Two Opinions on What Readers Look For.
Madison Woods: I hate to admit it, but first I do look at the cover. Good art attracts me because I am a creative type and look for style/colors/layout I like. After that I'll open the book to a random page and read. If the author's style of writing appeals to me, I'll keep reading at random spots throughout the book. If the content inside doesn't appeal, it doesn't matter what the blurb on the back says. Things that make me put it back right away are things like clumsy dialogue, drifting POV's, obvious syntax errors, and poor grammar (where the grammar isn't part of the voice).
Judith Anne Horner: I mostly read mysteries or romantic suspense written by well-known authors or by authors I’m acquainted with, either in person or online. I generally read a review about a mystery/romance novel in a magazine or online. I’ve also been reading a lot of works by Indie Authors. Some of it is really good; some of it isn’t so good. I don’t think that a lot Indie Authors employ an “outside editor.” Also, the formatting tends to be really messed up on some e-books. I find that I lose interest in novels that have more than three POVs and ones that seem to have an endless cast of characters. I also tend to skip over sections with too much telling and too little showing. And I think it’s a little strange when the first-person POV protagonist addresses the reader.