Readers discover authors all different ways. Word of mouth is always good, as advice from a friend is far more trustworthy than promotional material written by a stranger with a financial interest in getting you to buy the book. Critics may have axes to grind. (They often think of them as crosses to bear, which is just as bad.) The Internet has opened up a new avenue for readers to become familiar with writers: blogs.
Blogs introduce readers to writers two ways: as a reference—not unlike the old word of mouth method—and directly. Let’s look at both.
It’s safe to say this is not the only blog you read. (Christ, I hope not.) If you are a regular reader of any blog, you come to develop a rapport with the writer (or writers, if it’s a collaborative blog.) This doesn’t have to be a one-way street. I’ve developed several acquaintances with blog contributors after becoming known to them through comments I’ve left. Over time, you’ll get to know what they look for in a book, who they read, and which books they recommend. Once you trust them, you’re more likely to have faith in their recommendations. If they read Lee Child, you might like to try him. Whoever. They become a trusted source.
The other way blogs can help you is through direct contact. I’ve lost track of how many writers I read, and enjoyed, because I came across them on a blog. Their blog posts were entertaining and intelligent. They weren’t relentless self-promoters, but supporters of reading and writing in general. I liked how they used the language, what they talked about, how they described their writing and process. Basically, it occurred to me, if I like what they’re writing here so much, I bet I’ll like their book. Rarely have I been wrong.
You’re aware of social media. Pay attention to who writes what, and how. You never know what you’ll find out there.
What about you? Have you discovered writers new to you after reading their posts in a blog?