Saturday, January 8, 2011

What Makes You Pick Up A Book?

When I shop for romance books, I have tried and true methods for picking them up. First, of course, are my favorite authors – Julia Quinn, Julie Garwood, Jo Davis, Shayla Black/Shelley Bradley, Suzanne Enoch, Tracy Anne Warren, Stephanie Laurens, Susan Gable, Diana Duncan, Karen Hawkins – just to name a very few. Those are auto-buys for me and I eagerly await their new releases. I have a special calendar above my desk with upcoming releases penned in.

Beyond that, though, I pick up books first based on the cover – I’m a firm lover/believer of clinch covers. While my imagination will fill in the details and come up with my own hero and heroine as I read, I like having a head start on the cover. Bare chests and sultry women are good.

Next are titles. In historical romances, I gravitate toward books with words like royal titles (Dukes, Earls and Viscounts), knights, Templar, crusades, Scotland, etc. In contemporary books, I lean more toward the erotic and mysterious. I’m not really much on generic titles or the other spectrum of all-inclusive titles such as the Billionaire Cowboy’s Secret Baby with His Virginal Bride. Hey, it could happen. Now, some of those tags interest me, but by and large they don’t catch my eye.

I also love saucy titles such as Sarah MacLean’s Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake. That was a darn good book, as are the sequels. Karen Hawkins’ phenomenal MacLean curse series also tweaks tradition tongue-in-cheek style: To Scotland, With Love, Sleepless in Scotland, The Laird Who Loved Me. Who could resist those titles? And you really MUST read those books. Wow.

Next is the back cover blurb. Those 30 seconds it takes me to read the back cover is like the trailer to a movie. Grab me, interest me and leave me with that I-have-got-to-buy-this-book feeling. Good cover/blurb writing is an art and those who excel at it do a lot to convince me to buy. Hopefully, but not always, the author does her (or his!) part and delivers an exceptional story.

After the blurb, I’ll flip open and read the first paragraph. If it doesn’t grab me, KEEP READING. I know how hard I work on my books and there’s no way I’m giving up after one paragraph. I usually will read at least the first five pages of the book because I know if I don’t like it by then, I won’t at all. Most of the time. Once or twice I have been fooled.

Those are all the usual reasons people have for picking up a book. What are some things that pull you to pick up and buy a romance novel?

What makes you pick up a book?
Happy reading,


  1. Jen, great post! I love many of the same authors you do and use some of the same criteria for choosing a new book. I'm pleased to learn about Karen Hawkins, whose books I have never read. Always wonderful to find a new author, isn't it? I love a little humor in any kind of book, and she sounds like an author I'll enjoy. Thanks for sharing.

  2. 99% of the time I don't read blurbs, don't know why, just don't do it. At the bookstore, I go to the genre I want to read, grab up a book and read the 1st few pages, if I don't want to put it down, it goes home with me ... after I pay of course :-)

  3. Okay, I'm a moderator and it ate my comment! Let's try again...
    Caroline, I love Karen's books. They are like potato chips - I can't read just one!
    Denise, that would be such a leap of faith for me not to read the back cover blurbs. I have to know what's going on!

  4. I enjoy reading all the popular authors as well, but I also make it a point to read the books my friends and chapter pals write. Even those I helped plot or critique. I'm always amazed at how smart and creative you gals are. You inspire me to be better. :) I love your stories!

  5. That's a great point, Geri. I think that Diana Cosby's His Conquest has been helped by word of mouth. I know I loved it and bought it based on recommendations of several friends.