16.4.15

How to choose a new book or a new author


small room full of books library
After reading a comment on facebook I was put into a thoughtful mood about how I (and maybe other people) choose a new author to read. I realise we are all different, so I’m really writing about me and what I find, I’d love you to comment if you agree or not though! I am happy to hear other ideas.

I don’t usually go for hyped books, big posters tend to make me shy away, grand advertising campaigns and movie tie ins usually (though not always) turn me off of a book. I don’t read any news papers so review pages there don’t even get a look in.

But I often buy books, I love to read real paper so while I do have a Kobo reader and have various reading apps on my iPad and Android devices, paper wins for me. I like to have signed books too – and you can’t sign a Kobo.

So with that in mind I prefer to browse a book store or a library than the digital world, and I often judge a book by its cover! I found the fabulous Elizabeth is Missing in just such a way, but the reason I was in the book shop at all was because a friend on twitter had suggested I read a specific book.

Finding books for me is based on a few things and while I love to browse a book shop I think I find more ideas via social media than anywhere else. I use Goodreads, a really useful site where people share their thoughts on books (although you do have to watch for spoilers – some people seem clueless in how to write a review without revealing vital plot points! I could write a whole other post on that subject I think) I also use Amazon reviews, where again spoilers can be an issue, coupled with people that use the review section to complain about their delivery driver.

The main issue with these sites is that while they do offer a few ideas they don’t really sell a book to you and so you just see book after book of the sort you already read. To find a really new book or author I prefer twitter. I love to find an author and follow them there, find insights into their daily life and the book writing process, to see a book gradually created and then finally the day of publication.

I will often buy books based on what can only be described as a ‘buy my book’ tweet. Not the awful automated Direct Messages that fakely welcome you for a follow and by the way BUY MY BOOK, but the more friendly and personal sort of tweet that says something like, “I’m so excited, I’m finally a published author I can’t wait for you to read ….” Or “If you like stories about ……. And …… then I think you’d love my book ….” Etc and of course the offer of free books or signed books is great too.

Because the thing about social media is that it’s …well, sociable. An author that chats to his or her fans and new followers alike can rapidly find a group of friendly people not only willing to read a new book, but to actively promote it on social media too, often for free. No one forces you to follow anyone on twitter so an author’s followers are people that are already keen, an almost captive market! And an author that can engage, be witty, be friendly, AND promote their book will have eager buyers and equally important will have people keen to retweet and share.

On twitter I follow several publishers and book sellers that offer regular competitions but also information on new authors. I use Facebook too, but am less active there as it seems more cluttered with games and adverts and weird videos.

So I think the way I really find new books is by suggestions and recommendations on social media (blog links to reviews are my favourite) and by authors who converse with their readers on social media, and by covers that grab my attention when I go down to the book shop to get the books that have been suggested!

Of course we all have favourite authors and buying their new book is a given, but how do you choose new books, new authors?

And authors, does it work? Do you find social media drives sales? Or is it just me?

Stuck for ideas on what to read next? My brother has just published a book...just saying