How did they become familiar favorites? By reading them once. Then twice. I'm always looking to expand my favorites list, so that means venturing out a little more.
For new authors, I take a look at the title. Then the cover. Then the book blurb (that condensed version of the story either on the inside flap or the back). I'll check to see if an author I know has added an endorsement.
Then I'll read the opening sentence or two. (Kindle supplies samples so I can really get a feel of the story and style of the writer.)
Each of these things--the title, the cover, the blurb, the endorsements, and that opening hook--they're all promises. Together they form a kind of contract that promises me a certain type of book.
Books with bright colors on the covers are different types of books than those with dark colors.
And that opening hook? I don't want to be expecting a light-hearted cozy and end up reading a high-intensity thriller.
Is the book you're writing/reading living up to its promise?
Writing came easy--it would only get hard when I got better at it.
CR: Waking Lazarus by T.L. Hines
It's all better with friends.