RomBkLove Week 2: Discovery
How do you find new books? Who do you trust for recommendations? What are you looking for?
Romance readers probably struggle with this more than most other readers because of our voracious reading habits. Romance is also a huge genre and it incredibly easy to get overwhelmed and lost in a sea of choice.
I did not have a trusted friend or a treasured aunt slipping me a book to read next when I entered Romancelandia. First I exhausted my library's ebook collection, reading anything that was remotely interesting and plenty who were not all good. Then I stumbled into madly googling for read-a-likes as I tried to figure out what kind of reader I was. I found Dear Author and Smart Bitches, and gorged on their old-joint podcasts and then followed them on twitter, and through them I started picking up rom readers and reviewers to follow. Eventually I learned the language of tropes and helped search for books for effectively. Knowing what kind of story worked for me helped me find more stories like it. I also started following the authors I liked, and reading the books they recommended.
And this is where things are both really great, but also very sketchy. Overall I have loved a lot of the books I read because of author recs. But not every author is judicious with their recs and early on it was hard to distinguish a true enthusiastic rec from a friendly promo exchange. Not every sale retweet is endorsement based on actual familiarity with a book. After stockpiling too-many of these "bargains", I stopped click on most of them, unless there was a trusted review backing it up. I still click on author recs, but I am way more selective to who I listen to.
Right now I think I find 95% of what I read through Twitter. Over the years I have found many fellow readers whose opinions I trust. They have become my trusted circle for recs. They can convince me to read a book in a way that beautiful graphic, 1,000 five-star reviews or hashtag filled tweet cannot. I also have certain tropes or premises that trigger my interest. If I see them in a review I perk up, and investigate.
So how do you discover new authors and books? Where do you go for book rec? How was that trust established? What are you looking for?