Wednesday, January 20, 2021

You Might Like Book Recommendations

Amazon recently informed me that I've had an account with them since 1999. My first two orders were a Playstation version of Metal Gear Solid and a paperback of Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents Headlines from America's Finest News Source. Man, those were the days, and not just because I could get books sent straight to me without having to go to the store (I hate shopping) but also because, back in the day, Amazon had a truly awesome "If you liked this book, you might also like" recommendation feature. I say truly awesome because I found so many new-to-me authors through that rec feature. It was magic.

The feature exists today as a shell of its former self. When Amazon started being a publisher and pushing its own books and authors who paid for extra marketing, the accuracy of that feature plummeted. For instance, the last book I bought on Amazon was The House in the Cerulean Sea, a feel-good, heartwarming fantasy. So what does Amazon suggest as my next read? Five Kindle Unlimited books that are sort of fantasy-ish or urban fantasy-ish or paranormal romance, oh, and that M/M celebrity bad-boy contemporary romance. 

Amazon rec algorithm, go home, you're drunk. Also, you're no longer helpful.

These days I find my next read almost exclusively through recommendations of friends whose taste I know aligns with my own. (The House in the Cerulean Sea, for instance, was a personal recommendation from a co-worker, and she absolutely nailed it. I'm loving this book.)

So if you're looking for a good place to find new-to-you writers and immersive story experiences, my best advice would be 

1. Join a book club. 

2. Talk to your friends and co-workers about books they've loved. 

3. Get recs from people who know what you dig. 

4. Read newsletters of writers you admire -- sometimes they'll rec other writers' new releases that they think their readership will like.

5. Scroll your social media feeds, especially on Tuesdays, which is when a lot of book releases happen. The people you're connected to online may (probably?) share your your reading taste.

6. If you specifically like science fiction romance, check out the weekly new releases post that Veronica Scott compiles. This week, it's here, but you can follow her blog to get alerts every Wednesday.

7. Also for science fiction romance, the SFR Station is a huge trove of links to books in our subgenre. It has a nifty browsing feature where you can find books by title, author, and even trope/subgenre. So if you have a particular interest in, say, space westerns or earth aliens, you can scroll through some titles guaranteed to deliver. 

True, the days of helpful recommendation algorithms are gone, but that doesn't mean we can't still find those "If you liked this book, you might also like" gems.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for mentioning the New Releases post! I do focus on our favorite genres and have gotten a lot of feedback from readers that they've found new-to-them authors. Woot! And the SFR Station sure is a good resource as well...