Discussion Post: What Entices You To Read An ARC?

Posted on 03/16/2014 in Discussion / 10 Comments

BAWDY DISCUSSIONS I spend about 2 hours a week going through the blog email, deleting spam or things I have no interest in, catching up on blog subscriptions and in general, finding new books to read.  This often means I have to sort through the numerous emails from authors, publishers and Netgalley emails I receive, too.  And that made me think, what entices me to read an ARC when it’s pitched?

The Title

A good title will do wonders to grab my attention.  It’s like any newspaper headline, you know?   Buzzfeed and HuffPo are pro-headline creators! But I’ve seen many books where the title is horrible, and yet, I don’t recall reading any of them.  Funny how that works?  

The Cover

Covers are the wrapping on a book and they should always look spectacular.  Hey, you can’t please everybody, but even if someone doesn’t like a cover, they can recognize if it was at least well-done or not.  A picture speaks a thousand words and all that, and if a cover is really horrible, I’m passing on the book, until someone tells me to look twice because it’s really good!  I have NO SHAME in being a cover whore.  NONE.

selection
It’s just so preeetty!

The Synopsis

The synopsis can be so sneaky and ultimately why I now primarily use the ratings of my fellow reviewers before deciding if I am going to read a book or not.  A good synopsis will draw me in, despite the cover and despite the title.  A good synopsis will have me flinging confetti from rooftops in my joy and excitement to read it: “Oh you mean it said it was about unicorns shitting rainbows under the bright sun on the shores of a magical paradise island with mermaid warriors?! Sign me up!”  Cue hype.

What can I say?  I'm a lemming.
What can I say? I’m a lemming.

The Rating

I won’t lie, the rating is the biggest of them all these days.  I’ve been lied to by titles, covers and synopses before, but ratings hold some grain of truth to them.  I look to my book community to tell me if this book is even worth taking my time to read or listen to.  And if I’m completely honest with myself?  My rating threshold is a four.  Yep, four stars and you’ve sold me.  Anything less than that and there is a good chance I am going to completely pass over your book.  I recognize that four stars is a difficult number to achieve but frankly, I don’t want to spend my time reading anything less than what I think might be a stupendous book.  Life’s too short to read bad books.  And it’s not that threes are bad books; but if you had a choice between a three-star and a four-star, which one would you choose? A fabulous example of a book that tricked me with the title, the cover and the synopsis (and where I definitely should have read the ratings):

The Social Code (ugh)

"The Social Code by Sadie Hayes"  

In a world where anyone can rise to the top, the only rule is… watch your back. Eighteen-year-old twins Adam and Amelia Dory learned the hard way to rely only on each other, growing up in a small town where they understood the meaning of coming from nothing. But everything changes when both are offered scholarships to Stanford University – and catapulted into the dazzling world of Silicon Valley, where anyone with a good enough idea can skyrocket to fame and fortune in the blink of an eye… Amelia is almost as pretty as she is smart – almost. A shy girl and genius, she is happiest alone in the computer lab, but her brother has other plans for her talents: A new company that will be the next Silicon Valley hit, and will thrust Amelia into the spotlight whether she likes it or not. Where Amelia’s the brains, Adam’s the ambition – he sees the privileged lifestyle of the Silicon Valley kids and wants a piece of what they have. He especially wants a piece of Lisa Bristol, the stunning daughter of one of the Valley’s biggest tycoons. As Adam and Amelia begin to hatch their new company, they find themselves going from nothing to the verge of everything seemingly overnight. But no amount of prestige can prepare them for the envy, backstabbing and cool calculation of their new powerful peers. Welcome to Silicon Valley, where fortune, success – and betrayal – are only a breath away…

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Jennifer is both a book nerd and professional photographer. That means she lives in the fantasy world all the time, whether of her making, or someone else's. She collects books like the Duggar family collects kids, and began waiting for her Hogwarts letter at the tender age of 33.

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10 responses to “Discussion Post: What Entices You To Read An ARC?

    • That’s a good point, everyone does rate very differently. But I don’t typically read reviews until after I’ve written my own (in the case of books I have an interest in), so the rating is really all I have to go on if I’m going to use the community to make a decision. I don’t want to leave an impression that I won’t read books that have no reviews. I have and will. In the past, it’s usually worked out well, sometimes not so much, so that’s the luck of the draw, but if all the information is available to me? I use it.

  1. I love your new blog look, it is so tidy! But I miss the naughty reader 😉 I don’t let me be persuaded often, as I primarily read my own books. If I already love an author/series, yes please, gimme gimme! I have to like the cover, I know there are some good series out there, loved by all, but I just don’t like the cover, so not on my wishlist. Of course a great review can make me notice a book, and add it to my wishlist. But I have failed horribly at enjoying some of the books 99% of the blogs I follow adored, so my gut instinct often guides me. Still, there is no guarantee I will love a book when I try a new author.
    Aurian’s latest thoughts >> Rachel Caine – Carpe Corpus

    • Oh, if it’s an author I already love, sign me up too! You don’t even have to ask me twice! And I agree, the cover is so important to me. I don’t necessarily have to like it, but it just needs to look professional. I’m vain about what I put on the blog, nothing ugly LOL. And thanks! I miss the naughty header too, I might bring it back 😉

  2. I’m also a cover whore with no shame. But I’ve learned my lesson – some really great books have bad covers and some really bad books have great covers. So if it’s a request I read the synopsis to see if it makes up for the cover. If it does, I try to find sample chapters. I don’t like to depend on other ratings, unless they are from bloggers/readers I already know and trust. But even after all that I still end up with books that are a #fail for me 🙁
    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun’s latest thoughts >> Sunday Post | 34th Edition

  3. Jen

    I’m a total cover whore. If the cover turns me off there is no way I’m reading it. I don’t rate books only because I think ratings can be deceiving too. My friend told me she rates books a 3 but that means it’s a book she would recommend to someone, where a 3 to me is a eh book. Oddly enough too much hype for a book sometimes turns me off to it.
    Jen’s latest thoughts >> Sunday Post: Book Haul

  4. Hmm, interesting. I too am not ashamed of being a total cover whore, especially if it’s new to me author. You gotta visually appeal first, then it’s the synopsis and reviews from people I trust/follow… but I too have given a chance to books that had no reviews – and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. 🙂

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