1. Sherwood Smith says:

    Good points. I stopped writing reviews on Amazon when they began yanking reviews arbitrarily, and also, I found myself seldom reading reviews there, as there was so much fluff obviously written by the authors’ friends.

    I tend to go to Goodreads these days, to find out what ordinary readers think of something. And I do try to keep up with my reviewing, though I don’t always get everything covered.

    • Jill says:

      Funny thing is Amazon started yanking reviews to supposedly get rid of these fluff reviews. Sometimes, though, new/unknown/self-pubbed authors only have their enthusiastic friends to back them. I’ve never yet had a review yanked, so I keep on reviewing (for friends, or otherwise). And I would prefer to have an open review system than one where Amazon is a dictator trying to determine what is or isn’t a valid review.

      • D.M. Dutcher says:

        I’d like it too, but the fluff reviews really are a problem. I’ve seen tens of five star reviews on books laden with typos and just all around bad writing. Usually I don’t mind a flawed book (I wrote one, after all!) but reviews where everything is perfect without any qualification hurt the system. Usually I get more from the three star reviews, or critical ones than the five unless the book really is five-star worthy. 

    • Here I will naturally point out: Submit A Novel Review. We don’t pull ’em. 🙂

  2. Galadriel says:

    I tend find new authors that way too–for example, I heard of Neil Gaiman when he wrote an episode of Doctor Who and then dove headlong into all his work.

  3. Becky, the restaurant thing is such a great analogy. That’s exactly how I feel!
    I’m thrilled that the Internet broadens my circle of like-minded friends, and when I find people who like the same authors I do, it’s likely their recommendations will be books I will also enjoy. There’s still a bit of variance in our tastes, but it helps.
    I find myself tasting samples a lot when it comes to finding new authors to follow. If I’m not hooked by the sample, then I don’t buy the book. I read fiction mostly on my Kindle, except for those rare occasions where a favorite author lives nearby and I can attend book launches and get a signed copy (hi, Shannon Dittemore!).
    The changes in the publishing industry have created an interesting journey for me as a reader. I don’t spend time browsing the bookshelves in Borders or Barnes & Noble anymore. I’m excited at the chance to hear new voices, and since many of my favorite authors have slowed down or stopped production in the last 10-20 years, I need that new blood.
    But now that self-publishing is so prevalent, I run into a lot of writing that isn’t quite up to par. Also, as I have less time to read these days, I find my tastes more narrow than ever. I’ve run into quality writing in Kindle samples that intrigue me but then didn’t buy the book because it just wasn’t quite the kind of story I wanted to read. And when you only have time for one book a month (for example), you want to make it your very favorite type.

  4. J. S. Bailey says:

    Most of the books I recommend to people on Goodreads are from lesser-known authors. Just trying to do my part! 🙂

  5. Kessie says:

    My favorite way to find books, still, is pulling random books off the shelves and reading their backs and first page. To a lesser degree, I’ll do this on Amazon, too, but its less comfy. And I don’t have to have money to use the library.
    Lately a lot of book bloggers have been doing big giveaways. I check out the summaries and stick the good ones in my Goodreads to-read list so I can find them later. I review books on my blog, Amazon and Goodreads, and elsewhere if the author requests. And if people need book recommendations, I’ll happily give them out.
    Need to pick up the Iron Druid books…they’re the only thing I’ve heard of that’s close to my series, and I need to scope the competition.

  6. Jill says:

    Yes, I’ve written reviews this month. 🙂 I enjoy writing reviews. Often, I will find new authors via the library or free e-books. That way I’m not out any money, but can still sample.

  7. Josie says:

    Some of my favorite authors I’ve discovered because they’ve co-authored a book with one of my favorite authors. Think Ted Dekker and Erin Healy or Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee. It’s kind of like ordering something new off the menu and getting your favorite dessert too 🙂

  8. Glyn says:

    That’s part of the importance of having different mediums for your stories too. You use short stories to get your name out there and build a small fan base. Then you write the book and already have a few readers off the bat. Then you go back and write another short story to push the book and BAM! Free advertising.
     Well, that’s the Cross and the Cosmos model, anyway. Seems to be working so far for Rebirths.

  9. Jon R says:

    I have a few go-to blogs for recommendations. I write reviews on goodreads, but generally don’t on Amazon unless I feel the book is a legitimate 5 starer. It could be the case that 4 star reviews end up hurting book sales of something that you genuinely enjoy, or so goes my hesitation. I’ve been looking for a few recommendations on this site to get into Christian SFF, starting with the CSA noms, but after going through the titles only a few looked interesting to me (too picky), and the one I’m most intrigued by is like $10 for the ebook! Unless you’re China Mieville or GRRM I have a hard time putting out that kind of money for data. Still, I might give it a try, as I’m intrigued by the book and would like to support christian books that appeal to adult males (plus I feel the author was unfairly critiqued on this website the last time he guest posted).
    While we’re on the topic of Christian Fiction recommendations, here’s mine: Silence, by Shusaku Endo. That’s the best Christian fiction book I’ve ever read. The second Best? The Tombs of Anak, by Frank Peretti. Yup, it’s been a while.

  10. Hmmmm… Jon, if you’re a fan of Peretti, you should really give JC Lamont’s PROPHECY OF THE HEIR a try. 

  11. Jon R says:

    Well, I liked Peretti when I was nine, and I’m 31 now. I really like subtlety and flawed characters in books these days. Also I wanted to back up on the ‘unfairly criticized’ comment, and change it to ‘misunderstood’. I appreciate what is being done on this site.

  12. I personally like books that Spec Faith contributor and webmaster Stephen Burnett calls “Narnia knockoffs.” Clearly, his reaction tells me a book about children finding a door to another world would not be one I could recommend to “everyone,” either.

    Just to clarify, it’s not the “children find a portal to another world” that isn’t as enjoyable to me as the “children in a fantasy world must fulfill a Quest and become Royalty or Magical according to a Prophecy, and save the World” part. For many Christian stories too, that’s also done with the role of an Allegorial Messiah — which also wouldn’t draw my tongue-in-cheek criticism if this were done more thoughtful, and not simply a reflection of what the “Narnia” series did with Aslan.

What do you think?