The Next Best Book Club discussion

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Revive a Dead Thread > Picking your brains

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message 1: by Mark (new)

Mark Laflamme (marklaflamme) Hi, everybody. I poked around the archives and haven't seen this particular question anywhere. Somewhat surprising. Seems like it would be of interest to our authors and readers alike.
What I want to know from the ardent readers among you is what makes you decide to take a chance on an author you've never heard of? With half the population publishing books these days, on what do you base your decisions? Any information you guys can pass on would be hugely helpful to a lot of us.


Mark LaFlamme, author of:

Box of Lies (new)
Dirt: An American Campaign
Vegetation
The Pink Room


message 2: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) Preface: Other than haunting local used book stores (where I tend to be looking for specific titles/authors) and borrowing from the library, I do most of my book shopping online. So I am not a reader who will be found in a major bookstore the likes of B&N, Borders, etc., and happen to spot a book that will catch my interest for whatever reason.

Sometimes, I'll find myself turned on to a new author via the site/blog/random utterance of another author. Other times, I'll be doing informal online research, looking for books that have a specific theme, take place in a particular culture or time, have a certain combination of character types, etc., and I will learn of an author via Google, Amazon, a book review site, any one of a thousand book blogs, or of course Goodreads. (I'm a bit of an obsessive a power researcher compared to most folks I know. It's a sickness. ;) ) Still other times I will chance upon an author when I get the extensive bi-monthly email alerts my local library sends out regarding new acquisitions. (That happens a lot, actually. I file that under "word of mouth via local librarian pimpage.")

I also must admit (and I'm a bit abashed, although I couldn't quite tell you why) that I sometimes get hooked by book trailers. That idea that someone went to the trouble to film something attempting to capture the essence of a written work tickles me to pieces, in a good way.

Assuming I learn of the existence of a previously-unknown-to-me author at all, I then submit their book to the same criteria as books written by authors I know and enjoy: Does the plot sound interesting? Or, if it's non-fiction, does the subject intrigue me? Does it seem well-researched? Is it likely to be a festival of clichés? If a preview is available somewhere - Google Books, Amazon, the author's site/blog - I will always, ALWAYS read the excerpt and strongly skew my interest based on its impression on me. A fetching excerpt may be the single most successful way to clinch my interest in an author's work.

I hope that's the sort of answer you were looking for and that I didn't overshoot the mark entirely.


message 3: by Mark (new)

Mark Laflamme (marklaflamme) That's exactly the kind of stuff I was fishing for. Wow. A lot there. Really appreciate it. I wouldn't have thought about the library thing, for instance, the the video trailer bit is really good to know, since I got a killer one for my latest. Very satisfying to hear that potential readers appreciate them.
That's great stuff, Candiss. Thanks very much.


message 4: by Jane (new)

Jane | 221 comments I am strictly an "oh that looks interesting" reader. In the bookstores and in the library I see the cover of someone I have not read before, check the blurb and if it sounds interesting I take it home. I don't mean to say I end up reading all of them. If they do not grab me in the first chapter I'm on to the next find. I'm a senior for crying out loud and don't time to waste :)!!!

Also Amazon refers readers/buyers to other books that might be of interest based on what you've been looking for.

And the New York Times has introduced me to more new authors than I can count on fingers and toes. My monthly book club is a wealth of authors I've never read.


message 5: by Shary (new)

Shary (sharyfg) | 104 comments A lot of my book selections come from this site, recommendations from friends/family and Amazon/B&N websites. I have a handful of friends/family members who can get me to read anything they recommend. I've discovered a lot of new authors that way.


message 6: by Alex (new)

Alex Reviews influence me a little, but the opinions of my buddies on this site influence me a ton. If one of the people I trust here tells me to read something, I'll probably do it.


message 7: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10125 comments Mod
What? No one buys all of their books based on what I'm reading?????!!!

Just kidding.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I actually don't look for the author, or look at the author that much. If I like a cover, I'll read it. If it looks interesting, I pick it up. I know, I know, we shouldn't judge books by their cover but...well, I do >.<


message 9: by Erika (new)

Erika (erikareading) I'm pretty much with Jane on this one. If there is something in the blurb that catches my eye or the premise of the story intrigues me, I consider reading it. And like LunaBeth, I'll consider any book whether it's an author I've heard of or not.

Then it goes through my list of "tests". I read the whole blurb first. If I can get through it without rolling my eyes or skimming over text, then I try out the first few paragraphs. These days I have a kindle so that helps a lot. If it's the kind of writing style I'm in the mood for and want to try something differen't I might just go ahead and download it right away.

The cover art can be influencing too. I'm not sure how to describe but it's like if somehow it both seems to fit with the story idea and there is some kind of mystery to the cover image I have to explore I'm more likely to remember and pick the book up later.


message 10: by Emily (last edited Nov 11, 2010 05:12PM) (new)

Emily  O (readingwhilefemale) | 140 comments Lori wrote: "What? No one buys all of their books based on what I'm reading?????!!!"

I do.
:D

But seriously, I read a lot of book review blogs, and if someone I respect writes a favorable review and the plot sounds interesting, I put it on my To-Read list. Then, if I someday find it at the library or find money to buy it, I'll read it. That's about the entire process for me.


message 11: by Mark (new)

Mark Laflamme (marklaflamme) Wow, great stuff. I'm scribbling all of this furiously in my notebook.


message 12: by Scribble (new)

Scribble Orca (scribbleorca) | 17 comments "Lori wrote: "What? No one buys all of their books based on what I'm reading?????!!!"

Emily wrote: "I do...:D....But seriously, I read a lot of book review blogs, and if someone I respect writes a favorable review and the plot sounds interesting, I put it on my To-Read list.."


Emily, I have to go with you and Candiss. No online extract is usually a killer for me, but if it's no good, it's a killer for the author :D.


message 13: by Alex (new)

Alex Oh, also: sample chapters for the Kindle are pretty great. I usually have 10 or 12 of those kicking around; I read them when I have a spare few moments, and if one grabs me I'll generally buy the rest of the book.

ps Mark, is your latest book about my ex-girlfriend? Ba-doom crash!


message 14: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenvwrites) | 112 comments Mark wrote: "Hi, everybody. I poked around the archives and haven't seen this particular question anywhere. Somewhat surprising. Seems like it would be of interest to our authors and readers alike.
What I want..."


Karen Vaughan author of
DEAD ON ARRIVAL--ASK ME FOR A COPY I HAVE SIGNED ONES
DEAD COMIC STANDING-I HVE SIGNED COPIES OR THEY ARE AVAILABLE AT BARNES & NOBLE AND AMAZON DOT COM

It's great if I know the person from good reads or facebook--I will check out the books in support of them. I visit used book stores or i go to chapters.
I like series so i rad alot of debbie macombers books Robyn Carr and Janet Evanovich
James Patterson etc.


message 15: by J. (new)

J. Guevara (jguevara) | 94 comments It does not start with a weather report
Does not describe the radiant colors of sunset, blah blah blah, dripping below the horizon (Sun's set, dammit!)
Synopsis in 10-words or less.

ie;
'From Nature's highest peaks, to the deepest valleys of its soul' (okay, okay, that's 11. Sue me.)
'The journey IS the destination'
'Mark Twain's mind in modern times. Insight with bite'
-j


message 16: by Neen (new)

Neen I go off word-of-mouth, if people who like similar books as me recommend it or reviewers make it sound interesting and towards my taste.

I also check the recommended by Amazon too, which looks for similar books to ones I have bought or are on my wish lists.

The Listopia on here is also very useful, I just randomly search through the lists and see if anything catches my eye, looks interesting and is something I might want to read.


message 17: by Mark (new)

Mark Laflamme (marklaflamme) Word of mouth is huge, obviously. Makes me wonder how we did it before the Internet. I mean, there's word of mouth in the real world, but it travels much more slowly.


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