Thursday, March 27, 2008

Choices, Choices. . .Too Many?

Okay, you've forced me out of sinus infection fog to blog.

You know that sickness my sister had last week while we were in VA? Well, I got it. I've missed 1.5 days of work -- in addition to my vacation days. I've missed 3 Sundays of church in a row from snow, travel, and sickness. I feel like a heathen. Now I'm on antibiotics and praying they take affect soon.

Yesterday, I got this catalog in the mail. Boy is it like putting a kid in a candy store when you hand one of these to a fiction lover. Nice thing is that browsing these pages is also good enlightenment for what I do in my work.

I'm amazed at all the choices there are in fiction these days. The growth in CBA fiction over the 15 years I've been in the market are tremendous.

I look through this catalog and realize there is not nearly enough money or time for me to get all the books I'm sure I would enjoy reading. Then, too, there are plenty of books in here that I couldn't care less about reading just by looking at their covers and descriptions.

So, my question for you is how do you decide what books are worth your investment of time and money to read when there are so many good choices in both CBA and ABA? Do you stick to a favorite author or a favorite genre? What might entice you to try something different?


Janet Spaeth said...

Becky, I'm so sorry you're sick! There seems to be some kind of spring fever--literally!--going around here, too. Chest, throat, nose, and head. Yup, body parts you sort of need to live!

How do I pick my books? I like mysteries, and I like female heroines, and I like cozies (no gore, please!).

I like certain settings, too--midwest or New England are my favorites.

And I confess a certain overwhelming fondness for the "Murder, She Wrote" novels, since I'm--ahem--somewhat addicted to the show. I watched it when it was first being shown, and in reruns, you know, Jessica Fletcher is still quite the main character.

I can't wait to see what others wrote!

Debby Mayne said...

I hope you feel better soon, Becky! There's all kinds of stuff going around.

To answer your question, most of the books I buy are based on genre or favorite authors. I enjoy romances, cozy mysteries, and women's fiction centered around family. And I love Southern settings with a touch of humor! If a friend recommends a new author or series, I'm likely to buy the books because most of my friends know what I like--strong, character-driven stories about ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

Rhonda said...

I confess. I read all over the place but what usually draws my attention are covers. Give me a cover with a funny looking character, such as a blue ogre, or a cover with a mysterious woman following a bookish looking man, or a cowboy with a riffle stuck in his back and I'll pick those book up. Of course, I'll flip them over and read the back blub... if it hints at homestyle romance, humor, or a cozy mystery. I'm hooked and will buy the book. I also have favorite authors that I'll buy because I know the read will be a satisfying one.

Get to feeling better Becky. You know... a cup of mocha, a good book and your favorite blankie are good medicine, too.

Carrie Turansky said...

Sounds like you are really sick! So sorry. Hope you can find a nice cozy spot to rest and read while you wait to get better.
I love the CBD fiction catalogs too. I use them to choose a lot of my books. I often stick with authors I know, but sometimes a good description is enough to interest me and make me buy a new author.
If an author is an ACFW member, I am more likely to take a chance and buy their first book.

Blissful said...

I sympathize. I have a cold right now also. :)

For books, I look at the content -I like the idea that a book might be fast paced, the kind I enjoy reading.

Take care!

Stephanie Reed said...

Today's Ohio weather probably didn't help you feel any better, did it? When is spring??? Hope you feel better.

I'll have to bookmark your page. Now for what I like to read--I like history, so Laura Ingalls Wilder is a favorite. I will read mysteries and I like Camy Tang's and Kristin Billerbeck's books. I like biographes, too. But my very favorite books are books written for kids. I guess that's why I write those kind of books.

You can check out a video trailer for my second book here:

Will any of you be at the Write-On Writer's Conference in Coshocton next month? See you there if so!

Marcia Gruver said...

Got to get in on this one.

I go with my favorite authors first, but I’ll pick up a book in a heartbeat based on a glowing recommendation from a friend or fellow writer—regardless of genre. Then I usually wind up with a new favorite. It’s the reason I’ll read anything by Linda Nichols or Patricia Sprinkle.

That’s why I believe word-of-mouth book promotion is so effective. If I read a really good book I’m very likely to pass on the info.

Get well soon, Becky!

Becky said...

Welcome, Stephanie. I've not heard of that conference, and it sounds like it is rather close to our office.

Myra Johnson said...

Hope you're feeling better soon, Becky!

I totally agree--there aren't enough reading hours in one lifetime to read all the books I know I'd enjoy.

I narrow down the choices, first of all, with a short list of favorite authors whose books always move to the top of the reading stack. Next come recommendations from friends who share similar reading tastes. I also try to keep up with books written by my closest writer friends.

And from time to time I try to work in some classics. Like recently, after watching several of the Jane Austen made-for-TV movies on PBS, I realized I somehow missed out on reading her books. So now I've read one and plan to get to as many of the others as I can.

Pam Hillman said...

So, the crud isn't just limited to my neck of the woods, huh? Hope you get to feeling better soon, Becky.

I pick books by genre, my fav being historical romance. But the cover and the blurb can seal the deal. For instance, I loved the cover on Mary Connealy's Petticoat Ranch, and the blurb made the book sound really interesting...and it was, btw!

A new twist on an old theme always intrigues me.

Recommendations by friends who've enjoyed the same books in the past can cause me to check out a new author or genre.

I'll branch out and read a new genre if I really trust the author and love her voice. Again, (sorry, Mary!) I just have to try some of the Cozy Mysteries because I love Mary's voice.

Being a member of a book club also helps a reader branch out. When I was coordinator of the ACFW Book Club, I read (and enjoyed) several new genres that I wouldn't have otherwise picked up.

Stephanie Reed said...

Thanks for the welcome! A friend invited me to the Coshocton conference. I've never been to any, so I'm a little nervous. Registration is really, really, really reasonable!

Mary Connealy said...

I read almost exclusively by author. Not that I don't try new ones, I do, but I'm one of those people who keeps track of favorite authors and when is their next release, then jump on it when it appears.

I'm also a huge Romantic Suspense fan. I know that but it really hit home when I was thumbing through my stack of Heartsong Mysteries after they came, trying to decide where to start, and I picked Susan Page Davis and Megan Davis's book, Homicide on Blue Heron Lake...why? Because the romance jumped out right away.

It's a sickness I suppose. :)

I also read the HPs every month and now the HPMs. So that keeps me pretty busy.

And I just got Sue Grafton's T is for Trespass from the library, I was on the waiting list. I'm having trouble getting into it, which is weird for me. Usually books hook me hard and I can't get loose. You want to know why I think I've set it aside TWICE now? Kinsey Milhone broke up with Cheney. Seriously. I was so disappointed. Sue has been dragging Kinsey through knotholes for books A - T so far and I guess I always hoped there'd be a happily ever after for her.
With this Dump the First Decent Boyfriend Ever development I sense Grafton's HEA is going to be that Kinsey is self-sufficient and doesn't need a man to be happy.
And that makes me sad.

Again, me and romance, I'm afraid I'm pretty serious about it.

Mary Connealy said...

I hate sinus infections, Becky. Hope you're feeling better.
It's a cold rainy last day of March here. Dreary.

Ausjenny said...

I tend to be all over the place too. I buy basicly only from christian bookstores except some sports books. we dont get alot in the catalogues normally one page.
and i try not to buy unless i am in the city or our local bookshop has something good in. (it has a small section and tend to get the same author over and over) Oh and I an another lady tend to like the same books so its a matter of who gets there first.
But in the city i look for favourite authors. I have to have Gilbert Morris books. but i have discovered lots of new authors. I look at the titles, covers and genre's. I love historical more the western than normally upper class. but i like some modern. often the title or back of the book jumps out at me. I am not a big suspense fan, i like mystery but not to detailed. I also like historical with some history in them.
I do like the heartsong presents books and have bought alot of them. the library was very thankful for them. Sales help and now i see books advertized on blogs and that helps me decide.