I read somewhere that writers aspiring to be published should
(A) Read as many books in the genre they are writing in as possible
(B) Support other beginning (or non-famous) authors by buying their books.
Well, if you’ve been reading my blog regularly you’ll know my financial situation as of late hasn’t really allowed me to purchase many books (or any at all), so I’m dreadfully out of touch with what is out there in book world right now.
For Christmas I received a couple of gift cards for Barnes and Noble 🙂 and I decided I should use them to go out there and fulfill A and B. Okay, so I can’t really fulfill them, the gift cards aren’t bottomless, but I can do something small.
So I browsed the shelves at my local B&N for a while today. My goal was to find a book where the genre wasn’t formulaic romance but had a romantic storyline. I also wanted to find an interesting title and, if possible, I wanted a book by a first-time author (well, first time published).
I got 2 out of 3. The book I choose is called The Smart One and The Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik. The title immediately caught my eye, though it was on the bottom shelf, as did the cover. (I tried to find a picture of the cover online to add here, but none that I found were downloadable, so I’ll have to describe it to you, sorry!) It has a plain white background, a stack of books and a bright pink purse sitting on top of the books. The “Pretty” in the title is written in a pink cursive font while the rest of the title is written in a straight, brown print.
I know the old adage goes: don’t judge a book by its cover, but I can’t help it. I’m a FIRM believer in judging books by their covers. At least for selecting ones to buy. This cover told me SO much about the story even before I read the back jacket. I assumed that I hadn’t just picked up a crime or mystery thriller, that the main characters would be female, and that the dynamics of their relationship would be affected by their status as either “smart” or “pretty.” And obviously, the choice of books present on the front cover drew me in because I love an MC who reads.
Then, I turn the book over and I find it fits the genre specifics I want! It’s about 2 sisters, one who, I must admit, sounds A LOT like me (another reason I eventually choose to purchase the book- that whole, relating-to-the-MC factor). I assume this is the “smart” sister. The sister I assume is the “pretty” sister tries to set “smart” sister up with an (quoting from the back jacket here) highly inappropriate, twice-divorced, but incredibly charming guy.
It didn’t meet my first novel criteria, the author has 4 other books published, however, The Smart One and The Pretty One was the only book of Mrs. LaZebnik’s on the shelf at B&N. (Well, the fiction shelf at least, 2 of her books are non-fiction, I think.)
I’m very excited to read the book and let everyone out here in the blogosphere know how my experiment worked. I have one gift card left, so after I finish it, I’ll go on the hunt for another hidden treasure.
I encourage everyone to try this experiment out for themselves. Even if I don’t end up liking the book, the hunt for it was a bit thrilling and gives me the hope that someday (maybe, keep your fingers crossed!) someone out there will be browsing the shelves at their book store of choice and just happen to spot MY book, pick it up, and feel compelled to buy it.
After writing the above, I googled The Smart One and The Pretty One to see if I could find a website to link to for anyone interested in learning more about the book. I found Claire LaZebnik’s blog! It’s linked above to the page for the book, but I’m going to link it here to her homepage as well and I’ll be adding her to my blogroll. I feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit. After google sent me to the page on her blog for the book, I clicked on the homepage and her latest blog entry is about her love of Jane Austen and how she feels connected with her through a very personal experience in her own life. I cannot wait to read more of her blog and it makes me even more jazzed to read the book!