I really enjoyed Monica’s column in Romancing the Blog today. It speaks so much as to one of the reasons I started this blog. I’m very fortunate in that my sons are grown and while not completely out of the house yet, at least are able to take care of their own needs and I have a fairly decent disposable income. Believe me, at one point I didn’t think we would ever get there. I was a SAHM for a number of years and when I did go back to work, it was in retail at a store near where my sons went to school. I worked a lot of afternoons and nights so we didn’t have the expense of daycare or babysitters. We don’t travel a lot so I have money to indulge my real passion and that is books. I read a lot of reviews on books, but have learned not to pay too much attention to the grades they get. I think it’s one of the greatest reading experiences in the world to discover’ a new author and echoing what Monica wrote, it is magic.
I think there are a couple of main reasons romance readers don’t try new authors. The number one reason seems to be money. That’s a very valid reason. For this obstacle, the library seems to be very helpful however. Not every city has a library system as pitiful as the one in the city I live in. The romance section of almost every branch is severely lacking. What they do have is a lot of Harlequins. My own collection puts the library’s to shame.
Another reason seems to be risk. Some romance readers just don’t seem to be big risk takers. They would rather stay with authors they are familiar with. Now there is nothing wrong with that, I still have some authors I’ve loved for years, although to be honest there are a lot more I’ve dropped. And let’s face it, a favourite author can write a bad book too. Fortunately there are a lot of risk takers out there. They are willing to try something new and different, thus explaining the explosion of paranormal romance. I don’t consider myself a risk taker at all, except when it comes to books. I’m about a staid and boring as it comes, but when it comes to books I’m willing to explore – somewhat. I figure when I see a book that looks interesting by an author I’ve never tried before “why not?” I’ve read all kinds of really nasty books by favourite authors so in a way it isn’t anymore of a risk than a book by an old familiar author. I don’t gamble in RL but I do when it comes to fantasy.
But what do I gain by taking risks. As Monica said in her column, when you find a new author, it’s like magic. I’ve experienced that magic a few times so far this year, Lips that Touch Mine by Wendy Lindstrom, Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare, The Cobra and the Concubine. Of course the good/bad side of that is back lists that must be found and read.
Another plus to taking chances on new books is I am tickled pink when I’ve shared a relatively unknown book with someone and they have really enjoyed it too. I’m almost as excited for them as I was myself when I read it. I love hearing the feedback.
So I will continue to read new authors and share the good ones. It’s too much fun not to.