It take more than a great cover to convince me to purchase a book. Sure, if the cover is questionable, I might not even look at the back of the book. Call me quirky, but if I'm spending my hard earned money in a brick and mortar bookstore or online, I want a quality product. And to my way of thinking, the cover counts.
But the cover just gets me to look at the book. It's the blurb that will sucker me into buying the novel. A catching excerpt will cement the deal, but it's really that blurb that hooks me.
And it's not easy to write. A one or two paragraph summary that encapsulates the tone, feel, and plot of the book. It can't be too detailed, but it can't be too open either. Secondary plots and characters that enhance the storyline shouldn't be mentioned, because the whole point of the blurb is to condense material into an explosive ball of "buy me."
Something I find helpful, and I wish all books would do this, is to give a slight "warning." Warning might be too harsh, but knowing the heat level of a book would make disappointment in content less of a risk. I've purchased books that look hot, sound hot, and barely make it past the bedroom door. And I've bought books thinking I'm going to get a mainstream romance or mystery and there's a TON of between-the-sheets action that doesn't quite mesh with what the blurb or cover promised.
Epublishing really takes a lot of the guess work out of a reader's expectations. Take TEB. You search by author, by series, by title or genre with the click of your mouse. You're taken to the book's page, where there's a big picture of a handsome cover, a blurb, a note about content, and then a nice excerpt. It's all there in the same place.
And people wonder why electronic publishing is growing in leaps and bounds. Convenience + quality writing + nonmainstream work = terrific reads.
And that's my two cents on a Monday morning. Now it's time for coffee.