Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Who? What? Why? Finding a New Author

By: Liz Talley

I absolutely love when I find a new author to love…especially when the book I take a chance on is the eighth book the author’s written and there’s backlist to glom. Ah! Best feeling in the world!

Don’t you love when that happens?

You’re here reading about books and authors, so I’m pretty sure I know your answer 
But my question today is how do you find a new author?

Well, writers ask this all the time, right? We’re constantly thinking about HOW IN THE WORLD to get people to take a chance on one of our books. Over the last few years PROMO has been a keyword in every published author’s vocabulary. Publishers want authors on twitter, on FB, blogging, doing special events, etc, all in the attempt to net new readers. Since my first book saw the light of the shelf, I’ve been riding that promo coaster - printing out bookmarks, doing blog tours and trying to be witty on twitter. But a few weeks ago in the midst of how can I get “out there” more, I remembered that I’m a reader, too.
Amazing. 

Yeah. At one time I was a reader who inhaled books at a rapid pace. So how did I find new authors?

First, I browsed at the bookstore or library. It’s much easier to take a chance on a new author at the library for obvious reasons. I gave myself a good half hour to an hour every time I went to the library or bookstore for that reason. Covers were important, but keywords on the back cover blurb were more important. Then it was time for the test – open to middle, read three pages and check quality of writing. Though I do love story, I demand good writing. I like witty, droll, layered, rich writing. Most writers have that in the beginning of the story (I now know why) but sometimes it fails by middle, so if I were dropping coin on a book, I always checked the middle.

Most readers tell writers they try new writers based on recommendation of friends. This sometimes worked for me, but all too often I found my tastes were not the same as friends. My current critique partner justifies this all the time.

ME: I just read the best book! It was blankety blank blank by Ima So Fabulous.
HER: <wrinkled nose>
ME: You read it? Didn’t like it?
HER: Meh
ME: Seriously? You’re crazy!

And then I have to buy her a drink at Starbucks ‘cause I called her crazy and made fun of her reading preferences. So I never buy a book based solely on recommendation.
Sometimes I read about a book on a blog or review and want to check it out for myself. I’ve found plenty of good books this way, but still my top way for finding a new author is through plain ol’ exploration…which is why it’s so sad brick and mortar stores are shutting down (especially the small ones who have enthusiastic owners who love books and know if you like blanketly blank, you’ll also like blinkety blink.) The advent of electronic books, while exciting, also leaves readers confused and navigating millions of books. Makes finding a needle in a haystack seem easier than finding a new author to love in a sea of novels, huh?

So what about you? How do you find new authors and books to love? Any new-to-you authors you wish to share?

About the author:
After finaling in RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart in Regency romance, Liz found a home writing sassy contemporary romance. Her first book starred a spinster librarian – Vegas Two Step – and debuted in June 2010. Since that time, Liz has published ten more books with Harlequin Superromance. Her stories are set in the South where the tea is sweet, the summers are hot and the men are hotter. Liz lives in North Louisiana with her childhood sweetheart, two handsome children and assorted pets. Liz loves doing laundry, paying bills and creating masterful dinners for her family. She also lies in her bio to make herself look like the perfect wife. What she really likes is pretty shoes, lemondrop martinis, fishing off the pier and ignoring the sink full of dirty dishes. You can visit Liz at www.liztalleybooks.com to learn more about the lies she tells herself…and her upcoming books.

You can read more about Liz and her upcoming February release His Forever Girl at www.liztalleybooks.com.

6 comments:

  1. HI Liz,
    I found your books from a blog where you interviewed your editor at Harlequin. I was just starting out on my writer's journey and was trying to gather all the information I could. I'd heard the advice that it was important to read debut authors to find out what editors are looking for in new authors. I bought your book when it came out, even though I might not have picked it up based on the blurb. I'm not a big fan of Vegas, but I really connected to the small town characters and I loved your voice. I've read all your books.

    Lately, most of the books I buy are from authors I've connected with online or in person. But I can't buy every book from every author I follow on Twitter. Even if I had the money, I wouldn't have the time to read them all.

    I do wonder how to find non-author readers. I'll be checking back later today to see what other readers have to say.

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  2. Thanks for popping by and giving me your take, Kristi. First, I'm so glad you found me because it's allowed me to develop a friendship with you...and while that's not usually a goal of authors, it's been a happy side benefit. You've been so generous in telling other about me and giving me support as I started my career. And ideally, that's the best kind of reader. When people ask me who my ideal reader is, it's pretty much you. You buy my books, like them, and tell other people about me. Can't get any better than that. And I'm glad I invited my editor to the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood for the interview. Just goes to show that blogs can work. Thanks again!

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  3. Mostly I follow blogs or Facebook. Oh and goodreads! I've found several good authors from there!
    I have an author to share! It's Melanie Codina . She only has two books out so far but I love her stories!!!
    Kdjohnston73@yahoo.com

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    1. Oh, thanks for sharing, Karen. I'll have to look her up.

      I use Goodreads, but usually to look at my own books and see what readers like or don't like. Some authors don't go there, but I like know if I missed or hit a mark. I have joined a few groups there, but my times is so limited and those groups seem to take a good bit of time in which to participate. Good to know you've found some good authors to read there. It's pretty much what it's for, right? :) Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I always find new authors just by finding a latest book in the series. I do have to go back to the first book just to find out how the series got started or background information about the characters.

    kmccandle(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Kai - I prefer reading first in series, too. But it is nice when you read a book and CAN find more in the series. Thanks for sharing :)

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