I love discovering new authors the same way I love discovering new musicians. Completely absorbing the art and slowly falling in love. Then I just want to introduce them to everyone because otherwise the world might not know them.
While working at a bookstore, I have seen so many people walk in to grab the latest John Grisham, Danielle Steel, James Patterson, Stephen King or Elin Hilderbrand without a glance at the rest of the store. So few are willing to give a new author a chance.
It’s hard to step outside of your comfort zone and take a chance on a new author. We live in a world of constant motion where taking a break is oftentimes frowned upon. So the idea we may waste our time on a book that we may not like is nerve-racking. But we’re reading the same stories over and over again if we only read the constant best-selling authors like Steel, King, Patterson, Grisham, and Hilderbrand.
The most significant reason to read a debut novel is to hear a new voice, a new perspective. In a time where we are working to amplify diverse voices, wouldn’t it be important to begin by reading new authors from today?
James Patterson’s first book, The Thomas Berryman Number, was published in 1976.
Elin Hilderbrand published The Beach Club in 2000.
Stephen King first published Carrie in 1974.
Going Home, Danielle Steel’s first book was published in 1973.
John Grisham published A Time to Kill in 1989.
Some of these best-selling authors have been publishing for twenty to fifty years. How do we expect them to understand the perspective of today’s reader?
There is nothing wrong with reading best-selling author’s books. There is a reason they are best-sellers but stepping out of your comfort zone to find the voice that resonates with you is also important.
Many upcoming authors write books that discuss everyday pains and struggles of today. Even twenty years ago our pain and struggles were different. Social media has only been a major part of our lives for maybe a decade? Sure we had Myspace before then, but it was never as big as other social media platforms are now.
Upcoming authors usually have similar experiences as many of today’s readers, so being able to hear a voice from a person you can identify with will make for a better story.
Although, if you don’t identify with the perspective of the new author, there’s always new things to learn from their experiences. Upcoming authors will open your eyes to new worlds and different ideas. Therefore, debut novels can be a great way to learn about another person’s experiences and perspective on the world.
My favorite part about reading debut novels though is the fact that most of the time the author has spent years writing that book before it was even picked for publication. The author put their heart and soul into their first novel. The author has loved and protected that book. Now they are watching their baby grow to what they hope to be a best-seller.
You begin to see the author shine through the words as you read their first novel. The first book may be the book that reflects who the author is the most and it’s beautiful to see that. Their first book may not be the best book they write, but it is thrilling to watch a new author’s career begin. Maybe they’ll even become a legend like Danielle Steel, John Grisham, Stephen King, Elin Hilderbrand, or James Patterson.
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