Friday, June 24, 2011


Choosing a book...

What are you reading right now? And how did you choose it? If it's part of a series you're hooked on, that doesn't count. In particular, if it's the first time you've read that author...why that book?

'You can't tell a book by it's cover'. How many times have you heard that old gem? Well, often you can. Especially these days when many publishers try to convey the most amount of information about the book in as few details as possible. Too much on the cover and the reader's eye may move along the shelves. But, just the right combination of colours, the picture or drawing, and of course, the title will draw the reader to reach out and choose that book. For an initial read of the jacket, at least.

So then it's up to the cover blurb which, if the reader's hooked, leads to the reading of the first paragraph. Pass that final test, and a sale is made. Of course, there are variations to this pattern. But often it's the cover that makes the first impression.

So, before this 'first sight' stage, what brings the reader to your spot on the bookshelf? Reviews in the newspaper and magazines, on-line blogs and websites such as Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter...any place there might be a mention of the title and author.

This all works. But I believe the best marketing tool is word of mouth. A friend recommends a book, you'll probably read it, if you know your tastes are similar. The librarian at your local branch suggests a title; your local bookseller is excited about a book; someone in your book club mentions what they've just bought. It all makes an impression.

Even seeing a book on someone's table makes an impression. And if you see that title enough times, even without the persuasiveness of a voice, then connect that title to that book you're eyeing in the bookstore...a sale is made. Seven times is what it takes, the marketing experts tell us. That could be a combination of recommendation, review, Twitter, park get the picture.

What does this mean to authors? Perhaps nothing more than to get your mentions in (or out)whenever possible. Which is what we do, with signings, workshops, at conferences, speaking to book clubs, Facebook sites, review copies, bookmarks and so much more.

Think about that book you're reading. What made you choose it?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime


  1. Currently I'm reading the 2nd book in a series. I didn't like the first one and wasn't planning to read any more in the series. But I met the author at Malice and liked her so I'm giving the series another chance.

  2. Great, Elaine. It will be interesting to see what you think of this one. Talking to the author can sometimes make a difference.