I came across an excellent blog post (with thanks to Serena at the fabulous Savvy Verse & Wit blog) by author Alma Katsu called Five Simple Things You Can Do To Help Your Favorite Author, which not only offers insights into what it’s really like to publish a book but delivers a call to action for friends/fans of writers. For all of you readers out there who love a yet-undiscovered author, this post offers invaluable ways to help that author out.
As Alma writes, “the mainstream book media tends to feature the books that the publishers have put the most money behind. This excludes all but one or two debut novels a year” — so true. And so sad. She offers five ways readers can help, all having to do with word of mouth. (And I’ll add something for the writers out there: If your friends aren’t already doing these wonderful things for you, ask them to. They may not realize how much it means to you and your book.)
In addition to Alma’s five excellent tips, I have a few to add as well…
- Feature the book in your book club. When my book, Forgetting English, came out, I was absolutely thrilled when a few friends chose it for their book clubs, and I joined a few of them, both in person and via Skype. It was so fun that afterward I lost all shyness and humility when it came to suggesting Forgetting English when someone mentioned being in a book club.
- Give your favorite books as gifts. The gift of a book, hand-picked and personalized by an author, is a beautiful thing. Most authors have extra copies of their books on hand, so when a holiday or birthday comes along, ask them if they might sign a copy (or two) for a few people on your gift list.
- Donate a copy or two to charitable auctions. I’ve done this many times with Forgetting English (which is a teeny item by itself but goes very well with, say, a trip to Hawaii or Africa), and I’ve also been honored and grateful to be included in gift packages that other writers put together for fundraisers. It’s a great way to find new readers and do a little good for an organization.
There are so many ways to support your favorite authors — and unless they’re already on the bestseller lists, they will probably need it — and they’ll always appreciate it. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to market a book. Alma says it best in her post: “Remember to tell others about the book. It’s as simple as that.”