Monday, April 13, 2009

Buying Books

Just two weeks and five days until Fire Me! is released and as each day goes by, I get more excited. This isn't my first book, but it sure feels that way, maybe because I am so invested in the book's characters and plot. Not that I wasn't invested in my other books (I write teen mysteries, too), but Fire Me! was percolating in my mind for quite awhile. Having it come alive on the page and then in print has a dream-come-true quality to it.

Like Beth Cornelison, I am thrilled with my book's cover and have to give a big shout-out to Sourcebooks' art team. This cover has to rank as my all-time favorite of my books, capturing the look and attitude of the heroine, Anne Wyatt, and the dreamy, zany tone of the book itself.

Some early reviews are coming in and I'm pleased as punch about them. Eye on Romance web site says Fire Me's characters and situations are "hilarious" and "inspired," and the book itself "provides a tongue-in-cheek look at the corporate mentality."

A Novel Menagerie says "This fast-paced, humorous book kept me giggling throughout the night..."

I think all authors hold their breath waiting to see what reviewers say, wondering if their books will be panned or praised. I don't mind little dings in reviews and have even nodded my head to ones I think are fair criticisms. I know reading taste is subjective, so I don't expect everyone to like what I like (or write!).

But I do cringe when a reviewer gets something big wrong or gives away a major plot point in the review -- I actually wrote to a reviewer once asking her (politely) take a "spoiler" out of her review of one of my earlier books. She did.

As I wait for other reviews to come in, I was wondering if readers and authors have favorite reviewers--ones whose recommendations are always on the mark for you, personally, as a reader, ones whose tastes overlap yours. And....how often do you buy a book based on a review, or do you buy books based primarily on friends' recommendations?

12 comments:

  1. I absolutely love the premise of this book and can't wait to read it!

    And big shoutout to the art dept for these great covers - I love mine and get so many compliments on them!

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  2. I think the book sound fabulous and can't wait to read it!

    The Casababes covers are all wonderful--I absolutely love mine!

    But to answer your question, I don't buy because of a review, I usually buy because of word-of-mouth or the cover.

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  3. Love the cover!!

    As far as favorite reviewers, have you met Terra from Yankee Romance Reviewers yet? She pretty much rules, and has been a major Casababe supporter:-)

    I don't pay much attention to reviews for stuff I read. Mostly go by either word of mouth or (and this is usually the way it is) I just pick up what tickles my fancy at the bookstore.

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  4. The book sounds fun, Libby, and I'm glad the reviews are making you smile.

    I've never bought a book based on a review--in fact, I never gave them much notice at all until they were talking about my book, along with a few spoilers that pained me, too! I'm with Kendra. I buy what catches my eye at the bookstore and these days I seem to be buying a lot of books written by people I know.

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  5. I'm with you on the covers, Libby! Yours is great, and I've loved all of mine!
    I felt that a couple of reviews of Rogue had some serious spoilers in them, but never really thought I had much control over what was in them. Maybe I should pay more attention to that.
    I will admit that I have never bought a book on the basis of a review. I'm old school, I guess. I browse the bookstore and see what hooks me.

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  6. I can't say I've ever bought a book based on a good review, but certainly, reviews have brought authors to my attention and made me realize a book would be to my taste.

    When it comes to my books, even though they may take exception to this or that, my favorite reviewers demonstrate that they got the heart of my book and were moved by it. When I read such a review, I admit I tear up a bit. :-)

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  7. Is it just me, or is it hard to believe that MAY books are going to be in stores soon? Where has the year gone??

    Anyway, you lovely ladies are soooooo lucky to have a very hard working design team in charge of making gorgeous covers!

    I never really paid much attention to reviews until I started working in PR. Now I feel like I'm a part of such a great book blogging discussion. Many of the reviewers I work with have a similar book taste to mine, so it's great fun. There are too many to list here (and I know I'd forget someone and that is inexcusable), but now that I know many of them and trust their instincts when it comes to books, I remember when I've seen a book reviewed multiple places... But I don't think reviews are what make me ultimately buy a book.

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  8. Hi Libby,

    Your book sounds like it will be a joy to read! And that cover says, "Pick me up!".

    Okay, I'm willing to admit that I'm always affected by reviews. I'm either elated it was so wonderful, thankful that it was okay or screaming bloody murder it was so bad! :-) Yes, I've had some reviews that made me want to scream, but I haven't, not yet! There is always tomorrow. And of course, I preen like a school girl with an A+ on her homework when I have a great review.
    Amelia

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  9. What a great crowd -- thanks for the encouragement!

    You know, I realized I didn't answer my own questions. That is, do I rely on reviewers or friend recommendations when buying books.

    The answer is: both. I usually rely heavily on reviewers when buying nonfiction. We subscribe to the WSJ and I have to say they do some really good book reviews.

    In fact, they do a "Five Best..." round-up on Saturdays with a different theme each week (this past week, it was "Five Best Humorous Southern Books" or something like that.

    I'm discovering some online reviewers and will probably come to rely on them as I become more familiar with their tastes.

    Whew -- I did go on!

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  10. I pre ordered the book so it will show up in my hot little hands when it's out.

    I don't go by reviews. I'll listen to friends who have the same taste as mine, but I still follow my own instincts.

    Good luck with your launch, Libby!

    Linda

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  11. It's fun to read how authors and reviewers interact. And the cover looks great - yes, all the Casablanca covers look great. I do read reviews and they do sort of influence me. I can't buy many books, so if I keep hearing good things about something, and keep seeing it, then eventually I'll feel like I deserve a treat and I'll buy it.

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  12. Reviews is a topic I probably should not tackle right now! I have learned to be understanding, for the most part, to the whole reviewing machine as a necessary evil. How can it not be considered important to sales/success? If it wasn't, our marketing team would not encourage them! I wish it were true that the vast majority of buyers just looked at the cover, read the blurb, and purchased. I just do not think that it so, but how influential reviews are is impossible to know.

    In my opinion too many folks who review - both those doing it 'professionally' or arbitrarily on places like Amazon, etc. - are not out to be helpful or even honest. Obviously that is not true of all of them, but too many IMHO. If not blatantly out to personally wound and negatively affect the author's sales, others don't seriously consider helping the book along either.

    I admit that I never paid much attention to book reviews (movies either), but now that I know how it is done and how these reviewers often approach the matter, I will NEVER pay attention to what anyone says about any book, EVER! My two cents.

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