Michaeline: Short and sweet

SparkNotes.

My friend texted me and asked if I’d heard of them? “Aren’t they like Cliff Notes?” You remember, the condensed versions of the Great Books we were made to read in high school? The ones with summaries and arguments, and were always considered just a bit like the cheater’s way out?

She told me to check out their Twitter feed.

And the first thing I saw was this:

It turns out the SparkNotes people are witty, concise and economical with 280 characters, just like a good summarizer should be.

Oh, boy, I’m excited by the possibilities! Not only are they hip and funny, but there are all sorts of applications for the modern writer. Continue reading

Jilly: Fifty Words of Book Blurb

Books and blurbsDo you buy books based on the blurb? What attracts you and/or puts you off?

Last week I complained that I’ve been suffering from book blurb blindness. I’ve resolved to read more new-to-me authors, at least one per week, so I’ve been paying more attention to the book marketing communications that find their way to my in-box. I actually started reading them instead of giving the usual hasty skim in the hope that something would leap out and grab me.

I couldn’t keep it up. Even on a slow day I get emails from BookBub (ten free or discounted titles of various romantic sub-genres), Amazon (usually at least two emails with a dozen books each, plus others if an author I like has an upcoming release), SmartBitchesTrashyBooks (anything up to a dozen books on sale, reviewed or newly released), and a handful of author blogs or newsletters.

I’m barely dipping a toe in the water, and I guesstimate I receive about 40-50 targeted suggestions per day, in addition to recommendations I actively seek out from friends, discussions here and other trusted sources. That makes over 300 titles per week, from which I’m trying to find one or maybe two new reads. If I Continue reading

Jilly: What Persuades You to Try a New Author?

How would you blurb this bookHow often do you read a new-to-you author?

If you regularly read new writers, where do you find them? What persuades you trust them with your time and money? Do you choose using reviews, or recommendations, or a try before you buy sample? Do you buy based on marketing communications? Amazon mailshots? Bookbub promotions? Goodreads suggestions? Does it make a difference if the book is free or discounted?

In her post last Thursday, Kay said: “I was looking to read something light and entertaining the other day, and all the descriptions and back cover copy seemed riddled with clichés…I just couldn’t force myself to click the button.”

Right there with you, Kay. One of my aims for 2016 is to read more new authors, ideally at least one per week. They don’t have to be debut authors, just ones I haven’t read before, but I’d like to include a good selection of writers near the beginning of their publishing career. I’m also trying to be open to new recommendation channels. I’d love to find Continue reading