Thursday, February 16, 2012

Readers and books and pies, oh my!

By Barbara Poelle

Thanks for having me back to guest blog! I had suspected that my inane ramblings may have excluded me from further invitation, but Paula has indicated to me that perhaps the rest of you are not quite normal yourselves, so MY PEOPLE!
And hey, how is it FEBRUARY again? It seems like it comes EVERY YEAR or something. Aside from the birthdays of some of the loveliest people, I feel like living through February is like buying a pair of pants for an oyster: funny for a minute, but then OH MY GOD why is it so cold?!?!!?
The ONLY thing I look forward to in February are the weekend days where it is too cold to make plans with friends so I HAVE to stay inside and read all day. Please, who are we kidding, I don't care much for "activities" or "others" so I am THRILLED to stay in and read anytime. However, there is something about it being bitterly cold outside, but warm with a book inside, that really makes me feel like I am getting away with something, like that time I bought a pair of pants for an oyster. Aaaaand with the Edgar nominees  out (gestures WILDLY to the Mary Higgins Clark Award Nominees where Tracy Kiely's Murder Most Persuasive is nominated) I can have a new reading list to work from. THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X by Keigo Higashino was stupendous,  so I feel like that might have me pinned down for best book. And come on, you HAVE to backflip for Steve Ulfelder's Purgatory Chasm, and the rest is just a grab bag of delicious reading. And I like having a list to systematically work through, like a big neon arrow saying YOU WILL LIKE THESE.
Which wait, totally brings me to a new point. Is it me, or do people still go mainly off of word of mouth when they are looking for a new book to read ? If I had a personal pie chart, or wait, I want a personal pie. Okay, I want to eat a razzleberry pie while I talk about this pie chart. Yes, razzleberry is a real pie option although I think it has cartoon ingredients and, like, 4000 calories. Anyway, get me a spoon. Okay. So pie chart while eating pie of how I hear about books:




Holy CRAP! I just MADE A PIE CHART! Is this something that people know how to do!?!?! I think I might be some kind of GENIUS!
Although now my keyboard is covered in sticky pie filling.
Here's the thing, even with the influx of ebook retailers and their helpful suggestions, I am still an old fashioned kind of gal as far as purchasing new titles. I want someone to tell me they loved it first, and that someone is usually a reader, NOT a blurb from another author. I also still loooove to wander through Hudson Books, or Barnes and Noble and just scoop up 4 or 5 titles that speak to me through the cover art and back copy. Taking those kinds of chances led me to books like FALL ON YOUR KNEES (Ann-Marie MacDonald) and THE DEVIL'S TEETH (Susan Casey).
I would LOVE to hear from you on the way you discover new readers. Oh! Let's do this: You tweet me that you have made a comment in the comments section here (and throw the link of the blog in the tweet) about how you find new authors and books and I will read all of the comments and then I will pick several to win fun new books! Wait, does that need to be another slice of pie up there? The agent giveaway slice of pie. Mmmmmm, pie.
Anyway, tweet me at @Bpoelle after you comment below so I can find you again for the drawing.
Can't wait to hear from you!

20 comments:

Paula Matter said...

Welcome back, Barbara!

Word of mouth is definitely one way I decide what books to buy. I also buy from writers I've met and liked. Keyword: liked.

Blurbs don't do anything for me. I rarely need to have a retailer suggest a title 'cause I go in knowing what I want. I do love browsing though, and have found new writers that way, too.

wv: manu eseesse Manuscript easy?
hahahhahahhahahahahhahaha

C.L. Phillips said...

Barbara,

Word of mouth? Not me, no, no. I am seduced by cover images and the Kindle sample. :))

Now,back to the blog post to read the instructions on this tweeting thing...:)

Nancy Martin said...

One thing I find very disappointing about Amazon is how difficult they make the browsing process. I thought they'd have worked out a few new ideas by now. These days, my local B&N is mostly a showroom for the Nook, so it's hard to wander around to find something good. (For me, that usually means something off the beaten path---er, different from the bestseller list.) So, like Paula, it's word of mouth for me---although that extends to listserves. And newsletters, such as the one that comes from Mystery Lovers Bookshop.

I'll come back, because I want to hear what people have to say on this subject!

Annette said...

Welcome back, Barbara!

I have basically three ways of finding new stuff to read. Word of mouth is the big one. I also get recommendations from Richard and Mary Alice of Mystery Lovers Bookshop. And I've been known to buy a book from an author I've met and like even if I don't think I'll ever read the book.

Edith Maxwell said...

I often find new authors or books by reading guest posts on blogs like this one! Or Jungle Red Writers or the several others I frequent. Otherwise, word of mouth, or maybe a story on NPR.

Mary Sutton said...

I think I'm mostly "word of mouth." I talk to someone I know, who I like and who knows what I like, and that person says, "Hey, I just read this great book - you should check it out!"

Award-nominations rarely sway me. Don't tell me who *thinks* your book is great.

I've done the "wander around and be seduced by cover art" thing. I won't say more because I'll be guest-blogging here on that topic next Friday (2/24). :)

Pamela Toler said...

Word of mouth remains my main source, though some of those mouths are now virtual. I love to browse, both at my local independent bookstore (go Seminary Coop!) and at the public library. Reviews pique my interest on occasion. (I lean more toward Shelf Awareness than the NYT.) Blurbs sometimes put me off but seldom influence me to buy.

Laurie Dennison said...

I love your pie, Barbara!

In the old days I was a big believer in chance and browsing. I found Anita Shreve’s The Last Time They Met that way and became a devoted reader of all her books. Now I find books almost exclusively through word of mouth, thanks to twitter and the blogging world. A recommendation from an author I respect also goes a long way with me.

Heidi Noroozy said...

Word of mouth works for me too, but lately I've been finding great book recommendations on twitter. Or is that the same thing? Hmmm, I'm buy books based on the advice of perfect strangers. Might have to rethink this approach. Except that I found an absolute gem there recently...

Robert K. Lewis said...

I usually go off of writer interviews. I write dark, gritty thrillers, so also read interviews with authors that do that same. If they rec a book, I'm all over it. However, that aside, if I'm at a bar and someone stumbles over to me with a dog-eared book in their hand and say, "Man! Yoush haf to red dish navel! Ish ashoom!", then I'll for sure read it. That's how I discovered Ed McBain anyway.

Matt Sinclair said...

New books: Word of mouth, randomly discovered reviews, and what's free on Kindle. But if we're including not-so-new publications, I find books abandoned on tables, stacked at garage sales, and tucked into shelves in my attic. And friends who know I love reading pass things along.

Feaky Snucker said...

Well, I'm a librarian, so my new reads come from a few ways. 1A) Direct word of mouth - patrons suggest books to me. B) I see a number of patrons take the same book, and if it's by an author I haven't read, I get curious and give them a try. 2)Most of what librarians do is reshelving. I'll be putting a book back and think, 'hey! This looks good, I'm going to take it out so the other thirty library books I have at home have another friend!'

Anita said...

I'm a newspaper book columnist, so I have hundreds of books sent to me every year from publicists, agents, authors, etc., (I read the ebooks first, because it's just easier) and I usually find about five/year that I love from that pile. I also have my column readers email me suggestions...when the readers do NOT personally know the authors, I get about 90% success from those books. And then there's Janet Reid's blog. She regularly recommends books that aren't even her clients' books (I think that's cool) and she has had an outstanding success rate with me. And I also randomly grab books off library shelves. Oh, and, yeah, I enter contests on blogs (like this one) and have NEVER won. Sometimes I just enter the contests to point that fact out. It's kind of a thing with me. The End.

JJ said...

I buy a lot via word of mouth but Shelf Awareness' maven Marilyn Dahl has depleted my book budget more times than I can count. She consistently finds and recommends gems, unusual books, beautifully written, that I'd never find otherwise. And I really appreciate that!

NL Gassert said...

I increasingly rely on review sites I trust. And Kindle samples. I love Kindle samples. I like reading off the beaten path and samples are the next best thing to actually finding the book in a store and thumbing through it. I think we only have one bookstore left in the area and it’s a HUGE Barnes & Noble, which has tons of bestsellers, but rarely carries what I enjoy :-/

Janet Reid said...

Word of mouth for sure. Also, I read award-nominated books a lot. And I read books recommended by Marilyn Dahl that Title Temptress on Shelf-Awareness. When she goes on holiday, my book purchases plummet.

Pam Harris said...

I find new authors through the power of Twitter. If someone congratulates someone on a new book deal, I'll check out the synopsis of the novel. If I'm intrigued, then I countdown the days until I can actually get it in my hands. :)

Julie Long said...

Word of mouth is neck-and-neck with browsing. That might be in an airport bookshop or in the pages of a magazine (I like O Magazine's Reading Room).

I must confess that as a consumer, I'm a sucker for packaging. The cover art counts. If you gave me a list of must-reads, it just wouldn't come alive without the visual.

As for blurbs, I can't stand it when the entire back cover is everyone saying how fabulous the book is but no one has bothered to tell me what the story is about! ARGH!

NL Gassert said...

Julie, I’m with you on the blurbs not leaving room for a synopsis. Hate that. I really don’t care what other writers think. The synopsis is what sells the book to me. I rarely look at the cover.

Patg said...

I don't browse bookstores anymore, too often they just have new books and I'm not much for salivating for 'the latest new one'. I never read blurbs, I figure they are in books to use up blank pages.
I guess I do word of mouth, because someone is always telling me about some great series they've found. I may or may not like their suggestion, but those 'other suggestions' listed on Amazon has a way of sending me off on a 'wild ride' of finding other books. Well, that's how my wish list gets full anyway.
Patg