Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Trying New Authors

I was just sitting here thinking about what makes a person try a new author. You see, yesterday I went out of town and hit the nearest indie bookstore. Since book buying wasn't the main reason for going, I didn't bother to make a list of books I might be interested in. I just picked up whatever looked good. So, other than a used copy of The Firm, I bought four books by writers I never heard of.

The Deadliest Strain by Jan Coffey
Where There's Fire by Maureen McKade
Last Known Victim by Erica Spindler
Night Caller by John Lutz

There were other books I wanted, but my purchases last week were mainly for enjoyment, so I picked this week's books as market research. (I mean, seriously, The Dresden Files are not a genre I ever plan on writing, although I try to look at every book as research on the craft of writing.) Thus, all of the above are either suspense, thriller or romantic suspense.

Anyway, they got me to thinking about what makes me try a new author. Obviously, the above were picked because they are new (or newer than old) books in the genre I'm currently working in. But what other thing drew me to these books when there were hundreds of others to choose from?

Since the indie only has books shelved with the spine out (to save space), the first thing that had to grab me was the title. Okay, the first thing that drew me to most books was the author's name, but this indie didn't have a lot of names from blogs I hang around, so the title would have to do. (And she didn't have a single Allison Brennan on the shelves this time. Must have sold out, and hasn't restocked.)

If the title was at all grabby, I pulled the book out and looked it over. If the cover wasn't lame, I flipped it over and skimmed the back copy. With the Spindler book, the phrase - The perpetrator, known only as "The Handyman" remains at large. - jumped out at me. Ooo, a serial killer with a nickname. Perfect. With the McKade, what got me was the arson case - which has a vague connection with my book Manhunter. For the Coffey, it was the medical/terrorist plot thing, and how Nano is similar (not much beyond something medical and something terrorist, but close enough to buy the book).

I don't know what drew me to Night Caller by John Lutz. Perhaps it was the cover with its ominous black outline of a man who's obviously getting ready to garrot someone. Maybe it was the backcover hook: Young, Beautiful... and Dead. Could be the whole package got me. *shrug* Whatever way you look at it, it ended up coming home with me.

Different things for different books, but whatever those things were, they got the book into my car and here in my TBR pile.

I know one of the books I picked up last week (Dragon Actually) was an impulse buy based on the title, hot guy on the cover and tasty blurb about a gal having to choose between her lust for a guy and her love for a dragon. I know it's always a crap shoot buying a book that way, and I've been burned before, but I lucked out. That is one HOT book. Actually it's two hot stories in one book, but the stories are about the same world with some of the same characters.

Well, I think I've rambled enough this morning. Your turn: What made you pick up the last few books you bought?



Kristen Painter said...

I haven't bought a book that recently, although I have been reading my way through the Sookie Stackhouse books - but they've all been borrowed from a friend.

Allison Brennan said...

Hi B.E.--

Thanks for looking for my books at the indie. I'm betting they never had it in stock. Most indies don't carry romantic suspense, unless you're huge or in hardcover (think Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, etc.) At the Tattered Cover in Denver, there was one copy of my last trilogy on the shelves -- and I don't think they ever had more than one copy of each title. But most indies don't stock large romance sections, and RS gets kinda orphaned sometimes.

SO if you ask them for my books, maybe they'll stock them! :)

B.E. Sanderson said...

Hi Allison,

I probably should've said, but she's been stocking your books ever since I walked in and told her about you. She usually has at least one of three or four of your titles when I go in there. Just not this time. Walmart, on the other hand, had bunches of Playing Dead on the shelves.