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Conquering the Reader’s Dilemma: What Should I Read Next?

Woman looking at a book.

What should I read next? The bane of every reader’s existence. That moment when a reader needs to make a decision and commit. But to which book? 


When I find myself in this maelstrom, the search usually begins with a vague notion of what I am looking for. Maybe . . . something like what I just read. Or a specific genre to suit my current mood. Maybe something similar in style to an author I have already read. Or perhaps what everyone else is already reading. 


In this search, as I am reading book description after book description, what I am really looking for is a compelling reason to buy and commit to reading a book or listening to the audiobook.  But what do typically find instead? A book description that tells me the story found in the book. 


Next . . . as I hit the dreaded back arrow.


What compels me to stay on the description page? I immediately lean into book descriptions in which the author clearly describes the experience that the book will offer me and the benefit I will get from reading the book. The promise and the benefit.  The reason to buy the book and read the story.


Recently, I found myself returning to the murder mystery genre I enjoyed as a young adult. As I searched for a book to read, secretly hoping for a new author with a series I could get lost in, the book descriptions all bled together. A description of the place, a description of the deceased, and some tidbits of intrigue. The murder and the plot.  All I could think of was rinse and repeat. Blah, blah, blah.


What I wanted was a promise from the author. A promise that there was a method by which the murder would be solved. A promise that all of my questions would be answered, all plot loose ends tied up, and that justice would be done. I wanted to benefit from the experience of following along in the protagonist’s shadow, learning the subtle art of investigation, piecing the clues together as I endeavored to solve the mystery as well. And once I found that promise, my search ended.


It’s the winning combination of a clearly articulated promise and benefit that providers readers the value they need to confidently and immediately buy the book.  To have the book, your book, be the next book they read. 


And yes indeed, a promise and benefit can be found in every book, in every genre.



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