Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Attracting Readers...Or Not

My daughter is sitting here arguing with me about her reading list and it’s killing me.

The school’s summer reading list is “suggested.” My daughter is not a reader. When she finds a book she loves, she’ll devour it, but she’s very particular and there are not a lot of books she loves. Plus, getting her to the point where she discovers that she “loves” the book is a struggle.

The plan for today is to go to the library and look at the books on the list to see if any strike her fancy. She does not want to go. She doesn’t think she’s going to like any of the books on the list because the descriptions either don’t sound interesting (the kiss of death) or they sound too easy for her (now she’s offended). So we’re already starting off on the wrong foot.

I’ve tried to explain to her that the descriptions on the paper do not do justice to the book. I’m not sure they were even written by the authors. She’s convinced they were and according to her, if the author can’t make the three sentences sound good, why would she want to read the book?

I’ve tried to explain that if she doesn’t like the sound of any of the books when we get to the library and she actually looks at the books, she doesn’t have to check them out. She wants to know to what degree uninteresting is—will I make her read it if it sounds a little interesting?

She’s eleven. She’s not reading the books I write. But let this be fair warning to all authors. My daughter is a tough critic, and she can’t be the only one out there. Make sure the descriptions of your books are as well written as the actual book and make it as appealing as possible.

Readers, what is it about book descriptions that attracts you or pushes away? 


  1. The blurb is the 'deal-breaker' for me. Some covers and/or titles might put me off (e.g. anything paranormal or sci-fi/futuristic), but if I get past those, the blurb is crucial. If it's too long, I probably won't read it all, so it has to grab me in the first couple of sentences.
    Hope your daughter manages to find something to interest her!

  2. I have noticed the blurbs on some self-pubbed novels are weak. I still think of Debra's experience with her upcoming release. The in-house blurb writers really upped the standard.

  3. It's really hard to write your own blurb. What to put in and what to leave out?

  4. Yes, I agree with both of you. The blurb is really important--as my daughter proved. We ended up with books, but nothing from the list.

  5. Jen,
    I was afraid my son couldn't read when he graduated from high school. I helped him with his homework a lot. Turns out he could read AND write. When he started doing cabinetry, he read fine furniture magazines. he ordered and read a host of hunting magazines. He even wrote articles for Bowfishing magazine. It's all about interest.