Monday, April 5, 2010

What motivates you?

With the recent release of Blood Ransom, like every good author, I've been doing everything I can to promote my book. My publisher, Zondervan, is also very involved in the marketing of the book, but because I live in Africa, all my promoting is done on line.

I've held contests, made a book trailer, have participated in lots of interviews, and have given away copies to reviewers. And in the process, all this marketing has made me ask myself one specific question.

What makes people go out and buy a book?

Let's face it, all of us have a limited amount of money and there are literally thousands of books out there, which means thousands of authors wanting you to buy their book. Yet, for those of us who love to read, we have to read books. And we have to (even want to) buy books.

So, I spent some time thinking about this question and have decided what makes me buy a book, but what about you? What motivates you go to a bookstore, or perhaps online, and buy a book? Is it because the book was written by an author you love, did the cover or the blurb grab you, or perhaps a friend told you that you just HAVE to read this book, or did you buy it because it was on sale.

I set up a poll on the sidebar of the blog. Please take a moment to put in your response. I'd also love to read comments on even more specific reasons as to what makes you buy a book.

I'll tell you what motivates me to buy a book and share the results of the poll with you later this month.

Until then, happy reading!



Lisa Harris is an award-winning author of twenty novels and novellas. She lives with her husband and their three children in Mozambique, Africa, where they work as missionaries. When she’s not busy writing or home schooling, she loves traveling, cooking different ethnic foods, and going on game drives through the African bush.

Visit her website or her blog for information on Blood Ransom--that releases this month, and all her books.


  1. I think for me its a combination of 1. An author I like. 2. I usually like to read a blurb or two seeing if it's something I would be interested in reading and the third is I just have to have to have a book to read at all times. My name is Lourdes and I am a book aloholic LOL.


  2. A very interesting poll, Lisa. Although I voted author, I have to confess this has become more so since becoming published myself. Otherwise the blurb on the back may make me flip through the book - and yes, I do read that first couple of sentences. Much to my husband's amusement I also usually look at that last page too! I do love 'happy-ever-after' endings!

  3. Love your comments and insight in to your buying process. Thanks for sharing! Anyone else. :-)

  4. I clicked on "author" and that is because (don't hate me) I very rarely buy fiction. Why? If I want to read fiction, I just check it out from the library. And lately I haven't been reading that much fiction. When it comes to nonfiction, it's the subject matter that interests me, which ultimately means it's the author.

  5. Most of my fiction comes from the library, too. The ones I buy are the ones that I want to reread or have on my shelf to savor or lend.

  6. Lisa, my thoughts are reflected in the current poll results. I look for authors first, take into account word of mouth recommendations and I read the back cover blurb. I often read the first few pages, and sometimes the first chapter online to see if it hooks me.

  7. I also look first at the author, but if it's not a name I know, it's the cover art that attracts my attention. Then in both cases, the back page blurb. I marked all three. :-)

    Interesting Lisa. Thanks.

  8. Call me strange, but there are very few times I'll look for a specific author. I'm a blurb/word-of-mouth person. I want to know a bit about the specific book before I include it in my limited budget. And actually, I'm the same at the library, because my reading time is limited.

    Part of it is a cynicism over mass market that's developed over the years. I've gotten tired of reading "similar to's" and I'm actively looking for things that are different. I'm probably short-changing a lot of good authors, and I sort of feel bad about that, but it comes down to time management. I only give reading time and word-of-mouth time to things that really compel me.

  9. Thanks so much to all of you who have commented so far! I really appreciate your insights and opinions.