View Full Version : How do you select a new author to read?

09-13-2004, 10:14 PM
Most of us when selecting a new fiction book to read look for our favorite authors, whether Dan Brown, Sandra Brown or Stephen King. But how do you select a new novel to read?

Do you select by the type (genre, romance, mystery, thriller, etc.,) of book first? Does the title intrigue you? Does the cover attract you? Do you read the endorsements and/or reviews? Do you read the first few pages? Does the back cover synopsis draw you in? Do you look at the bestseller lists? Talk with the bookstore clerk?

If you're looking for a fiction book outside of your favorite authors how do you decide which one to read?

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Jules Hall
09-13-2004, 11:07 PM
I'll pick up books by authors I don't know from second-hand bookshops; I only generally buy a new book from authors I've read before.

Essentially, whenever I run out of books, I'll take a trip around my local bookshops, and buy up most of what they have in the genres I prefer (SF and fantasy) and which isn't something I've already dismissed. Then, if I find an author I like, I'll start seeking out their other books, buying them new if necessary.

Other than this, I buy books on recommendations. For instance, I have never seen a Heinlein book in any of the second hand shops I frequent, but a lot of people seemed to have high opinions of his work, so I bought a copy of Stranger in a Strange Land new. (I had to order it. I get the feeling that my local bookshops don't like SF very much.)

XThe NavigatorX
09-14-2004, 12:06 AM
I generally buy from browsing bookstore shelves and from reading the jacket copy and the first two pages or so.

If I get from Amazon, it's almost always from an author I already know. :D

aka eraser
09-14-2004, 12:07 AM
I shop by genre first and these days (and for quite some time) that's been nearly-exclusively fantasy.

If I spot an interesting book by someone I'm not familiar with I check the jacket and inside for reviews first. If all the reviews are from other writers I've also never heard of I usually put it back.

If they're from known entities and the book's premise is intriguing, I'll buy it. Especially if it's fat (I like good BIG books). The poverty line is still a stretch for me most months so I like to get a good bang for my buck.

Which is also why I haunt used bookstores. There I'll broaden my scope a bit and might pick up a couple of books outside the fantasy genre, usually either SF or mystery.

09-14-2004, 01:24 AM
I go to Amazon and find a book I've already read, then see what books others have bought as well as that one.

09-14-2004, 02:25 AM
I pick a genre, then I look for appealling titles and read the blurb for a promising plot.

09-14-2004, 03:17 AM
I almost never buy books based on cover, blurbs, or flap copy. I rely on word of mouth, reviews, author interviews and such. If I'm looking for something in a particular genre, I have been known to quite randomly pick a book from the shelf and buy it without so much as reading the title.

Yeah, got burned on that once or twice, I have to say.:shrug

09-14-2004, 03:38 AM
Reviews and "meeting" them online.

James D Macdonald
09-14-2004, 04:09 AM
I'll tell you how most readers do it:

They go to the bookstore looking for something "new."

They go to their usual section, and pick a book by someone they've never read who has a dozen titles there on the shelf.

09-14-2004, 04:17 AM
I go by genre first, cover art and back cover(inside flap, wherever the blurb is)...usually in used(that secondhand is oft a misnomer, those books have usually seen many hands LOL) bookstores.


09-14-2004, 04:57 AM
Genre, cover/title, blurb, first page.

For the most part, I only buy fiction I've read already (library, friend, etc.), and foresee wanting to read repeatedly.

Conversely, my husband buys all his fiction (both new and used), then trades in what he doesn't want to keep. He also subscribes to Baen (?) ebooks.

09-14-2004, 07:04 AM
I pick the genre I am in the mood to read. I then read the cover blurb. Then I look at the cover art, if I don't like the way the artist has depicted the cover, I tend to not buy the book.

This makes life bad when they do reprints of books and they change the cover art. I hate that. I never like the 're-do' as much as I like the original artwork, it is part of why I bought the book in the first place.

09-14-2004, 07:24 AM
I read chicken entrails, and they tell me which new books to check out.

09-14-2004, 09:00 AM
Do chicken entrails give better results than tea leaves do?

09-14-2004, 10:59 AM
I do listen to friends, I do look at the bestseller lists, but more often than not I go to the library. It's a great place. For a fifty cent card once a year, I can get all the books I want. How on earth can you beat a deal like that?

Best part is that you can't go wrong. If you don't like a new writer, you haven't lost any money. Just take the book back and get another one.

Tish Davidson
09-14-2004, 11:51 AM
I'm a library reader, too, and the card at mine doesn't even cost 50 cents (unless you lose it and then it costs $1 to replace). I often find when I am looking for an author I know, I am seduced by an unfamiliar author on the shelf nearby, and borrowing it from the library is a cheap first date. My husband collects SF, mainly old magazines, but also older books and he as somewhere between 6,000 and 7,000, so I rarely buy books, as he has already cornered all the bookshelves and even converted one closet into a book closet.

09-14-2004, 12:49 PM
Do chicken entrails give better results than tea leaves do?

Most of the time. They're just messier.

09-14-2004, 06:42 PM
Another advantage of a library is that many have their card catalogue online. Ours does. I can check by genre, by author's name, by title, or by new books. I can even reserve books online.

By the time I actually make the trip to the library, I have a long list of potential checkouts in hand.

But browsing in the library is also fun. I found a nonfiction writer I love just by walking thourgh the stacks. His name is Noel Perrin, and the first book I saw of his was called "First person Rural." After that I found "Second Person Rural," Third Person Rual," and Fourth Person Rural." How can a writer resist titles like that, even if they are about a college professor who takes up farming?

pina la nina
09-14-2004, 10:01 PM
I'm addicted to the NY Times Book Review and keep a running list of things I'd like to read that were well reviewed there.

09-14-2004, 10:58 PM
At a Borders I once frequented pretty regularly, there was a great rack of first and second novels. This rack constantly rotated every week or two to include some new books. These were mostly literary novels by unknowns, but I would scan the covers and premise for a good read.

most of what i read now is through recommendation. i occasionally pick up a novel with a great review, but I often pass on reviews unless I trust the reviewer.

There's too much to read and so little time, so I usually scrounge for things.

Also, I hit the local Goodwills for cheap pulp that you can't find on shelves anymore.