Enter at your own risk....I don't know about other readers but I'm at a loss to find new authors through social networks or distributors like Amazon or Nook since algorithms seem to pick the top books. Goodreads reviews are also slanted by street teams, friends, and author relatives. Promotions don't make a better book, but do create better sales statistics, which in turn create better sales and higher positioning in the ranking. Word of mouth is still the best recommendation for me and that is determined by whether or not I also like the genre.
I'm a reader, a writer, and an editor who likes a really good book when I do read for pleasure. You, the reader, probably want a read that drags you into the story from the first few words and carries you away from TV reality shows, work drama , and the everyday needs harping at you. So you want an intriguing escape.
With the sheer numbers of books getting published or being self published, the choices have increased our ability to experience different kinds of stories. But sadly, it has created another dilemma for the reader. Too many choices! Dishonest reviews. Algorithms. Ranking. Poor formatting. Bad editing.
Cheaper pricing doesn't make it any better for us either. I'd rather pay $7.99 for a book I'm going to enjoy, than read ten bad free reads. How about you?
But how am I going to find those $7.99 books? I'm going resort to authors I've read and trusted over the years. Look at the disappointing top seller list at Amazon over the past few years. Fifty Shades of Grey may have made millions, and a few people liked the experience, but there are thousands of erotic romances available that are a better story and more well written. Once a book reaches a certain viral position it takes off despite what people think. It's like watching a train wreck...You may not like them, you may feel guilty about watching one, but you still watch. Why? Because you want to be in the know. It's curiosity. You can only hear about something so many times without wondering what all the fuss is about.
Then you get sucked in and find out it's all about nothing. Back to finding a good book...
My solution has been reading the free sample pages to see if I like the author's voice. If the author can grab me in those first few pages, and if the reviews are detailed and reasonable, I might take a chance on a new to me author. Frankly, the way books are being churned out lowers the quality of the books available and sends real readers back to traditional publishers because they trust them at least to have vetted the books for fifth grade and above use of the English language.
I have to admit I am a self published author, but two other publishing houses also have published my work. I've edited good books and bad ones. I hoped my editing improved with each book I worked on over the last nine years, but it doesn't mean even those were perfect. A book. Is a collaboration between an author, a publisher, and an editor...sometimes they don't agree, and in the reader's opinion, the wrong one gets his way. In the end, the final product should be the author's. Not every reader will like it. That's life.
But if you really, truly love a book, leave an honest review and recommend it to the appropriate readers.