BookBub has always sought to offer publishers and authors an effective way to promote their titles, and in turn, to help readers discover their next great book. Here on Unbound, we focus on the former, sharing tips and insights to help our partners sell their ebooks in the evolving digital landscape.
But BookBub also has an entire team dedicated to the latter — our members — and they interact with hundreds of readers a day. In our new Who’s Buying Your Books series, we aim to share some of these conversations with our partners. Data can of course speak volumes about overall trends and general interests. But we love hearing stories from individual readers as well, and we think these anecdotes will add some color to the numbers you read about on Unbound. Plus, learning more about your audience is never a bad idea when it comes to selling books!
As one of our most popular categories, we thought Mysteries would be a fitting place to start. Meet Marianne, a 36-year-old living just outside of Philadelphia in Washington Township, New Jersey. Marianne has been a BookBub member for several months, downloading at least a book a week from the daily email. An avid mystery reader, Marianne was eager to talk with BookBub about her favorite authors in the genre, her motivations for buying certain books, and the keys to a perfect story:
1) What is the first thing you notice when choosing a book to read?
When the cover is creepy or dark, it always looks appealing to me. Sometimes I want to pass over a book because of the cover, but I will read the title and if it sounds interesting, I will read the synopsis and reviews… Sometimes a book with a bad cover could be a gem.
The title is also an attention grabber… If it’s written to stand out, then I will usually read the synopsis. Some covers can be cheesy, but if the title looks good, I will read the synopsis.
2) How does price factor into your decision to try a new book or author? Do you have any “dealbreakers” when looking for a new title?
Because I am addicted to downloading books, price definitely plays a factor, especially if it’s someone new. … If a book has an unappealing cover but a good title and/or synopsis, I will usually still download it if it is free. I feel free books are a great way to get to know authors. If I love the book, I am more inclined to buy another book written by them.
3) What makes mysteries so appealing to you as a reader?
I like trying to guess who did it. I like books that keep me on the edge of my seat.
4) Who are your favorite mystery authors and why?
I really enjoy reading Liliana Hart, Dana Stabenow, and Odette C. Bell. I love their writing styles. Especially Liliana Hart — she is my favorite. Although they are mysteries, she makes her characters funny and relatable.
5) Who is your favorite mystery sleuth?
J.J. Graves [featured in Liliana Hart’s J.J. Graves series] is definitely my favorite mystery sleuth. The character is so witty, honest, and smart. I just love her.
6) Who is your favorite mystery villain?
I don’t have a favorite villain. But I like the villains who you didn’t want to see become the villain… then they are, but you still can’t help but love them. I also like a villain that you just love to hate.
7) What do your favorite mysteries have in common?
I have noticed that my favorite mysteries all have a leading lady as the main character. I think that is because I like to picture myself as the main character when reading a book.
I also like mysteries that have a paranormal feel to them, as well as mysteries that are written about specific places that I live near — Philadelphia, for example. I like knowing exactly what to picture in my head, and I enjoy thinking that the mystery could be going on in my own neighborhood.
I have come across some mysteries that include dogs, which I also love since I’m a huge animal lover. For example, Unleashed by Emily Kimelman… I loved every aspect of the book.
8) What makes a great mystery?
I think what makes a great mystery is a twist, nothing too far out of the box. Something that can really happen, and a character that isn’t some random character. I like to get to know the character and being completely caught off guard when I find out they are the bad guy/girl. I also don’t like when it’s too obvious who the character could be. I like having options and thinking, “Well, it could be him because…or her because…”
The interview above was edited for length.
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