CHOOSING A BOOK TO READ.


First up, I must apologise for my slackability as a blogger.  If left until tomorrow, it would be two weeks between visits, and that simply wouldn’t do … so I thought I better nip in here quick, and wow you all with my testicular rambles wisdom.  In my defence, however, I have spent the last two weeks doing daily critiques for other writers, editing for a writer buddy, setting up a new blog for my pseudonym (and composing a short story to kick-start it into gear), trying my damndest to create a better blurb for my query letter (and sending out said query letter), on top of knocking out a few more chapters for my latest novel CAGED (starring none other than adoringly hot dude Ethan Holloway—hubba hubba).

In a previous post, I mentioned the importance of book covers when it comes to catching the readers eye, but can a cover alone make me part with my husband’s well-earned cash?

Nah.  I take much more convincing than that.

So, what will get me spending?  What are the main reasons I will actually buy?

1.       Author.  I know who I like.  Shallow, I know … I’m sorry (especially as I hope someone will pick up something I’ve written as a new author someday).  But readers know what they like, and the numbers who stick to those are shockingly high—and my favourite authors tend to get an immediate pass onto my bookshelf.

2.       Recommendations.  Before my sister started introducing me to new authors, I used to just pick any old crap out the local library to read (because it was free).  I’d also always have already-read books tossed my way by work colleagues … most of them rubbish … but with the occasional gem that would shine brighter than the rest.  I, one day, forced encouraged my best friend to read a book I’d finished and loved.  She hadn’t read for years (kids can get in the way of stuff, no?), and finally sucked it up and got on with it agreed.  Since that day?  She has bought way more books than me (which is great, because we like most of the same authors and she saves my hubby a small fortune).

3.       Genre.  Yep, I have my preference for genres.  Just as I have those I avoid like the plague prefer not to read.

4.       Blurb.  What can I say?  The blurb on the back cover can be as important as all get out.  Admittedly, if stealing from my friend buying a book by an author I’ve previously read and enjoyed, I NEVER read the blurb—they give too much of the story away IMO, and I like to be surprised.  However, if I’m looking at a book by an author whose work I’m unfamiliar with, then their blurb better be might-fine-attractive to my eye mind.

So … how about you?  What are the important factors you take into consideration when buying a book?

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9 thoughts on “CHOOSING A BOOK TO READ.

  1. Me? Recommendation seems to be number on these days. Though even then, a recommendation doesn’t always mean I’ll like it.

    For example: Hunger Games (widely and wildly recommended) to the point I HAD to run out and buy the hard backed copy. I got through Ch 3? ish? handed it to son. He got through Ch 1? ish? it’s gathering dust. 😦 Bummer, but neither of us could get into it.

    But see? 1) I didn’t have a connection with the author and 2) it’s not in my genre that I normally read. That shouldn’t be a problem if those opening words can really snag my attention.

    Alas, it didn’t … and many other works haven’t either. But, I pick up some of my favorite authors and … like you said … I can’t put it down. Every once in a while I’ll find a new one (my new latest fav is Anna and the French Kiss and that was a recommendation, too).

    1. Well, I’ve seen a lot of raving for the Hunger Games. But, as you know, I’m also not a fan of the genre, plus, as a reader/follower of novel series’ if I find one I like, the many reports that the third in the series is a major letdown is enough to put me off anyway.

  2. Wow, Aimee, I LOVED the Hunger Games. It took me a bit to get into but once I did, I couldn’t put it down, and it is one of those series that sticks deep within me even now.

    As far as buying books, I’ll buy those from my favorite authors first. If I’m really anticipating a new release, I’m at the book store the day it is released. Other titles are recommended to me by other readers/authors/friends. I’ll always check it out of the libary first. If I really, really like it, I’ll buy it. That’s what I did with Sarah Gruen’s Water for Elephants and Katherine Stockett’s, The Help. I read them and HAD to have them. Same thing with the Hunger Games. I checked the first one out of the library, forced myself through the first few chapters, and fell in love with them.

    Many times I’ll peruse the libary and just start picking books in the genre I like to read. Occasionally I’ll find a gem I have to have.

    I tend to surf flea markets and thrift shops for books. I can find some of my faves there for a fraction of the cost but in this economy, I can’t part with my money as freely as I once did.

    1. I know what you mean, Jen. I only part with my money for authors who are on my list of favourites, unless I find a bargain at a second-hand shop 🙂
      I used to frequent the library, to the point the librarians would recognise me (and my friend–you know, the one I forced into reading?), but since joining Scribophile, I have so much great reading to hand that I don’t have as much time to read published books as I used to. I used to be done with an excellent book in a couple of days. Now it can take me a week or two 🙂

  3. I used to have an exclusive list of authors I read from until twitter got involved in my life. Twitter led to book review bloggers. Next thing I knew, my life was opened to an whole new book world.

    Sad to say, most of my original favorite authors fell out of favor once I realized there was more out there. Kresley Cole is the only traditional-route author I’m still loyal to, and I preorder her books. I also pre-ordered Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter novel, but her Psi/Changeling series is on probation. haha The other authors, I tend to purchase the book whenever or not.

    So, in the end, I’m definitely one to rely heavily on recommendations. However, I also do a bit of research before I purchase (reading sample, checking out star ratings, reading the blurb).

    And in the case of indie authors, I’m finding I’m more willing to read a novella than a full length novel. In fact, a lot of those novellas tend to push their way to the top of my to-read list regardless of it’s traditionally or self-published.

  4. I loved the Hunger Games series (though #3 was a huge let down) and Anna and the French Kiss! (Hmm, wonder who recommended them to Aimee? 😉 ) I stick with authors/series I like, but I also love to dabble in different genres and to support published authors on Absolute Write (and Scribophile). I’d say the only type books I haven’t really learned to enjoy are high fantasy and horror. And I have tried them.

    I do pay attention to the hype on Twitter and blogs. Sometimes it’s warranted, other times it’s just that, hype, but I’ve been pleased more times than I’ve been disappointed.

  5. Mockingjay was definitely a learning experience for me. There was a lot (A LOT) of hype for that book. And like you, Claire, i was disappointed. One thing to keep in mind with Mockingjay was there were no ARCs for the novel. I’m going to start taking that as a sign. No ARCs == something’s likely up that they don’t want readers to know what’s happening before they’ve invested their money.

  6. Well, the bad reviews I’ve heard for Mockingjay are enough to prevent me picking up the first in the series. If I find a series I like, I have to read from the beginning, and if I get emotionally invested in the characters, then I like to travel with them on their journey, and see where they end up–because, if it’s done well, the reader should see a huge character development over such a big course of events. And I don’t stick to the same genre. I like paranormal and urban fantasy (only urban, not plain fantasy) first and foremost. I also like romance, thrillers, suspense, mild horror, supernatural … I’m (almost) easily pleased 🙂

    1. I know what you mean by wanting to see characters through to the end. Honestly, Hunger Games was a stand alone novel. I still praise that and would have been satisfied if the trilogy ended there. Catching Fire was almost as good as Hunger Games. Would have still been 5 stars in my mind, 4.5 maybe… but not quite as good as Catching Fire. But do I recommend Catching Fire? NO!

      So anyway, I sat here thinking of how much I wanted to shout “no” in your face. Took me awhile to get over the fact that wasn’t happening.

      But no, I wouldn’t recommend Catching Fire. Why? Because it ends in a cliff hanger. I’m so angry with Mockingjay. I’d be hard pressed to purchase another Collins novel simply because of the hype of Mockingjay followed by the supreme let down.

      I’ve had other favorite authors who’ve put out substandard novels (according to the world of Reena). However, they never tried to trick me out of money by building the hype like Mockingjay. And all of them, save Kresley Cole, have put out a not so great novel here or there. Yet I still haven’t given up on them. No one’s perfect. But they still release ARCs so fans can go into the situation with some kind of knowledge of what they’re getting into. I don’t even think there was a decent blurb for Mockingjay.

      That’s why I love review boards and other socials (twitter, goodreads, facebook). I’ve received some really great suggestions from folks. Two of my top reads of 2010 came from twitter suggestions (Hunger Games and Mind Games). Two came from browsing review bloggers (Hush Money and Comfort Food). I don’t always find a winner, but I tend to do a lot better than if I choose just my favorite authors. 🙂

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