How to choose a book.

Book selecting methods. What are they? How do you choose your next book out of the thousands, even millions of other titles out there? Apart from cover design and reading the back cover blurb, how else do I select my next book?

It’s like choosing a radio station….

ID-10024049

Stay with me and I’ll explain how.

My family and I took a rather long car trip recently, we covered many thousands of kilometers, we saw a lot of road between Victoria and Queensland, ate a lot of junk food and listened to a lot of radio stations.

The thing is with radio stations, just like good authors is that you run out of range, or you run out of titles to read from that one supplier. So, you have to flip channels, look for something else that suits your tastes, and my tastes.

So, one eye on the highway and one eye on the dash, I hit the ‘seek’ button. Beep. Click. Sqiggle. Squiggle. Beep. 

Opera. Violins. Weepy piano’s. Something else high-pitched and annoying. Someone hand me a squished sandwich from the nether regions of the backseat floor so I can plug my ears!

Beep. Click.

Country. I listen for two minutes and then decide the singer deserved to be dumped if he whinged that much in real life about his girlfriend.

Beep. Click. Squeak. Click. Beep. Click.

Aha! Something I like. Something decent to listen to. BUT, you want to know what caught my attention? Why I stopped searching….

Voice.

The style, that something catchy, something relatable (relevant, identifiable etc), an interesting topic, great lyrics, or great words.

Do you see a parallel here between books and radio stations?

In both we look for:

Writing that sings.

A topic/theme that is interesting.

Relatable characters. 

Words that draw us in, capture our attention.

* If that is what captures my attention, what is it that puts me off choosing a radio station to listen to, or a book to read?

Advertisements! Ugh. Hate ’em. No–I loathe them. In fiction this is known as ‘author intrusion’. The author stepping into the story to state their own agenda, own opinions, and in general interrupt the story and make a pain of themselves. 🙂 Both put me off, and discourage me from engaging in either the songs or the book.

1108121219-00Not impressed!

* I discovered something else also. Some hosts/authors are so interesting, whether it be funny or unique that I was prepared to stick with them, and listen as he/she discussed some tough topics because of their personality. It comes back to voice.

* Some radio stations, and some authors are there to fill a need. Whether it be a non-fiction book, cookbooks, romance books with a strong theme of happy ever afters, or sci-fi thrillers they are there to fill a need. Talkback radio is there to fill a need. Tourism radio channels are there to fill a need. They aren’t for everybody, but they are there for the ones who need it.

* We read books for a variety of reasons: education, escapism, boredom, entertainment. Same with radio. But, I think, we sometimes pick up a book/choose a station because it pushes the envelope. Sure, we might not always admit this. But every so often we want a shake up. A stretch of the imagination. To think outside the square. So we pick choose a more risqué book, or a station that deals with more controversial or gritty topics.

And who knows what gems of books we may never have read and savoured. Or which radio station has shared new and fascinating information. Who knows what blessings we may have missed.

Thanks for listening. 😉 Take care in your writing to develop your voice. That unique style that is distinctly you. Who knows how many people, whether online or in a bookstore will stop flipping channels, stop flicking through your book and just stop and be drawn in by your voice. Your story. Your characters. Your theme.

How about you? Do you relate choosing a book to anything? What methods do you employ for selecting you next read?

All the best as you write for His glory. Lucy.

Radio image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Orange pookie knitted by me. He is Susan’s Snopsis.

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4 thoughts on “How to choose a book.

  1. Great comparison. And shows 🙂 how different readers or listeners want different things. Personally, as a reader, I also want different things at different times. Sometimes, I want weepy pianos and violins, other times I want rock. I read fantasy and love a good cozy mystery. I’m expanding my taste to include great fairy tales and historical romances. All we can do as writers is find our voice and stick to it because we can’t draw everyone in. We hope we answer a need in enough people to make a difference. And, personally, I hope that what I write is in answer to, and a blessing to, the call from the One I truly write for. 🙂 P.S. I think my Snopsis has that face because he’s wondering when he gets his green card to travel to the US? And thanks so much for including the link. I appreciate it.

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    1. dingo4mum

      You’re welcome on the link. Snopsis is just grumpy, it’s his personality. 😉 He doesn’t need a green card, he’s taking a ‘Faith Filled Flight of Fantasy’. Waiting on money to post him….
      I’m glad you’ve expanded your tastes. Who knows which gems you might have missed out on. The Beast’s Enchantress, anyone?? 🙂

      Agreed, hope to make a difference, and to be a blessing to the Lord by my writing.

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  2. That’s a great comparison, Lucy.I hadn’t thought of radio personalities as having the author type of “voice,” but they do. I’m currently reading Bees in the Butterfly Garden. I chose it because, other than great cover and interesting premise, I’m interested in how the writer handles the main characters–who are thieves.

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    1. dingo4mum

      Aha! I can see why you’d want to read a book on thieves. 🙂 The best sort of research–reading! I hadn’t thought of radio people as having a ‘voice’ either until my trip home from Queensland. Somewhere about Goondawindi (pronounced: Gun-da-win-dee. Or Gundy for short) I came up with the comparison. Hope ‘Bees in the Butterfly Garden’ blesses your own work. 🙂

      Like

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