This week I've had some wild posts on my blog about radical publishing ideas. In one of the discussions someone raised a point that set me thinking about something.

I think most people here will find their referrals the same way others do, so it may be a moot point to ask, but I'll ask these questions anyway.

When, if ever, was the last time you just wandered through the bookstore, pulled a book off the shelf, read the back cover (or first page if that's your thing) and took it home and fell in love with an author?

That was how I was converted to crime fiction. I'd learned my lesson about six years ago now, about those nasty end-cap displays because I tried some stuff from them and it was crap. (I know this is highly subjective and not always the case, but at the time I knew nothing about the publishing business.) I actually went to -gasp!-the mystery section and started pulling down books.

That was how I discovered Rankin. No ads. No end-caps. No reviews. No idea who he was and didn't really care (then) - but I loved the book and bought all his stuff.

Do any of you guys still do that? Sometimes I do...

When was the last time you fell in love with a new-to-you author and how did it happen?

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I do that all the time Sandra. I just wander from A-Z pulling out titles which appeal, or because I like the look of the cover, or because I've never heard of the author...or just at random. Then I read the back cover, and possibly the first paragraph. And it's a GREAT feeling to discover a new to me author that way.

When I was in Houston after Bouchercon last year I just wnet round Murder By The Book and picked books off the shelves - some were authors I knew, some weren't. I picked up maybe 60 books - I haven't read them all yet :o) But I'm sure there are going to be some real gems in amongst the ones I don't know. I found Nick Stone's MR CLARINET that way, and Arnaldur Indridason's JAR CITY and Mark Haskell Smith's MOIST when they had all just come out.
See, I haven't even heard of MOIST. Andridason and Nick Stone are on the tbr list, but those do come through referrals off lists. I think my last truly random purchase was John McFetridge's DIRTY SWEET, which was one of my favourites of 2006.
I do that all of the time, too. Part of the problem is that I'll go in for a specific book. I'll get in there, get distracted by the covers, the lure of all those stories whispering... and I'll start randomly picking up books. (I do usually remember the one I went in for.) My husband refers to the bookstore as the fifty-dollar-store because I can't go in without coming back out with two or three (or more) books. Every year, birthday and Christmas, all I ask for is book store certificates. My family thinks it's boring, but I think it's heaven.
Evil Kev's become such an avid reader, I'm lucky. Last weekend he was buying David Goodis and Ed McBain. Well, their books, not them. Now he comes into my office and says, "I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but you really should read XXX."
This is me to a tee, Toni. Love the way you put this, but I love being in bookstores and especially without a plan.
I do it all the time. I have a thing for first time authors and go looking for them in bookstores, but I have to hunt them generally since I have no advance articles to guide me--just the bookjackets.

Marcia Preston is a local author but now writes for MIRA (mysteries and women's fiction) but I discovered her in a library. I now buy anything she writes. Stuart Harrison whose first book was The Snow Falcon, I found his discounted hard cover on a sale table and have been reading him ever since. Those are two that come to mind.

Developing that trust in their future material does not come easy, but both the above authors touched me immediately and they haven't disappointed me yet.
Stuart MacBride is one I took a gamble on. I saw the book at Harrogate. I'd seen it mentioned on one forum, but with no details and not by someone I necessarily trusted referrals from. I picked it up, took a look, and decided to buy it.

Of course, there's a whole sordid story that follows, because Stuart was there that weekend and I met him and then ended up interviewing him, but that book had me from the beginning. I have every confidence in him because I know him to be an amazing writer, an incredible editor and a damn fine person. When he isn't researching bondage and playing with whips and chains, that is.
If we are talking about books/authors that I had NEVER heard of and just bought basically on a whim then two come to mind. One of them I bought yesterday.

Smoked by Patrick Quinlan
Music of Razors by Cameron Rogers (Fantasy)

They sounded cool so I bought them.
You can also talk about new authors you've fallen in love with and how you've discovered them. It really is your fault I started this topic Brian!
Cameron's a friend of mine who lives in Melbourne. I've got the original version of that book, but I believe you would have the newer, expanded version. I'd say you're in for a treat. :)
I'm digging it so far. I'm at the point where Dorian just gave his daughter the ballerina.

The beginning has been slow but in good way. You can tell that the foundation is getting laid for something really good.
I was waiting to give a reading at Books & Books, the great independent bookstore in Coral Gables, Florida (and winner of a special Edgar award this year) and I wandered over to a table where I found Suzanne Arruda's MARK OF THE LION. I started reading it to kill time and got so engaged that I had to buy it.


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