged out of story by a 14-line rambling sentence or glaring grammar errors. Blasting your book daily to 50-someodd Facebook groups is not only annoying, but I don’t know a single person who has decided to buy a book based on a Facebook group ad. It seems to me that most authors don’t even go into the groups, but just share to the group from their fan page and the only other members in the group are authors now anyhow. Get your book out to bloggers, offer it to readers in exchange for honest reviews, get people talking about it. Those are the kinds of promotion I take stock in. I also think a social media presence is crucial. Represent yourself, be real, but also be somewhat professional.
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If an author does nothing but complain about other authors or bash negative reviews, I will remove them and their books from my lists. If they are open, real and supportive of their fellow authors/bloggers/book professionals, that shows a lot of themselves as a person and I can respect that. I’ll want them to succeed and will also support them in turn. I also find an author website (that doesn’t look like a throwback to the nineties lol) to be helpful in finding other work by an author I enjoyed reading or to figure out what’s the next book in a series if it isn’t well-labeled in the first book. And, although I know the sheer amount of time, energy and money that is put into a book, I have a hard time spending more than $4.99 on an ebook, whether it is independently published or through a big house publisher. I’d have to be seriously motivated to spend more than that. If it’s available in both paperback and ebook, I think the ebook should be about half as much as the printed version because of lessened costs. I’ve also learned that free books aren’t always great. Sometimes it feels like a ploy to get you to buy the rest of the series and sometimes it feels like it’s just not that great. There are exceptions to this, but I also tend to be wary of free ebooks.
 > Feel free to share any examples of recent book purchases! Recently, I read 
Consequences by Aleatha Romig. I was growing tired of a series I had been reading and had tried several books that I just couldn’t get into (mostly because of poor editing) and wanted to take a break with something different. It was the first book in a box set I had won at an author Facebook event a long time ago and never got around to checking out. I read through the blurb and then went to Amazon and read a few reviews and decided to give it a try. About half way through the book (maybe sooner), I was ready to toss it aside. The writing was fantastic, I was invested in the characters, but I wasn’t happy where it was going. Then suddenly, I kept seeing it pop up on Facebook and people raving about how good the series was (at the time I wasn’t even aware it was a series). So I kept reading. And, I’m so glad I did. Personally, I reserve 5-star reviews for books that I absolutely loved (and in most cases would read again). This book got a 5 star from me. Had it not been for the people talking about it on Facebook, I would have really missed out. Even as tired as I was (it was well after midnight when I finished it), I immediately went to the Amazon store and downloaded the sample to the next one and read until I fell asleep from sheer exhaustion. I know I won’t hesitate to "one-click" it as soon as I get to the end of the sample.

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