July 19, 2013

Auto-Buy Lists: Do I REALLY Have One?

Fact: I don't like coffee. I just like saying Coffee Clutch in my best and deepest New York accent. Considering I'm a New Yorker, I'm pretty freaking good at it. So I've got my tea and I hope you have your heated beverage of choice, because it's time to gab the day away.

A couple of things led me to write this post. First: The revelation that Robert Galbraith is actually J.K. Rowling. Then my mind flipped back to a Top Ten Tuesday post I did a little while back entitled Top Ten Authors On My Auto-Buy List. And THEN I had a whole debate with my sister about both of these things and so we are here today.

But wait, WHAT are we talking about today? Well. I guess the topic up for discussion is the concept of blindly picking up a book JUST because an author you LOVE wrote it. I know, I know, I told you all I wrote a Top Ten Tuesday post with a whole list of authors I claim to do this for, but, when I sit down to really thing about it, it's possible I was lying a little bit.

Trouble for everyone.
I mean, J.K. Rowling is on that list and I don't own A Casual Vacancy or this new book, The Cuckoo's Calling (I did leave the adult books off that list, but STILL). I also definitely don't EVERYTHING by Tamora Pierce, Rick Riordan or Phillip Pullman. All of these people have written A LOT of books and, while I do own a lot of books, their complete works don't exist on my shelves. I actually don't think I have the complete works of any author with more than 5 books out on my shelves.

Yeah, I used the same gif to discussion posts in a row. DEAL WITH IT.
So why did I write that post? When I listed those ten authors, what did I mean?

Here's what I think was going on in my head:

Those ten authors listed are the Top Ten Author who, when I hear they have a new book coming out, I sit down and think to myself: "This is a book you're going to get grabby hands about. But you love this author very, very much and you should probably take a second to make sure this book is something you would naturally gravitate to before picking it up just because."

Now, why is it important for me not to pick up a book just because? Well, I need more than just a familiar writing style and voice to get me through. So I can't promise that I'll be able to make the leap from MG/YA to Adult Fiction with J.K. Rowling. And even if an author generally stays in the same genre, like Tamora Pierce, I also can't guarantee I'm going to be able to make the shift from Tortall to Emelan. Honestly, the fact that I love both the Greek and Egyptian-based stories Rick Riordan publishes is just dumb luck.

I cannot express the joy I felt upon finding this gif to express my sheer dumb luck.
Yeah, I expect authors who've written 5 books I already love to produce a 6th I'll likely also love. But honestly? Blindly assuming this'll be the case just doesn't work for me. Will I shove a book by an author on that pesky Top Ten list to the top of my "Maybe You Wanna Purchase This Book" list? (I have lots of list, guys) Yeah. Does that mean I'll ACTUALLY buy it? Not necessarily. I need to read the summary and consider what the book is about. Because the worst thing in the world, in my opinion, is blindly picking up a book by an author you love only to discover you DON'T love the book as much as you should and having your experience with that author altered for no good reason. Especially now that a lot of authors are crossing genres and categories. It can get REALLY TRICKY, REALLY QUICKLY, guys. Really.

More gif finding joy.
Of course, I obviously want you all to support your favorite authors. You should buy their books, go out to their events, draw them fan art, whatever. Just maybe don't pick up a book you know you shouldn't (as I conveniently discussed two weeks ago).

And, for the record, I DNFed A Casual Vacancy and have no intention of reading A Cuckoo's Calling. Did Potter shape basically my entire childhood? Yes. Do I own JK Rowling a whole lot of everything? Obvs. Do I think she's a fantastic writer? Abso-freaking-lutely. But it's for all of those reasons that I WON'T be picking up her adult books. They're not for me, I recognize that, and don't want to make that kind of poor bookish choice (SEE SASSY GAY FRIEND? I AM LEARNING).

I know not everyone's like me in this respect (probably not even a lot of people are like me in this respect). I actually love that readers can and do follow authors wherever. But I hope you can all see where I'm coming from. And possibly share where YOU'RE coming from. (In the comments below, of course!)


  1. I have to agree. I love JK Rowling, and would rush out to buy her adult books, BUT they don't sound like something I would want to read. I'm not big on murder mysteries, or any mystery books really. Now if she were to ever venture back into YA and possibly back to the wizarding universe, I would be all over that.

    Thus far, Cassandra Clare is a new find for me that is on my must buy list, unless she publishes something that doesn't sound interesting to me.

    Just because I love someones writing, doesn't mean I'm going to read everything they wrote, even if isn't my thing. I would rather continue loving them then have a bad experience with them.

    I originally thought I would buy The Casual Vacancy, until the blurb came out and I read it, not for me.

    1. I'm loving that third paragraph right there. I'd definitely rather block our a book or two than risk having a bad experience with an author I love. Especially when I KNOW I won't love the book.

      Anyway, I'm glad we're both making good bookish choices this week ;)

  2. I definitely have my "auto-buy" authors - not many, but just a few, like Stephen King. When I heard about 11/22/63 for example, I was really skeptical since it's not his usual genre, but it worked out amazingly well. But of course, authors come and go from that list over time ... might be time for me to let go of Dean Koontz.

    1. YES. A fluctuating auto-buy list. I LIKE IT. Brilliant idea.

  3. I hesitate to give any author "auto-buy" status as well! Since I have discovered book blogs, I have to admit that I RARELY purchase a book without reading several positive reviews of it first! Like, I recently bought and read Amy & Roger's Epic Detour only because I had seen LOTS of raving reviews (and just as I figured, I ended up loving it!). Reviews pretty much dictate whether I will take a chance and spend my hard-earned $15 on that shiny new book, regardless of author!(I realize I may miss out on some good books this way, because hey, we don't all have the same taste, but I'd rather read something that I am almost positive that I am going to like!)

  4. I think it's only natural for us to not like EVERYTHING a writer writes. Take Rick Riordan for example: I LOVE Percy Jackson and his newest series Heroes of Olympus. However, the Kane Chronicles? Couldn't get into. Another example? Meg Cabot. Loved many of her books, was kinda meh about Abandoned. I think it's absolutely necessary as readers to make sure our favorite authors' newest books are ones we want to read. We owe it to ourselves! I would much rather support an author by events or twitter or whatever than reading a book that just isn't for me and not being able to push it positively. Great discussion!

  5. I actually had to sit and think about this one as I read this post. I didn't think I *really* had anyone on my auto-buy list, but that would be lying. I will always buy Sarah Dessen or Amy Reed's latest book. ALWAYS. I don't even care if they disappoint me, simply because I want to support their work and even if the book isn't my favorite, it's likely that I'll still love their writing. See, for me it's all about the writing. There are certain authors whose prose I love even if I don't love the story. Ellen Hopkins would be another one. That being said, getting to auto-buy status is rare. There are only a very small number of authors that I would buy their books automatically.

  6. I totally follow your reasoning, but I also bought J.K. Rowling's book because even if I don't generally read a lot of adult novels, how else do I start to expose myself to other genres in adult without reading from someone familiar? I've never read an adult crime novel. Am I crime novel person? How better to find out than from a writer I trust?

    In general, I am a total auto-buy person. Like tigerlilyrachel said, I own almost all of Sarah Dessen's books. I'm probably going to buy Stephanie Perkins' horror novels when they are released, even though I'm not a huge visual reader and I've only experienced her contemporary work. For me, it's faith that these authors can make any genre work, and if they can't, maybe that genre isn't for me. It's more about being selective as to who makes the auto-buy list than being selective about the genre. You posted recently about your YA tunnel vision, right? I don't know if I'll read YA my whole life. I want to find other things that work too.

  7. Great post Gaby!! I was actually thinking about this the day the cat was out the bag about A Cuckoo's Calling, because I'd have thought that J.K. Rowling would ALWAYS AND FOREVER be on my auto-buy list. But this book doesn't sound like I would like it. And I might pick it up sometime because really, it is J.K. Rowling, but I'm not sure.
    It's a lot easier to say you'll auto-buy every book from an author if they stay in the same genre ;)

  8. Love the post. I know plenty of other book bloggers that feel that same way, though I can't say I share that feeling. I jump genres ALL THE TIME. Like from one book to the next. Sometimes from one age range (MG/YA/Adult/etc.) to another. So for me, if I LOVE an author's work then it won't matter what they write unless their style and their "voice" drastically change. In fact, this and your previous piece on those ten authors you'd buy (almost) everything from has inspired me to do a list of my own. For that I thank you. ^.^

  9. Oh, I do like thinking about this! Honestly, with me, I really am an auto-buy with some of my favorite authors (Rowling included). Yes, some of their books might be VERY different, but these authors are generally just people I adore and love and want to support in every single way that I can! I'd always like to give their new stuff a try whenever I can. (However, buying things does not mean that I end up reading them right away...)

  10. I'm totally with you on this one, Gaby. First, I'm not rich with money OR time, so why would I wast that on a book that I'll probably most likely dislike? That's just silly. Secondly, that's basically self-induced torture, and you have no one to blame but yourself. It's like reading a genre book: if you pick up a sci-fi book, even though you don't like the genre, odds are you're not going to like the book. So not only did you wast your time/money, but you also just made yourself really upset. Haha.

  11. Very true. I have some authors I love but I never auto buy any book. I look at the synopsis and see if it sounds interesting. If it's semi appealing then the fact that I love the author would give it a further nudge towards my shopping basket. But if the synopsis doesn't work for me at all, then it will stay on the shelf.

    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines

  12. I don't really think I have an auto-buy list, but I do have some authors that could go on that list. Sometimes I fall in love with their work and I want to devour everything they write: especially new coming books. But I can never be assured to love all their work - example: I'm a huuuuuuge fan of The book thief by Markus Zusak, but I haven't read anything else from him. I re-read this book often, but his other work doesn't sound so appealing.

  13. Really enjoyed this post - and reading all the comments! I think I'm somewhere in the middle. I don't have a long list of auto-buy authors, and even the ones that make the list aren't really "automatic" buys. I'll still read the summary and typically a few reviews first, but I think I'm more likely to buy something I wouldn't normally read if it's by an author I love. So, while I won't drop my money on a book without a thought just because I love the author, I am WAY more likely to get it (particularly if it's not my typical book) if it does.

  14. Chances are, I'll buy anything John Green writes, but I don't actually have an author auto-buy list. I /always/ judge a book by it's synopsis. Sure, an author may influence my decision, but I really try to only read books I think I'll like.
    When everyone was going crazy over the fact that Rowling was writing another book I just kind of rolled my eyes. I mean, I'm glad she's writing, but I don't understand why everyone jumped on the wagon before they even knew what it was about. You can't assume you'll like a book about Serious Stuff because you liked a series about wizards by the same author.

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