What influences my own choices are, in no particular order, as follows:
- A genre I like or feel like trying
- An author I’ve read before and enjoyed
- A recommendation by a friend
- A series I want to follow
- Something escapist and life-affirming for that feel-good factor
- The monthly choice of someone in my book group (excellent, because it makes me read something I might not have picked off the shelf)
- A cover and blurb that draws me in
- The opportunity to read or listen to a sample (at this point if I don’t care for the writing style or the voice I won’t download it)
- Spotting a published review which gets me interested
- As an author myself, reading around my own genre (mostly historical romance) as much as possible
- Non-fiction for the purpose of researching a period as background for my fiction writing
- Non-fiction on a topic that interests me
What I do not look at are star ratings or other readers’ reviews (although I may read the latter afterwards out of interest to compare to my own views). Why not? Partly because they are not always genuine. Sad to say. Goodreads is currently investigating matters to do with misuse of ratings and reviews, for example.
As authors, we try to signal by the cover and blurb what the reader can expect. In romances, the level of sexual content can be an issue (for readers who don’t want it as much as for those that do!). In my case I have and I haven’t included explicit scenes, while some authors consistently either do or don’t. Maybe I’ll present a future blog categorising my books accordingly!