I recently got a letter from author Jessica Knoll. I also received one from author Curtis Sittenfield. No, not real, stamped in an envelope real, but rather a generic email sent via Goodreads.
Hope you enjoyed my last book. I just wrote a new one.
Best Selling Author
So, here’s the question: do emails such as this work as a marketing tool? Upon receiving this email, does one get all aflutter and immediately put the tome on their TBR? Or does the email go directly to the symbolic trashcan?
Which brings us to the next question: How do we choose the books that we read?
I am a hands on sort of girl. I love trolling around bookstores- the real brick and mortar ones. I love to walk the aisles, look at the covers, read the blurbs. The blurbs are very important to me- I can usually get a pretty good idea if it’s a book that would interest me, and if it’s the type of book I’m in the mood for. I peruse the staff favorites, the new and notable, the best sellers. I find most of my new reads in this decidedly old fashioned method.
Another way I find new books is the newer age Amazon. I punch in a book that I enjoyed, and I scroll down to the section that shows other books similar in style and/or genre. And then I go back to the blurb method- I read the paragraph summary. I also check the star rating- I like to see a solid “4”. While we’re in this paragraph, let’s chat about the recent headline that Amazon reviews should be further reviewed. How can one trust a review? I try to use common sense: too many 5’s is a red flag that something is a plant. I almost never give out a 5 star review: there are practically no books that I consider perfect. I am also wary of too many 1’s. Really? The book was that bad? I look for books that have the majority of their reviews somewhere in the middle. That seems more reasonable.
So, since many of my blog friends are reviewers, you’re thinking: Does she read reviews. Yes. I do read reviews, BUT I am really careful of the reviewer because I don’t like spoilers. Basically, I want to know if something was good, bad or indifferent- I don’t want to be told the story- I want the story to unfold naturally. But, I am an avid reader of reviews AFTER I have read a book. I love to see what someone thought was important, or interesting, or worthless. I like reviews because I like the discussion aspect of a book (as evidenced by my participation in two book clubs, and being always open to talking about a book)
My yearly reading goal is 50 books, about a book a week. But here’s an odd little fact: I have a relatively short TBR. I think I have about 5 books on my Goodreads TBR, and maybe three or four pages ripped from the NY Times or magazines. If I like a book enough to jot it down, I read it fairly quickly. I get excited when I find a book that interests me, and just want to get on with it. I know this is a departure from the average avid reader.
So, because it’s Friday, and I am not looking forward the weekend because I have family obligations, I am hoping you all make my weekend better by telling me your methods of choosing books.
Do you read marketing emails?
Recommendations from friends?
Throw a dart?
Also: how long is your TBR?