First, thank you to everyone who voted and to those who spread the word so that I got a decent amount of participants. I think 49 people took the poll.
I'm going to talk about each criteria in the order of most votes to least. I listed ten options and asked people to vote for their top three criteria for selecting a book. Some may have voted more than that, some less. This isn't super scientific, but I think the results still have some good information for us.
Book Description--35 votes. To me, this is good and bad. The bad part is that I hate writing book descriptions and I'm not good at it. The good part is that it's something a writer can control and change. I'm going to spend some time reading book descriptions on Amazon and see what catches my attention and what doesn't.
Would anyone care to share what it is about a book description that piques their interest? Does an excerpt help?
Read Other Books By the Same Author--32 votes. This is good news. I have noticed that in the "people who bought this book also bought" list on Amazon most of my books are cross-referenced with each other which tells me that people who like one of my books are likely to buy others. Yay!
Note: These two criteria, Book Description and Other Books by the Same Author, were nearly tied at 35 and 32 votes respectively and were well ahead of the next highest vote getter, which was theme.
I Like The Theme (i.e., cowboy, historical)--- 23 votes. Now the question is, what themes are most popular? Is "married couples" a theme? I might do another poll on this topic, but feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Intense Spankings--- 19 votes. Interesting. What's considered intense? Probably a topic for another poll.
Cover Image-- 12 votes. This is interesting and I'm surprised it's not higher. You probably need to see the cover image before you click to read the description, but it only got 12 votes. I may test this theory by changing the cover on The Birthday Wish (again) to include a rear end and see if that boosts sales.
Price--- 10 votes. Another interesting stat. Is it fair to conclude that people will pay a bit more to read a book by an author they like that has a description they like and is possibly a theme they like? What do people think about 99 cent books? Do consumers think price is an indicator of quality?
Amazon Reviews ---10 votes. After all the angst and hand-wringing over few reviews or bad reviews, it appears they may not be that big a deal or at least not a big enough deal to warrant the aforementioned angst and hand-wringing.
My thoughts on these last three. Cover Image, Price and Amazon Reviews all got nearly the same number of votes. They are also all items which can be viewed at the same time on Amazon. How much, if at all, do the three things work together?
Romance ---8 votes. Hmm. Intense spankings got twice as many votes. Can we draw any conclusions from that? Is it that people read spanking books for the spanking and not necessarily for the romance?
Recommendation From a Friend-- 5 votes. Not sure what to say about this, though in real life I only have one friend whose book recommendations are similar to my tastes, so I understand this might not be a good indicator for many people.
Lots of Sex-- 5 Votes. What? People don't want to read sex? According to the un-scientific results of this survey, they are 5 times more interested in intense spankings and twice as interested in romance. Again, not a scientific poll, but still interesting.
Author Interview on Blog--- 2 votes. Now, nearly all author interviews include a book description, so what I take from this statistic is that a clever author interview isn't necessarily going to lead to sales, but if the book description that is included with the interview catches a reader's eye, then they are likely to buy the book, so please don't cancel author interviews on your blog, just make sure they include a good book description.
Thoughts and Conclusions.
- For me, the takeaway here is that I should keep writing books and work to expand my fan base. That's good news because that's something I can control and focus my efforts on.
- I'm going to stop fussing about Amazon reviews. Not that I don't appreciate all the nice people who have written reviews of my books, because I do, but because I can't control whether I get reviews or not and what they say and it appears they aren't a huge factor in the buying decision.
- I'm going to work on writing better descriptions for my books and I'm going to read a variety of book descriptions to see what catches my attention.
- I'm curious about themes and which ones are most popular. Cowboys sure seem to be a hot topic.