Return on the last poll

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The last poll question was about the author quotes often found on the top/back covers of fantasy novels. I was interested in getting your opinion on whether or not you are influenced by them when you pick up a book at the library, more so since it happened to me a couple of times in the past. Simply put, are you more compelled to buy a novel with a quote from one of your favorite or to put it back on the shelves in case of an heartily hated author?

The results couldn't be closer... or almost. So, is this marketing technique working for you :

Are you influenced by author cover quotes to buy a book?

Yes - 45%
No - 54 %

Maybe the fact that, more and more, we mostly buy our books online has an effect on the poll results. Since that's what I'm mostly doing, I admit that there's less chance that an author cover quote will influence me in the future if I buy from the web. Reviews, synopsis/blurb and sometimes the covers themselves seem to be more important. Hence, I'll have to come with a similar question about the reviewers soon. There again, 'contextonomy' will come in consideration and I believe that the results will be in the same interval as with this poll.

As for the publishers, half of the readers (judging by that particular sample) stating that the quotes can be influential is probably enough to keep doing it. Anyway they would already have stopped if it was not working.

As for the memorable quotes you may remember, since I didn't really get any answers about it, I'll assume that author cover quotes are not that much memorable.

Now to the topic of overuse of some authors. One anonymous commenter wrote that he was curious as to why I mentioned that I've seen too much cover quotes by Terry Brooks and felt that his perspective on the novels I could choose was kind of diluted. Well I admit I may have been a bit harsh toward Terry Brooks. I have read my share of Shanara novels but I'm not a big fan of the author even though I have nothing against the guy. However, the comment made by anonymous, where he also stated this : " If I recall correctly, he doesn't actually give out too many 'blurbs' as a matter of policy, and is quite particular about which books he does endorse in this manner." made me take a look again at my library. I have seen Tad Williams and Orson Scott Card often enough and even though I didn't find a Terry Brooks cover quotes tsunami, he was among those repeated the most. To his credit, much of the novels I possess with his quotes where right in my alley. The Unremembered by Peter Orullian, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, both Peter V. Brett novels, a couple of Steve Donaldson Covenant novels, Greg Keyes' The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series and Black Prism by Brent Weeks were among the lot. So I think I ought to reconsider Mr. Brooks choice of endorsement. :)


All this bring me back to something lighter in tone. Back in January 2010, I collected all the most popular answers to the non -scientific 'statistically short in number' polls I posted in the first year of the blog and came up with a not-to-serious generalized definition of the fantasy reader. Adding to this the answers from last year polls, here's a peak at the fantasy reader (feel free to comment!) :
The fantasy readers like to read epigraphs at the start of a chapter, only a minority of them are also audiobook listeners, most of them were introduced to the epic fantasy genre by Tolkien's work, they prefer series over stand alone novels, they like to have maps included in their books, they have bought at least one book for the cover alone, they do not finish all the books they pick up, they don't generally read extract before reading a novel, they have a backlog of 25 to 50 books, they read 24 to 40 novels a year, they like completely original but simple name for their characters, they read only one novel at a time, they don't think that they should diversify their reading choice from the usual genre, they already read e-books and if they don't it's because of the loss of physical book feeling and they are not really influenced by author quotes when buying a book.
A close enough match for some of you? :)


Grant said...

That description of a fantasy reader matched about 75% to me which is darn good.

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