Signs Amy Loves a Submission


by Amy Wilkins, Harlequin Digital Content team member & Carina Press Acquisition team

A couple weeks ago I read a Carina Press submission that I loved. It may be my favorite of any Carina book — and surprisingly, it was a from a genre I don’t normally read. Yet I knew within the first couple chapters that I loved it — and here were the signs….

1) I start writing the blurb as I read it. Are you one of those people that when you love a book you want others to love it just as much? I am, and it shows in how enthusiastic I am to write the book blurb for it. While reading the book, things jumped out at me that would be great for the book description: Phrases that show the author’s voice. Ways to describe the characters. Which plot elements could hook the reader. I was excited about this story, I wanted to start a blurb that would excite readers to pick it up, too.

2) I forget about all the other books I want to read. I’m the sort of reader who always has 2 or 3 books on the go. A couple on my e-readers (yes, I own two!) that I keep in my purse, and another on my nightstand. And those are just the books I’ve actually started reading, not to mention all the ones waiting for the future. It takes a strong story to make me forget those other books on my TBR list.

3) I don’t dare skip any of it – even if I stay up way too late to finish the whole thing. Imagine me the night before the next Carina acquisition meeting. I had about 400 pages (resized on my Sony Reader so that probably seems like more than it actually was) left of the manuscript to read. By page 150, I was sure I was going to want this book to be acquired. I could have skipped ahead to make sure the book didn’t fall apart half-way through or the ending was completely bogus. But by then I loved the story so much that I didn’t want to miss a single moment of these characters. So I kept reading waaaay too late – and had to drink way too much coffee the next morning as a result.

I’m sure I’ll be back on the blog in a couple months when this book is about to be released to tell you what it was about this particular submission I adored. But until then, why don’t you tell me your top signs that you are loving the book you’re reading?


13 thoughts on “Signs Amy Loves a Submission”

  1. Keri Stevens says:

    Missing bedtime is an obvious one–when I’m up until 1A and my eyes are blurring, I’ve got a winner in my hands.

    The best books, however, come back to mind days, months and years after I’ve shelved them or passed them on. I know I love it the most when I chew on it after the fact.

  2. Olga says:

    Love, love, love the type of books that do that to me. I often have more than one book on the go as well (haven’t purchased that second e-reader yet though ;) and it always thrills me when a book can tear me away from my TBR pile. Hope this submission becomes an acquisition!

  3. Jenny Bullough says:

    Missing bedtime is a giveaway for me as well. And I’ll never forget the book that gripped me so much, I bought a booklight so I could keep reading while I put my daughter to bed in the evening. Or the book that I couldn’t put down, to the point that I deliberately missed my bus stop, rode all the way to the end of the line and back again, and got off on the opposite side of the street from my stop just so I could keep reading past a key cliffhanger!

  4. When I’m loving the book I’m reading, I want to hurry and finish it so my BFF can read it too — so we can squeal like schoolgirls when we talk about all our favorite parts. LOL

  5. When I’m adoring the book I’m reading, I get resentful that I have to do other things besides read it. Like, oh, say, work. Or sleep. Or eat!

    When I was reading Jim Butcher’s Changes earlier this year, and I got into the big climax, I was devouring paragraphs with a sense of desperate urgency. I was all MUST! READ! NEXT! SENTENCE! Almost reading too fast to really process what I was reading, even. ;) I LOVE it when a book makes me want to charge through it so much that I have to in fact slow down and make sure I’m not missing anything!

  6. I know it’s a great book when I want to keep it to read again. I have some books I’ve read over twenty times and I’ll still reach for one of them if I can’t find anything new that tickles my fancy.

  7. Zrinka Jelic says:

    The action draws me in right away. We see the main characters in the middle of something he/she is doing and then plot starts and keeps going and it’s not bogged down by unnecessary narration and info dumping. No lose ends that leave me wondering what the…, did two pages got stuck together, did I skip it? Another sing of good book is when I find myself thinking about it long after I’ve done reading it and see someone in the crowd of people that reminds me of the character from that book.

  8. MaryK says:

    When the book sucks me in so I read and read and read, and when I finally look up from it I’m kind of dazed and not completely sure where I am.

  9. Mary G says:

    Great post! My top signs:

    Grabs me right away.

    I can’t put it down.

    I forget it’s just a book & I care what happens – could cry, have an ache in my chest, laugh etc.

    When I’m done it’s still in my head for days later, I look back at passages I’ve bookmarked, can’t stop talking about it/recommending it.

    Most books I read have most of these signs but when you get one that has all of them – heaven.

  10. Zee Monodee says:

    Loved this post, especially the enthusiasm that brimmed right through!
    I know a book has hooked me when I’m using every single minute I possibly can to read it. Like, I’m parking the car in the school yard, the bell will ring in 3 minutes and my son will come out and we’ll have to leave before the throng of kids start coming out. It’ll take me about 1 minute to open the file and resize it, 2 minutes to read, barely enough time to get into the flow again, but I have to do it!
    Or when I’m cooking – so pasta will take 10 minutes to boil so I’ll kill these minutes reading (and opening and resizing and everything!).
    Or, kid’s in the tub, and I allow him to play in the water for longer than 10 minutes because I simply have to read!
    These are sure winners for me, happens a lot when I’m reading a Martina Cole novel.

  11. Kelly Boyce says:

    There are a few things for me – when I lose all sense of time and space while reading; when the book and the characters stay with me long after I finish the book; and when I know well before I even finish the book I’ll be reading it again.

  12. AmyWilkins says:

    I’m back! I completely forgot one HUGE sign I love a book…

    #4 – I want a sequel. Like, NOW. With this book there were two secondary characters I soooo want to have their own stories. I’m DYING to find out if the author has their more planned! I loved the setting and all the secondary, even tertiary, characters so much I hope I get a chance to revisit their world some day.

  13. Here’s one! When I want to tell my husband or daughter or a friend something someone I know said or did…and then I realize it was the character in the book, who became as real as anyone out in my cyberverse.

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