I was browsing in my local library last week in quite a picky mood. I did end up borrowing three books but it got me wondering why I choose one book over another and whether it depends on how I'm feeling that particular day.
There are various factors that may persuade one to pick up a book. Perhaps it's a favourite author - in which case it doesn't really matter what the plot is, you know you are guaranteed a good read. Or, the opposite is true - you read the flysheet and are blown away by the plot summary and just have to give it a go - if you enjoy the book then you are likely to go looking for that author again.
Genre is important obviously. We all know whether we are in the mood for romance or crime or comedy. But within that, an attractive cover might be the hook to pick up a book or an intriguing title.
It's always said that as a writer, your first paragraph is vital to draw the reader in. I know I usually read the first page of a novel before deciding whether to buy/borrow it. A satisfying ending is needed too.
As writers we may have little influence over the colour, final title and illustrations of our published books but we can make very sure there's an enticing first paragraph, a riproaring plot and fantastic ending, ensuring that readers come back to find our next books on the shelf.
So, what is it about a book that makes you pick it up?