1. Galadriel says:

    I would add a “friendship” factor–a lot of readers chose books based on what their friends recommend. I trust my friends’ taste.

  2. Kessie says:

    Dragons! I know that dragons are horribly overdone, but I’m fond of them and I’m always on the lookout for a decent fantasy with dragons. Unicorns and griffins are cool, too. (Amazingly, almost no one writes about griffins, aside from Mercedes Lackey.)
    Hence the reason I adored the Temeraire books. That one with the dragon airforce fighting Napoleon. 🙂
    I think I prefer categories 2 and 5, the Something Different and the Nobility. It’s hard to find the Nobility factor in modern novels, though. It’s quite common in older fiction, though. I think publishers must filter for it now or something.

  3. I’d suggest the “friendship” factor is closely related to the celebrity factor. Either are based on personality. When a trusted friend recommends a book, you’re more likely to check into it because you trust your friend’s judgment. And the exact same is true when a celebrity recommends a book — even if the trusted judgment and “friendship” is more artificial.

    For Christians, the main — and often only — question whether to read any kind of book is Is it useful? (But useful for what? I would ask.) Celebrity recommendation is a close second.

  4. Andy Poole says:

    Sense of place is a factor for me. Does the story take me places I want to go? Are they places I wish I was not separated from by imagination or pages and text? And there is one setting in particular that I see little of on bookshelves, so I try to write for it myself.

    Cover art is also pretty powerful. I picked up this beautiful looking book at the library. There was this princess in a mail hauberk and tabard, with leopard allies. The synopsis promised that she had to make allies with leopards and werewolves. The book then possessed my undivided attention. A sequel on the shelf promised airships. I bit the worm, and with my jaws thoroughly hooked to the line, the writer reeled me in. I opened the book at home. I read 50-ish pages. After a good cry (complete with invectives hurled against the author’s name for wasting my precious time), I sent it back to the library because I couldn’t take any more! It was so corny as to make me run to the drugstore for antidepressants.  (Ok, Ok, so I had more self-control than all that, but still, it appealed to me because of the world setting but the storytelling and characters couldn’t keep it afloat.)

  5. Andy Poole says:

    Friends are an influence for me, but most of the time I make my own decision whether or not to read something on the grounds of my personal taste.

  6. […] at Spec Faith I wrote a post about the “It Factor” — the something that some books seem to have […]

  7. I found it interesting that this discussion quickly turned from the “it factor” of the book to the “it factor” of the influencer that prompted the reader to pick up a particular book. That probably says more right there as to what separates books out from the crowd, more than anything else. As marketers are always saying, word of mouth is the best marketing tool.

    Because of the direction of this conversation, I took a look particularly at celebrity influence (as you can see from the trackback) at my own blog. For most of my writing life I’ve been resistant to this whole concept of “Christian celebrity.” Yes, there are people we can identify as such, but should there be? That’s another whole blog post, I think.

    Anyway, thanks so much for your input. And if you’d like to read more, see “Celebrity Influence.”


  8. […] seemed to burn brighter and brighter. In relating its success to the factors I wrote about over at Spec Faith on Monday, I’d say it succeeded because it had three of the five elements I […]

  9. […] days ago, Becky Miller posted over at Speculative Faith on The It Factor,  the elements which make us want to choose one novel out of the enormous sea of potential reads. […]

  10. I’m with Kessie–something different and nobility draw me in. 

What do you think?