Apr 11, 2011

Call for Comments: Brand Name Authors

Note: Not a real book.

Today's hypothetical for discussion - You walk into the local bookstore. On the front table there is a book with nothing on it but a "?" and an author's name. It's sealed in shrink wrap. Curious, you turn it over in your hands. There's no cover art, no description, no publisher icon on the spine, no author blurbs, no way to read a single word of prose without first paying the price of admission - let's say $20.

So knowing absolutely nothing else about the book, what name on the cover is enough to inspire a purchase?

My picks? In no particular order:
  • China Mieville
  • Daryl Gregory
  • Michael Chabon
  • Neil Gaiman
  • John Scalzi
  • Daniel Abraham
  • Lauren Beukes
  • Joe Hill
  • Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Joe Abercrombie
  • Norman Partridge
Who are your brand name authors?


  1. -Neil Gaiman
    -Stephen King
    -Terry Pratchett
    -Harry Turtledove
    -Robin Hobb
    -Gail Carriger
    -Sam Sykes
    -Mark Charan Nweton
    -Michael Moorcock
    -Tad Williams
    -Stephen Donaldson
    -Ken Follett
    -Jo Nesbø
    -Jan Guillou

    And I think that's it actually. Although there are authors that I will probably add to that list once I've read more of their books. But I wouldn't chance it with someone I'd only read one book of before.

  2. Terry Pratchett, Daniel Abraham, Alan Campbell, Mark Charan Newton, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, James Clavell, Scott Lynch, John Sandford, Dan Abnett, David Baldacci, Kyle Mills, Vince Flynn, Charles Cumming. Maybe Patrick Rothfuss.

    I agree with Weirdmage - authors I've only read one book by I might not be quite so willing to jump in blind, even if I loved the one book I'd read. (For example, Jon Sprunk, MD Lachlan, Doug Hulick, Blake Charlton, Sam Sykes, etc. - most of whom I'll be reading seconds in the coming months, actually.)

  3. Maybe it's just me but I would probably buy it regardless of the author. I wouldn't be able to resist! It's an awesome idea really!

  4. A few of the authors I would class in this category are now dead :-( Those would be David Eddings and David Gemmell. Most of the authors I buy any books by are actually chick lit; I'm much more discerning with my fantasy and tend to research a little bit before I plunge in with the cash. Chick lit authors include: Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes, Jane Green, Fiona Walker, and Jilly Cooper. They could actually write a shopping list and I'd buy it!

  5. While there are a bunch of authors I love their works as much as those, they all depend on a particular universe so I am not sure how I would find a different work by them; if you allow (author, series) than my list would be different of course, but in the spirit of the question:

    1: David Weber
    2: KJ Parker
    3: Peter Hamilton
    4: Steven Saylor
    5: Joe Abercrombie
    6: Alastair Reynolds
    7: Neal Asher
    8: David Mitchell
    9: Beth Bernobich
    10: Richard Morgan

  6. @Liviu - Sorry, no series, no genre, no nothing. Just an author's name, nothing more.

  7. - Warren Ellis
    - Michal Ajvaz
    - Charlie Huston
    - Jeff VanderMeer
    - Richard Morgan
    - Scott Lynch
    - Nick Harkaway
    - Haruki Murakami
    - Graham Joyce
    - Richard Kadrey

    I'd add Carlos Ruiz Zafon in there, but there's always a chance it might be his YA fiction and considering the huge disappointment that Prince of Mist was, I'd rather not take the chance.
    - Steven Erikson

  8. And Steven Erikson should be up above that longer bit. Got to love laptop mouse pads, always putting the cursor where they like.

  9. hmm,

    Brent Weeks
    Brandon Sanderson
    Joe Abercrombie (love-hate relationship)
    Brian Ruckley

    probably Patrick Rothfuss even though we are only at his second book

    Some new (to me) authors that look like they are fitting the bill for me:
    Douglas Hulick
    Scalzi (only read one of his so far, but loved it and going for more)
    Also just digging into some Gaiman and Mievelle and they sound like they will end up on my list as well.

  10. This is pretty much what I already do...I love to research literature but there are certain authors I'll buy no matter what.

    -Brandon Sanderson
    -C.S. Lewis
    -Neil Gaiman
    -Robert Jordan
    -Jane Austen

    I'm sure there are a couple more, but the five above would be with no questions asked.

  11. "@Liviu - Sorry, no series, no genre, no nothing. Just an author's name, nothing more."

    I agree and this is why I did the list that way; with more detail there are several authors I would have added, but in some cases I like only their sf (Banks), in others I simply have no idea if I would like something different (Tchaikovsky, Redick, Newton, J. Carey); the authors on my list with the exception of Joe A. have various series, standalone's and/or stories and i am sure I would read Joe A. if he would write UF or romance...

  12. David Gemmell
    Jim Butcher
    Joe Abercrombie
    Matthew Reilly
    Pat Rothfuss
    J V Jones
    Mark Chadbourn
    Michael J Sullivan
    Scott Lynch
    Robin Hobb

    I think Pat Rothfuss and Scott Lynch are impressive because they are brand name authors for me and have both only released two books to date.

  13. GRRM
    Daniel Abraham (any of his names)
    Joe Abercrombie
    Charlie Huston
    Graham Joyce
    Scott Lynch

  14. In additions to some of the names mentioned above:

    Liz Williams
    Paul S. Kemp
    Philip K. Dick
    Dean Koontz
    Mike Mignola
    R.A. Salvatore
    Matthew Hughes
    Michael Connelly
    Victor Gischler

  15. My 10 and a spare:
    Neil Gaiman
    Matt Ruff
    Walter Moers
    Mark Charan Newton
    Christopher Moore
    Tom Robbins
    Robert J. Sawyer
    Ted Chiang
    Nick Hornby
    Jasper Fforede
    Carlos Ruiz Zafon

  16. Neal Stephenson
    Orson Scott Card
    William Gibson
    C.S. Lewis
    Michael Chabon

  17. Richard Adams
    Orson Scott Card
    Glen Cook
    Stephen R. Donaldson
    Steven Erikson
    Ian C. Esslemont
    Dan Simmons
    Matthew Stover
    Karen Traviss
    Gene Wolfe

  18. I guess I'm the exception - I can't think of any author that I would buy in this case. Before spending my money, I simnply need more info than a name. There are lots of cases where authors I really like are involved with projects that I'm not willing to invest time or money in.

  19. Joe Hill and Norman Partridge are the only two worth taking a risk for me. The others I enjoy reading online, in magazines, etc, but I wouldn't take a chance on an unknown book by them.

    Jeff P.

  20. I'm impressed so many of you have such long lists. All I can come up with are:
    Lois McMaster Bujold and
    Jasper Fforde.

    As much as I love many many of the authors picked by others, I just would not spend $20 on a book by one of them knowing nothing else about it.

  21. Mercedes Lackey. Or J K Rowling. There are others I undoubtedly would enjoy reading, but those are two authors whose work I will buy sight unseen, I think.


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