How To Find A Good Book Without Reading Reviews
Online Reviews Aren't Trustworthy
We all know this. There are too many people online leaving reviews for friends or giving fake one or five star reviews because they think it's funny. And there are too many people trolling reviews, either bashing authors or products because they don't like the person who created them or because they had a bad day. It makes it hard to trust reviews because you never know for sure what someone's motivation was for leaving one of them.
You don't have to look far to find fake reviews everywhere.
If you read the top review for the banana slicer that I've linked to above, it has a "customer" describing his confusion over cutting a banana the normal way. He says he's an ex-convict who only knows how to shoot bananas with a gun. He claimed the banana slicer changed his life by fixing his anger issues and allowing him to live his dream of writing plays.
We all know this review is so ridiculous that it has to be fake and it can be entertaining to read these fake reviews.
But if so many Amazon reviews are fake, if it's become a game to leave fake reviews for all of us, then how do we know which books to purchase and which to avoid?
You Don't Have To Depend On Book Reviews
There's lots of ways to figure out whether you will like a book on your own, without looking at the reviews. Here are some tips:
1. Figure out what you are looking to read before you browse any books. What genre are you interested in? Is there anything specific you are interested in reading about?
For instance, maybe you want to read some Regency Romance books. Remember the words "Regency", "Romance", and any similar words (like "historical", "courtship", "kiss", "love", etc.) Search for these words in blurbs or use them in searches online. Also search for similar words in the blurb.
For instance, I love stories about flawed characters, so when I saw "A Lady's Guide To Survival" By Kathleen Kimmel, I knew I wanted to read it. The first two sentences of the blurb said,"Joan Price is a wanted woman. A thief and a fugitive from the mental hospital where she was wrongly committed..."
I already knew I had to have it at that point. She had escaped from a hospital and she was a thief? Both of those things give a character "flaws." It sounded perfect to me and I wound up loving the book.
2. Note the tone of the blurb. Is it upbeat? Is it dark? Is it romantic? Is it quick? This will tell you a lot about what kind of writer this is and if it's the kind of book that appeals to you.
Lots of people write books every year and submit them to agents in hopes of being published. Agents can't spend their time reading 5,000 books a year, They would never get through the whole thing and even if they could, they wouldn't have time to do anything else.
So they ask writers to write query letters, which are similar to blurbs. It's just a few sentences that tells someone what the book is about.
If you pay attention, then you can tell a lot about a book just from reading the blurb.
For instance, Christine Feehan wrote a book called "Dark Prince". In the blurb, there are words like "dark", "passion", "love", "desires", "serial killers", etc.
All the words have a sensual and dark theme to them, so if you're looking for a happy book, you'll need to look somewhere else, but if you like the dark and paranormal, you're in the right place.
Also, is the blurb fast paced? Was it easy to read through or difficult? A blurb says a lot about a writer. If he or she can't connect with you through the blurb, then it's unlikely that you will connect reading the book either.
This is because a writer will write a blurb in the same style that they write their book. So if a blurb is silly and random, the writing is likely the same. If the blurb is serious, the writing is probably the same.
Mistakes in a blurb will be similar to mistakes in the book, so if you feel like the blurb is boring or the author can't get to the point or it drags on, you'll probably feel the same way reading the books, even if you find the subject matter interesting. If the blurb is fast paced and says a lot in a few words, then expect the book to be the same way.
"Tempted" by Megan Hart had a blurb that instantly drew my interest. It was written in first person and full of emotional language. I connected to the main character. Almost instantly, she came to life.
When I picked up "Tempted", I didn't think that I wanted to read a book on that subject matter, but the fact that the author connected me to her character mattered more to me than anything else.
4. Is there grammar and spelling mistakes in the blurb or on the book cover? This book probably hasn't been properly edited.
There are a lot of good self-published books out there, but some books from self-publishers or small press are not edited properly. This shows the book was rushed into publication. Books need time to be made enjoyable and this helps you avoid those books.
5. Read the first two paragraphs.
Was a problem presented in the first two paragraphs? Did the premise intrigue you? An author who can't hook you from the beginning will likely bore you in random parts of their book as well. It's their job to keep you engaged, whether it's the beginning, middle, or end.
Reading a book should not be a struggle. You should just fall into the words naturally.
Don't get frustrated if you read the beginning of several books and can't connect with any of them. Sometimes good books are hard to find.
6. Stick with authors you know. Their writing will likely be consistent or improve, so if you like an author already, continue to buy their products.
7. Read the cover and blurb completely. Sometimes people miss words and then get upset by something that could have been easily avoided. If you read reviews for short story ebooks online, they will almost always have at least one review that say,"I liked it, but I didn't know it was going to be a short story", even though it says "short story" in both the blurb and on the cover.
So if you read a blurb in its entirety, then you can avoid books that aren't going to meet your expectations.