I told rachelmanija
I'd start writing more about books, soooo ...
I signed up for a Kindle Unlimited subscription last year. They give you 3 months free, which is diabolically clever; I doubt if a week would have done it, but after months of being able to click on the little "borrow for free!" icon and have a shiny new book on my Kindle, I think I'm going to keep the paid version for at least a couple of months. I also have to give them credit for being surprisingly non-evil with the free subscription. There is a very large button right on the KU homepage showing you when your free subscription converts to a paid one and giving you the option to unsubscribe.
I've found that, as well as inundating me with new reading material, the most useful thing about it is that it has been very helpful for studying a new genre by reading widely in it. Back in 2015, I did this with paranormal shifter romance when I first started writing Zoe, but I had to do it the hard way by downloading a bunch of free books as well as cherry-picking the 99-cent bestsellers. The KU subscription is great for this because I can just click on almost any book that looks interesting or useful, and have it show up for free on my Kindle. In fact, this is why I looked into the subscription originally, because I wanted to get an overview of mystery and thriller in the same way as I originally did PNR (I'd like to try out writing that for a moneymaking venture in a similar way to how I've been doing romance). So I've been enjoying that, as well as exploring a few interesting-looking romance subgenres.
To be fair, I've downloaded and started WAY more books than I've actually finished. Honestly, though, just being able to read the first few chapters of a ton of different books in a particular category is its own kind of useful. (I have, in fact, done this both at the library and in my own book collection in the past, especially while studying opening scenes, so this is a convenient way to achieve the same result.)
Reading a ton of selfpub, particularly in some of the more niche genres, is also an exciting adventure in "what you see is not necessarily what you get." I'm starting to get used to books with fairly genre-standard covers that turn out to be something totally different. Here's an example: Ghosts of Gotham
, which has a nice cover and a hook-y opening with a reporter hero who makes a living out of debunking supernatural scams. I expected that there probably would be supernatural shenanigans (ghosts maybe?), but I was still completely unprepared for ANCIENT BABYLONIAN ZOMBIE DEATH CULT, demons, Near Eastern gods, an entire office tower full of people in New York City dropping dead and no one seeming to care, and a love interest who appears to be some sort of immortal goddess/sorceress who bleeds out her eyes when she does magic. This book is bonkers but not really in a good way, or at least not in a to-my-tastes kind of way, and I noped out about halfway through.
And then there's the general issue of "suddenly Jesus," wherein a book that does not appear to be set up that way from the first few chapters turns out to be inspirational fiction, which is frequently (for some reason) either not even hinted at in the blurbs, or couched in dog whistle euphemisms like finding meaning in life, which I am completely into as a trope, but not, generally, like this. (I mean, I'm fine with the characters in a book I'm reading being personally invested in Jesus as an aspect of their character, but there's a big difference between that and "Jesus is actively manipulating the ending of this book," I'm just saying.)
I also made the mistake of reading Dean Koontz again. He has a bestselling series of Kindle shorts (the Nameless series
) and I also read them, or at least skimmed them. I generally find his endings disappointing (to the point that, for awhile, my husband and I used to jokingly use Koontz as a verb, as in, to Koontz an ending is to really fail to stick the landing), but even going in with low expectations I was still unprepared for how utterly and infuriatingly the ending of that series would fail to achieve ANY part of what I want from an ending, not in a "suddenly Jesus" way but rather in a "Fuck you, Koontz, that's the WORST payoff for all the hints about the core mystery of these books that you could possibly have come up with short of just not giving us any answers at all" kind of way.This entry is also posted at https://sholio.dreamwidth.org/1302529.html with comments.