The Next Best Book Club discussion

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Revive a Dead Thread > How do you choose a new author

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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Honenberger (SarahHonenberger) | 20 comments My second novel was just released, and I'm curious what about an author/novel (not well-known) interests readers? Endorsements on the back cover, first paragraph, discussion questions? Thanks for your feedback. My first novel was nominated for a literary award, the reviews for both have been good. Waltzing Cowboys was a December pick on bookviews.com. Sales are steady but not earth shattering. I'd love to know more about why you choose a book when you don't recognize the author? Thanks.


message 2: by Fiona (Titch) (new)

Fiona (Titch) Hunt (titch) Depends on the style of the book. The genre for me is usually Crime/Thrillers.

Just looked at the book on Amazon and it hasn't any Synposis to let the reader know what the book is about. So I was wondering if you could give us an insight to the book please.


message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Honenberger (SarahHonenberger) | 20 comments Fiona wrote: "Depends on the style of the book. The genre for me is usually Crime/Thrillers.

Just looked at the book on Amazon and it hasn't any Synposis to let the reader know what the book is about. So I w..."


Are you asking about Iran Covenant? The premise is that Iran has weapons of mass destruction and it's aiming them at Israel. The Americans and the world don't believe it's imminent and a select few have to convince the world before the terror descends. The author should post a synopsis, though, or his publisher. I think he's on goodreads so you could send him a message.




message 4: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (hayes13) The first thing I notice, despite the maxim, is the cover. Not so much what is there but how it's organized and if the overall is balanced - color, "movement", what kind of image, font for title. I'm extremely "visual" (and why I prefer books to movies... I get to make my own visuals!) and this sensual input is very important - if the author and/or publisher cared enough to make the outside good, I get an idea about the care put into the "inside"... then I look at the blurbs to see if the genre, story, is what I'm looking for at the moment.


message 5: by Fiona (Titch) (new)

Fiona (Titch) Hunt (titch) Sarah C. wrote: "Fiona wrote: "Depends on the style of the book. The genre for me is usually Crime/Thrillers.

Just looked at the book on Amazon and it hasn't any Synposis to let the reader know what the book is a..."


Your new book is out on Amazon now if thats any help xx



message 6: by dara (new)

dara As far as quotes go, author recommendations help when I recognize the author. This works both ways: if an author I don't like endorses a book on its jacket, it lessens the likelihood I'll pursue it, depending upon other factors. Praise from magazines and newspapers I tend to completely ignore. Cover design is the first thing I notice as well though.


message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda | 887 comments If it's mentioned on GR, then I'll look at a few sites to see what they have to say about the author and read the synopsis. If there seems to be a consensus, I'll give it a try. Discovered Christopher Moore, Jose Saramago, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Carol O'Connell, etc. that way.

If it's a bookstore run, then if the title grabs my attention, I usually read paragraphs in the beginning, middle, and end of a book to see if the writing style appeals to me. If so, then it's off to the cashier counter.


message 8: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 1000 comments When I'm shopping in a bookstore, the title is what usually appeals to me first. If I like the title, I then read the back cover and if that sounds interesting I will consider buying the book either now or later.


message 9: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Ashman (sarahchrissygmailcom) | 15 comments I usually first attracted by the cover/title at the same time. Then, I read the synopsis - if I like the synopsis, cover and title then I'm good to go. however, I also choose new authors by reccomendations or if I happen to know the author personally. my fave author actually used to run my writer's group, so i got interested in her books through that...i probably wouldn't have found out about her otherwise...


message 10: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) The title and bookcover is what first attracts me to take the book of the shelf.

Major turn offs are:

1. Pink, or pastelly shades is a big no no in my book and I will not touch those books with a barge pole. To me it makes me think of light read, brainless romance with no substance worth writing about. So it annoys me when they publish books such as Austen or the Bronte's in such flimsy floosy colours.

2. Photographs of faces on the cover. Photographs of children on the cover. I don't know why, I just find it cheap looking and they're usually flimsy floosy romance novels or woman's books which I don't usually like.

3. If the title is too long. Take 'The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society' How many people here honestly when they think of this book actually think all of that out in their head? When talking about it here, are you going to type that out all the time? I also found the font used on the cover unreadable. Had it not been for Laura and this place I wouldn't have touched it because I couldn't be bothered to read the whole title, even if I could be bothered to read the italicised handwriting style font they used. It's a curious title, but to me not a catchy one. To be honest, I couldn't even be bothered to recommend this book to anyone a) because I can barely remember the title and b) I'm too lazy to say it. Titles should be sharp, short, easily remembered and not a tongue twister.

Anyway, after all that I'll read the synopsis at the back and if that interests me I look inside. Things that put me off inside:

1. When the spaces between the lines are too far apart. I hate that, not sure of the reason for the double spacing maybe it's to fill it out a bit I presume... either way I hate reading books like that.

2. If the font itself is really dark and thick - you know sometimes for some reason the text is really small, but dark and thick? My copy of The Pillars of the Earth is like that and I'm actually dreading reading that in a way because I know it'll hurt my eyes. The text inside should be clear.

I rarely buy a first time author. Not consciously, I guess I'm more likely to notice a book/author whilst randomly browsing if there's more of the author there. Maybe there's some subconscious judgement going on there but I dunno.

Doesn't mean I haven't bought first time authors - though never in h/b because I don't like h/bs not only because they're far too expensive at nigh on £20.

I'd say that endorsements from other authors doesn't really sway me much unless it is an author I really like, but then that wouldn't be the reason I picked the book up or bought it. I'm more likely to read those at home.

On the subject of endorsements it really annoys me when on the back of a book instead of a synopsis all you get are people telling you how fantastic the book is. I don't care how fantastic it is, I want to know what it is about. Endorsements are all very well, but they don't sell a book. And if anything, if I see more endorsements then synopsis then that really really puts me off. I'm not buying a book just because J.K Rowling or Diana Wynne Jones says it is fabulous and they loved it. I don't actually know them as readers, so I don't really care if they liked it or not unless I know what the hell it is about.

I think a good, attractive title that appeals to your audience is key though. I don't like books with pink/pastelly shades, they are obviously marketed at women and for some reason that just bloody irritates me. Why are women associated with pinks and weak colours?

I have bought some books on the cover - not many but some I'd never have picked up had it not been the cover.

The Seventh Gate (The Sephardic Cycle, #4) by Richard Zimler - Richard Zimler I was instantly attracted to that cover - mainly because I really like that style of art. And when I read it ws set in Berlin mid thirties I was even more interested of course, but it was the cover that really attracted me and I felt a compulsion to buy it even before I opened it up.

'Don't judge a book by it's cover' is silly and you can judge a lot. You can judge what kind of book it is going to be, a cover can set the mood. I liked that one because of the art.

The Princess and the Captain by Anne-Laure Bondoux

I bought that one also, purely based on the cover. It was bright and very pretty and I was feeling whimsical at the time. I also think it was her first novel - in England anyway as it is a french author.


message 11: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) I love simple, eye-catching covers and simple, memorable titles. Fiona- it's funny that you mentioned Guernsey because I still get the title wrong, I think of it as the "Guernsey LIBRARY & Potato Peel Pie Society...

Speaking of which, I will not look at a book if it has an "alternate title". For instance: The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World from Parkerization. Either one of those titles would be enough to catch my eye. Both together, too much.

I'm all about simplicity when it comes to what attracts me to a book. If I look at a book and feel that it's screaming "Hey, you! I'm marketed at you! Come buy me! You're why I've been dressed up this way!" I just keep walking. The hot-pink and lime green modern Signet editions of Austen are exactly the type that make me think that.

I don't really shy away from books with pink on them though - only if it feels contrived.

I don't mind endorsements, but they should be in their proper place: the bottom of the back cover, under the book description or inside the book on the first few pages.

I also will not buy a book if there is nothing but the author's picture on the back. (Stephen King excluded.) If there is nothing telling me about the book, I'm not going to potentially waste time or money on it.

Regarding 1st time authors, I don't really have an opinion one way or the other. I let the book speak for itself- if it appeals to me, I will buy it. If it doesn't, then I won't.


message 12: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (sbranson05) | 556 comments Ofmatt wrote: "As far as quotes go, author recommendations help when I recognize the author. This works both ways: if an author I don't like endorses a book on its jacket, it lessens the likelihood I'll pursue it..."

This is a big one for me, too - I always look at endorsements from authors. If an author I love is endorsing the book, I will look at it further. I must say the cover and title are the first things to catch my eye (naturally). Then I read the synopsis and open the book to somewhere in the middle and read a little passage to see if I like the author's style. Maybe this is why I can spend hours in the bookstore!


message 13: by Teresa (new)

Teresa At the begining I am always captured by the cover and then the title. If both look and sound interesting then I decided if it something I want to read based on the synopsis. I never look at the endorsements. It matters very little to me what other authors have to say.


message 14: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (hayes13) I never look at the endorsements.

I always look at endorsements from authors.

Funny, we're split on this issue... I never look, find them distracting, and don't believe that the authors themselves actually said/wrote the words being quoted... what, me cynical!?


message 15: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) Like others cover and the title are the main attraction. Then I go a little deeper and read the synopsis. If this doesn't keep my attention the book will go back on the shelf. If it makes me interested I will flip through the book and usually read the first page. Really the main draw for me is a good story. If I start reading the book and don't like then I will most likely put it down.


message 16: by Ann from S.C. (new)

Ann from S.C. | 1395 comments A new authoe to me? Or a new author, like you Sarah C.? I go by word of mouth, reviews. If I read something that says that a book is a mix between Dean Kootz and James Patterson, I will pick it up. If Lori says read it, I will read it. Hehehehe....


message 17: by Heather (new)

Heather (hsditto) I pick books (by any author) based on the description of what the story is about. If it sounds interesting, I will read the first page or so to determine if I like the style of writing. If so, then I'll read it.

If I'm browsing in a bookstore, covers/titles definitely play a role in whether I pick up a book to peruse or not.

I love finding new authors/books through goodreads. Reading reviews on here is what leads me to check into a book. This has been a wonderful resource for building my TBR list!


message 18: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) I agree with your comments on GR Heather. If I see good reviews regarding an author/book it makes me want to read the book even more. Unfortunately, the side effect is that I will never get through mountain TBR. :-)


message 19: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) I definitely think GR has effect a lot of my reading. So many people all at one time suggesting different books. Books that I've read because of GR (well, TNBBC anyway)

- The Guernsey book
- Prodigal Summer (may or may not have read this as I had read a book by the author and owned another I hadn't got around to reading yet)
- The Divide
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

And TNBBC got me to read Jane Eyre a lot sooner then I probably would have.

And as to the books I've recently acquired and my to-read list it has really tripled. I rarely went into a bookshop knowing what I wanted, I was always a whimsical browser. But now I find myself checking books out I'd never have given a second thought to before coming to this place.

I rely on GR a lot more now also for reviews of books - before if I heard of a book and thought I'd check it out I'd have gone to Amazon (carefully as some idiot always spoils the book there) but now I come here.

So GR is another way in which I choose a new book.

If authors who wish to promote their book on GR, or whatever - get involved in group dicussion and become active - or active-ish members then I will probably also be interested in reading their books.


message 20: by Heather (last edited Jan 09, 2009 07:09AM) (new)

Heather (hsditto) Jackie - I know what you mean about mountain TBR...I seem to be adding more than I am actually reading from that pile! And so it grows...

Fiona - Prior to discovering GR I was like you, a whimsical browser, meandering about looking for something interesting. I cannot believe how much GR has broadened my reading horizons! Walking through a bookstore now, I recognize SO many more author names and book titles. It's a great feeling!


message 21: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 69 comments I think word of mouth is the most powerful tool you can have! I've only been on GR since November and just reading everyone's recommendations or what they are reading is huge! My tbr has grown because of it! Also, I receive a weekly email from my local library on new books they've acquired. The email has a picture of each book and a description, similar to what is written on the inside book cover.


message 22: by Kandice (last edited Jan 09, 2009 03:18PM) (new)

Kandice I defintely read reviews on this website before buying an author I am unfamiliar with now. I used to depend mostly on cover, synopsis, and would ususally open the book at random, read a few paragraphs, hoping for a clue as to style. It's amazing how often you read a spoiler this way! What are the odds?

I agree that author reccomendations are not so swaying to me. Like Hayes, I don't really believe the author in question really said that. If they did, it may have been taken out of context. Same thing with movie review blurbs.

"This author has high aims and strives to offer the next War and Peace, but falls horribly short, in every way except length" can be cit to "The next War and Peace!"


message 23: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 1000 comments I agree with most of you that GR and TNBBC has expanded my reading horizons. Like Heather said, when I am in a bookstore now I recognize many more titles and authors. I always check my friends update feeds to see what they are reading or have marked as to read and I find many great books this way.

It's hard to believe that before GR I did a lot of rereading because of how picky I was when it came to choosing new books. Now it's hard to fathom rereading due to all the unread books I have at home!


message 24: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) I know! I really want to re read HP but can't because I need to read others! And I need to re-read the rest of the Otori series to read the prequel but the rate I'm going I'll need to start the re-read again!


message 25: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 1000 comments I'm so glad my fiance and I read HP out loud to each other. It's pretty sporadic (we've been on the 2nd book since the beginning of December) but it's a nice way to reread the books without compromising too much of my reading time.


message 26: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Kandice wrote: ""This author has high aims and strives to offer the next War and Peace, but falls horribly short, in every way except length" can be cit to "The next War and Peace!""

This made me laugh Kandice! :)


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

I always look at the title and cover of the book.

I don't pay as much attention to the cover art now that I know the author doesn't normally have much say in it.

I also read the synopsis, and I hate it when there isn't a synopsis on the back.

I don't like pictures of real people on the covers either, unless it's an autobiography.




message 28: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melitious) Before I joined GR, I read what other people suggested. I guess, essentially I'm still doing that. Once I joined GR, I browsed the explore pages and started adding things, and now that I've joined groups, I get a lot more ideas. I love looking at other people's bookshelves, too.


message 29: by Sherry (new)

Sherry | 49 comments I usually get my books from the library. First to get perused is the New Book shelves...rarely are they 'face forward', almost all are 'spine' forward. So, for me, the Title has to grab my attention. Then, I'll glance at the front cover design and read the synopsis.
I tend to be a 'moody' reader....what I'm in the mood for that day and depending on what I've just finished. Example: If I've just returned a King or Koontz, I might look into a 'historical fiction'. Or finished with a book from China or Japan, I might want a Romantic book or a 'silly, light' read. You get the idea.
I, also, belong to a couple of book clubs (on-line and 'for real'), and like looking at people's bookshelves (we must be TWINS, Mel!)....after all, there are folks from all over the world at GR and you don't always get the 'low down' on authors from different countries here in the USA (exception is British authors).
Barnes and Noble's website posts current and upcoming publications, that I occasionally look into. Amazon I avoid, unfortunately....its gotten waaay to mixed up with stuff and entirely confusing, for me!


message 30: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) I can't go to someone's house without plundering their bookshelves. *blush* It's an addiction.


message 31: by Kandice (last edited Jan 16, 2009 12:58PM) (new)

Kandice Kind of like looking in the med cabinet? I do the same thing! Book shelves, not med cabinets!


message 32: by Gabby (new)

Gabby R. I rarely pay attention to authors, unless one has really stood out to me in the past. At my library, I walk down the asiles and look at the titles. If there's a title that catches my attention, I read the synopsis or the first chapter. If I read the whole thing and it's amazing, I'll read others by that author.


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