Kernels of Nonsense is a discussion feature here on the blog where I like to tackle various book and blogging related issues.
With 2017 just getting started and with it an endless lists of new authors making their debuts, it’s time to start contemplating which debut books are worth a preorder.
Confession time: most of the books I order throughout the year are preorders. I like planning out my purchases and usually I end up buying a bunch of books all at once (usually after Christmas and my birthday because taking advantage of all those gift cards is how I roll). Last year I tried to be more picky about what books I bought because I know that even though I would love to own all the books, they may not all be worth my money.
Last year I bought six debut novels without knowing too much about them aside from their synopsis. And while all of these received positive ratings from me, I think it would have been wiser to wait on half of them as they would have been better library reads than purchases. In hindsight, I should have waited for my fellow bloggers to review them, because then I would have known this.
So I ask this question: how do you decide which debut novels are worth purchasing when you haven’t read anything by these authors?
I’d like to think that a synopsis alone isn’t enough to persuade me; after all, I (and I’m sure everyone else) have experience being letdown after being completely pulled in by a synopsis. But in many cases, this is all we have when it comes to impending debuts.
I know for many bloggers, early reviews can help decide whether these books are worth preordering. I tend not to trust early reviews, not because I think bloggers are being dishonest, but because the pool of bloggers is so small. If I really want to know how the book community feels about a certain novel, waiting a couple of weeks (or more) after its release is the better way to go. There are exceptions to this, however, because the more you’re a part of this community, the more you start to create a rapport with certain people and if your tastes in books really click, then you’re bound to trust their judgment more than others.
There is another way to get a glimpse of what’s to come with these debuts and that’s excerpts. Sometimes publishers make the first few chapters of a novel public to entice readers. For me, this is the least enticing thing imaginable. I hate spoilers, I’d rather go into a book not knowing anything than knowing a little too much. Whenever I see teasers from series I’ve been reading (Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Kiss comes to mind), I panic and stay as far away as I possibly can from these excerpts. I don’t want to know anything until the book is in front of me. This of course means that these sneak peaks for debut novels are no help to me.
I want to be even pickier this year with debut novel purchases. There are tons I’m really interested in (see my TTT post: Top Ten 2017 Debuts I’m Excited For), but I want to be more patient. There’s also the library option and while it sometimes requires more patience than I can sometimes handle, I really must keep in mind that I don’t have to buy everything I get excited about. So far I’ve only preordered Lilliam Rivera’s The Education of Margot Sanchez and Rhoda Belleza’s Empress of a Thousand Skies. Both sound incredible and I want to support more diverse authors this year, so this works well in that favor. I’ll likely add Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give to this list. Honestly, I’m just waiting for the price to drop and as soon as it does, I’m buying it. But what other debuts should I consider purchasing? It’s only the first month of the year and I might not have as much self-control when fall comes around and another slew of debuts get published.
How many debut novels do you buy in a year? What persuades you to take a chance on these novels? Excerpts? Earlier reviews? Perhaps an author interview? Have you preordered any 2017 debuts yet? Let’s discuss in the comments!