In no particular order:
You may have noticed that I’ve given up on posting a monthly list of new releases I’m planning to buy – while that was a useful reference point, it was, well, too much like enforced blogging for me (if you want to see my list though, I basically use Goodreads to keep track). However, two upcoming April releases that I have to mention as they have me rubbing my hands together in glee (and also releasing within a few days of each other, help!) are Lucy Parker’s THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK (her h/hs just spark off each other) and Jodi Taylor’s HOPE FOR THE BEST (it’s the 10th book in, and the series is still as madcap fun as ever).
Related to this, I’ve been meaning for a while to do a post about passion in books and why I need it to connect with the characters… no, not that kind of passion. Lucy Parker and Jodi Taylor’s books could not be more different in genre and plots – the former is contemporary romance, while the latter is slightly futuristic time-travel. But I love both equally and the common theme is passion. Parker’s characters are passionate about theatre and performing, Taylor’s are passionate about history and discovery.
It was a Twitter comment by an author that clarified this for me (apologies, can’t remember who now), who said something along the lines of “people care about things and so should your characters”. Like if I was putting myself in a book, even if it had nothing to do with the plot, I’d make sure to reference my slightly obsessive love for bookstores. I think this explains why I sometimes bounce so badly off a book – the characters may be doing and saying the right things, but there’s no depth. It also explains why I love Lois McMaster Bujold’s SF books and Elizabeth Peters’ historical mysteries equally, despite them being shelved in completely different areas in bookstores – Miles Vorkosigan and Amelia Peabody have their own obsessions, and they propel the story forward.
Is this another term for character-driven stories? Maybe. I’m just late to the party!
Finally, a topic that has been done to death, I know, but price points for e-books – I was all excited about Alexis Hall’s fantastical take on Sherlock Holmes and was ready to pre-order… then I saw the £9.99 price, and came to a screeching halt. Eeeuurrrghh. For a trusted author, and I’m talking known quantities so really, an ongoing series that I’m loving, I would pay around £6? Okay, perhaps £7 max. Scanning down my recent Kindle orders list (and it’s a very long one), I think I’m probably averaging around £3 per ebook – some higher, others lower.
What I do when an expensive e-book lands on my radar is either:
- Place the book on my ereaderiq price watch list – this is a free service that tracks Kindle price drops. They run on donations, and I donate as they save me so much money! The link is to the UK version and they also have US and Canada versions. More often that not, the initial price will drop, either when a new book in the series is released, or when the mass paperback version is released.
- Reserve the book from my local library – a bit hit or miss, as they usually only purchase books if there’s a UK publisher. Also they’ve changed their reservation system, which means you can’t reserve pre-orders, only when the books actually arrive, which in turn means I’ve to really remember to do this.
What I don’t do is pay full price. And if by the time the price drops come through, I’ve forgotten my initial excitement about the release, I don’t buy – there are so many books out there. I know this sounds a bit me, me, me and people must be buying enough e-editions at £10 to make the pricing strategy worthwhile, but it’s one I really struggle with.