On Finding That Delicious Next Book

Do you remember the not so long ago good old days where if you wanted to find out what books were coming out from our favorite authors, you had to drive to the bookstore and look on their big board above the cash register for the release dates? 

I used to love that moment when I saw one of my favorite author's books on that placard. The ones I absolutely must buy, I'd pre-order. It took me a while to realize the new books arrived on Tuesdays, but when I did, I started putting a quick bookstore stop (it was a Waldenbooks back then) on my calendar.

Later, when we moved to Maryland for short while, I was in between jobs and actually worked at a Waldenbooks. Even then, with the foreknowledge of the new arrivals, I was always so tickled to see my favorite authors in their new and upcoming slot on the whiteboard in the back room.

This was all during my eight years of writing drought - between the fateful conversation with my thesis advisor and the stunning moment when I was reading John Sandford's MIND PREY and realized I wanted to write a novel. I wasn't a writer then, I was only a reader, and a voracious one at that. I will cop to getting the job at Waldenbooks simply to get a discount on books.

This process has been wholly demystified by the internet, and the advent of author websites, Facebook, Twitter - the churning social media machine that let's us share release dates with readers months, even years in advance -- and the bookstore websites that work the pre-order business hard, giving calendars on their sites to let readers know what to expect when.

Barnes & Noble's Upcoming Release page is stellar. I also spend time on Amazon, when you can plug in the month and see all the books releasing. My nearest bookstore is a 25 minute drive, so I tend to look online at websites and such for the new releases.

Years later, I will admit it's a bit surreal seeing my own name among the coming soon titles. I've been getting the word out across my own churning social media machine about THE FINAL CUT, drumming up pre-orders, these many years later now knowing pre-orders go against the first week sales, and this defines the book's whereabouts on the bestseller lists. It's hugely important, and a lot of pressure, and a very interesting process.

Sometimes, though, I wish I didn't know how the sausage was made. There's a certain innocence lost by the internet, isn't there? The multitudes of information tidbits at our fingers, the lack of face to face interaction. I wish I still had that Waldenbooks where I worked, so I could see my name on that placard above the registers, and see someone else have those first glorious moments of wonder and discovery.

The more things change, right?

Do me a favor, and preorder The Final Cut. Call your favorite local bookstore and ask them to stock the title. Drop by the library and let your librarians know you'd like to see the book on the shelves. Tell all your friends. I promise you're going to love DCI Nicholas Drummond and his partner, Special Agent Michaela (Mike) Caine. And Kitsune. Just wait until you meet Kitsune.

J.T. Ellison

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen critically acclaimed thrillers and is the co-author of the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. With over a million books in print, Ellison’s work has been published in twenty-five countries and thirteen languages. She is also the co-host of A Word on Words, Nashville's premier literary TV series, which airs on Nashville Public Television. She lives with her husband and twin kittens in Nashville. Visit JTEllison.com, and follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick or at Facebook.com/JTEllison14.