What Makes you want Fiction?


As a Sci-Fi/Fantasy writer, I would love to know what makes you want to buy and read fiction? I read that publishers don’t always like to take the risk of fiction because there will always be writers who write about guaranteed money makers such as celebrities.

I don’t want to be that kind of writer. I love reading and writing fantasy, and I think that, if done correctly, fiction can generate just as much money as a book about what Lady Gaga wore to bed last night.

I’ll be the first to admit that I judge a book by its cover. If I’m not hooked byba good cover, there had better be a very good name for me to even pick it up. Next, I like books with a loy of action. Not necessarily plot driven, though. I like good, strong characters to help push the plot along. And if you really want me to buy a Fantasy book, it’d better have dragons. But that’s just out of personal preference.

So, my question to you, the reader and consumer, what makes you want to buy and read fiction? What is that driving point that really hits home and makes you want to buy it? And lastly, how do you like it marketed to you? Obviously nobody likes to be spammed, and I’ll admit that I’m a little afraid to advertise my books on social networks out of fear that they will think I’m just spamming them. But what ways do you like to find out about a book?

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18 thoughts on “What Makes you want Fiction?

  1. I absolutely love fantasy books! They’re the best way to just lose myself. I think the first thing I do is find something

    • with a really great title or cover. That is what usually first draws me in, the other thing that draws me in is when I read the back to find what it’s truly about. And I just read all the time it’s actually the perfect get away when things go wrong at school or something. 🙂

  2. I am the same as you, if I dislike the front cover of the book, I will rarely ever buy it, unless it has come highly recommended by a friend. I also get turned off by books that give too much of the plot away on the blurb, if it practically tells the whole story, I have no motivation to buy the book to find out more.
    For your second question, I love to find out about new books through friends, as well as from reading reviews. You could try to encourage bloggers to review your book, prehaps give away a couple of free copies. But of course you also have to be aware that they can give a negative reviews as well as a positive. There’s always book trailers as well, if they are done correctly they can usually pursuade me to buy the book.
    Hope that helps 🙂

      • Sure 🙂 Now quite often you see book trailers on Amazon, blogs and occasionally on TV as well. Like film trailers, they are great for targeting your audience and getting people interested/intrigued. They are also really great to help give people a feel about what sort of book you have written. For instance when I look at your book cover for Estra Corp I can vaguely assume it is a sci-fi/fantasy type genre, probably aimed more at males because of the font used. Whats to distinguish it from all the other sci-fi fantasy books out there that I could pick and are probably better known? However if you were to use a book trailer you can automatically inform your reader more about your book. You can make it dramatic, happy, sad, sombre with use of music. You can make it fast or slow paced to reflect whether your book is action packed or whether it’s a slow summer read. You can use colours, etc. Not to mention the fact that most people probably prefer to watch something than read it as it takes less mental concentration.
        I seem to remember a blogger I follow doing several posts on book trailers recently, R.H. Culp if you want to check him out http://rhculp.com/
        Does that help? 🙂

  3. I judge a book by its cover too, but it all depends on the blurb whether i buy it or not. I like a story with a plot that pulls me along and i do love deep characters. Throw in some action and i’m sold 🙂 For marketing I tend to think that as long as the majority of posts on twitter etc then i think most people wont mind the odd ‘please check out my blog’
    On a note about trialers check out what Scott Sigler does with his book trailers. This one is a good one

    http://scottsigler.com/library/ancestor

    • Yes, but with potentially more impact as it gives you a good feel of the book 🙂 You can probably find tons of them on Youtube if you want to investigate further 🙂

  4. I read fantasy to escape from the boring reality. Fiction for me gets a meaning when you get to travel as far away from reality as possible, and explore someone’s imaginative creation. I get most of my reading suggestions from another “fantasy freak” friend. Goodreads or websites as such are also good sources to find stuff to read that will interest you.

  5. It depends what kind of time I have to put into choosing, which usually isn’t much. If I’m in a book store or library, then yes, it’d be the covers that draw my eye. Lately, though, I have been adding books to my to-read list based on reliable reviews. So, there is probably something to be said for sending a free copy to reviewers … I don’t know how that all works. Depends if they take books offered to them, or if they prefer to pick them themselves.

  6. I read (and write) fantasy because it takes me other places. I love a good adventure and strange sights. And it’s all about the cover/title – many times I have picked up a book only because of its cover!

  7. I read fantasy because I wish I could live it. Witches and dragons and butt-kicking heroines? I wish it was real. Since it’s not, I’ll settle with the next closest thing: books.

    As far as promotion goes, social networking is a great way to do that. Obviously you don’t want to hit your audience over the head with it though. (And seeing as I follow you on Twitter, I think you’re doing a good job not doing that.) Someone above mentioned reviews, and that’s also a great way to go about it. I also think giving away one free book when you’ve got a few others for sale will work. People don’t like taking risks with their money, but if they like your free book, they’ll spend some cash on your other ones, since they know they already like you.

    First and foremost, though, is word of mouth. Nothing beats it. You just have to find a way to generate it.

    • And I think the best way to do that is to write. Get quality work out there & when people read it they’ll want to talk about it. If it’s not out there, no one is gonna talk about it.

  8. Character. Character. Character. I can overlook an undercooked story if I care about the characters. But first I have to pick the book up off the shelf. And since all you have a bunch of spines, it’s hard not to choose by the cover. I tend to pull taller books off the shelf. I don’t really know why. Maybe because they stick out? I also like to grab books that don’t have multiple copies on the shelf. These are crazy neuroses though, probably not the norm. 🙂

  9. I don’t really care for Hard Science Fiction, anymore. Too stuffy and cerebral. I don’t really want to know how to build a warp drive. I prefer to read and write stuff like Astonishing Stories and Weird Tales. I like twisty endings and extreme possibilities–emphasis on possibilities. I have to believe a little bit that it could happen, so there has to be some credibility to it.

    I hang out on science sites like Red Orbit to see if I can dream-up some crazy story based on real science. In a way you could say that I do my research first.

  10. I hope that I’m in the company of folks who agree to disagree. No dis intended to anyone.

    IMHO: Character is important in anything that you write. A romance, for instance, is based on the characters, totally. Even in a horror story, the writer tries to make the reader ‘like’ or ‘hate’ each character before the writer 86’s them. However, in science fiction I think character takes a backseat. The sci-fi reader is all about the event, the background, alien worlds, alternate beings, robots, purple skies, three suns and green women. 🙂

    Take for instance the TV show ‘Sea Quest.’ As a sci-fi fan, I remember being all excited about it. From the previews, it looked like it’d be a cross between Star Trek and Jacque Cousteau. Unfortunately, it turned out to be an underwater soap opera (yuk!) and a dud show. Anyone writing sci-fi, should remember what sci-fi readers want–action.

    Fantasy…yeah, maybe an extra spoonful of character goes there. After all, what’s fantasy without a charismatic hero?

    Of course, everybody’s got an opinion, and you know what they say about that.

  11. unfortunately, covers are important and people pay $$$ to get good ones made. I like off the wall stuff, like some of the new “Urban Fantasy” stuff where mythical and fantasy creatures get a make-over and live in the modern world (Harry Potter, Harry Dresden, Anita Blake, Buffy the Vampire slayer are all examples of this genre). The great thing about modern book selling is keywords, and I hope this will break the “old school” method of “Is it sci-fi or mystery? It can’t be both!” What? Why not? I’m writing a multi-cultural sci-fi mystery right now.

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