I started thinking about this—how do I come across books? How do I hear about books? What makes me decide to read one book over another one? I was thinking about this because I’m reading two quite different things right now and I wanted to read each of them for different reasons.
Plus, it’s useful to think about this kind of stuff as an indie author. How do I learn about books? How can I parley that into future promotions, if I self-publish again?
Is it genre? Well, yeah–I tend to read mainly historical-based things, whether it’s historical fiction, historical romance or history, so if there’s a kernel of the historic in there, then I’m more likely to be interested. It’s more likely to come up in my Goodreads recommendations.
But then, there are certain areas of history that I’m more drawn to than others and certain periods of time or personalities that I want to learn more about right at that moment in time. And I do read other genres.
Is it the author? Julia Quinn is a historical romance author who makes me laugh, so naturally, her next release is on my to-be-read list. I’ve enjoyed Elizabeth Chadwick’s books, so I have one of her books on the list as well. If I know an author through the Interwebs and I like the sound of the book, I’ll also give the work a read as well.
Is it a recommendation from a friend? Big Magic is on the list because several writing friends have been talking about it recently. When my real life friends talk about things they’ve read recently that they like, I’ll at least take a peek at it. More often, I’m the one pushing books on to my best friends. There’s a reason why my friend Jess is reading the Outlander books.
Is it the result of reviews or author promotion? To be honest, I don’t read reviews, either on Amazon or Goodreads. If I want to read a book because I like the author or I heard about the premise and it interested me or I read a summary somewhere or because I’m really into that subject at the moment, then I’m going to read it and form my own opinion of it regardless of what people on Goodreads say.
If I’m on the fence for whatever reason, then it’ll stay on the to-be-read list for ages. I may read the book eventually, I may not. Do you guys read reviews and does it affect whether or not you’ll read it?
But author promotion? Yeah, sometimes. I heard about Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva on Word Wenches, a blog that I’ve followed for nearly ten years, when the author was interviewed about the book. She had interesting things to say on women and how they’re remembered in history, so it went on the list. Plus, it had genre on its side.
I like reading author interviews and blogs.
Recommendations from Amazon, Twitter, or Goodreads? I’ve added and read books that Goodreads has suggested, so I suppose I can say that I’ve discovered new things that way. Code Name Verity is on my to-be-read list because around the time I queried a manuscript, I noticed a lot of literary agents talking about wanting a historical novel like that one. And sometimes Goodreads gets things right in putting something in front of me that happens to interest me just then. I only look at Amazon to buy books, not to browse through them.
So–how do you find books? Do you read reviews? Does any of the above affect the way you decide to read something? What do you think this says about the way we can reach readers?