I realize that NoveList is a pay database and not all of my readers have access to it, but one thing everyone with an internet connection does have access to is NoveList's Story Elements.
|Download a copy here|
Appeal is at the heart of how we match books with readers. Appeal, not plot, captures the feel of the book, the "why" someone enjoys a story, or not. It is how we articulate the way the story is told, how we explain why a story spoke to us. And NoveList makes appeal the centerpiece of their product.
However, while it is the centerpiece, you do not have to pay to access the information. I link to the "NoveList Has Appeal" page in my 10 Rules of Basic RA Service here [Rule 4, click on the word "adjectives"], but I have also reposted the information from that page below.
It's easy to get caught up in the trends, new ideas, and controversies in our field, especially those of us who have been doing this awhile, but without appeal our jobs would be much harder, dare I say nearly impossible.
If you want to learn more or just give yourself a refresher course on appeal, click here, see below, or click here to download the handbook with all of the appeal terms.
What is Appeal?
Appeal factors help readers decide whether or not a book fits their style or mood. What is “heartwarming” to one reader may be saccharine to another; what is “mildly sensuous” to you may be quite shocking to others.
Why Appeals Make a Difference
Appeals are a signature feature of NoveList -- alongside other story elements, they help us match readers with their perfect books. We believe that appeal is crucial to successful matchmaking -- it’s the “chemistry” of readers’ advisory.
How Appeals Are Created
Librarians like Joyce Saricks, Nancy Pearl, and Neal Wyatt pioneered the idea of appeals, and NoveList continues the work by defining a set of standard appeal terms which we then apply to titles in our database and use in our read-alike recommendations.
Our appeal terms are listed in The Secret Language of Books that you can download on the right.
NoveLists's appeal terms fall into a few broad categories including:
Character (e.g. character duos, flawed, quirky, etc.) Storyline (e.g. action-packed, character-driven, sweeping, etc.)Pace (e.g. fast-paced, leisurely paced, etc.)Tone (e.g. bleak, funny, sarcastic, etc.)Writing Style (e.g. descriptive, gritty, lyrical, etc.)Illustration (e.g. cartoony, impressionistic, realistic, etc.) Learn more about Illustration appealsAudio Characteristics (e.g. folksy, energetic, read by the author, etc.)
Where to Find/Search Appeals
You'll see our appeal factors in all NoveList databases including: NoveList Plus, and NoveList K-8 Plus. They are also a feature of NoveList Select -- displayed in the What Appeals to Readers section. We also use appeals to inform all of our recommendations, wherever they appear. Do you like funny, fast-paced mysteries? Or, audiobook memoirs that are read by the author in a wry tone? Appeals help you zero in on the books that are exactly right for you.