As a reader what compels you to read a new author?

September 1, 2008 | Karin's Blog | 19 comments

Is it the book cover? An excerpt? A back cover blurb? Could a blog post sway you? Or how about a free book? If you like it great, you want to read more, but what if you don’t? Do you chuck the book and refuse to never read the author again? Even if her next book gets crazy buzz and is much better?

I know how I’d answer these questions, and sadly, I am not a very forgiving reader. But I have to remember that as I have grown as an author with each book, so then do other authors, and I want readers to give me a second chance, so then I should give the same opportunity to authors I don’t initially flip over. But sometimes, I just can’t…

For me it comes down to trust. I’m a wuss. Don’t get me wrong, I like a gritty, edgy book but I want an HEA. I need one. If there is none then I do not read the book. I don’t read to be depressed or to cry sad tears. Ok, well, sad tears so long as I know there is an HEA.

I need to trust the author not to hurt me or the characters I have come to love. So, no matter how good a story is, if in the end there is no HEA, I will not read the book. It’s why I never watched Titanic. The guy dies! Had I even suspected how Cold Mountain would end, no freakin way would I have put my heart out there on the chopping block.

But oddly, one of my all time fave books is Gone With the Wind. I suppose it’s because I have such confidence in Scarlet. I know Rhett will be back. How could he not? Miss Scarlet always gets what she sets her sites on.

So, back to my original question: What makes you buy a new author? And are you a wuss like me?


and to y’all down there in the Gulf Coast, how are you doing? I’ve been glued to the tele.


  1. Elisabeth Naughton

    Okay, the difference between GWTW and Titanic (IMHO) is that Rhett doesn’t die at the end, he walks away, which leaves the door open for him to come back.

    I actually liked Titanic, a lot. But I think what I liked was the end…after she’s lived her life and died, the last scene is Rose and Jack together again on the Titanic the way it *should* have been from the very start – no class structure, no icebergs, etc. If the writers had left that scene out, I wouldn’t have liked the movie nearly as much as I did.

    I’m with you, Karin. I need an HEA at the end of a book. I’m depressed enough by real life – don’t need it in my fiction. The lack of HEA is one of many reasons I don’t like Nicholas Sparks’ books. I won’t get into the other reasons. 😉

    For me, I generally pick up new authors based off recommendations. Sometimes a really awesome cover will get me to pick up a new author, and then if the cover rocks, I’ll read the back and if *that* sounds good, I may buy. But by and large, I buy new authors based off recommendations from friends and other writers I trust.

  2. LaDonna

    Hey Karin, same here on GWTW. Rhett was made of strong stuff, as was our feisty Scarlet. I love reading new authors, because discovering a unique voice is extremely exciting to me. I did read a new author recently. I received an ARC, and it was totally satisfying; great characterization and HEA. I’m a wuss if I read a new author, and there’s nothing different whether it’s story or voice. I don’t follow trends closely, which can be good and bad.

  3. Holly D

    For authors new to me, the cover, the blurb, or an excerpt could convince me to buy the book.

    There is one author that I read, she publishes several books a year. Some of her books I love, others not so much. My real life is extremely stressful. When I read I expect a happy ending and she doesn’t always give one.

  4. B.E. Sanderson

    I’m with you on the HEA. Whatever else happens, the MC better be getting a HEA or it ticks me off to no end.

    I pick up new authors for lots of reasons. For instance, I found you and you led me to Murder She Writes and all the authors there (All of whom I love, btw.) and The Fog City Divas. Or the other day I read a book by someone I never heard of because the cover looked neat. Sometimes I read books because of buzz – like Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (which I hated). Those are usually the least satisfying. I’ve learned the hard way not to read a book just because it’s got buzz. Give me writers I can respect who write heroic characters and wrap everything up nicely at the end. =o)

  5. Karin

    LaD I read a new author you want to be on the look out for over the weekend, her book comes out in Dec, the title is STOLEN FURY, the author’s name is Elisabeth Naughton. Ever heard of her?

  6. Karin

    Why, hello Elisabeth, were your ears burning????

    Holly, how are things your way? Is the hubster healing? does he get to come home for awhile?

    Beth, I’m so glad you found us! I find that the buzzed books often disappoint me. I think a lot of them are ‘trendy’ and while I like some trendy things books are not one of them. All of that said, I think I am in the dark ages with many trends in television, music and a few other things. I guess I need to get out more often.

  7. Tracy Madison

    Buzz alone is never enough for me to buy a book, but it WILL be enough for me to go to the author’s web site, amazon, etc., and read more about the book. If there’s an excerpt I can read, I do. Then, if I’m still intrigued, I’ll likely buy.

    If I’m roaming a bookstore, on the other hand, it’s either the cover OR the title the grabs me first. Once the book is in my hand, I’ll read the cover copy. If I like that, I’ll crack the book open and read the first couple of paragraphs. All things good–I buy the book.

    But I agree with you. If there isn’t a HEA, I’m annoyed. And usually depressed.

  8. Amie

    I’ve been burned too many times from buying a book based on buzz alone. NEVER AGAIN! I won’t buy anything without at least reading the first few pages.

    That said, I’ll admit I’m a ho–SHiny pretty covers will get me to pick up a book every time (not to say I BUY but picking up is IMPORTANT)

  9. Amie

    PS I don’t have to have an HEA as long as I don’t get hit out of left field with something.

  10. Kendra

    I’ll pick up a new author based on recommendations from people I know that like the same type of books. I’ve learned not to take my neighbor’s suggestions. She likes the ones that rip out your heart, stomp on it a few times, and never patch it back together.

    If a new-to-me author’s first book doesn’t zing me, I won’t buy her again. If an author I regularly read puts out a bad one, I’ll give her another chance. Two or three bad ones in a row and I’m done.

    I watched The Sound of Music with my kids two days ago. I’ve seen it 72 times and enjoy the music and energy, but I’ve always felt let down by the ending. When the movie finished my oldest (10) protested, “What an awful movie! What happens next? Will they die in the mountains? How could they walk away from that house and money?” Bingo. No HEA. Seen by a kid.

    I’ve heard about STOLEN FURY! You were lucky to read it early. I’m making myself wait until I can hold it in published form.

  11. Elisabeth Naughton

    LOL, Karin. The ol’ ears weren’t burning before, but they sure are now!

    Thanks for the plug. December seems so close and yet so far away at the same time. 😉

  12. J. Carson Black

    I gravitate toward crime fiction and thrillers, and I’m picky. It takes a lot for me to read someone new, and I go by recommendations and, yes, book reviews which pique my interest. If I see a writer I think I could learn from (which is really important to me), I might check one of his (or her) books out of the library and see if he (or she) is a writer I could love.

    Recently, three people I know went on and on about C.J. Box’s BLUE HEAVEN. I resisted for months, but finally gave in and got it from the library. I was floored by the book and the author. I felt I had to have that book (so I could write in it, figuring out structure, how he does character, etc.) and so I went to the store and bought the hardcover. I’ll read anything he writes from now on.

  13. Amanda

    I will try new authors sometimes. One, because they deserve a chance and I’m building that karma thing. 🙂 Two, because sometimes more established authors seem to be rewriting the same old stories. I tried a few ‘buzz’ books and I was not impressed. My tastes aren’t middle ground enough to like what everyone else is reading.

  14. Karin

    I know who’s going to be the next first line contest final judge…and she is awesome…one of the best editors in the biz…and i’m not going to tell you until maybe friday…or tomorrow…maybe later tonight…or not…

  15. Edie

    Karin, I was going to read Eli’s book anyway, but now you’re making me really want to read it. Unless a book is something I know I’m going to dislike, I read my friends’ books. And most of them are great writers!

    I gotta say, though, the blurb and excerpts are important. More so than Amazon reviews. I like to make up my own mind. I just read the excerpt for Cynthia Eden’s Midnight Sins. It makes me wish I had it in my hands right now!

  16. LaDonna

    LOL, Karin, yep I’ve heard of that fabulous writer! She’s on my To-buy list. December here I come! 🙂

  17. Poppy

    I try new authors every week. I wander the book aisle at Costco, see a cool cover, if the blurb looks interesting, I’ll put it in my cart, then skim the first page of each one in line. Some get bought, some get left at the counter. I’m less picky at the library, I just grab from what looks good on the new release shelf. A lot of those get returned unread. I can rarely even tell you the title of the book I’m reading, let alone the authors name. Every author’s nightmare. “Hey, I read I book you’d love last week. Title? Dunno, but it was orange and about three girls during the Depression.”

  18. Marcia

    HEA doesn’t make a difference with me. And just for the record, I never liked GWTW or Titanic. Go figure. :shrug: However, I loved Little Women. 🙂

    As for the new-author thing, I rarely run out and buy them. If everyone is all the rave about it, then I might give it a look-see while standing in the book store, but that’s about it. I’ve been burned too many times to count by new authors. The only ones I’ll take a chance with these days are those I know. Like Elisabeth. After all, she “saved the pussy.” 😉

  19. Kath Calarco

    Chiming in late – sorry. That’s what tossing a holiday in does – totally messes up my schedule.

    I’m sucked in by the buzz. Good reviews, a blurb by another author. Also, just plucking it off the “NEW” shelf and flipping to the first paragraph – if it’s well written I’m in.

    HEA’s aren’t requirements – I like to be surprised, but I have to say that when I read Jodi Picoult’s “My Sister’s Keeper” I never read another by her. Great writer, but the ending killed me. Surprise!

    The other thing that gets me to read a new-to-me author is if I already know the author personally. They may write stuff I’d never read otherwise, but if I like them I’ll read their book. Who knows, maybe someday if I’m ever pubbed they’ll read mine. Like Yogi Berra says, “I go to everyone’s funeral so they’ll come to mine.” 😉

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