Contemporary Romance Writer: Do You Read Debut Novels?


How do you feel about debut novelists? Not personally … I mean, do you read a novel by a debut author?

I’m not asking for myself. Really. I have other friends wearing the title “debut novelist” too:


Like me, they’re all excited to see their manuscript become a real book …  a literary Pinocchio kind of thing.

But when you walk into a bookstore, do you bypass a new author’s book and go for the tried and true authors? The best-sellers? The award-winners? Do you think, “Hhhhm. Beth K. Vogt? Never heard of her. I’ll stick with _________.” (Fill in the name of your favorite author.)*

What, if anything, would make you pick up a debut author’s book–besides the fact that you’re best friends with Camille or Gina or Julie or Katie or Keli?

In Your Words: You’re perusing the bookstore shelves (or the virtual bookstore) and come across an intriguing title. A cover that lures you in. But then, uh-oh! You don’t recognize the author. What do you do? Put the book back on the shelf or give the new author a try?

*Who are some of your favorite authors? I’d fill in that blank up their with names like Rachel Hauck, Susan May Warren, Siri Mitchell, Donita K. Paul, Linda Windsor … and more!


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  1. November 16, 2011, 11:04 pm   /  Reply

    Beth, I read lots of books by debut authors and have discovered many wonderful writers that way. I do have a few must-read authors, but as I think about it, I read their work when they were debut authors as well.

    Thanks for the mentioning my book in your post. =)

    • Beth Vogt
      November 16, 2011, 11:42 pm   /  Reply

      I’m looking forward to reading your book as soon as I possibly can!
      I remember reading Liz Curtis Higgs first novel way-back-when … and loving it. And now she’s another favorite established novelist. She’d crossed over from nonfiction to fiction – hey! I hadn’t that of that similarity before. 🙂

  2. November 17, 2011, 6:50 am   /  Reply

    Most of the time when I go into a bookstore or to Amazon, I’m looking for a specific author because I’ve heard about their book, read an excerpt or by word of mouth.

    • Beth Vogt
      November 17, 2011, 8:55 am   /  Reply

      All typical ways I pick a book too, Pat. But I might be tempted to try a new author if there’s an introductory special or if someone says, “I love this author!”

  3. Jeanne
    November 17, 2011, 7:04 am   /  Reply

    When I first began reading Christian fiction, I didn’t know who was/was not a debut author. I think I’ve always chosen books/authors reliable friends have recommended. Now, that I’m writing, I think I’m more open to reading debut authors because I understnad more about the writing and publishing world. I don’t know if that makes sense or not. I’m also looking forward to reading some of the authors you’ve mentioned because I’ve read their blogs and gotten to know them a little bit. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      November 17, 2011, 9:26 am   /  Reply

      Connection of some sort–relationship–makes a difference,doesn’t it, Jeanne? A reason to pick up the book …

  4. November 17, 2011, 7:21 am   /  Reply

    I previously did when there was great fanfare acclaim that drew me to a debut novel, but at ACFW loved having Lisa Jordan hand me her debut novel & devoured it almost immediately–loved it. Have wonderful bits and parts of yours along the way and can’t wait until it appears and I can hold and read my own. There is something wonderful about the personal connection and having loving pride and rejoicing in their accomplishment, “I know that person!”

    • Beth Vogt
      November 17, 2011, 9:27 am   /  Reply

      I love the “I know this person” part too — and love sharing a friend’s book with other friends. So, so fun!

  5. November 17, 2011, 7:24 am   /  Reply

    Like others have said, if I’m reading a new author, often it’s an author who’s been recommended to me by a reading/writing friend. Or, if I’m drawn in at a bookstore by a cover, back cover blurb, etc., but I don’t recognize the name, I’ll read the first few pages. I’ll admit I’m guilty of scoping out my faves first when I’m in a bookstore, but I really do love finding new authors. The only downside to discovering a debut author is the wait until book two… 🙂

    But I’m pretty darn positive I’ll be reading a certain debut author from Colorado come 2012… 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      November 17, 2011, 9:29 am   /  Reply

      I know one day I’ll be adding your name to my list of debut authors, M-Tagg! :o)

  6. November 17, 2011, 8:03 am   /  Reply

    Word of mouth is key as well as topic. I don’t really think too much about whether a person is established or not. I’ve read more debut authors in the last two years, due to relationships developed online and word of mouth through online networks. I think ebooks have made it easy and more affordable to take a risk on debut authors too. (Also, those online relationships have encouraged me to branch out into genres I don’t normally read.)

  7. Sonia Meeter
    November 17, 2011, 10:41 am   /  Reply

    I usually don’t like to stick to only one author or a few favorites. I like to read something new or something classic to break out of my routine. The cover is initially what draws me in. Does it look like a scene I’d like to visit or a story I’d be interested in? Then I read the back cover copy. Does it sound like a good book? Then, who endorsed the book? Do I like their writing. If so, I bought the book. Another good sign is when the author’s name is larger than the title. I don’t know, I just feel like it will be a good author and a good read when I see the author’s name as the focal point on the cover. If I receive a recommendation from a friend who has recommended books that I’ve liked in the past, I’ll read it too. Well, that’s the “scientific” methods of your “Preferred Reader.”

    • Beth Vogt
      November 17, 2011, 2:02 pm   /  Reply

      🙂 Thanks for chiming in, Preferred Reader.
      And yes, I also like to see who’s endorsed the book!

  8. November 17, 2011, 12:08 pm   /  Reply

    I usually go by the book cover. When I first starting reading Christian fiction everyone was new to me. I picked my first one purely on front cover. I still do. Sometimes if I read the back cover it helps and sometimes it makes me put the book back.

    However now that I am following people on the internet I pick people because I know their name. Like Keli and Katie – I will buy just because I read their blogs. Any names of people I am getting to know through on line connections will always compel me to buy.

    Interesting to see what others have to say to this too! I’m sure everyone is different in how they approach their book reading.

    • Beth Vogt
      November 17, 2011, 2:02 pm   /  Reply

      I agree. Supporting someone I’ve connected with–letting them know I believe in their dream-coming-true–that’s important to me too.

  9. Jessica R. Patch
    November 17, 2011, 3:27 pm   /  Reply

    I’ve always read debut authors if the book looks good while staying faithful to my favs! I’ve read Lakeside Reunion and loved it!

  10. November 17, 2011, 3:39 pm   /  Reply

    Hmmm, like others have said, I oftentimes go in looking for a specific author I’ve heard of. However, I often will check out books at the library from authors I haven’t heard of, since there’s no harm in trying them that way. Then, if I really like them, I feel good spending money on that book or others by that author.

    And also, I will be trying out all of the books of the debut novelists whose blogs I’ve been reading. That personal connection really does matter!

    • Beth Vogt
      November 17, 2011, 3:54 pm   /  Reply

      The library … good idea! A risk-free way to try a debut author.

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