July 31, 2010

How Do You Buy?

How do you choose the books you buy?  Sure, everyone has their favorite authors, those whose books are 'auto-buys', but what about a new or fairly new to you author?  Is it the cover that draws you in?  Do you need to see a great review before you'll pick up a book?  Read an excerpt?

For me, a great cover will be the first thing that catches my eye.  This will get me to pick the book up and read the back cover blurb. (or if I'm on the internet, follow the links to the back cover blurb)  Guess what, I'm still interested...then I open the book to a random page.

Interestingly enough, there are people out there who don't do 'random', but instead chose whether or not to buy a book by looking at page 99.  I'd never heard of this before, but once I was told about it, I decided to give it a try with a few books on my TBR pile.  Then, I decided to try it with my romantic suspense, NOT WITHOUT RISK.

Here's what I found on page 99:

As her legs suddenly went weak, Paige forced away the thought.  She couldn't get involved with him.  Couldn't let herself care.

She dragged in a shaky breath.  "I'm sorry I've wasted your time."

Justin set his jaw.  His hand curled against his thigh.  "I never said you were wasting my time."

She'd been so afraid, coming out of a nightmare then hearing someone move around downstairs.  So sure of what she'd heard, certain someone was in her studio.  Now...

Maybe it had been a dream, or the panicked imaginings of an exhausted mind.  Paige didn't think so, but couldn't be certain.  "I must be overreacting."

"It would be understandable."

She closed her eyes against the kindness she heard in his voice.  They snapped open at the feel of his finger beneath her chin.  He tipped her face to his.  "Then there's the broken bottle in the darkroom.  Imagination doesn't explain that."

Relief filled her, driving away some of her tension.  Maybe she wasn't losing her mind, after all.  "Thank you."

"For what, doing my job?"

"For answering my call, even though you were probably busy with something else.  For believing in me.  Again."

"We aren't going to start this again, are we?  I wasn't busy," Justin explained as he lifted his hand and traced his fingertip along her jaw.  "I had dinner with my mother earlier.  On the way home, I stopped off for a drink.  That's where I was when you called."

Paige took a deep breath, trying to slow her racing heart.  The caress of his fingers across her skin made her pulse trip.  "I'm glad."

Give it a try, it's fun.  Those books on your TBR pile, would you still be interested if it was only page 99 you'd read before buying?  What about your own books?  I'd love to 'see' what's on page 99 of your books.


Sherry Gloag said...

When I read your email about page 99 I was curious. When I read your blog I wanted to see what was on page 99 of my debut novel, The Bat, releasing on 1st October 2010.

Here is the first half of the page 99 (my first excerpt)!-->

The earlier lighthearted banter between them vanished.
“Yes.” Ben signalled the waiter, passed over his credit card, and rose.
She leaned forward to pick up her bag just as her phone rang. Without checking the caller ID she
took the call.
“You think I don’t know what you’re up to?”
The last time she heard that voice the Inspector had walked into her house seconds later. The phone
almost slipped through her fingers, and she swung away from Ben’s perceptive stare.
“Who are you? What do you want?”
“You won’t deny your family’s existence for much longer, I promise you.”
The dial tone buzzed in her ear. Dear God in heaven, what did that mean? She’d never denied her
family! They’d deserted her.

Sarah Grimm said...


Awesome! What a great page 99!


Judy said...

I have never heard of this either. You are going to have me reading page 99 of all the books I really enjoy just to see if it would have worked!!

Susan Macatee said...

Interesting, Sarah! Here's page 99 from my Civil War time travel romance, Erin's Rebel.

“It just got me to thinking. It sounds so exciting.
The soldiers marching off. The battles... She told me
she assisted the surgeons at Gettysburg.”
“That she did.”
“Well, I thought—” She glanced toward the
window and rubbed her hands together.
“Thought what?” he prompted.
“That I could be a nurse.” Her eyes met his.
“In a hospital?”
She licked her lips. “No...on the battlefield.”
He laughed. “Jenny, you don’t know what you’re
saying.” The very idea of his pampered sister on a
dirty, bloody battlefield appalled him.
“I want to go with you when you return to your
regiment,” she rushed on.
“Absolutely not.”
“But Miss Erin does it.”
“Erin O’Connell is an exceptional woman.”
“And I’m not?” Her eyes misted over. “You think
I’m too weak.”
“You’re refined. The battlefield is no place for a
lady. Besides, Father would never permit it.”
“You, Mama, and Papa—all of you want to keep
me away from Kevin.” She dabbed at her eyes with her
lace-trimmed hanky and stormed from the room.
Erin wiped her hands on her apron. After her
jaunt in the snow with Amanda, the heat of the hearth
and cookstove felt heavenly, warming her to her core.
“Miss Erin,” Tillie said, “after all the time you
spent with Miss Amanda, I’m sure surprised you have
the energy to help me out.”
“You do it all the time,” Erin protested. “I see how
hard you work, and after all that, when they call you
in to serve them, you’re there with a smile on your
face. Besides, I’ve spent five months in an army camp.
Living here is like a vacation.”
The Negro servant eyed her. “A what?”
“Umm...” What did they call vacations? It was
likely this woman had never had one. “I just meant it’s
very comfortable here.”

Sarah Grimm said...


I'd love to know if you find any you may not have purchased using this test. You don't need to name them, but I'd love to know. :)


Sarah Grimm said...


Love your page 99! This is so much fun!


Karen Michelle Nutt said...

That's interesting. I've never heard of the page 99 test.

By the way, your page 99 is great.

Thanks for sharing. :)

Penny Rader said...

What a fun! I'll play. Here's what I found on p. 99 (with just a couple words from p.98 so the sentences are complete) of my novel Sapphire and Gold:

Alerted by a sound behind him, Derek turned his head and met the loose piece of timber being swung by the bull. Stars exploded before his eyes. He dropped to his knees and dragged Taylor down with him. Bartholomew shoved him aside. From the outer edge of consciousness, Derek listened to the two men talk.

“What’ll we do with him?” Harold asked.

“Finish him off.” Gasping and wheezing, Bartholomew stumbled toward his carriage.

Harold stood over Derek’s still form and rolled him onto his back. Unable to move, Derek ignored the blood trickling from his mouth and braced himself for what was to follow. His thoughts alternated between silent pleas for Alexandra’s and Charlotte’s forgiveness and cursing Taylor’s black soul to eternal damnation.

“He ain’t breathin’,” Harold said.

“Leave him.”

“Who do ya think this Charlotte chit is?”

“Don’t know. Don’t care.”


Alexandra stopped to catch her breath. Trembling from the cool air, she drew her arms around her body and studied the streets. She was unfamiliar with this part of the city. Which way led to the waterfront? To the Wind Spirit? To Derek?

Footsteps echoed nearby. A chill of foreboding slithered up her spine. She had heard tales about foolhardy young women out alone at night.

As the footsteps continued to advance, tremors of cold and alarm penetrated her bones. She summoned every ounce of courage she possessed, picked up her skirts, and ran. Her shoes clicked against the cobblestones. She ducked into an alley and slowed her breathing, lest he hear her.

Alexandra listened to the deafening silence with growing unease. The hair on the nape of her neck stood on end. She could feel his presence.

Penny Rader

Sarah Grimm said...


Thank you! :)


Sarah Grimm said...


Great page 99! I have yet to read a civil war time travel. Must put on my TBB list.


Judy said...

I have a few ebooks on my website, so I went there first and read page 99 on them. You would be suprised how interesting that one page is. Out of the 5 I read, 4 was totally something I would buy to read. I also went to several of my books of authors I read all the time and they were running about the same.

Thanks for the post about page 99:)

Lilly Gayle said...

Your page 99 post intrigued me but not have as much as what is on page 99 of your book. Great blog and great excerpt! And I have a new book for my must read list!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Sarah, I've heard of the test but hadn't tried it before. I probably will from now on in bookstores, but what do you do for an e-book?

Elaine Cantrell said...


Here's my page 99 From Return Engagement. Not as exciting as yours was.

They had almost reached their table when Elizabeth paused. He followed the direction of her gaze and saw a man and woman staring at them. His jaw tensed. Had they done something to offend her?
Elizabeth abruptly turned away from him and made her way across the room toward the strangers. What was going on here? When she reached their table she bent and hugged both of them. “Hey, you two, how’s it going?” she asked.
The man stood up and kissed her forehead. “It’s going fine. What are you doing here?”
Elizabeth laughed. “Just some dinner, of course. People say this place is fabulous.”
The man turned to Richard with a face that radiated dis-approval, but he did offer to shake hands. “Hank Edens,” he said as he extended his hand to Richard.
“Richard Lovinggood.” Edens gripped his hand firmly and wasn’t afraid to look him in the eye. That was good.
“This is my wife, Cathy Craig.”
“Where are my manners?” Elizabeth demanded. “Hank, Cathy, this is Richard Lovinggood. Richard, Hank and Cathy are my two best friends.” Richard saw that she was biting her lip.
Hank coolly checked him out. “Are you an actor, Rich-ard?”
“No, I’m an FBI agent. I really enjoy your new TV series. I watch it every week.”
Cathy’s eyes widened. “FBI! Elizabeth, is something wrong? Is he your bodyguard?”

Leigh D'Ansey said...

Hi Sarah - an intriguing concept and I'll try it out next time I'm looking at buying a book. I loved reading your page 99 and the others here. Here's mine from 'Kincaid's Call':

With that sheer animal strength that was so much a part of him, he came off the floor, still holding her against him. Her gown whispered away from her body. He placed her on the bed and came down over her, bracing himself on his arms.
“Okay?” he asked softly, beginning to move into her with slow, rhythmic strokes.
“Mmmm…” Kate raised her hips to meet him, luxuriating in the sensation of fullness as he grew inside her, her own liquid making his progress easy.
“You have so much control,” she murmured, stroking the bunched muscles of his upper arms. “Before, when I was… I don’t know how you stopped yourself from…” She looked down to where their bodies joined, his triangle of dark hair moving against her.
“I would have hurt you if I’d thrust into you in that position. I’m not hurting you now, am I?” he asked softly, still holding himself back, even though she could feel the insistent beat of his arousal.
Kate closed her eyes. “Uh-uh.” She wrapped her legs around him, careful not to scrape him with her sharp heels, teasing him with the hula-hoop dance of her hips.
He surged into her, and she knew he was almost at the point of no return. More than anything, she wanted to be on that exhilarating ride with him, and she increased the rhythm of her hips, bucking under him.
“Look at me, Kate.” There was nothing teasing about his hoarse command. “I want to see your beautiful eyes when I come.”
Kate opened her eyes and looked up into his. They glowed with a blue flame that lasered straight through her disintegrating defences.

Sarah Grimm said...

Penny - Wonderful! Thanks for posting your page 99.

Judy - When I heard of this test, I was so intrigued by it that I just had to share.

Lilly - Thank You.


Sarah Grimm said...


I don't think the test would work with eBooks. I don't usually use this test, just heard about it.

For me, eBooks are easier to purchase. They're my 'impulse' buys. Just so easy to say to myself 'Hey, that one sounds good' and click a button. VBG


Sarah Grimm said...


I enjoyed your page 99 very much. Thanks for posting it.


Sarah Grimm said...


Turn the page! Turn the page! Darn it, there's no button for that on my keyboard. Sigh.

Great page 99! Thanks.