Thursday, June 4, 2015
How to Support an Author 101
Since the release of my book, Becoming Jinn, on April 21 (and, yes, I’m still on a high!), many people have been asking me what they can do to help support me. While buying the book is one very nice way I will never say no to (!), most people, aside from my mom, won’t be buying more than one copy (and some people can't afford to buy one, which I completely understand). So what else can you do to support an author you love?
My good friend, Jen Malone, author of the upcoming Hollywood YA novel, MAP TO THE STARS, has two excellent posts on this very topic. If you are looking for ways to support the authors whose work is important to you, I urge you to read those posts here and here. Here are some of my favorite tips excerpted from Jen’s articles (with her permission!):
If you are going to buy the book, preorder it. Why? Here are three of the biggest reasons:
1. This gets it on the radar of bookstores, whether it’s your favorite local one or a big one like Barnes & Noble. Enough preorders can trigger automatic orders for additional copies due to the formulas these companies use to calculate ordering strategies. High pre-sales also encourage booksellers to offer extra marketing attention and prime in-store placement to those titles.
2. When bookstores order more copies in advance of a book’s release, it can trigger publishers to order a bigger initial print run and generate a push for more in-house marketing efforts. Additionally, many houses wait for early sales numbers before green-lighting a sequel or follow-up book, so strong pre-sales could give them the confidence to move forward on another book deal for the author you love.
3. Preorders get lumped into first week sales, thus bumping the author farther up in the sales charts for their “opening week.” This can also capture the attention of smaller indie bookstores, who factor sales rankings into their ordering decisions. In some slower weeks, as few as 2,000 combined preorders and opening week sales can put an author on the NYT bestselling list. Any idea what having “NYT Bestseller” on a book cover does for future sales?
Ask for It by Name
After the book’s release, when you go into a bookstore or a library, ask for the book by name (you can do this even if you don’t intend to buy a copy or check it out that day). Have the bookseller or librarian direct you to the book. This makes them aware of it, shows interest in the book, and may prompt them to recommend it to the next person who comes in looking for something in that genre. Word of mouth is key, and this is one way you can generate it.
Speaking of Word of Mouth…
If you loved an author’s book, spread the word! Tell your family and friends, post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (pictures of the cover are great to post as it adds to brand building and recognition for the title and book). If you have a book club, suggest they read it. Most authors will do Skype chats with book clubs, and many will visit locally in person. Check out an author’s contact page on their Web site to see if they’d be willing to visit your book club. Recommend the author to your bookstore, library, or child’s school as a speaker. Many of these places run events or panels where they include authors. Recommendations help get authors on the radar for the organization’s next event.
Telling friends and family is great, but why not tell the whole world? If you have an account on Goodreads, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, review the book. On some of these sites, a book must have a certain number of text reviews to be entered into the algorithms that recommend books either on the site or in e-mail newsletters. Your review can help the author get there. And, yes, it’s perfectly okay to copy and paste the same review into multiple sites. Don’t worry about “saying the right thing.” If you loved it, say that. That’s enough!
Many local libraries have Web sites that allow you, as a library patron, to request that the library carry a certain book. Most libraries will order requested books, which means you can get your favorite authors’ books on more shelves and exposed to more readers. If you do this online, you may need certain information like the ISBN number, the publisher’s name, and the release date. Fortunately all of those are easily found in the details area on both Amazon and Goodreads. They are usually on the author’s “books” page on their Web site as well.
If your library doesn’t allow you to do this online, simply swing by the desk the next time you visit and ask in person.
While this may sound simple, it makes a huge difference, and authors will be most grateful!
Tell the Author
While all of the above is very important for the book’s success, one of the nicest things you can do if you love a book is to simply tell the author. Tag them on a Facebook post, Twitter message, or Instagram picture. Send them an e-mail. Writing is a long, often lonely, process. To hear from readers—the people we are writing for—who love the book means more than everything else combined.
Thank you and happy reading!
Lori Goldstein is the author of Becoming Jinn (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan, now available!!, sequel, Spring 2016). With a degree in journalism and more than 10 years of experience, Lori is a freelance copyeditor and manuscript consultant for all genres. She focuses on the nitty-gritty, letting writers focus on the writing.
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