A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Friday, February 22, 2013

Word of Mouth

First, I want to say—congratulations to all the talented writers who participated in the Round Robin “Her Fatal Valentine!” (dum, dum, dum… that title really needs a sound effect.)

A Round Robin is a kind of improvisation games for writers. Like most improv—when it works, it’s like magic! And when it doesn’t, it’s still darn funny. If you haven’t read it, you are in for a treat. Skip on down the blog to February 4th.  I’ll wait…

Back already?

Don’t you love a good book recommendation?

There have been dire whispers about Barnes & Noble in the news again. In my local shopping center, what used to be the Borders has just re-opened as a (shudder) Sports Authority.

There are still several independent bookstores near me, thank goodness. But I’ve been thinking about how I used to find books in the old days. (Loitering in the Borders for hours.) Versus how I find things today, partly because I read a quote recently that said, “how we discover books is broken.”

I’m not sure if it’s broken—but it’s definitely gone old school.

Word of mouth seems to be the way I find new books. Recommendations from friends. Book sellers I trust. 

Groups with similar tastes can be helpful, unless they get very big. Goodreads was recently profiled in the NYT—let the marketing begin! That place is going to get even crazier in the next few months. Shelfari seems to be under the radar for now but I fear the coming boom. Smaller communities seem to be a more reliable source for me.

I first heard about “50 Shades” on one of my favorite author’s Facebook pages, back when it was still available online for free. She regularly asks her facebook fans to post “what are you reading?” A hundred people may respond. I’ll skim the answers for books I don’t recognize.

Another trick I have is to cast a wide net. I’m sure you’ve seen the best-of-lists that come of at the end of the year. Or the lists of award winners for mysteries, fiction, romance, science fiction. But I rarely grab the winners first. I search for all the nominees/also rans/next outs. Many of my favorite books are the ones that didn’t win—because they were a little too quirky, or the author too new to generate enough votes.

Now that I can’t sit in the Borders for hours, I need help. I need new ways to find books. (And don’t say: “Amazon Recommended for You.” Geez. Where do they come up with some of those? )

I’ve shared a couple of my favorite tricks. How do you all find new books to read?


Shirley Wells said...

Agree wholeheartedly re the Round Robin. A hugely talented bunch of authors pulled it off brilliantly. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I buy most of my books via word of mouth. My sister (ex-librarian) reads several books a week and I get recommendations from her. As I don't have as much time to read as her, that keeps my Kindle well stocked. As for the Amazon recommends - enough said. :)

Marcelle Dubé said...

I live in a small town with one independent bookstore, one chain bookstore (Coles) and one used bookstore. I troll them all. I also exchange books with my boss. We have a bit of a book exchange at work where anyone can bring in books and leave them in the lunch room. I've come across some new authors that I quite like that way.

Anonymous said...

I generally find new books from word of mouth. I've got some on my 'to buy' list that have stuck out for some reason when I'm skimming review blogs... mostly for me, though, the problem is finding the money to buy all the interesting-looking books, so I've fallen back on the same method I used as a teenager: using my local libraries. My closest library is 9 miles away and is smaller than my house, but I can always find at least one book that catches my interest - and it's a great way of challenging yourself to read outside your usual comfort-zone because, hey, nothing to pay! If I stop in on my way home from work, it doesn't even cost me in fuel!

Wynter Daniels said...

The Round Robin was terrific! I was so impressed. I am lucky enough to belong to a book group in which we have several ladies who keep up with reviews and always recommend great books. Another way I kept up last year was with a book-a-day calendar. Here's one for 2013 -

J Wachowski said...

@Shirley. So...does your sister hire out? :)

@Marcelle. I like the exchange idea. Have you heard of the free-book movement? People leave books on the bus and subway for other people to take as they please. Isn't that fun?

@sandra. Another good old-school source! In our town, we can even request books from other libraries via inter-library loan. So my small library is bigger than it looks!

@ Wynter. Great tip! Book a day is something I haven't tried.

Thanks guys...that was fun!

Rita said...

I'm afraid I'm not much help here. I go by word of mouth. Hangs head in shame now but, it's difficult for me to try new authors. So if someone I know says this is a good but I take their word for it and try it. I read the blurb and also take advantage of the first pages free read. If it doesn't snagged me in the first pages I don't bother.

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