The Ribbon Marker’s Guide to Effective Reader Entrapment: Part 5 – Book Reviews

The Ribbon Marker’s Guide to Effective Reader Entrapment

How to successfully get me, and  many other readers out there, to buy your book.


4. Book Reviews

Book reviews are the last tipping point where authors have an opportunity to convince a new reader that their book is worth its listed price on amazon. Simply knowing why other people enjoyed the book, and getting a little more info on the characters and the plot line can get me to spend money on what I think may be a slightly overpriced book.

Now, you might be thinking, How the hell does the author have control over what kind of reviews they will have? Aren’t they setting themselves to have a list of bad reviews that will make the reader run in the opposite direction? The answer is: not if they are smart about it.

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The Ribbon Marker’s Guide to Effective Reader Entrapment: Part 4 – Synopsis/Blurb

 The Ribbon Marker’s Guide to Effective Reader Entrapment

How to successfully get me, and  many other readers out there, to buy your book.


4. Blurb

The book blurb is the second to last thing that readers use to make the decision whether or not they are going to buy your book. So what makes for an awesome blurb that just makes readers click the Amazon “Buy now with 1-Click” button?

First we need to look at the type of write-up you are using. Most people use the words summary, synopsis, blurb interchangeably. I admit to being guilty of this myself until quite recently (I favored synopsis over blurb because it sounded more concise and to the point). WriteWorld has an excellent post on the difference between summary/synopsis/blurb, what each are used for, and examples of each. I will summarize.

The Summary highlights the major points of the story, in the shortest amount of time, so readers get the gist of it. The Synopsis is a type of summary, written in the present tense, that is more geared to selling the story (all its major points, the ending, and the story arc) to a publisher. The Blurb is the summary that goes on the back of your book to entice the reader with a detailed description of the twists and turns of your book, but doesn’t reveal the ending.

So, what goes into a great blurb?

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The Ribbon Marker’s Guide to Effective Reader Entrapment: Part 3 – The Cover

 The Ribbon Marker’s Guide to Effective Reader Entrapment

How to successfully get me, and  many other readers out there, to buy your book.


3. The Cover

Covers are crucial in helping authors to sell/pitch their story to prospective readers. They allow readers to use a quick glance to make a decision on whether they are interested in purchasing your book, or in spending a little more time investigating whether or not your book is truly for them (e.g. read the blurb, read reviews, go to your website/blog, ask other people etc.). Book covers are meant to attract people who haven’t necessarily heard about your books (or you) but are just browsing for their next read at the bookstore or online, and to give them a visual taste of the book before they even know what the book is about.

One thing I’ve learned from going to the RT BookLover’s Convention this year, is that many readers are first and foremost attracted to a book’s cover. I’m not much of a “Cover Lover” myself, but I do agree that the attractiveness of a book’s cover can make me pause when scrolling through Amazon’s “recommend for you” list.

For me, the cover should: be a snapshot of the crux or main concept of your book, therefore the image should communicate the genre and premise of your book; evoke some emotion out of the people who see it, such that the overall feel of the story is well communicated; and be interesting in some defining way.

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The Ribbon Marker’s Guide to Effective Reader Entrapment: Part 2 – Word of Mouth

 The Ribbon Marker’s Guide to Effective Reader Entrapment

How to successfully get me, and  many other readers out there, to buy your book.


2. Word of Mouth (WOM)

We would all like to think that we are above peer-pressure, and the being influenced by the thoughts of others, but the fact is we only allow those who we think are worthy of having input into what we do and say. I, personally, don’t hang out with a lot of readers who like the same genres I enjoy. Most of my friends go for more mainstream, highly publicized books or classics. However, I, like many other book readers, love talking about books, even if we are not talking about books in our preferred genre (the book club phenomena).

For about half a year, I asked my friends’ opinions on Fifty Shades of Grey. I was wasn’t really inquiring about the writing style or the way the story unfolded, but I wanted to know what my friends thought about E.L. James’ portrayal of the BDSM lifestyle. I am not a practitioner of the lifestyle (though I wouldn’t mind if my lover required some aspects), but I have a profound respect for those who do and I didn’t like feeling that their lifestyle, in essence who they, might not have been correctly portrayed (I dislike people who criticize things they don’t even make an effort to understand). Finally, after a year of opinion gathering, vacillating, and reading short excerpts of the books online, I finally bit the bullet and read the books shortly before the movie came out on Valentine’s Day.

BDSM books are one of the few times where I feel that authors should really take their time to do their research, because it is such a polarizing concept. People are either going to get it and identify with those who practice BDSM, be open-minded (it’s not for me, but whatever flips your switch), or want to condemn it as being sick or the sexual practices of people with issues. From the media frenzy, I felt like E.L. James walked right into an ambush set-up by those in the last category. By only portraying the more interesting or extreme aspects of BDSM (extreme control, contracts, punishment, etc.), and having the character who introduced it into the relationship having been an abused and neglected control-freak (opposite the virginal goody-two shoes), she basically gave the intolerant people a leg to stand on. These individuals’ wouldn’t waste their time in researching BDSM, because they already “know” that their current, uneducated opinion is correct.

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The Ribbon Marker’s Guide to Effective Reader Entrapment: Part 1 – Content

 The Ribbon Marker’s Guide to Effective Reader Entrapment

How to successfully get me, and  many other readers out there, to buy your book.


1. Content

Before your book is even for sale, you have to have a great story to sell.

Make sure you know your target audience, and their reasons for reading in the first place. I know that sounds silly, but sometimes writers are so focused on communicating the wonderful, fanciful world that they have created, that they completely forget that readers read for a reason. If you don’t keep in mind your reader’s motivations and interests when you’re writing, then your book followership might not turn out as expected.

I read to escape my life. Reading is a nice little holiday from all the stress I have in my life, a nice visit to a new world or with people who lead more interesting or different lives. I want to feel like I was transported to a different world where I hung out with the characters, and got to know them in a real and meaningful way.

So for me, I don’t like a book that makes me work. I don’t want to have to remember a long list of minor characters’ names because the suckers keep popping up from time to time, or be in the heads of more than three characters at a time. I don’t to have to memorize a map of the world you have created in order to keep up with what is going on in the story. Lastly, I don’t want to feel like I’ll be forced to sit a pop quiz after I’ve finished the book. I am pretty accepting of really weird facts. You tell me that we are in a world where feline creatures are sold across the galaxies in order to give the an opportunity to come across their life mate, I’ll run with it. If you say that vampires are real and have “come out of the coffin,” I’ll make sure to stock up on TrueBlood. If the story is set a small town in a fly-over state or dreary London, Bob’s your uncle.

Continue reading “The Ribbon Marker’s Guide to Effective Reader Entrapment: Part 1 – Content”