Category Archives: Guest

Readers: How You Can Help Your Favorite Authors

Forwarded from an article by Penny C. Sansevieri, Editor (edited for appropriateness)
penny@amarketingexpert.com
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. . .  Often readers want to help, but aren’t really sure what to do. Also, there’s a bit of a mystique around authors. Many readers think, “Well, the book has been published, they probably don’t need my help.” But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Authors (especially those who are starting out) do need our help. Here are a few things you can do to help support your favorite author.
* Review the book: Readers are some of the best resources for reviews. I’m surprised that many readers don’t do this, it’s not because they’re lazy but because they wonder if their opinion matters. Guess what? It does! Like a book? Please review it. Even if you don’t like it review it, too. Most authors welcome feedback if it’s constructive. Always be positive.
* Photo sharing: A reader holding up my book, snapping a picture and posting it on social media! This is a fun, visual way to share your love for a book. Even better, snap a picture where you’re reading it. Taking a book on vacation? Why not show yourself enjoying the book (cover out!) reclining in a hammock or sitting somewhere sipping espresso (Paris?). If you don’t have any travel planned, take a picture anyway.
* Local bookstores: Though it may seem like every author who is published gets a shot at bookstore shelf space, the truth is that most don’t. If you’ve found a book you love and had to buy it on Amazon because your local store didn’t carry it, tell them. Bookstore managers have (said) if they get multiple requests for a book they will consider stocking it.
* Reading groups: Unlike The Pulpwood Queens which has a website and a strong online presence, most local book clubs don’t have that kind of exposure but their regional reach can be fantastic. If you know of a local book club let them know about this book and then put them in touch with the author. It’s a quick thing to do and I speak from experience when I say that any author would be very, very grateful to have this kind of a connection.
* Buy the book for a friend: This is pretty basic. If you love the book you just read, buy a copy for a friend. I do this almost every year for Christmas. If I love a book, I gift it. When you gift it, remind the person to review it.
* Social Media: Sharing has become part of our lives. We share good and bad news but when was the last time you shared what you are reading? Here’s where that great picture you just took of you reading a book can come in handy. Or even better, hop on over to Goodreads or Library Thing and share your love for this author to the millions listening there.
* Bookmarks: Most authors will get things printed up like bookmarks, postcards, etc. Bookmarks are especially fun because despite the eBook surge, many of us are still reading printed books. Email the author and see if he or she will send you a stack of them that you can share with your local library or bookstore. Leave them at the counter or pop them inside similar books. Sort of like Amazon’s “Other customers also bought” which pairs up similar titles. Again, this takes very little effort. Ask for the bookmarks and the next time you’re at a bookstore drop them off. Easy and the authors will really appreciate the local exposure.
* Authors on tour: It’s not often that authors tour anymore but if you have someone coming to your area why not offer to help them get the word out? Maybe drop off fliers, or if you are so inclined, call your local paper and let them know this author is coming to town and as a reader, you’d love for the paper to do a story on it. Getting a heads-up about an author coming to town from a reader can be ten times more effective than even a well-polished pitch. Why? Because the media is serving the local community and if a resident is sharing an idea, they’re bound to listen.
* Libraries: Authors can have a tough time getting into libraries so why not buy an extra book and donate it? Then let the author know that you did this so they can let readers know where they can check out the book at a local library. I know most authors would love to have a reader do this. It’s impossible to reach everyone and most authors don’t have the budget to do a library pitch on top of everything else. Many will submit their books to publications librarians read and hope for the best. Having a local connection is a fantastic way to get a book some local exposure.
When I’ve offered these tips in a session sometimes someone will pop up and say, “But big named authors don’t need this kind of help.” That’s possibly quite true, but if you’re only reading big names you’re missing out on a whole crop of wonderful new writers. And, candidly, most authors, no matter how big they are will appreciate the help. The publishing world isn’t just shrinking for the little guy, it’s shrinking for every author. As a reader, you have a unique opportunity to make a difference and help out an author who has poured his or her heart and soul into a book.

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