Trash or Treasure? How do you really know?

This was not my original post for today, but at the last-minute I changed it and I think someone out there might recognize a little of it… *Ducks from cyber pillow that might be thrown at my head*

A few weeks ago I did a post on the importance of not depending solely on a books synopsis and/or reviews when buying books but also reading samples. This is going to be very similar, just a tad more blunt.

Everyone probably remembers being told in Kindergarten that everybody is different from everyone else from their thoughts and personality right down to something as small as the grooves in their skin that makes up their fingerprint. So are books. All books are different. There are no two books alike, unless one’s been pirated and trying to be passed off as another’s work and if that’s the case it needs to be reported to the original author and the website selling the book. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the content–the storyline, the writing, the tone, and even the characters. These are all different and unique to each book.

Because every book is different, it may or may not be the book for you, NO book is going to appeal to everyone. That’s just life. What’s the best way to find out if the book WILL appeal to you? My vote is to read the sample.

A synopsis is a very quick,  condensed summary of the plot of the book. Reviews are readers opinions. Some will love a book and want to tell all the great things about it. Some will hate a book and want to list off every wrong they could find. Some will be indifferent about a book or say absolutely nothing useful–even some positive and negative reviews fall into this category. And some–most–will either love or hate a book and not say anything about the actual content of the book one way or the other. So really all you’re left with is an author’s/publisher’s description and a bunch of opinions that will give you a brief, idea of whether you’ll like a book or not. NOTE: I am NOT saying not to read reviews. Do. Please do. In fact, I encourage you to. That’s what they’re there for. Someone may mention something they did or didn’t like and it may be something you do/don’t like in a novel and that will tell you right then whether the book is for you or not. If they mention something you hate in a book, you won’t even need to bother with the sample, you can just move right on along.

But if you’re still undecided, my suggestion (and many, many other authors and readers feel this way) has always been to read the sample. Since buying my Kindle, I’ve never bought a book without reading the sample unless I’d already read something from that person before. Really, why not sample it? It can’t hurt anything. It costs you nothing but time and most of them are long enough to know whether you’ll find the book to be trash or treasure.

Anyway, just my 2-cents.

2 thoughts on “Trash or Treasure? How do you really know?”

  1. I agree. The sample is the only way you can know for sure if you like the author’s style. Some authors’ voices click and others don’t. You know, I made changes to four of my books recently, and I’m now getting complaints because of the people who liked them better the other way. All I learned from that is that trying to please everyone is impossible. From now on, I’m only going to worry about writing the book the way I want to read it. Those who click with me will like it, and those who don’t click, won’t.

    The sample would save a lot of people the endless moaning over how they were taken in by good reviews or a promising plot.

    1. Right on, Ruth! They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but that’s not true. Samples are!

      I originally intended to blog about how specifically MY books may not be for everyone because I don’t stick to a typical cookie-cutter romance pattern and how I wrote the books for me, not to please the masses, but in the end I changed it to samples because I thought that’d be more practical since those pertain to ALL books. Like you, I’m tired of reading reviews that start with: I bought this based on the strength of the other reviews OR I should have read the sample. (I’m talking about specifically of reviews on my books as I rarely read reviews on books before I buy them anymore. I usually just read the sample. That usually tells me more than any review–good or bad–could.)

      As for your books, I’ll be frank, I read the recent historical-to-contemporary converts back when they were historicals and I didn’t update them. You wrote them as historicals. That’s how you intended for them to be, so I didn’t feel a need to read the contemporary version. As a writer who “updated” one of her books around that same time and got rid of something she really enjoyed from her book in order to smooth some ruffled feathers, I know when a book undergoes a change like that the writer’s heart isn’t in it, so in my mind I don’t think I’d enjoy those four as contemporaries, knowing what’s been lost by converting them.

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