Kernels of Nonsense: Preordering Debut Books

Kernels of Nonsense (2)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!

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37 thoughts on “Kernels of Nonsense: Preordering Debut Books

  1. I’ve read some chapter samples of a few books, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to buy them. When they are published I’ll most likely get the free samples on my Nook, read those and if I want to read more, I’ll see if my libraries have them. I’m running out of bookcase space. One thing I will do though is complete the two series that I have.

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  2. I’ve never thought about this before. I have never pre-ordered a book and since I use my library heavily, I only buy books (and I buy th hard copy) of books by authors of color – and then donate to the library after I finish reading them.

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    • More than half of my reads throughout the year are from the library, but I still get that book buying itch and I just must own certain books. I love that you do that with books you buy! I’m occasionally making runs to the library to donate books when I starting to run out of space. It always takes me a little longer to part with certain books.

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  3. Early reviews definitely do help, but I’m the picky sort, so I pretty much never pre-order books from debut authors. Actually, I’m not big on pre-ordering in general, because, like I said, I’m VERY picky. I really only pre-order books when they’re from authors I truly truly love and trust.

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  4. I rarely read chapter samples and tend to go the path of finding those early reviews. If there’s a book I KNOW I won’t get a review copy for, I’ll pre-order but it has to be from a reliable author or have a really stunning synopsis.

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  5. Honestly, I don’t ever preorder debut novels. I only preorder books by authors I already know and love because it feels the safest. However, I do BUY debuts to read later on. Usually, it’s the synopsis that hooks me but I guess it has to be a REALLY GOOD synopsis lol Also, the hype. Bookstagram and blogs usually convince me to buy a book or not. OH. Or sales lol If theres a really good ebook sale, I’ll just buy it.

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

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    • I need to start reevaluating whether I should be preordering debut books at all, my goodness. I can see why you wait on these debuts and it’s always a good choice to wait for what others think of them. Hype can be really scary though because when you end up not liking the book, you feel so disappointed. Sales are always hard to resist!

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  6. I enjoy your Kernels of Nonsense discussion beaucoup. Keep up the great dialogue, Alicia.

    I like how you plan ahead with book buying. Pre-ordering books can save so much of the cover price. I always feel better when I can score a good deal. I fall into two camps when buying books: impulse buy and arriving at the party late. 🙂 And, that’s just how I roll. I will follow your example and read more diverse books this year.

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  7. I have only ever preordered one book and that was because I had a gift card and wanted to ensure the book being in my hands. It was the last book in a series I enjoyed and my bookstores didn’t carry them. It was worth it because the discount, but I also knew I would enjoy it. I think I would preorder more books if I had more money, but I’m a broke college student trying to save money. Haha

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    • One of the reasons I preorder so many books is because I’m guaranteed to have it delivered the day of its release, so maybe I’m just spoiled. Gift cards are such lifesavers, really I could live my whole being content if I only received gift cards are presents. Yes, I suppose your education is important 😉

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    • Isn’t that the best way to do it? I don’t always and that’s because I need more patience, but when I do wait and I end up not liking the book so much, I feel so much better about my decision. There are far too many books on my shelf that I wish I hadn’t spent the money on, but I try to do better every year.

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  8. I’ve never kept exact track of how many debuts I’m purchasing, but I do tend to pre-order books often because they’re usually offered at good prices and I love having something to look forward too. I’ve actually pre-ordered at least 2 debuts already this year, and one is for an author event I’m going to, which is often why I pre-order debuts, so I can have them signed. I feel like with all of the books I pre-order in general I need to be better about actually READING them when they arrive, because I feel like a lot of them just get stacked on my shelf collecting dust…

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    • I joined the Debut Author Challenge last year, so it was really easy to keep track of which of those books I actually bought. I really have no idea how many debuts I bought each real prior to last year. Do you usually keep the signed debuts or host giveaways for them? I’m also like this–I buy books (debut or not) and then end up setting them aside for library reads.

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      • I tend to keep them because I always feel slighly awkward asking for the book to NOT be signed, especially since I feel like that the expectation. And I am right there with you, I get new books, get really excited about them, and then don’t get around to reading them until a year later lol

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  9. I generally pre-order books of authors that I love and I couldn’t wait more to get; I don’t pre-order much because otherwise the books would be stuck on my TBR and the pre-order would have make any sense, especially because if I don’t read the book as soon as I get it I might have it to a better price few months later xD.

    This year I already pre-ordered 3 BOOKS which are ‘A quiet kind of thunder’ by Sara Barnard (Only after read it BBT, I couldn’t wait), ‘History is all you left me’ by Adam Silvera because I had my heart rip off after reading his debut novel and ‘Strange the dreamer’ by Laini Taylor because I really want the pre-order version of the book LOL — Maybe if more publishers would make different edition for only the pre-order I would make more of them!

    I’m also planning to preorder A court of wings and ruin and maybe two more others before the end of the year 🙂

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    • I usually like to wait until the price drops before preordering because like you, it always irritates me when a little patience could have resulted in getting the book at a better price (hurts even more when you haven’t even read it yet). I like the idea of preorder editions, but I honestly think I’d make even worse decisions when it came to preorders. I want to curb the many book purchases, not add to them. I hope you enjoy all of the books you’ve preordered!

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  10. Lovely post! I think most of the times I just look for the most hyped books of the year. Early reviews are helpful as well but still, I need to read at least one or two negative reviews to really see if the book is for me.

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  11. Great discussion topic! I don’t preorder much (partly because I wait for paperbacks, and/or books to be reduced on offer), there’s only a couple of authors I’ll preorder (Maas and Hoover typically), and I definitely don’t think I’d take the chance on a debut. Not much of a risk taker that way! R xx

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  12. Pingback: Monthly Wrap-Up: January ’17 | A Kernel of Nonsense

  13. Great post! I’ve heard good things about Caraval, I’m looking to get that. I know what you mean about getting disappointed by good synopsis (ughhh there were so many last year for me especially love and Gelato which was my least favourite book probably ever) You can trust my reviews for debuts because honestly I wouldn’t give a book praise if it was horribly horrendous. I might also be getting the hate you give but I don’t know 🤷‍♀️

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  14. Pingback: Stacking the Shelves & Wrappin’ It Up Jan & Feb 2017 | Confessions of a Book Geek

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