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With so many titles out there, I have to be selective about what I download. (and resist the temptation of so many free books) These are the criteria that I use when browsing on Amazon.

Cover & Genre– I have to admit that when I’m in a bookstore the first thing to catch my attention is the shiny cover. When it comes to a Kindle book, (especially if it’s free) I look at the genre first. However, a bad cover is still a turn off. If it looks too homemade, (like a copy and paste Microsoft paint job) I worry about the quality of the book. The cover also has to match the genre. If the book is classified as paranormal, but the cover looks like a romance (usually a muscled shirtless man) I assume the main theme of the book is actually romance.

Description– The description is the most important. It not only tells what the book’s about, but tells how the author writes. When the book has a good hook or an interesting sounding plot I’ll download it even if there aren’t any reviews. (or if it is about a good monster, I can’t resist such books. We all have our guilty pleasures.) If the book is free, I’ll keep reading as long as the description makes sense and is well written. (Sadly some aren’t.) If it is filled with strange names or I can’t follow it, I figure I won’t be able to follow the book either and I move on. I also don’t like it when the author has to tell me how good the book is instead of telling me about the book, (or when authors say how beautiful and smart the characters are) but that’s just me.

Reviews– I usually read a positive review and a three star review before I download a book. I’ve found the three star reviewers are more honest about its flaws and lets me know if what they didn’t like is something that I won’t like either. An immediate turn off is comments mentioning poor editing or writing. I know how hard editing is and I don’t know how picky these reviewers are, but with all the books out there I don’t have time to download something that wasn’t edited.

I’ll be posting reviews here (and on Amazon and Goodreads) for all of the new books I read. While downloading all these free books I’ve realized how important reviews are to new authors. (but first I have to stop downloading them and pick one to read.)

What do you look for before you download a book?