Friday, August 24, 2012
Support Your Favorite Authors
As a writer, one of my great joys is in creating a story and presenting characters with which my readers identify and from which they draw an equal amount of joy. Being an author with smaller, independent publishers means I have to work a lot harder to get my books recognized and to draw in readers. Often readers will ask, "Why don't more people read your books? I love them."
The answer is simple: Because more people don't know about them. So, for those readers out there (of my books and of other authors) who want to know how to support your favorite authors, here are some tips:
1. Word of Mouth - There is nothing like word-of-mouth to turn new readers onto your favorite authors and their books. If you like a book, talk it up, tell people about it and tell them where they can buy the book. Every author has a website and links to where their books can be purchased.
2. Write a review - Amazon.com allows for reader reviews and ratings. Some authors love to receive reviews with permission to post them on their own website or blog. We're easy to be found and contacted. My own website and blog both have contact buttons to direct you to an email that comes right to me.
3. Request your local library to order the book(s) - Libraries will generally order books for their shelves upon request of library members. Of course we authors would rather sell individual copies, but having our books available in the library introduces our work to new readership.
4. Introduce the book to your book club - If you belong to a book club, introduce them to your favorite author and book, ask to include it in their reading and discussion. Some authors, myself included, are more than willing to be a part of the discussion, if not in person, via phone or Skype. Trust me--we love to talk about our books with readers.
5. Check out the author's website. Post an encouraging note if they have a guestbook option (which I do at www.lindarettstatt.com). Subscribe to the author's blog if he/she has one and comment on discussion topics. (My blog address is www.onewomanswrite.blogspot.com - right here and you can subscribe in the right column.) Let us know you're out there! We write a book and fling it out into the universe and, with the exception of royalty statements (which can be paltry at times), we have no idea who is reading our books. Give us a shout out and let us know.
6. Follow your favorite authors on Facebook and Twitter. Most of us are there and love to have you 'like' our author pages and become our 'friends'.
7. Take the time to send a note the publisher if there's is a book/author you particularly enjoy reading. Again, this information is generally available on the author's website with a link to the publisher's site. There you can generally find a 'contact us' option.
8. Many of us engage in author chats on various Yahoo Groups and forums. We usually announce these in advance via Facebook and Twitter or on our blogs. Join one or two of the groups and become a part of the conversation. Each of my publishers has a Yahoo group that is open to both authors and readers--a place where authors and readers interact and authors share new information on their books.
9. Think about giving books as gifts. Many of us will gladly sign a book you've purchased to give as a gift. I always keep a supply of books on hand for those who want to purchase a signed copy directly from me. One of my publishers, Champagne Books, is now offering an option in the bookstore that, for a small additional charge, you can purchase an author-signed copy of a book directly from the publisher.
10. Talk, talk, talk--Talk about the books that engage you, excite you, keep you riveted to the pages. Especially those books by new or lesser-known authors. Again, word-of-mouth is the best way to introduce your friends to the books and authors you love. Think of how many times we talk up a restaurant we've discovered that offers scrumptious food. Think of your favorite author's books as a feast for the soul and share the good news with your friends.
Writing can be a somewhat solitary venture. While I'm engrossed in the writing of the story, I'm not all that aware of what's going on beyond my laptop. But when a book is finished and published, I often wonder how it's doing out there. Kind of like sending your child off to the first day of school. I rely on readers to let me know how it's going. Don't be shy--reply! (Okay, I'm going to stop here before I morph in O.J. or Dr. Seuss.)