What makes you buy a book? Is it good marketing? Is the author engagement with the readers? Charisma? A higher number on lists? For me: the subject and how the author engages with readers.
I remember when I was a kid, I used to buy comic books from the same author, week after week. It was a whole brand of products and that helped the brand to be known everywhere we go. It was almost an emotional connection.
Books are my favorite companion. I like to have them around, for fun and for advice when no one can hear me. I’m so glad I was raised with the habit of reading it, my house might not have much, but we did have books, magazines, and music.
Yesterday I bought a food photography book, from a YouTube channel photographer. I found out about Joannie and The Bite Shot when I was looking for more information last year about venturing into food photography. Two passions I have in life.
After the first video, I followed her page on Instagram and started to learn all the food photography techniques, which I applied while working with Chef Deameatrie, at The Starving Gypsy, in Austin. I even made a few photography boards, as Joannie taught in one of her videos, it was a lot of fun. After knowing the book was coming out, I saved it on my list and planned to buy it as soon as it was available. When the book arrived, I started to think: What makes people buy books?
I would like to share a few ideas based on why I buy books I do, even though most of them keep piling up because I buy too many.
1- Favorite Author.
We all have one. Even if she acts crazy on Twitter, if she comes out with a reimagined Harry Potter book, people would still buy her material. She might even come out with a pen name, to protect her identity, because she butchered her persona with the lack of caring. I was never a Harry Potter fan, I did watch the movies, but I had a hard time engaging with the books. I always liked more the Bridget Jones Diary types of series. In 2005, I read a book by Sophie Kinsella and from that point on, I read most of her work. At that point, the story of a mid 20’ years struggling with life, while living in London, had all my attention, as I wanted to live there too.
2- Author Engagement with the Audience
As an author, and you have to blast the internet with your content or your soon-to-be-released book, you are not doing it right. I bought a few books, just by some of the people I follow, interviewing another author. It doesn’t matter that the author makes the New York Bestseller list, what matters is: the author engages with the audience and talks about their book selflessly. Yes, you can have an entire marketing team, but nothing works better than showing why this book is so important to you, and why I need to have it. What makes me resonates with you and your story.
3 – Good Marketing skills.
Not only it’s important to engage with the reader in a more approachable way, than showing that you have the skills to acquire and maintain the audience long term. Once they know you, they will keep coming back to new releases. It’s a good idea to have a Facebook page, an IG account, a Twitter account.
Be creative, and show the audience why do you care. Make connections. More important have a Pinterest board and invest in some ads. I was led to so many different websites through Pinterest and if you are not constantly making pins to promote it, you should try it. Last but not least, create an author website.
4- The book is relatable.
Self-help books take the most space on my shelf. I love a good story, but since I was fifteen years old, I keep trying to find answers to my questions and ways to improve myself. At that time, we only had books for that kind of content.
Now we have podcasts, Youtube channels, IG TV, audiobooks, and an array of different ways to consume the media, but a well-written word still makes me buy the book. I like to have something to come back and read it again, the marked pages with underlined passages can’t even be compared to listen to the podcast.
I’m also deeply passionate about cooking books, yes, I could find the recipe online, but if my internet goes down, I would still like to know what I’m doing.
5- Big promotion or Lists
Lists on Pinterest are how I find my next book to buy or Good Reads. I usually save the Pin or the picture of the book, to get it eventually. I also love promotions at Target. They usually have books selling with 30% off the full price and Amazon is usually butchering the Author. Lowering the price so much, the author has to sell a lot to make a profit.
Unless the author is already established. I don’t mind paying full price for a book if I know the (indie) author is getting paid too. I have a full understanding of how difficult it is to be a writer, I wrote and self-published a book for the Creative Writing Degree, and putting all the work together was intense.
I have been following and reading a lot of content about books and about what works and what not when it comes to selling your work. I don’t have any published (yet) neither I’m a famous publisher or whatnot.
The only thing I know is what makes me buy a book and talk about it with other people. Sometimes buy the book as a gift, because I liked it so much and I want people I like to read it too. That happened with “Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis.
I understand she is also in hot waters now and probably taking a break from social media, but that book resonated with me when it comes to make time for yourself and stop making excuses as to why you can make it.
Here is my question: What makes you buy a book? Please let me know in the comments I would love to read your opinion!