How to Find Your Next SFF Read (or Gift!)
Using Social Media Platforms You Know
The holidays are upon us, my SFF-reading friends. While this can mean a lot of things depending on who you are or who you ask, it does mean one thing important to book-lovers everywhere: sales.
Yes, you read that right. During the holidays, sales. are. everywhere. And honestly? I love that for us. We can purchase books to our heart’s content because things are suddenly much more budget friendly. All we gotta do is *add to cart*
However, how can we find our next read? There are simply too many amazing books published (and more are published every day!) for us to keep track. Sure, word of mouth is the best endorsement an author could get, but in the pandemic times the opportunities to meet with our friends and family aren’t as readily available. So where should we turn?
To the platforms and apps we are already using!
Find Books to Read Using Facebook Groups
I know, I know. It’s Facebook. Let’s all take a moment to collectively groan about this.
Whether we like it or not, Facebook has a pretty firm grip on modern day living. Even if you hate the platform with every bone in your body, you probably still have an account. It might be dusty and dormant, but the odds are it does exist.
One good thing about Facebook is the ability to join (and create) groups…and that is where my first bit of advice comes from:
You can find your next read in a Facebook Reader Group!
If you read in the adult-SFF sphere, there are hundreds of reader groups you can join. There are some created by authors for their readers, but there are also groups created by fans of certain subgenres. In these groups, people post their reading recommendations, and I’ve found a lot of great books–both traditionally published and indie–in this way. In some of the bigger groups, people also hop on and ask other group members for their recommendations, and a lot of these posts ask for really specific things, like character archetypes and tropes. The best part is that (most) people post about books they love, so you get an unfiltered recommendation from someone about a book you might have never heard of!
So how do you join one of these groups? Go to the search bar and type in “GENRE books” (subbing ‘genre’ for whatever book genre you like) and a list of groups will pop up. Join the ones that sound interesting to you!
Find Books to Read on #Bookstagram
Are you a more visual person? Are pretty covers your kryptonite? Then Instagram might be where you’d rather search.
Honestly, I think that finding books on Instagram is a little easier simply because it doesn’t require you to join groups and sift through posts. You lose some of the conversation Facebook facilitates because IG is a more visual medium, but you can still find good recommendations there.
How do you find these recommendations? Hashtags. Which hashtags? Well, that will depend on you and what you’re looking for!
So if I was hopping on the ‘Gram in search of a new urban fantasy book to read, some hashtags I would try would be #urbanfantasy, #urbanfantasybooks, or #urbanfantasyseries. If I didn’t really care about the subgenre, but knew I wanted magic involved in some capacity, I would try some more general hashtags, like #amreadingfantasy or #fantasybooks. No matter what hashtag you decide to try, pictures tagged with that hashtag will appear in the search. This gives you an opportunity to see covers, blurbs, and writing samples of all kinds of books with that specific hashtag. While the hashtags are user selected, and you might come across a few books that don’t truly fulfill your genre wishlist, by and large authors and readers are tagging books appropriately.
Find Books to Read on #BookTok
Have you fallen victim to the social media craze that is TikTok? If so…same. I just made an account, actually.
If you’ve visited a bookstore recently, you might’ve seen a #BookTok display. While I’m still learning how to use TikTok, one thing I noticed immediately was how active the reader community is on the app, which definitely explains the prevalence of the bookstore displays. You have thousands of passionate readers sharing their recommendations, and the search function works in a similar way to Instagram!
Some genres are more popular to discuss on TikTok than others. Fantasy and romance recommendations, especially fantasy romance, are shared a lot. However, you can search for recommendations using hashtags, tropes, popular sounds (like music), and genre-specific things in the search bar. Even something general like ‘fantasy books’ will turn up a lot of videos with recommendations.
Now go forth and find your next read, friends.
Until next time!
You heard it here first! We have some books by our contributors coming out in 2023! Check out the covers!