What draws you to a book

By Vicki Batman

OOH, OOH, Look at This Pretty Thing

What draws you to a book–the author, the cover, the back cover copy? Do you read the first page? For me, all of the above, especially for a new-to-me author.
Something about the cover is attractive–the colorful picture, the hunky hunk, the author’s name, perhaps, a quote from a super famous author. On the cover of my mystery, Temporarily Employed, the gorgeous red background is appealing, the title’s font is hip, and below the cartoon are the words New job. New romance. And murder.

Hmm, that word murder is verrryy intriguing. You like the cover and want to delve into the back cover. Is there a tagline to draw you in? A small paragraph about the heroine and the hero? Is there a foreshadowing of something to come? Do quotes from reviewers and famous authors seal the deal?
Satisfied, you turn to the first page to sense the writing style. The experts say the first bit of the first page is called the “Hook.” You read the line/s and are instantly drawn into the story, very excited to go home and plop on the couch with a favorite beverage and snack.
Check. Check. Check. You carry the book(s) and hand over money.
I wrote my first book based on a car game. To break the lull during a trip, a girlfriend tossed out fun questions. Then she said, “Write the opening of a book using the word window.” I wanted to write a book so badly, and my friend knew it; however, I had nothing. Not-a-thing. She gave me an out–go home, write something, and email them. Several days later, I had a version of this in my first mystery, Temporarily Employed:
“Yuck.”
Pretty much covered the whole freakin’ day.
A blinding red-white, red-white strobe, reflected in my brand-new Wrangler’s rearview mirror, seized my attention. The police. I tossed my hands skyward, ready to surrender. I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Like I’d commented this a.m. to my roommate, Jenny, “Today, anything’s possible.”
My Bad Day checklist included:

  • Crappy job interview, one which might have provided desperately needed income.
  • Wore gut-busting panty hose on a hot day which had now worked past my waist and strangled my diaphragm.
  • A barely blowing air conditioner indicated something had malfunctioned in my new, fun car.

Are you hooked? Do you want to know more about this character and her wacky thoughts?
While writing Book 1, ideas for Temporarily Insane begged to be put on paper. I came up with this:
“Stop it, Hattie!”
Trixie had some nerve. Her reprimand, the one which skewered a stabbing pain to my right eye, sounded terribly out of character, like she had little patience for me.
Maybe she felt rushed.
Ordinarily, she was the nicest person I knew who didn’t have a mean bone in her body. The kind who rescued animals, picked up trash at Sommerville Park,
and delivered Meals on Wheels to the elderly during her lunch hour.
Not today. I narrowed my eyes and crossed my arms over my chest in a school-girl flaunt.

Why would a friend reprimand a friend? For my third book, Temporarily Out of Luck, I wrote these opening lines:

Sometimes, I felt like a small white mouse housed in a cage with lots of small white mice, whose sole playground activity involved eating, sleeping, and constantly revolving on the exercise wheel. And just like one rodent friend, who I named Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky, having a field day back-flipping from the top of the spinning wheel, something happened. And unexpectedly, I found myself air born.
Not hurt, a sense of disappointment overcame me, plus a bit of confusion, and a whole lot of colorful descriptives too numerous to list. I, mostly known as Hattie Cooks, shook off the pine shavings and joined the rat race. Sometimes, life sucked.
But wallowing? Not a good solution.
Being positive? A better one.

What you discover is these books aren’t starting with a bang and running here and there. They are not a thriller, rather an amateur sleuth mystery. The words delve into the thoughts of Hattie Cooks, our intrepid main character, and hint at trouble. We empathize with her and hope she’ll get what she wants, including a hottie. Wink-wink.

What draws you into buying a new book?

Vicki Batman’s stories are full of fun, romance, and possibilities that will delight all readers. She has sold many award-winning and bestselling romantic comedy works to magazines and most recently, three humorous romantic mysteries. An avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Cat fancier. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby.

Find Vicki at: https://vickibatman.blogspot.com/p/more-about-me.html/
Find the Hattie Cooks mysteries at: https://www.amazon.com/author/vickibatman/

16 thoughts on “What draws you to a book”

  1. Hi, I look at the cover, read the title and then I read the back of the book to read what it is about. Have a great week and stay safe.

      1. The back blurb should do the trick. Sometimes, it has been so carefully crafted, I flip to the first chapter to make sure. I’ve accidentally reread books because there is a new cover and new blurb. Thank you for having me!

  2. Cheryl Arcemont

    I am one of those weird types. I can see a book and know it will be a good fit or not. I don’t know how this works but for over 55 years this method has worked for me. The only book I didn’t want to read was a new author who begged me to read his book. I told him I didn’t “feel” this was a good fit for me but after multiple emails begging, I went ahead and read the book. Or should I say attempted to read the material? Besides the horrid spelling errors, there was only a hint of a plot and there was no flow of the sentences. I finished it and regretfully told him, gently, the spelling errors and that I just couldn’t fathom what was the actual plot of the book. I didn’t place a review anywhere as it would have been the only book I would have placed a 1 star.

    1. I am so sorry you had that experience. Sounds like your intuition was working for you; yet, you were kind. I hope the writer took your advice. I completely understand about giving bad reviews. I don’t give one for a 1 either.

  3. Kathleen Rockwood

    “Favorite author” or “recommended by a trusted source” are my go-to elements. Sometimes a book review will send me looking for something.
    When confronted by a book that comes with none of the above, (and is not an old friend which I like to read again,) I have to admit that I’m shallow enough that it’s the cover that grabs me or not. Picture, which usually gives a good indication of genre or subgenre, and the back blurb.
    If I’m hooked by that, it’s a pretty good bet I will like the book.

      1. I agree. And I just don’t get “mad” over reading a bad one anymore. Is every book I read going to be a five star? Not really.

    1. And since I’ve been in a book club where we’ve read horrid NYTimes bestsellers and went why? why? why? With that kind of immunity, I do read most anything and finish even if I don’t care for the book because I feel I have something to learn. Right now, I have one and am dreading it. I’ll put some time in this weekend and maybe I will understand better or maybe I’ll say no no no to anything else written by this author.

  4. Hey, Vicki. You have such great openings for your books. Well done. All of the things you mentioned pull me to a book. What will stop me reading is if it’s first person (with a few exceptions, this is not my preference. Nothing wrong with it, just not my preference.) The other things that will stop me is if I just don’t like the characters. Not all characters are lovable of course, especially in Second Chance Romantic Suspense like I write, but sometimes…Wow, I just don’t want to clutter my life with really, really bad folks. It helps when they get what’s coming to them, though. Great post. I’ll share.

    1. Hi, Marsha! Not reading first person? I write in first person. I like the intimacy of it. And the pov flows naturally from me. Handsome is saying he isn’t watching shows with bad people. I had to explain the bad people had to find redemption and we go on the journey with them. He mostly sticks with Dr. Pol. LOLOL

  5. Thank you so much, Debra, for hosting me. I apologize for the blog post hold up because of Handsome’s doctor trip. I appreciate your patience and your readers commenting. Hugs, vb

    1. No problem whatsoever. Handsome comes first. Plus, loved the blog and think you made some excellent points that readers here, and where the blog was shared, have definitely responded to. Hope you’ll come back in the future.

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