Time to turn the wheel over to a friend and learn something from somebody other than me! Enjoy this terrific guest blog author J. A. Alexsoo.
This isn’t just about picking a book to read, but what readers look for in a book – so write one that way, too!
Finding the Perfect Date Book
Hi, I’m Book. Would You Like to Turn My Pages?
Guest post by J.A. Alexsoo
For some, choosing your next book can be daunting. Maybe you are searching for something new, or picking from your endless “To Read” pile. There are tons out there, so how do you decide? Think of it like dating.
The Search: Where Art Thou, My Book?
You don’t want to just close your eyes and point at random. Your time is valuable. The higher your chances of having a good time, the better. So, there are three options: the new, the familiar, or a mix of both.
Genre: Tall, Short, or Somewhere in Between
You’ve been around the block; you know what you love. Books, like people, can be complex. Fortunately, genre helps to categorize them for us. They can stand alone, or merge well together. For instance, there is fantasy, science fiction, and sci-fi fantasy. Often a bit of mystery and romance is thrown in. This is when subcategories can make the search easier. You can pick a genre you already like, be adventurous and delve into a different one, but with greater risk to enjoyment, or find a subcategory that includes both. This is only the first step.
The Meeting: Like At First Sight
As they say, appearance is everything. It’s the initial attraction that draws you. If there isn’t that spark of interest, you’ll move on and keep browsing. But, they also say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Cover: The Wow Factor
You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but let’s face it, most people do.
The cover and title are the first things you decide if a book is worthy of your time. However, everyone is different. What one finds appealing, others may not.
It’s not uncommon for fantasy covers to show a scene or characters from the book. There are readers who love finding the part of the story shown on the cover, while others would be attracted to a simpler appearance. Each genre has its popular styles. For example, glow effects are favored for young adult fantasy.
The Pick-Up Line: You Had Me at Hi
If all has gone well, you’ve picked a genre and have your eye on a book that’s caught your attention. Now, you check the description. This is a crucial moment; will that first line hook you?
Hi, I’m Book. Would you like to turn my pages?
Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. But, there are other factors you might consider too. Have you ever read the character’s name and said it wasn’t for you? It may remind you of someone you know, or for some genres, even be hard to pronounce. Fantasy, for the most part, is known for its unique names.
You might be asking; how does this relate to dating? Let me ask you this; would you date someone with a name you hate? What about an uncommon name, or one you aren’t familiar with? If yes, then skies the limit, provided nothing else holds you back.
As a side note, the gender of the main character can also hold sway over your decision. If it doesn’t, then again, there are more to choose from.
Testing the Waters Before Taking the Plunge
There is one final consideration before delving into the first page. Plot. Is the story interesting to you? Is it the same old situation, or new and exciting? Can you sympathize with the characters? Is there an alluring pull in that small glimpse that makes you want to know more? Hopefully, there is.
Story: Table for Two
Everything is good. They are what you’ve been looking for: attractive and you’re on the edge of your seat. This is the moment of truth, where you discover if it’s right for you.
Does it hold your attention?
Do you like their style?
Are they taking it slow, or pushing it too fast?
Do they have a well-rounded and broad vocabulary?
If all goes well, you won’t be yawning and counting the seconds until it ends, or even cut it short.
Reading a book is the same. It shouldn’t be torture for you to finish. If you’re enjoying yourself, then the pages should flip by. You get close to the end, and you should feel satisfied, or sad that it’s over. A delightful book, like a great date, is hard to walk away from.
Finale: Check Please
Now, there’s one more choice to make. Your date is at the door. Do you make plans for more, or send them packing? Nothing is perfect. There will be aspects you don’t like, but is it worth overlooking them?
They may have this annoying habit of repeating the same word, but their eyes are so mesmerizing.
Maybe you had fun, but you don’t see it going any further. Either you start again with someone new, or you go for date number two.
It’s the same with books. You might find another one, or continue with the series. There are many out there, keep searching. You never know, the one to win over your heart may be just around the corner, or, behind the next cover.
J.A. Alexsoo is an author and has forever been a fan of fantasy. When she isn’t imagining new adventures for her novels, she’s reading, walking her dogs, or capturing scenes of nature.
Thanks so much, J.A., for sharing your witty insights!