What influences your reading?  How do you decide which books to buy and which to borrow from the library?  What makes you want to buy or borrow a book?  Does advertising matter?  Reviews?  Where do you find reviews?  What makes you want to run out and buy a copy? 

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It goes without saying that author reputation goes a long way in selling a book. For instance, I know never to buy anything by Dan Brown.

In Britain the sheer cultural impact of J G. Ballard's Crash has been absolutely phenomenal.

So I bought that with high expectations. However, as a piece of writing I honestly think it's over-rated.

I bought the lesser known book Joe Gould's Secret by Joseph Mitchell on a whim whilst browsing a book shop. And that now ranks amongst my favourite works.

There's no real telling. For me, it's hit or miss.
I follow a couple of reviewers that I know share similar likes / dislikes to me and I look for recommendations from members of my favourite online book clubs. Often I get "cold-sent" books for review that probably wouldn't have been ones that I would pick up in a book shop in a pink fit but they are often ones I'm really pleased to read - often, of course, they aren't.

I do look around physical bookshops when I get a chance, but rarely pay any attention to displays or positioning of books etc - mostly I'm looking for author names or book titles that ring a bell.
I love my library but I do not go there hoping they have new books for me. I have stumbled arcoss a couple of new authors lately. I have found them all on-line. I follow a couple of blogs that review books. One of those blogs has lead me to GoodReads. I would make sure that my book was on GoodReads. Another new author I stumbled across a You Tube ad (but it was more a synopsis) and I was hooked. The blogs that review books all have a following and if your book is mentioned on them it could go viral.

What is the title of your book?
Actually, advertising matters little to me. I go to the bookstore and locate the mystery/thriller section and peruse the shelves. If a book catches my eye, usually based on the title, I'll pick it up and read a few pages at random. Not the opening. Then I decide to put it back or buy it.

It is very subjective as to what makes an eye catching title, on the order of someone loving salmon but hating tilapia. Recent choices were Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson and North of Havana by Randy Wayne White.

Recommendations help as well, that's how I discovered Tom Schreck and Tim Dorsey.
Seems like most of us go with what we know. If I like an author once, I automatically keep an eye open for another by him/her when I'm browsing. One of my favorite genres is mysteries, so I'm more likely to try a new author in that genre. A friend's recommendation may influence me, especially if I know their tastes are similar to mine.

When I try a new author it's often because I keep hearing their name or the name of their book. This is what marketing communications is all about. One "touch" is often not enough. It's the cumulative effect that brings results.

When I go to hear an author speak about a topic that interests me, I'm more likely to buy their book if I enjoyed their presentation. They've built some credibility and some connection with me. This is why platforms are so important to writers today. Platforms are marketing communication strategies that build credibility and connection. When they reach a critical point and there's a book available--sales occur!
Mood, opportunity, accidental discovery, reviews, recommendations...you name it. I love discovering new authors every bit as much as the latest book by my favourite writers (who themselves can occasionally disappoint). Living in Bulgaria, English books are not accessible, and shipped items never arrive - postal worker theft, customs? Who knows? Anyhow, brought a good stock with me, read some stuff electronically - and always keep suitcase space free to fill up with books whenever I return to Scotland for a holiday.
I'm like many many book buyers, and it's bad news for all of us. I only have time to read the four or five big name authors I already love. Advertising means nothing.
If I already know and like an author, then I usually want to read everything by that author. Of course I'll try books recommended by friends or others who read similar kinds of books. Since I'm a reader rather than a writer of mysteries, I don't try to "keep up" with new books or trends, but there's a website called "Stop You're Killing Me" which has been helpful in finding new books and authors. They give mini-reviews, "awards,
and they list authors and books that have received awards.
I usually get mysteries from the library, especially when it's an author I have not read before---I have always made an exception for Ruth Rendell. Hers I buy as soon as a new one comes out because I know I will eventually re-read them. I tend not to trust most reviews, and seldom read them anymore, but the reviewer has to have some credentials---a good newspaper or magazine, not just some blogger who thinks everything is "awesome."

If I pick up a book by chance, say while browsing in the library, I will sometimes decide if I want to read it based on the plot outline, sometimes on blurbs (although you can't really rely on those), and very often by reading the first paragraph. That is a good way to find out right away if the writer can draw you in---can actually write.

This forum, too, is a good place to "discover" new authors, most of whom have websites.

I know the type of book I like, so advertising makes little impression on me, if it's a "mass market" author, or someone whose books I don't care for, it doesn't matter whether this is the "best of the best," and a "must read."

I am reading a lot of books from library.Have formed a mystery reading group in our local library in Wigtown Scotland.I look for books by authors I like and then the librarians make suggestions which are usually spot on

Even if you only borrow books from the library, you can help your favorite authors by asking the library to purchase their books.  I have a second edition of Lead Poisoning out and my second novel, Stress Fractures, is being released today.  Ask for them at your local library!  :-)


Another way to help favorite authors even if you read their books in the library is to post reviews. A few sentences will do, and be honest. The author appreciates you taking the time, and the more reviews there are, the more likely others are to want to read him or her.


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