On reading and listening and books in general

It’s no secret that most, if not all, of the bloggers here at MGC believe that story is king when it comes to writing. We do our best to write stories that will pull our readers in and send them soaring to new places and times. We want our characters to be real people, not simply be there to fill out some artificial checklist someone in an ivory corporate tower said we had to follow. We aren’t anti-message by a long shot. We just think the message should be woven into the story and not be so blatant that it hits the reader of the head over and over and over again. We have encouraged you to try new genres and, I hope, we’ve introduced you to new authors over the years.

Yet, the one thing I keep seeing people say is they won’t read this or that genre because it “isn’t their thing”. I even understand it, to a degree. But what so many of these people don’t realize is that there are very few pure genre novels any longer. Romance has found its way to science fiction. Mystery and fantasy mix.  Time travel is everywhere. You get the picture.

Some of the readers most adamant about not reading a lot of genre fiction are those who enjoy literary fiction. How often have we seen them peer down their nose at genre fiction? So imagine my surprise to find this article. To sum it up, the author of the article, Laura Sackton, had a change in situation that allowed her to read a lot more last year. The final tally of books read was over 300. Over the course of the year, she discovered there were genres she really did enjoy, and could read quickly, despite her preconcieved notions about the genre.

“I read so many books in 2017 because I allowed myself to read broadly. I gave myself permission to read all sorts of books I wouldn’t have considered three years ago.”

That sounds familiar. It is much like the advice Sarah has given many of us who she’s worked with over the years. As writers, she tells us to give ourselves permission to write badly. Sometimes you have to create dreck, or what your perceive as dreck, to get the creative juices flowing again. As a reader, Sackton gave herself permission to read books she might have once considered dreck.

Before starting down her road to 300+ books in a year, Sackton read contemporary literary fiction almost exclusively. By her own admission, there might be an occasional sf/f or memoir thrown in but that was pretty much it.

“Friends kept telling me to try audiobooks; I ignored them. I assumed romance would be a boring, cliched waste of time. Picking up a YA novel never occurred to me. In short, I used to be a major book snob.”

Let’s be honest, in a lot of ways, many of us could say that. How many of us won’t pick up a romance book to save our lives? Or how about not reading chick lit or contemporary literary fiction? We all have a blindspot. The key is learning to recognize it and identify why you are avoiding a certain genre.

In Sackton’s case, she realized she was severely limiting the number of books she could reading. So she set out to read across different genres and formats. Her “one requirement for reading a book became: is this experience pleasurable/moving/illuminating?” I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty reasonable to me.

You guys can read the article but, for me, the key to it is this:

I learned that romance novels are not cliched and boring, and that they provide comfort and escape when I need it the way no other books can. I became flat-out obsessed with audiobooks. I discovered comics, and fell in love, hard. Reading so much was mostly a side effect of the thing that really made 2017 the best year of my reading life: daring to try so many books I had previously considered “not my type”.

As an author, I see a couple of takeaways from this. The first is something we already knew. There is an audience for almost anything out there. The key is finding it.

The second is we have to figure out how to write our blurbs in such a way that they will draw in not only regular readers of the book’s genre but those who are, like Sackton, looking to expand their reading experience.

The third is that, as an author, I need to have my books out there is as many formats as possible. I’m working on that right now. I’m in the process of updating formatting on all my books — damn, it’s amazing how much things have changed since Sarah and I first put our heads together to jump on the indie publishing wagon when Amazon first opened the Kindle Select platform. That means not only updating the ebooks but issuing new print versions for each book. Thanks to Vellum, that no longer takes nearly as long as it once did.

But it also means I need to get audio versions of my books out as well. I’ve looked at several options and keep circling back to one option with several sub-options. I am leaning toward going with the ACX. One of the sub-options of doing it that way is to choose a narrator from those who submit reading samples of the book in question and then negotiating a fee with them. Some want an outright payment. Others will do it for a percentage of the audiobook sales. But there is another option available if I go through ACX and that’s finding someone to do the narration and then submitting the narration through ACX. It will have to meet their technical requirements but that shouldn’t be too difficult, assuming the narrator is a professional (Yes, I’m looking at you DJ. You really do need to get your narration business up and running. VBEG)

Simple put, as writers we can learn a lot if we simply listen to readers. That’s been a downfall of many in traditional publishing. Too many in traditional publishing think it is their job to tell readers what they want. They forget that readers are the customers and we need to listen to them. The biggest lesson I’m learning, and not just from Sackton’s post, is that readers are wanting audio books. That really hit home when my son talked about how many audio books he listens to a month. So, that’s another business consideration I have to get serious about.

What about you? As a reader, what do you look for in a book? When you go to Amazon or BN or wherever online to look for a book, do you take the book or author more seriously if there are multiple formats available? Second question: where do you buy most of your books? Third question: what is your favored format for books?

On a housekeeping note, the blog is still undergoing changes. Most of them are taking place behind the scenes right now. One of the issues I’m looking at is the problem a couple of you have had with the sign up feature not recognizing your emails as valid addresses. There are other things in the works that may change as well, some of which you will see and most of which you won’t.

Finally, check back this afternoon for a guest post by Kacey Ezell.

60 thoughts on “On reading and listening and books in general

  1. On the housekeeping front, why are we suddenly getting truncated versions in our email? I like the old way where you got the entire article.

    1. While we are discussing the site…..

      Is there any way to show the authors of the articles on the main page? They appear if they are part of the title but not otherwise.


      1. As I’ve said in response to this question before, the new theme doesn’t allow for it. More than that, I’m finding fewer and fewer themes that meet the blog’s need allow for it unless we go back to a dated look. I will keep seeing what I can do to change it but I’m not making any promises. However, what we may do to help is change the way the authors are presented on the sidebar to show what days they normally blog.

  2. What do I look for in a story? It must be fun first and foremost. If I find myself dragging my way through the book I will usually end up passing on more of the same from that author. I typically get most of my books from Amazon these days. I know they will have what I want and most of them are now indie authors rather then big name authors. For format? E-book or printed, depending on what’s available at the time. Cost right now factors in so the electronic format is most desired.
    I have tried audio books and at one point had an Audible subscription. I was also doing a lot of walking so it worked out well for me. Mind you one thing I didn’t like about audio books was that it took too long to get through them (a week versus a day or so…)

    When it comes to genres? Well I am a sci-fi/Fantasy snob. What I enjoy the most and what I read the most. I haven’t tried romance yet and I am thinking about it. I will read almost anything if I get bored of types of books.

    1. Try Sci-Fi romance. I’m pretty sure I found Ruby Lionsdrake from here. I loved them. Each book is a fast read and there’s plotting that flows across the series.

  3. I won’t read horror because it leaves images in my brain that I want to scrub out. Sadly, a number of suspense/thriller writers are on the no-read list for the same reason. Am I getting pickier in old age, or are novelists competing to see who can write the most sickening torture scene?

    1. You’re not getting pickier. There’s a definite trend to try for being unique by going harder and nastier. I still read a certain amount of short-fic horror (I prefer supernatural because it’s less believable, and yet I’ll still read about real-life horror situations because I’d rather know), but I can see the trend even as romance has gone towards pornographic levels of description.

    2. I recommended The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness to my mother several years ago (I see there is a TV series coming out based on Caleb Carr’s characters) because I found the mystery and the setting interesting, and then had to go through and annotate them because my mother found them too grisly.

    3. Too many horror — as well as mystery/suspense — novels these days try for what I call the slasher movie effect. That’s not my cup of tea, so I tend to avoid those books.

  4. “there are very few pure genre novels any longer.”

    This is a good deal of why I read so much less than I used to. If I’m reading X, I don’t want it permeated by Y; if I wanted Y, I’d read Y in the first place. This is especially the case with romance leeching into everything else. It bores me and I don’t want to read it, and I especially don’t want to read it wearing my preferred genres as a skin suit.

    1. I understand but you are missing a lot of good books out there. What you see as something “leeching into” your favorite genre, other readers — and the author — see as character or plot development. I don’t mind a little romance or mystery in my sf/f. What I object to is buying a book that purports to be one thing but is, in reality, something totally different. For example, if I buy a book that promises to be science fiction, especially mil sf, but the leading elements are romance, that book gets tossed against the wall. However, if there is a bit of romance but it is secondary to the rest (or mystery), I don’t mind. But that doesn’t mean I’m right and you’re wrong or vice versa.

      1. And, for me, I worry less about genre, because I’m used to the idea that there are so many good books where I don’t even know (much less care) what genre it is.

        Was McCaffrey’s Dragonflight (or even the novellas that it first got published as) Fantasy when first published, and now it’s SF, which it clearly is now, from what we know in the later books in the series? Was Zelazny’s Lord of Light Fantasy, until the reader gets the hints later in the book that show that it’s SF? Was Heinlein’s “Magic, Incorporated” a Hardboiled Mystery (yes) or was it Fantasy (yes)? Do the sentences, “Have you had an Einstein? And if you did, what did he think about after his early papers on Brownian movement and special relativity?” at the beginning of Anderson’s Operation Chaos mean that it’s supposed to be SF, not Fantasy (and it reads like SF, even though the magic, and the demons, and the werewolves, etc. put it into the Fantasy category)? Was Leiber’s Conjure Wife a Gothic, or Horror, or Fantasy, or whatever else it’s been marketed as? Was Robins’ Point of Honor a Regency (yes) or a Hardboiled Mystery (yes)?

        I don’t know. I just know they’re all great stories, and I’m happy I didn’t decide they were the wrong genre and skipped them.

        It is certainly true that, for marketing reasons (I suspect), books now more closely try to set themselves into one genre, so their Amazon keywords will get readers who look in only one category to find them, and to please readers who only care to read in one genre. But, for me, if the story is good, I don’t care about the genre.

    2. The miss-match in expectations is a thing, but there are such things as genre conventions, any one of which could be off-putting to a reader.

      It’s like people who insist on putting nasty chocolate in good coffee. I respect cocoa drinkers, and have even downed a creamy cup after a long day of sledding. But frankly, it’s not the “surprise” of discovering it’s a mocha in my cup. It’s the £#&%¡ chocolate 🙂

  5. “One of the issues I’m looking at is the problem a couple of you have had with the sign up feature not recognizing your emails as valid addresses.”

    It refused to speak to me unless I used a WordPress login, which it now insists on making me jump through every day (“remember me” doesn’t stick past one day). And having a WP login made According to Hoyt not speak to me at all (it keeps misdirecting the WP login to something like “you don’t have permission to enter your own dashboard”) so I had to use a made-up email to post there again.

    Killing all its cooties, er, cookies didn’t fix this.


  6. For me it’s not so much the genre that’s the problem, though I tend to not seek out Horror and Romance, but the writing style. I find that quite a bit of stuff written in the late 1800s to early 1900s has a certain style, maybe it’s the pacing, that makes it a struggle sometimes to read. H. Rider Haggard can be a problem for me even though I love the stories he’s telling. Mark Twain can also put me off at times (A Connecticut Yankee for example), though most of his stuff flows quite well for me (Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn). Earlier works like those of Edgar Allan Poe I don’t have a problem with. By the time Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart and Robert E. Howard were putting out stories, things seem fine again.

    1. Oh yeah. I will not read something written in second person. I’m not a fan of something written in present tense, especially not first person present tense.

        1. I thought the Choose Your Own Adventure books, which I loved as a child, were 2nd Person with all the “you choose the door on the right and fall into a pit.” Isn’t 1st person “I choose the door on the right and fall into a pit.” And 3rd person “Harvey chooses the door on the right.”?

  7. Read the ACX contract carefully… I almost signed up to get my novel read that way, and then I saw this doozy:
    “Protection of rights sometimes requires formal filings of paper documents and it may be helpful to us to have physical signed versions of this Agreement or other documents. You agree to sign and deliver to us any further documents that we may reasonably request to confirm your grant of rights to Audible under this Agreement, following all instructions we provide for signature and return (“Additional Documents”). If you do not complete and return any such Additional Documents within 30 days after we request them, you agree that we can sign the Additional Documents on your behalf and, to make your agreement legally enforceable, you hereby irrevocably appoint us as your attorney-in-fact with full power to execute, acknowledge and deliver the Additional Documents as required to confirm our rights. In legal terms, your appointment is a power coupled with an interest.” (emphasis mine)
    That’s been a few months ago now. Maybe someone came to their senses and removed it, I haven’t checked. But that right there was a dealbreaker for me.

    1. Be wary of ACX.
      Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great platform. But it has some caveats.

      I’ve looked into it from the audio producer side, and getting good, professional narrators linked up with good, professional writers is a bit of a problem not really helped by blind auditions.
      Established pros on both ends will normally want a flat rate up-front, rather than a continuing percentage. (And it’s going to cost more than you think it will, unless it’s a labor of love. In general, figure you’ll be paying for four hours of work for every hour of finished recording. More in you’re an amateur. Which most people in ACX are.)

      Also, the pricing of your audiobook at Audible is determined by the company.

      Realize that it’s going to be an adaptation. What works with the written word doesn’t necessarily work in the spoken word or vice versa (as a quick perusal of The Silmarillion or the KJV will attest.) For example, the word “said” is nearly invisible written, but a drumbeat spoken. Your preformer should make suggestions, but it’s your baby.

      1. Understood and agreed, Luke. That’s why I really want a certain person — looks again at DJ — to get his business up and running. At least that way I know going in what I’m getting and paying for.

        1. Fully valid.
          DJ, best of luck to you! Get out there and get going! (And yes, I’m a complete hypocrite for saying that, as I have a lot more motion than forward progress.)

          (Now I’m going to advocate for someone I’ve never met in almost complete ignorance of the situation. Here’s a bag of salt, apply it as applicable.)
          You’re kind of putting him in a tough spot. He’s facing a significant learning curve. Looking incompetent in front of the person enthusiastically boosting you is hard on the ego. Letting a friend down is even worse. Facing the almost certain prospect of both while also launching out on a new business venture?
          The thought makes me cringe.

          For those without a narrator already in mind, it occurs to me that if you’ve got a fair few short stories, it might be worth it to individually farm them out to the ACX matching service.
          It could be a relatively inexpensive way to make and evaluate contacts with potential talent. (From either end of the equation.)

    2. I know. I’m a strong advocate of reading the contract and then having my attorney read it. The problem is contracts for indie projects don’t vary that much between the different audio platforms.

    3. To quote the late Jerry Pournelle on similar nonsense in early software licenses:

      “I wouldn’t sign such an agreement blind drunk.”

  8. “Her “one requirement for reading a book became: is this experience pleasurable/moving/illuminating?””

    That is generally my requirement, and it is not being met by TradPub these days. In a very big way. One major reason is message.

    From the post: “We aren’t anti-message by a long shot. We just think the message should be woven into the story and not be so blatant that it hits the reader of the head over and over and over again.”

    All stories have messages. They -are- messages, really. But TradPub books at the book store all have THE SAME message. Which is that my culture is the source of all evile in the world, and because I am white, male and straight, I am a bad person.

    Now, back in the 1960s when I began reading as a young lad, one did occasionally see that message, and if done well it makes for a moving and illuminating cautionary tale. I never -liked- Ray Bradbury, but I don’t deny his tales are cautionary and worthwhile. Western culture is far from perfect, there are some things we could do better. Introspection can uplift the soul.

    Unfortunately politics has become FAR more important than “pleasurable/moving/illuminating” tales, so we are treated to either the politically correct instruction manual, or the negative reaction to it. Of the two I certainly prefer Conservatives In Space to Liberals In Space, but isn’t there something more we could be doing?

    How about Humans in Space? Boy meets cool Aliens, has adventures!

    And already, I can hear the SJW teeth grinding. Boy? Boy meets aliens? Where’s the Critical Theory in that? Where’s the Quiltbag? Where’s the speaking truth to power?!!!

    Missing, of course. That’s why I said it. Try doing something else for a change, see what happens. If you can, anyway.

    1. You’re right about message always being there. It’s there whether we set out to put it there when we write. My point as a reader is that I don’t want to be hit over the head with it and the message has to make sense within the story. If it feels like I’m reading a sermon or a piece of propaganda, I’m not going to keep reading. Like you, I have to be enjoying it — unless it’s a book I have to read for class or work or to snark on the blog.

    2. I think there’s a lot of conflation of ‘theme’ and ‘message’. Hope is a theme, Courage a theme. Freedom and personal responsibility are themes. “People should ditch governments because they’re abusive” or “Gender is a social construct” are messages, and they tend to get out of hand more easily than themes.

  9. Last year I made the effort to tackle my to be read pile. I had 30 novels. I read 29 and my to be read pile is now 31 books. Oh, how I laughed…

    You can read and laugh with me to here:


    My problem is finding time to read more than a novel or short story collection a week, given all the other reading I do for research. And quite, frankly, time is the most precious commodity, and reading things I don’t feel inclined to read is, a waste of my time; regardless of how well written the books may be.

    That probably comes across a lot more strident than I mean.

    1. No, doesn’t sound strident to me. I haven’t been able to sit down and really enjoy a book for months now. Last one I read was in a 24 hour period. Since I started writing hardcore I haven’t had the desire to do the reading for pleasure I once did. I would read around a book a week if not more. Now? 😦

    2. Not at all. I completely understand and find myself in the same predicament. I love to read. But there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do the reading for enjoyment I want to do along with the reading for research, write, do the other things life requires of me. Well, you get what I mean. That’s why I have gotten pretty selective about my reading the last few years. I will try new authors, but they really have to pull me in with their blurbs and previews for me to try them. Authors I’ve followed for a long time are allowed a bad book but not several bad books in a row. When that happens, they go off my “must get as soon as they come out” list to “I’ll pick them up when they are on deep discount” list.

  10. I’m purely a reader, not a writer.

    And, as a reader, I want (1) stories, about (2) interesting characters, in (3) interesting situations, and (4) doing something about it. This also requires consistency — if we know about a character, then if suddenly we see , there better be a good reason for it. If the author pulls an unfair rabbit out of an illegal hat, there better be a really good explanation of why that isn’t what just happened.

    My fiction reading (which is about 2/3 of what I read for pleasure) is mostly SF/Fantasy (and I don’t see a hard boundary between the two). In a lot of cases, my non-SFF reading comes from authors who I trust writing in other genres, so I’ll follow them to whatever they feel like writing. So that if Fredric Brown (who I still think of as the finest short-short story writer the field has ever seen, and the closest we’ve ever had to O. Henry) writes mysteries (which he did — including getting an Edgar for one), then I’ve read most of his mysteries (and am looking for the ones I haven’t got/read). And if Peter Grant want to write westerns, which I haven’t read in decades, I’ll read them. Etc.

    And, when I decide, after reading a bunch of really bad genre books (or, at least, starting them, since I’m willing to put a book down relatively quickly if I decide I don’t care what happens next), then I switch away from fiction for a while. And then reread some of my genre comfort reading, just to remind me why I fell in love with the genre in the first place. And then go back to the pile of unread genre books.

    My preferred format, unfortunately, is ebooks. I spent decades as a lover of traditional paper books. But I have too many of them to fit in where I can live. So I’ve slowly been going through my paper books, and deciding if I ever want to read them again — in which case I buy them again in ebook format — or getting rid of them if I don’t expect to ever read them again.

    Which means that most of my book purchases come from Amazon. Except for Baen books, since their web site and pricing are so attractive that I get my Baen ebooks from there.

    So, unless there’s a good reason to get a physical book, it doesn’t matter what non-ebook format it comes in, so I don’t check that.

    I don’t do audiobooks because the bandwidth is too small. I can read faster than I can listen, and I want the story to come in at my pace, rather than the book readers’ pace. I realize I’m missing part of the experience of a good book reader — but I have so many books in the backlog to read, and good books are coming out as fast as I can read them.

    1. It sounds like you have been doing much the same thing as I have, Mr. Yallow. The last few years have seen me culling my printed book collection down to collectible and books I will read again — as well as my reference books. With the exception of maybe half a dozen books in the last 18 months, all my purchases have been e-books. I like being able to carry around dozens — even hundreds — of books with me wherever I go.

      As for audio books, I enjoy them but don’t listen as often as I used to, mainly because I’m not in the car as much as I used to be. I will still download an audio book when I get ready to go on a trip because it does help pass the time.

    2. I tend to listen to audio books at work. Several aspects of my job are repetitive, and visual, and audio books help when you’re clicking through and making small adjustments on screen after screen.

  11. I’m a reader only. I find what I read depends on my life and mood at the time. I read crime, romance and SFF. Which I choose depends on my life and mood at the time. Sometimes I want a hold my breath thriller and other times I’m in the mood for a cosy mystery WITH CATS. The same with the others genres. My mood dictates my choice. I will binge tread a new author i like. Due to arthritis I only read ebooks, mostly from Amazon – it’s just easier. I also but from Baen, M&B and Recency Reads. And Story Bundles that appeal. This means I have a Kindle and a Kobo. I buy most of the books. But I have Kindle Unlimited and occasionally borrow from Overdrive. Amazon sends me recommendations and there’s usually suggestions at the end of each ebook. I used to find books through blog but blogs seem to be dying out.

    1. I finally convinced my mother to switch over to reading ebooks almost exclusively a few years ago. Part of it was because it was becoming increasingly more difficult for her to hold the books she enjoyed reading — great big honking family saga sort of books. Part of it was with the help of her retinologist who told her he preferred his patients reading on e-ink devices like the Kindle. Since then, she’s moved from the Kindle to the Kindle Paperwhite. She also reads some on her iPad, but not as much since she got the Paperwhite.

  12. One reason for audio’s popularity is long commutes. As someone above mentioned, audio takes longer than reading the written word, but that is a virtue for drivers. Some of them anyway. I hate audio mostly but my commuting son loves it. I’m guessing also, from my experience as a teacher, that audio will become even more popular because there are a lot of struggling readers out in the world!

    1. Audio books got my son back to reading after a teacher used reading as a punishment. He went from reading everything he could get his hands on to reading nothing because of her. She found the absolute worst books she could for a 3rd grade boy and made him read them and then report on them in front of the class. Worse, it wasn’t because he’d done anything wrong. She simply hated all her male students and did it to all of them. Manga and audio books over the next few years got him past that trauma and he still pops an audio book in when he gets into the car.

  13. I do wonder about audio. It works for longer stuff, but short fiction? That might not sell as well. Hrm. Something to look at in the future.

    1. I am leery about it as an author when it comes to short fiction — unless, of course, you put out a collection of short stories, etc. Then it might be worth it.

      1. I wonder if audio will bring back some of the old storytelling styles to short works, or even in longer ones. As you say, especially in collections, things like Kipling’s “Just So Stories” and I’m listening to Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles at work right now and its narration works very well in audio. I’ve heard someone do a telling of a couple of the Just So Stories, and they work better spoken than in print. Might give rise to a ‘written for audio’ stories if things keep going this way.

      1. Housemate showed it to me. “This will be funny. After all, there will be ‘celebration because then women are no longer exploited’ … but then if female stripper jobs disappear, there will be bitching from feminists that ‘that’s another job women will no longer be able to do.’

        Considering the sheer amount of whinging about virtual women as it is (ergo, fictional women, whether illustrated or written or 3D/2D graphics…) I reckon there would be complaints NO MATTER WHAT.

        Virtual idols will continue to be a thing, I think – simply because in the long run they’ll be the safer option.

          1. Yep. The model itself is probably ripped from the Nier: Automata game (that’s 2B, one of the main characters in a very investing storyline) but people who do MMD videos tend to do this as hobby / practice for animation. Miku Miku Dance is quite popular; and interestingly enough there are now artists who aim their music and dance routines for MMD fans (GarNiDelia, for example) while some music comes out of the Vocaloid amateur songmakers (I’m still unsure of Reol since she seems to sing live as well)

            …so yeah. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually virtual idols become more popular; perhaps with living singers taking on a virtual face.

    1. Then they had a power failure at the convention center. Means sexbots might not be available in the dark when there’s nothing else to do…. 😉

  14. Yeah, umm, I don’t do audio. I don’t ‘read’ them because I don’t want someone else’s voice associated with the book. I don’t offer them for my books because I don’t have that kind of budget. Ebooks and paperbacks are the best I can offer right now.

    Other than eschewing audio, I read pretty much all genres – if the story interests me. Probably not so much in the horror, historical, western, literary veins than in mystery, suspense, SF/F. But if it sounds good, I’ll give it a whirl. Then again, I write in whatever genre blows my skirt up at the time I’m starting a new book. :shrug: I don’t like to be boxed in. It’s probably killing my readership following, but I gotta do what I do.

    1. I am so glad we, as authors, have the ability now to easily write in whatever genre we want. Indie has given us that freedom where, before, trad publishers so often wanted us either staying with one genre or writing under closed pen names.

  15. The first thing I really look for is if a book is very good, smart writing, in structure and style, and complex, developed characters. So I’m open to a lot of genres, from nonfiction to literary fiction, crime fiction, historical fiction (for this one, I expect the author to integrate smartly her background research on the context).
    I usually don’t read romance, but I’m a literary translator (from English to French), and I have had to translate some actually good historical romances, for instance the last book I translated for Tanya Anne Crosby (Maiden from the Mist) – apart from the points mentioned above, her dialogs are very vivid.

    I don’t go to online bookstores to look for a book. I see new titles when I visit book bloggers and Goodreads. I also keep track on new books of authors I have really enjoyed. One of my latest discoveries is Randall Silvis. So I’m reading his upcoming one and checked out his very latest at my library. I also take time to read classics and all the books on my TBR.

    The number of formats available doesn’t impact at all my opinion of an author. Why would I judge the quality of content with a marketing criterion?

    I don’t buy many books. For instance, as you can see on the very last pie of my 2017 stats, I only bought 11% (for a total of 113 books read): https://wordsandpeace.com/2017/12/30/year-of-reading-2017-statistics/
    You can see there my other sources to get books.
    I was curious, so I just checked where I bought these 13 books:
    – 6 are audiobooks, received through my subscription to eStories (like audible, but cheaper). I use it exclusively to listen to French audiobooks, as my public library only carries audiobooks in English and Spanish
    – 4 on Amazon – spiritual references books that I really want to keep
    – 2 at an indie bookstore (second hand old French classics)
    – 1 at a Church boosktore

    I don’t have a favorite format for books. I read book on paper, ebooks, and I listen to audiobooks. I think the audiobook format works really well for mysteries, but if I have them in print, no problem.
    It really depends a lot on the format available at my library or about the books I receive from publishers. see my Format pie for my 2017 stats: https://wordsandpeace.com/2017/12/30/year-of-reading-2017-statistics/
    2017 was the first year the print category was less than 50% for me, but it’s because of my subscription to the audiobook service

    Thanks for your post and your interesting questions

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