Diary of a Bookseller

The Art of Recommending a Book

Each year at the store we have an official competition to see who can sell the most of their seasonal picks and I won this year for the first time ever! I talked a bit about mine in Summer Reading Recommendations and while some of my coworkers may think that I had an unfair advantage, being the one who sets the rules and limitations to the competition, I tend to think it’s because, after many years of trying, I’ve figured out to how to recommend a book in the bookstore.

Diary of a Bookseller, Day 5

Ask the person you’re recommending a book to what they’ve read recently that they like and listen carefully. At the store, we find this incredibly important because we all have different tastes and I like to try to match the customer with the bookseller with tastes most similar to them. If it’s not an in person conversation, that’s why we write blurbs!

Step 1: Short & Sweet

Be concise – for a written blurb, 3 sentences or less, for an in-person pitch, 30 seconds or less.

Step 2: The Feels

Talk about how the book made you feel – not just “all the feels,” but did it make you feel warm and fuzzy? Scare the crap out of you? We’re emotional creatures and will often make purchases based on how it will make us feel so play it up.

Step 3: Characters & Plot

Touch on how awesome the characters are – is the protagonist a fierce as female? An own voices narrative? Did you really see yourself in the characters? Is there a super witty secondary character you absolutely adore? Didn’t really care for the characters? Talk about the plot! Great world building and excellent pacing? Let them know!

Step 4: Who Will Like It

For an in person pitch, you’ve listen to what the reader likes and are matching books accordingly. For a blurb, close off with who the book will be perfect for – either a specific genre, author, television show, etc. For example, Nevernight is perfect for fans of dark fantasy and Throne of Glass.

Those are my guidelines for myself that I have found to be quite effective. Is there anything that you find to be particularly helpful in recommending a book to people?

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