Thursday, June 3, 2010

On Finding Books

Ah, the first week in June. It’s a week fraught with confusion and peril. A week designed for strappy shoes and barbecues. A week that doesn’t necessarily loan itself to time spent inside with a book.

Yes, faithful GotYa readers, we succumbed to the temptation of the first week of June and have delayed this month’s book club post.

But don’t fear, we have a substitute post below.


Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought about why and how I choose books by new authors (or, at least, authors I’m not familiar with). Part of this is, indirectly, the fault of Canadian author Catherine McKenzie and her Author Effect* project. Mckenzie started a Facebook Group on the hunch that if enough people got behind a deserving book, they could turn it into a bestseller.

From the group’s page:
I'm calling it the AUTHOR EFFECT, because, well, if I called it the OPRAH EFFECT I'd probably get sued. Every three months or so we (I probably just mean I, but I am open to suggestions!) will pick a book or books that I think should be read by the masses...
Catherine’s been pretty tireless in promoting the venture and each time I see a tweet about the group, I find myself thinking about my own book buying choices and the reasons I select the books I do. Everyone from bookshop owners to the waitresses at my favorite lunchtime spots have speculated on just how much money I spend on books. It’s not quite as massive as most people seem to think, but it’s not uncommon for me to pick up three or four books a month and often at least one of those is a debut or from an author I’ve not read before.

Here are a few of the ways I find them:

My Agent: She’s a walking book catalog. In the eight months I’ve known her, I’ve purchased nine books that she’s mentioned in passing. That breaks down to slightly more than a book a month.

Word of Mouth: There are few people I take book reviews from so when certain people recommend a book, I’ll almost always buy it.

Absolute Write Members: I try to buy books—especially debuts—by other AW members. Two of the best YA/upper MG books I read this fall were both AW debuts as was a great adult UF series debut (Break, The Shifter, and Three Days to Dead). The “What are you reading?” and the “What YA book are you reading RIGHT NOW?” threads on AW are also great ways to pick up new titles.

Twitter: I’m sort of amazed at how wonderful writers are to each other on Twitter. The latest trend of awesomeness is the Twitter book party which look a little like this: Twitter Book Party! BOOK TITLE| @awesomeauthorname | YA | @HarperTeen | #bookbday

Book Blogs
: I’m not going to name a specific blog because I’m scared I’ll leave someone out and, to be honest, this something I’m just finally starting to explore in all its awesomeness.

And over to you:

How do you find new books? Any favorite book blogs we should be watching? Are you secretly squirreling away ideas to someday market your own book through blogs and social networks?

* Disclaimer Author Effect is not a YA site and Catherine McKenzie is not a YA author. We’re not genre snobs when we see an interesting idea ;)


Jessie said...

I find my books through twitter, Amazon's recommendations, sometimes reviews, or suggestions from friends.
I must confess, sometimes the cover totally sells me regardless of what anyone else says.

Kaitlin Ward said...

I find most of my books through suggestion or word of mouth or internet buzz, it seems. I also definitely pay attention to AW authors. Are they a friend? Are they nice to people? Does their book look like something I have the tiniest scrap of a likelihood to enjoy? Then I'm so there. Not sure I would've noticed The Shifter anywhere if Janice Hardy weren't an AW member, but it's one of my favorite books. Same with Evernight, by Claudia Gray. And I've read many others I also enjoyed.
I think authors having a presence online--twitter, blogs, AW--and being a nice, or at least not UNnice, person (can't emphasize that enough. I've been turned off by authors who are too abrasive for me) really helps a lot. It makes me more enticed to buy their book, because I feel like I know at least something about them.

Holly Dodson said...

I've taken recommendations from Agent blogs, Twitter, word of mouth, you name it.

I also will, on occasion, wander into the bookstore with only a few qualifications (ie, 2010 debut YA author) and see what I come out with.

It's an adventure!

Annie McElfresh said...

I have THE BEST public libaray. It's almost taking a trip to B&N when I check out the new release section.

Kate Hart said...

Goodreads. Love seeing what other people have read or marked to read.

Krista Ashe said...

Damn, I wanted to be an yes, word of mouth from my friends is very important...not just hyped books by pubs, but by my friends and all. Sometimes my students suggest great books, and some have even brought in books for me to read before. But yeah, Twitter, Goodreads, AW...they're fabulous!!

Of course, there is nothing like stumbling onto a great book and then being the one to shout it's utter awesomeness from the rooftops! LOL

Great post!

Debra Driza said...

YES! I totally rely on twitter for books, as well as book bloggers, and mainly--word of mouth from other YA writers.

Great post! :)