Elizabeth: Discovering New Authors

Jilly’s post on Sunday, asking for suggestions for that “one last book” to read before diving back into writing reminded me of a site I used to use to find potential new authors to read, back before I had a gargantuan TBR pile (which seems to be replicating on its own) to choose from.

The site let you key in an author’s name and then  returned a word-cloud of “fans of author XXX also like author YYY” results.  I started reading Rachel Gibson when she turned up in the results of my Jennifer Crusie search.  Julia London lead me to Eloisa James.  Dorothy L. Sayer led me to P.D. James.

The site was great fun though, of course, I’ve long since lost the link.

An internet search this weekend, however, turned up the Literature Map, which may or may not be the site I was thinking of.  I had fun keying in the names of my favorite authors to see what came up (not that I’m looking for more to read).  There was an overlap between the results from this site and the “customers who bought this item also bought” results I got when I did some comparison searching on Amazon, though not as much as I had expected.

My internet search also turned up What Should I Read Next?  The site lets you enter either an author name or a book title and then provides a listing of books you might want to read.  The results here seemed promising, although the site wasn’t nearly as much fun as playing with the Literature Map author-cloud was and the results were very limited for some authors I checked out.

I used both sites to find suggestions for authors similar to Julia Spencer-Fleming, whose series of mysteries I recently finished reading.  While What Should I Read Next only returned one result, the LIterature Map was more generous and gave me 48 potential authors to consider. Talk about an embarrassment of riches.

Anyway, I’ve now got a list of new-to-me authors to look up next time I’m feeling curious, as well as two new tools to turn to the next time Jilly asks for recommendations.


So, other than word of mouth, how do you find new authors?  Do you have any helpful sites to share?

19 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Discovering New Authors

    • Glad you liked the post, Christine. I’m not familiar with the Women’s Prize for Fiction podcasts. I’ll have to check them out. I’m always in the market for something new to listen to when working out at the gym.

      • the Women’s prize was started by author Kate Mosse to try to counter the obvious bias by prize juries towards male writers. Despite the fact that 51% of published works in 2017 were by women, it was rare to see female authors shortlisted let alone actually awarded a prize. Apart from that it’s a really good podcast lol!

  1. I am a new author (www.authorjoannereed.net) I recently joined several groups on Facebook such as Readers & Writers, Books, blogs, Reader, Promote your book, Pure book lovers, Bookworms anonymous … New authors need people to read their book and write a review as well ; so it is nice to have people who are curious enough to give a chance to the ‘new kid on the block’ instead of sticking with the ‘blockbuster authors’ all the time

    • That’s very true. Writing reviews is a great way to provide visibility for an author and to give them a boost. I think “if you liked what you read, please consider leaving a review” is one of the most frequent requests I’ve seen for the authors I follow on social media.

    • I love the library too. I pretty much grew up in my local library and Ms Cook the librarian was my favorite person.

      My local library has a “lucky day” shelf where popular, recommended books are available for checkout. I’ve often picked up new-to-ne authors there.

  2. I tried Goodreads back in the day, but it didn’t work very well for me. I like to check out recommendations on the few blogs I follow–Jenny Crusie’s Good Book Thursday, and Ilona Andrews in particular. I read the reviews on Smartbitchestrashybooks, though some of the reviewers there these days have tastes that don’t align so closely to mine. I usually look at Amazon’s marketing emails. Otherwise it’s mostly word of mouth.

    Speaking of which–it occurred to me after our exchange in the comments on Sunday that I should ask you if you’ve read Lindsey Davis, especially her Marcus Didius Falco Roman mystery series. I’m guessing you probably have, but if not I’d recommend them for your TBR pile, and probably Kay’s too.

    • I’ll check out Lindsey Davis! I can’t say that I’m looking to expand my preferred-status author list, because…still trying to clear from my shelves the zillions of books I already chose but mostly haven’t read. But I’m always open to someone new and terrific.

      Great post, Elizabeth! The links are fun, not to mention dangerous.

      • Glad you liked the links, Kay. I’m not looking to expand my author list either, but . . . you never know when an author will bubble to the surface who is just what you’re in the mood for at the time. That’s how I wound up reading Louise Penny, Gail Carriger, and Anna Lee Huber, among others.

  3. I like my Amazon algorithms; they’ve given me many hours of reading pleasure!

    Does Twitter count as word-of-mouth? I’m curating my phone twitter account to be more about pleasure than promoting my own stuff and I’m coming across all sorts of good things — many of which are new. (I think I’m going to review one of the brand new books I got — Mimi Grace’s *Along for the Ride* which is a debut novel that came out this summer, and I liked for a lot of reasons!)

    I’m also buying old stuff — FINALLY got a bunch of George Orwell for 99 yen, and I can’t find my physical copy of *The Handmaid’s Tale* so I bought one on Kindle when I preordered Atwood’s *Testaments*. All this is also Twitter-inspired, too.

    And I can’t forget the Ladies! *Less* was great. I’ve got a couple more Lady-recs in my TBR pile on the old Kindle.

  4. I am LOVING the links to the lit map and what should I read next – this is exactly the sort of thing I wish I knew about weeks ago when I was searching for books like The Bear and the Nightingale.

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