Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Top Twenty Autobuy Authors

I was going to pick ten, but then I overshot.

I was feeling like I should do a list for authors I love but I haven’t read eight or more of their books (because they haven’t necessarily got eight books out yet). So this list is mostly for authors that I couldn’t put on the eight-or-more list, though there’s some overlap.

Also, some of my favorite authors are not *necessarily* autobuy authors. CJ Cherryh for example; she’s mostly autobuy, but if she were to write more in the Rusalka universe, well, I’m not even going to look at it. Guy Gavriel Kay; after RIVER OF STARS — beautiful but terribly tragic in exactly the way I dislike most — I will be more cautious before picking up another of his.

It’s easy to start off:

1. Laura Florand. She has a few more than eight out now, I think. She’s the only author where I have more than once bought a book and started reading it that same day, because her contemporary romances are just so easy to slip into and don’t jar me out of my own work.

2. Elizabeth Wein. Her books can sit on my TBR shelves for ages, though. They are not at all the kind that I can read while working on my own projects. Not even slightly.

3. Megan Whelan Turner. Like everyone else, I would love to see a new entry in The Queen’s Thief series.

4. Ilona Andrews. None of their books are in my all-time-top-ten list, but on the other hand, I’m likely to pick up anything they write at this point, whether it’s in the Kate Daniels series or not. But if it *is* in the series, I’ll probably read it right away; otherwise, who knows?

5. Andrea K Höst. Definitely.

6. Lois McMaster Bujold. Of course.

7. Martha Wells. Naturally. Well, probably not any more Star Wars tie-ins. Just not very interested in that universe. But anything that isn’t a tie-in, for sure.

8. Niccola Griffith. I didn’t really care for AMMONITE, but I loved THE BLUE PLACE trilogy so much. Depending on HILD . . . which I still haven’t read, I can hardly believe it . . . I will definitely buy anything she writes.

9. Merrie Haskell. I can’t wait to see what she brings out next.

10. Sage Blackwood. Ditto.

11. Steven Brust. I haven’t liked all of his. TECKLA, definitely two thumbs down. But even his experimental works that I don’t really like are interesting — I’m thinking here of BROKEDOWN PALACE — and I’m not in the least bored by the Vlad Taltos series, either.

12. Brian Katcher. I know, I know, I’ve only read exactly one of his books so far. But he is indeed an autobuy author for me, right now at least. I definitely want to read THE IMPROBABLE THEORY OF ANA AND ZACK when it comes out later this month, because he did a reading from it one time and it sounded like so much fun. Then I will probably read his other two titles. After that I’ll know more about whether he’s truly an autobuy author or me!

13. Django Wexler. Kind of the same as the above. So far I’m really enjoying this THOUSAND NAMES series. In a few years, I’ll see whether he’s really an autobuy author for me or not, but right now he is.

14. James Cambias. After THE DARKLING SEA, definitely. Very impressive debut.

15. Andy Weir. Same as the above: after THE MARTIAN, I’d be glad to try another of his, if he writes another.

16. Robin McKinley. Not sure why it took this long for me to think of her. I wish she’d finish the unfinished PEGASUS.

17. Emma Bull. AARGH IF SHE WOULD ONLY FINISH the long-unfinished TERRITORY.

18. “Katherine Addison”. Onward with that pseudonym. I would most love a sequel or two to THE GOBLIN EMPORER, but I’d try anything Sarah Monette wrote under the Addison name.

19. Sarah Addison Allen. Right. Of course.

20. Okay, come on. Surely stopping at 19 is just silly. FINE WHATEVER. Who am I obviously missing who ought to go in this spot? Or who would you definitely put in this spot yourself?

Oh, a related question: how many not-that-great or not-for-you titles does it take before an author wears out their autobuy status? I guess that depends on how many of their book you’ve already read and loved, and whether you think a new title of theirs is not quite up to snuff or just dreadful. Oh, and whether you see a real decline in writing quality, *cough* Laurell Hamilton *cough*.

One “just dreadful” title could definitely shut down a series for me, but not the author’s work overall if I’ve already decided I love that author. But how many books does it take to decide I love an author? The Touchstone trilogy and AND ALL THE STARS made me an Andrea K Höst fan. The Raksura trilogy and the Ile-Rien trilogy did the same for Martha Wells. (Those are two more recent-for-me authors, which is why I can remember what of theirs I read first.) That suggests just two stories are enough to either make me start collecting an author’s backlist or put them on my autobuy list for future books.

Update: Wow, so many great suggestions in the comments!

I can’t believe I forgot about Patricia McKillip. Consider her added right at the top. Others for me would be Peter Beagle, Robin McKinley, Patricia Wrede, and yes, probably Patricia Briggs as well. I didn’t like all her backlist as well as her UF series, but I would actually like to see her do some more secondary world fantasy. She’s grown a lot as a writer since her first couple.

I could see others being added to the list as I read more of their books. Frances Hardinge, for example. Elizabeth Bear. Naomi Novik . . . possibly. I rather lost interest in the Temeraire series, but I’m SO looking forward to UPROOTED.

Lots and lots of authors you all mentioned that I ought to try.

And I am happy and flattered that some of you mentioned me, too. Thank you!

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12 Comments Top Twenty Autobuy Authors

  1. pete mack

    Niccola Griffith doesn’t write enough for me to think of as auto-buy.
    Cambias has written one book. Again, not a big enough sample

    I agree on these
    Certainly McKinley, though Beauty and Spindle do not appeal.
    Bujold
    Wells
    Kay

    I’ve liked Monette’s work that I’ve read (mostly the rather brutal wolf books she wrote with Bear.)

    I DNF’d the Florand book I tried.

    Others: (not necessarily my favorite authors, as comfort reading and excellence are in different categories.)
    Elizabeth Bear!!
    Eric Flint, except 1632 series, which is just too much
    David Freer
    Hambly, except the series about pre-civil war south, which has gone too long

  2. Mary Anne

    Bujold, Emma Bull and Megan Whalen Turner lead my list – always. Many of those you’ve listed. Also Patricia Briggs. And Wen Spencer. I had issues with her Tinker series and how someone as strong as Tinker could so easily be OK with being changed without her consent, and the sex parts didn’t quite ring authentic, but I still really like her books, and the last in the series, about the kids, really stuck with me. Was slower reading than I’m used to from Spencer, but sticky. Tanya Huff – most of hers I love and some are just OK, but they’re never bad. Carla Kelly – a historical romance writer. Initially she did Regencies but she floats around now – does some Mormon stories, some western settings, a good duology set in early Southwest Spanish settlement. And her books are sometimes about lords and ladies and elite, but more often about the middle class, or gentry. Ranchers and miners, soldiers and sailors and lots of doctors. I find that a lot of her characters blur in tone from one book to another, but the tone is good and admirable. (Actually, I find that to be true with many authors – but as I like the characters, I don’t mind the echo from one story to the next, especially if I don’t try to read a bunch of ’em in a row.) Stephanie Burgis – I loved her Kat Incorrigible series and can’t wait to see what she’ll do outside of it. I autobuy Lindsay Buroker, but I think partly because her books are really affordable (ebooks). I’ve liked most of them, really liked some, but would probably not buy at the frequency she publishes if they weren’t so cheap. I’ve already prepurchased Django Wexler’s next book. Just finished tearing through his first two – I’m glad I waited so I’ll be able to read all three fairly close together. If Patrick Rothfuss would write faster I might be able to say I autobuy him. Oh yeah, I buy your books too.

  3. SarahZ

    I don’t know all the authors you listed, but Megan Whalen Turner, Elizabeth Wein, Ilona Andrews, and Merrie Haskell are all on my list. My additions would probably be:

    *Patricia Briggs
    *Maggie Stiefvater – don’t love all her earlier stuff, but I feel like she’s just getting better & better as a writer
    *Holly Black – mostly writes YA, mostly about fairies (not nice ones – hers are more like they are in older stories), although I love her Curseworkers series too
    *Libba Bray – one of the most inventive authors today, but always very well grounded in characters
    *Tamora Pierce – Don’t love all her more recent books as much as the original Alanna ones, but I’m always up for whatever she’s writing
    *Neil Gaiman – apparently my list doesn’t have a ton of men, but he’s definitely on there
    *Brenna Yovanoff – she’s a writing partner with Stiefvater, and I love all of her books too (what this tells me is I should pay more attention to Tessa Gratton, the third author in their critique group)
    *Patricia Wrede
    *David Weisner – he writes picture books (for kids), frequently without words, but they’re beautifully inventive
    *Shaun Tan – his book The Arrival put him on my radar. Again, he’s a graphic artist, but his picture books aren’t really for kids I think. Can’t recommend him enough. Tales from Outer Suburbia is another favorite
    *Ryan North – first came across him as a webcomic artist, and he hasn’t written a ton, but the fact that he’s writing the new Squirrel Girl comic books is enough to make me want to pick up the trade paper back of it

    And, seconding Pete’s vote, Rachel Neumeier :)

  4. Cheryl L

    I can’t believe that no one has mentioned Patricia McKillip!

    For me, Peter Beagle, Robin McKinley, Connie Willis, Pamela Dean (if she ever gets around to publishing another book), Philip Reeve, Frances Hardinge, Lisa Goldstein, Martha Wells, James Blaylock, Tim Powers and Naomi Novik are also auto buys.

  5. BGrandrath

    Cherryh is at the top of my list. I would even buy another one of the Russian books. I probably would not read it but I have everything else she’s written. I think that qualifies her as an auto buy.

    As you said Bujold, of course.

    Ann Leckie is the newest author on my list. I’m really looking forward to see where she goes from here.

  6. Kim Aippersbach

    A few who haven’t been mentioned yet:

    Sherwood Smith
    Laini Taylor
    Sharon Shinn
    Jim Butcher
    Jasper Fforde
    Franny Billingsley (would love it if she wrote something else)

  7. Rachel

    Ann Leckie, yes, I’ll definitely be snapping up her next few. I love her Ancillary series so far and I’ll be SO interested to see what she does next, after she finishes that and moves on to something else.

    Yes, Sharon Shinn is indeed another autobuy author for me. Lots of good suggestions here.

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