How You Pick a Book

As I’m nearing the point of having a completed first draft for The Other Side of Hope, I’m also nearing the point of having to decide what the heck I’m going to do with this thing when it’s done. Of course, there’s still a long road of beta readers, and editing, and editing, and editing, and revising, and editing ahead, but I’d like to have an idea of what comes next.

Through this whole process, I’ve been constantly oscillating between the traditional publishing route and the self-publishing option. Now, there’s even a variation on those choices (introducing more confusion into the mix) where an author can pay to have a book published by the “self-publishing” imprint of a traditional publisher. It seems publishing houses would prefer to have prospective new authors take on the financial risk of publishing a book rather than shouldering that themselves. Fair enough, I suppose, considering the current glut of new books and aspiring authors flooding the world these days. But as one of those authors, I find it annoying. Still, it’s a guaranteed to way to get publishers to at least think about looking at my book…

Anyway, what I’d like to ask you is this: how do you pick a new book to read? Do you go for authors you know? Do you care if it’s self-published or traditional? Do you browse book store shelves or comb through Amazon? Do you look for positive reviews? An eye-catching cover? An intriguing concept?

Approaching it from another angle, what would make you not read a book? Let’s assume it’s in a genre you like, of course. Do negative reviews scare you off? Will a poorly designed cover ensure that you never pick it up/click on the link? If you see it’s from a first time author who went with self-publishing, will you assume it’s low (or at least lower) quality and look elsewhere for something with a more guaranteed pedigree? If  you read the first few pages and aren’t drawn in, will you stop at that?

I’m asking you all of these things in the hope that your answers will shed some light on the decision that’s looming on my horizons. Perhaps looking at it from this angle will give me some new insight that will make the best choice more clear.

Of course, if you have some advice concerning the traditional vs. self-publishing question that you’d like to offer directly, that’s appreciated as well!


One thought on “How You Pick a Book

  1. The next book I read is usually determined by recommendations from an aglow leader or fellow warrior or even after hearing a speaker at an aglow conference who has books for sale. It means that the book has passed some sort of test. It saves me time. I surround myself with those on the same mission. But I’m still open to other thinking…just like to have someone else who’s discovered a good book point it out so I don’t have to dig through the thousands of offerings. An attractive, artistic cover draws me in. Nice font, chapters that aren’t excessively long. Doesn’t matter whether it’s self-published or traditional. If I’m not captivated by the first chapter, I’ll still read it to the finish.

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