Saturday, 16 June 2012

10 Reasons to buy a book

It is not easy for an author to know what will make his or her book a bestseller. The hope is that it will mainly be down to the fantastically well written story, the thrilling plot and the marvellous characters. Unfortunately, it takes a lot more than that.

While I was wandering through various posts, forums and blogs, I collected a selection of reasons why readers buy books. I thought it would be interesting to place ten of them in a poll and see which one came out on top. I reckoned it would be a great help to authors, and me, if they could check if they hit the spot with their respective books.

The polls ran on a UK forum and on one which is mainly inhabited by American readers. Here are the results of the poll. Interestingly, the top four points in the UK and US are the same, albeit in a slightly different order

   US                                       UK
 Blurb                                                Read others by the author
 Genre                                               Blurb
 Read others by the author      Recommendations
 Recommendations                     Genre
 Cover design                                 First few paragraphs
 Price                                                 Price not included in poll
 Independent reviews                 Forum buzz
 First few paragraphs                  Independent reviews
 Title                                                  Cover design
 Forum buzz                                    Title
 Advertising                                    Advertising

There are a number of points worth noting, for example, Cover Design seems to be more important in the US. Also, readers don't rate advertising and title turned out to be a lot less important than i had imagined.

What do you think?

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Six word stories

In a previous post I extolled the virtues of conciseness. That was a 50 word story. The question is, how short can you make a story, for example, is it possible to have a six word story? Well, maybe not a story as such, but it is possible to evoke a lot of thought with only six words... and some very famous writers have done it. Here are a few examples:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn. Ernest Hemingway
Longed for him. Got him. Sh*t. Margaret Atwood
The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly. Orson Scott Card
Kirby had never eaten toes before. Kevin Smith
Steve ignores editor's word limit and... Steven Meretzky
Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time Alan Moore
Every one of them makes you think... you make up the story in your head. I think it’s magical. But could the ordinary man or woman in the street do it? Of course they could. I started a post on the KINDLERS CRAFTING, HOBBIES AND GENERAL INTEREST FORUM and invited folk there to post their stories. Here are a few brilliant examples:
Joined a craft forum... made friends. Ken.
I Came, I Saw, I Conquered. Julius Caesar (Submitted by Maria - and to be fair Julius actually said ‘Veni, vidi, vici.’ which would have been disqualified for over-brevity)
Heart available again: One broken owner. Kaska
All these were super, but the best of all, in my opinion, was from BJT whose story followed on from Ernest Hemingway’s ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn....
For sale: baby - already have several.

I tried the same thing on the KindleUsersForum and again I was amazed by the variety and inventiveness of the entries. Here are some that caught my eye.
Were-hamster goes on small rampage.  Lexi Revellian
Died of hay fever. No flowers.  B J Burton
Footprints pointed away from abandoned crutches.  Jennie Lee
Why kiss my neck? Ouch. Oh.  Amanda Leigh Cowley (do you believe in vampires?)

Can anyone do better?