Top Ten Tuesday – Debut Authors

Posted by abakersp in Top Ten Tuesday / 6 Comments

Hello my reader friends. Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s topic is a Debut Novels in 2023 That I’m Excited About. I have to be honest with you, I only know a couple debut novels that are coming this year, so there’s no way I’d be able to complete this list. Like literally two lol. So I’m doing things my own way lol, and letting you know the top ten things I look for from debut authors and their books!

Fresh Voice

When I pick up a debut novel I hope to read something different. Not the same type of plot I’ve already read a hundred times, not the same plot twists that have been done over and over. Something that stands on its own. I think of when I read Amanda Cox’s debut novel, The Edge of Belonging. It was a remarkable story that was unlike anything I’d read before, and I loved it!

Keep Me Wanting More

If a debut author wants to gain a follower, they better write in a way that leaves me wanting more. Whether it’s the next book in a series, or just another book by them. I think of when David James Warren released the first book in the Rembrandt Stone series. OH MY WORD. I needed more and fast. I know technically when you look at these authors separately they are seasoned authors (well two of them anyways), but it was their debut together so it counts 😉

Eye Catching Cover

I know what you’re thinking – you should not judge a book by it’s cover. I can’t help it, but sometimes I do! So if I see a cover that does not look great, I’m not likely to pick up the book. I’ve seen lots of great covers from debut authors, but I think one of my favs is Counterfeit Love by Crystal Caudill. There’s a little mystery in it, and the dress on the main character is gorgeous!

Well Edited

I think it goes without saying that we all want our books to be well edited. Not just for grammar and punctuations either. Look for flaws in the storyline, character names to remain the same, historical facts to be accurate, etc… I’ve read some debut novels that were, to put it nicely, not edited by a professional. You could see things everywhere, and while I realize publishing is a learning process (especially if you’re an indie publisher), if you have constant mistakes, people are not likely to pick up your books again.

Real Life

When I read books, I want to see relatable characters. I want to see their down falls, mistakes, and problems. In a contemporary novel I want to see real life situations – ones that really happen in real life even though we in the Christian world try to pretend it doesn’t. After She Falls by Carmen Schober is a good example of showing real life characters. They were not neatly packaged and tied up in a bow, no they had issues. Issues that people today have. And it’s not that Carmen said, hey these things are ok that my characters are doing. No, it wasn’t like that at all. There was change. And that’s what speaks to me honestly. Sure I like to read some fluff now and then, we all do. But sometimes I want the gritty as well.

A Professional Website

This may seem like an odd one, and maybe some people don’t even look at websites. I do. I check them out to find out more about the author, sign up for newsletters, see what books are on the horizon, and so much more. Some authors have blogs, and those are fun to follow. Some authors have book recs. The list goes on and on. The website needs to look nice. Proper formatting, easy to navigate, books are listed, an about the author section and more. The website is the face of the author essentially. If it looks professional, I’m more likely to dive in then if I visit a website that is difficult to navigate and has no information.

The Author Has Knowledge of the Content They’re Writing

I know this is a weird one, but hear me out. When you read a book by a historical fiction author, you expect them to have done their research and provide tidbits of facts along the way. If you have a contemporary author writing about a location they don’t live in, you expect them to do their homework and learn about the city/town. I expect the same from a debut author, and love to see it reflected in their social media, or their website. In 2021 Jenna VanMourik released her debut novel, Jerusalem’s Daughter. It was a wonderfully crafted biblical fiction novel. I had been following Jenna on social media prior to that, and so I know she was familiar not only with the genre, but the content. She often posted about her writing process, research, and reading other biblical fiction novels. Because I knew she was so familiar with the content, I was comfortable reading her novel. If she had only posted about contemporary things, I might have been a little skeptic.

A Hooking First Chapter

When I start to read a debut novel, my interest needs to be grabbed quick, like in the first chapter. Otherwise I’m likely to want to put it aside and reach for something else. I know, I know. It’s a lot of pressure! But so many debut authors have been able to do this. Rachel Scott McDaniel, Kathleen Denly, Amy Lynn Green, and so many others! So I know it’s doable. It’s more than doable!

They Have a Good Social Media Presence

I know social media isn’t for everyone, but honestly it’s where I connect with authors. It’s actually where I find most of the debut authors I try out! My favorite? Janine Rosche. My goodness her social media presence is both hilarious and uplifting. As soon as I heard she was writing a book, I was like yes please! I don’t even care what it is about! Now, I will also say I don’t want that social media presence where the author is only promoting themselves. I hate that. I want to get to know them. I want to see them promote other authors. And I want to know about their book!

Their Second Novel Is Already In The Works

I can read your minds – wow you don’t want much do you? I’m not saying that I want the second novel to already be written and turned into the editor. No way. But I do want it to be somewhere in the plotting or early writing stage if possible. The writing process is lengthy. Some books take like 2 years to get published, and some don’t. I get that and every writer has their own process. Mainly I ask for this because I want something to look forward to. I don’t want to read an amazing debut novel and then forget about them. I want their voice fresh in my mind when I see there is another story in the making. Plus, I would be super disappointed if it was a one hit wonder. I mean sure, they get stuck in your head for years, but you always wanted more. Which brings me back to a previous point 😜

So what about you? What do you look for from a debut author? Share in the comments!

6 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday – Debut Authors

  1. Karen Hoyt

    This is a great list. I can’t write one down for myself, but I think I go through a lot of these things mentally without realizing it. I look in GoodReads for new books. And I usually look for the word “debut” and snatch it up. I am always willing to give new authors a try. You can never tell what you will find.

    • abakersp

      I agree Karen! I love trying new authors. It doesn’t always work out, but 9 times out of 10 it does!

  2. Great list! I agree with Nicole. How do you learn about debut authors for the coming year? I also agree with the cover thing. If I like a cover I am more inclined to read a book, if a cover turns me off…well, I won’t.

    • abakersp

      I try to remember what I’ve seen on social media, but that’s all I can thing of lol.