Recently I had someone request I read their independently published book with the admonition that I should support indie authors. This got me thinking about the books I have on my current TBR list and what goes into choosing a particular book.
How do I choose what to read? First, genre matters. When I go into a bookstore, I will automatically head for the Fantasy/Science Fiction section and begin there. More recently, the YA section will also demand my attention. Though I do enjoy a good romance or a suspense/thriller, I’m far less likely to pick up a random book from one of these genres.
Some of the top reasons I choose a book are:
1. I’ve read the author before and enjoyed his/her books. This is especially true when a series is involved, such as with Tad Williams and Brandon Sanderson. Often when I’ve really enjoyed one book by an author, I want to read everything ever written by that author.
2. I watched the movie that was based on the book. This isn’t a forgone conclusion. There are a number of movies I’ve seen and enjoyed and I’ve never given much thought to reading the book. A case in point: Jurassic Park.
3. The book was recommended to me by someone whose opinion I value and respect. Fellow writers, for example, or other readers who enjoy the same genre as I do. In this manner, I discovered the author Tamora Pierce, as well as a love for the children’s/teen’s section of the library!
4. The book has been the subject of much conversation. This might be a lot of sensational talk like that which has always surrounded the Harry Potter books, or Game of Thrones, driving me to it out of sheer curiosity. It might also be that the author is renowned in literary or genre circles. This would include fantasy/sci-fi greats such as Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov. All those “must-read” greats of classic literature such as Shakespeare, Walt Whitman and the Brontë sisters? Yeah, they’re on my TBR “bucket list” as well.
5. The cover! When I choose to pick up a random book I know nothing about, it is invariably because I was drawn to it by way of amazing cover art. This will usually be enough to get me to pick up the book and read the back cover. If the story premise intrigues me, I very well might purchase the book.
6. Price. If I’m being completely honest, the price of a book makes a huge impact on my decision to purchase it. This is where I’ve really come to appreciate ebooks, as their low prices makes it far less “risky” to experiment with unknown authors.
Since starting this blog and joining Twitter, I’ve encountered a huge network of writers and readers that has exposed me to a vast and unending book selection. I’ve discovered a number of books that appeal to me and I wish I had more time to read. I want to read all the books! But alas, I do not have an unlimited supply of time, and so I have to narrow down the choices somehow.
For you indie authors out there hoping to sell more books, what I’ve found that has ultimately led me to decide to take a chance on a book by an unknown author, is the interaction I’ve seen from that author online. I’ve followed them on Twitter, read their posts, engaged with them on their websites and blogs. In this way I have come to feel as though I know the author, at least on some level. If they’ve engaged my interest in this fashion, I’m far more willing to purchase a book from them. And if I like that one? Well, I’m probably a fan for life at that point.
My current reading list has a remarkable lack of indie authors. Instead it is filled with a lot of popular fiction written by mostly well-known and successful authors. Traditionally published authors. Books written mostly by American authors. And in large part, male authors. This is not an intentional choice, and one I am working to change.
I am trying to include more indie authors in my reading list. I want to read more books by women authors. And I’d very much like to find more authors from outside the American/European experience and tradition.
I’m always open to suggestions for books to add to my TBR list. If you have a favorite, especially if it falls outside the “norm” I’ve mentioned above, please let me know! Include your reason for your choice as well. I want to know why I should read this book over and above all the others demanding my attention.
As always, thank you for reading.