Sunday, June 28, 2015

Writing Diversity

Last November, I participated in NaNoWriMo by writing a 50k YA novel with a black protagonist. She wasn’t my first character of color, but she was my first non-white protagonist ever written. (I'm white, just so you know.)

Why did I decide to write this protagonist? Because of a beautiful little thing you may have heard of called We Need Diverse Books (WNDB). The day WNDB trended on Twitter, I was caught up in it, mesmerized. Like someone took away this veil and opened by eyes to the fact that there is so much white representation in books, and not enough representation of everyone else. I had never thought about it. But it’s true.

And that’s “white privilege”, or part of it, anyway. And a dash or two (or five) of ignorance.

See, I grew up in a small town where we had maybe two black people. None of my friends were black. My parents didn’t know any black people. Then, in middle school, my family moved one town over, and none of my friends were allowed to come over “because of the dangerous black people.” By the time I really knew any people of color was in college. Now I know black and biracial people.

 But because of the bubble I grew up in, I never wondered what life today is like for people who aren't white. I don't have to think about people's assumptions of me based on my skin (white privilege), so I didn't think about how others are affected by assumptions based on their skin color.

When I realized our need for diverse books, I wanted to be a part of that.

So I wrote a black teenage girl as my protagonist. I did it in 30-days, without much thought to what it means that she's black.

After it was all said and done, I sat back, cracked my knuckles (not really), and then my bubble burst. Because I realized she was probably just a white girl I had colored brown. And then I started getting scared. What if I do this wrong? What if I offend people?

But here’s the thing. There’s more than just ignorance holding us back from creating rich, diverse books. Fear also holds us back. I thought so many times, “Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this.” We can fix ignorance by learning. We can face fear by doing the thing that scares us. It takes effort. It takes empathy. It takes looking outside of our bubbles, but it’s so worth it because most of our books shouldn’t have white characters. The world isn't mostly white, and we need to represent better.

Even if we fail.

For the record, I don’t want to fail. We should try hard not to fail. So I’ve been trying to fix my ignorance, and by doing so, I’m fighting the fear that I’ll mess up horrendously.

–I’m paying more attention than ever to news and issues about skin color.
–Watching videos and reading articles by black people, talking about what it’s like to be black.
–Choosing a more diverse cast in my entertainment, like music, shows, and books.
–Asking questions. (I could work on this one more since the fear of offending has stopped me from reaching out much.)

And once I’m educated, all I can do is try. If I fail, at least I’m a better, more well-rounded and empathetic person for having made the effort.

I have a few questions for you! Have you created diverse characters? How about specifically diverse protagonists? How did you understand your character’s world? Lastly, do you have any advice for me and other writers? (Please?) Comment below!

I've only scratched the surface, and I bet I don't understand the half of it. But I'll never stop trying to get a better understanding.


Friday, June 26, 2015

As promised last month, YAtopia puts middle grade author Angela Sunde under the Guestopia spotlight.

Welcome Angela, we're so pleased you could be with us today.

On your marks, get set, GO!

Is this your first published book?
This is my second book. My first, Pond Magic, was published by Penguin Australia in their popular Aussie Chomps series. I am also the illustrator and co-author of The Coral Sea Monster – winner of the Write-a-Book-in-a-Day award, 2011.

What’s it called?
Snap Magic is the name of my latest release.

Which genre?
It’s a mid-grade urban fantasy.

Which age Group?
8-12 years

Is it a series or standalone?
It’s the sister book to Pond Magic featuring the same character, Lily Padd. In Snap Magic – a bewitchingly funny coming-of-age story about secrets, bullies and pumpkin soup – Lily once again finds herself in an embarrassing situation needing magical intervention to set straight.

Are you an agented author?
No, I am not.

Which publisher snapped up your book?
Snap Magic is published by Red Pedal Press, a small indie publisher.

How involved have you been in the whole publishing process of your book?
100% involved; I am the publisher. Snap Magic went through an intensive editing and design process with a high-level, professional editor (former senior editor at Penguin Australia), and the highly experienced book design team at Book Cover Cafe.

Do you have another job?
No, I work full-time as an author/illustrator, writing judge, speaker and teacher.

Did you receive many, if any, rejections prior?
Though my editor at Penguin loved it, Snap Magic was not accepted, as they had just closed the Aussie Chomps series. Then, because of its Aussie Chomps length, Snap Magic didn’t fit other publishers’ lists.

What created/what were you doing or watching when the first idea for this book sneaked up on you?
Snap Magic began life as a short story based on an embarrassing experience I had at school as a tween. The short story was then short-listed in the Charlotte Duncan Award. The idea to use Snap as the springboard for a light-hearted children's novel resulted in Snap Magic 's longlisting in the Greenhouse Funny Prize 2013 for unpublished manuscripts.

How long did you plot/plan until you started writing it?
Not that long, perhaps a week. Having the short story as a base kick started a wealth of ideas for the plotline.

Once you started, did the story flow naturally or did you have to step in and wrestle it into submission?
It flowed very quickly as I followed my outline, and I was already familiar with the main characters, so it was a lot of fun to write.

How many drafts did you write before you let someone read it? Who was that someone?
My husband and daughter read the first draft as I wrote it. I was laughing so hard when I finished each chapter that I just had to share it with someone immediately.

Did you employ an editor/proofreader or did you have a critique partner/beta readers before you started querying?
I have two critique partners who offered feedback. When the manuscript was ready for submission, I received a Regional Arts Development Fund grant, and then employed my senior editor from
Penguin Australia to edit the manuscript and a professional copyeditor to triple check.

Roughly how many drafts did it take before you sent the manuscript off into the real world?
About 3-5.

How many drafts until it was published?
At least another three with the editor, and multiple more with the typesetter.

Has the book changed dramatically since the first draft?
No, very little.

Are there any parts you’d like to change even now?
None whatsoever.

What part of writing do you find the easiest?
The easiest part of writing for me is when I am in ‘the zone’. I visualise scenes with ease. I also love editing language – all parts of the narrative.

What part do you find hardest?
Right now it’s the structural edit of my work in progress.

Do you push through writing barriers or walk away?
I push through. There’s no other choice.

How many projects do you have on the go at the same time?
Usually three: a picture book/ illustrations; a novel; and an idea I am thinking about or researching. Sometimes that makes for a rather scattered and unproductive day of creating, so I have to remain disciplined and focused.

Do you think you’re born with the talent to write or do you think it can be learned?
Writing is a craft that requires a strong dose of creativity. Creativity can be nurtured and craft can be taught.

How many future novels do you have planned?
Besides the one I am writing, I have two others in mind; one is set here on the Gold Coast where I live, and the other is a historical novel set in New Zealand.

Do you write other things, such as short stories, articles, blogs, etc?
Yes, I blog – – and I occasionally write short stories and poetry as the whim takes me. I recently had three poems exhibited at Bond University as part of the Bleach Festival, and one of my YA short stories has been published in an anthology.

What’s the highlight of being published so far?
It is most definitely the other creatives I have met and become friends with. My life is so much happier and fulfilled.

Give me five writing tips that work for you.
1. Give your main character a problem they must overcome.
2. Know your characters’ weaknesses and then exploit them.
3. Jump right into the drama and action.
4. Keep writing even when it sucks.
5. Don’t share your story with critique partners too early.

And one that doesn't.
Trying to reach a daily word count – writing can also be about thinking what you’re going to write. It’s not always about the number of words.

Can you give us a clue or secret about the next book?
It’s based on a fairytale involving a red cape.

What question have you always wanted to be asked but never have? What would the answer be?
Q. Why are my stories based on fairytales?
I majored in German literature and language at uni and one of my favourite papers was the study of the Grimm Brothers’ Fairytales – I still have my yellowed, aging copy in pride of place on my bookshelf. I believe the tradition of oral storytelling is a human trait that supports our need for understanding the world we inhabit. We still tell each other stories from our lives; nowadays it’s called reality TV.

Snap Magic really is a super story, perfect for a child to read alone, or even better to share with an adult. Thank you so much for joining us today, Angela. It's been a pleasure finding out more about you.

If you'd like to know more about Angela and her books, here are the all important links!

Author Website
Red Pedal Press
Book Depository

Please join me next month when I interrogate the fabulous Fleur Ferris!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cover & Trailer Reveal: Finding Immortal by E.L. Wicker Book #2 in The Bearwood Series #WWWBlogs

I am pleased to bring you the cover & trailer reveal for Finding Immortal, Book #2 in the Bearwood series by E.L. Wicker



Add-to-Goodreads-ButtonAfter losing the love of her life, Ilia Rose will do anything to feel Nathaniel’s presence, even if it means freezing or drinking copious amounts of alcohol. When she learns that Alex is tracking down the remnants of Sol’s army to deliver his own style of justice, she rushes off to find him. On an alcohol induced killing spree, Ilia and Alex receive information that sends their hopes soaring, thus beginning a race to discover the truth about Nathaniel’s death. Unfortunately, for Ilia, the truth may prove far more dangerous than any enemy she has ever faced.

If you haven't read book #1 yet, Fractured Immortal, it's free over on Amazon.

About The Author

EmE.L. Wicker lives in Hampshire, England, with her husband and two daughters. Her debut book, Fractured Immortal, was released in December 2014, and in June 2015 was short listed for a Self published and Small press award. She is a regular contributor to YATopia, Whiskey, Wine, and Writing, as well as a co-host for the Whiskey, Wine, and Writing web show. E.L. Wicker is a New Adult junkie, with a stack of NA books a mile high on her TBR list and a stack that could possibly stretch to the moon in her already read list. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog. She also regularly sets up new blogs and designs logos and banners for people at no cost.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Summer Reading List

Today was my last working day before the summer holiday. I cannot wait to spend the next 7 weeks writing, but more importantly, reading! I have so many great books in my TBR pile, some new, some old. Here's what I'll be reading this summer:

 My current read. I'm hoping to finish it this weekend. It reminds me a little of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. It's moving a little slowly at the moment but I have been super distracted with work stuff so I'm hoping now that it'll get my full attention, I'll lose myself in the story more.

Kuehn is without a doubt my favourite YA contemporary writer. This book was a pre-order buy and it's been on my Kindle since June 9th! I am absolutely dying to read this story! It will undoubtedly be shocking, dark, deviant, and magnificent as all Kuehn's works are.

This is a book by a fellow Month9Books author. I've been wanting to read this book since I first read the blurb several months ago and now's my chance! Fantasy. Feminism. A strong character of colour - what more could I want?

I am so behind with this series! I bought this when it was on special months ago and never got around to reading it - but I will this summer! I've been looking forward to a good YA sci-fi story and I hope this is it.

Another Month9Books title I've been desperate to read but never got around to. Crown of Ice will be the retelling of the summer for me.

I hope to read a lot more books than just these, but since I will be away at the Archipelacon science fiction and fantasy convention and want to get a lot of writing done this holiday as well, I'm going to keep summer simple by starting with these 5 titles.

What are you reading this summer? Have you read any of my summer TBRs?

Friday, June 12, 2015

COVER REVEAL! Chameleon (The Domino Project #1)

This day has been a long time coming, and I won't usually toot my own horn, but I had to share the cover of my upcoming book with everyone!

Chameleon has had a long and winding road to get to this point. I love this trilogy so fiercely. Due to a demanding group of cps and an amazing support network, it's finally almost ready for release. S.P. McConnell worked magic here, and the fact that he goes by initials too is totally just a coincidence, not a conspiracy. Right.

Chameleon (The Domino Project #1) is a YA futuristic science fiction story. It's set in the wasteland of earth after a meteor shower devastates landmasses, makes seas rise, introduces the psionic gene into the human race, damages the atmosphere, and gives the gift of an alien parasite to the world.

The goodreads blurb is as follows:

After Sai's newly awoken psionic power accidentally destroys her apartment complex, she’s thrown into an intensive training program. The only grades are pass or die.

Surviving means proving her continued existence isn't a mistake--a task her new mentor, Bastian, takes personally. Her abilities place her in the GNW Enforcer division, which partners her with Domino 12, who is eerily human for an alien-parasite and psionic hybrid. When her assassination duties are revealed, Sai understands the real reason for her training.

  On a mission to dispatch a dangerous Exiled scientist, she uncovers truths she never thought possible. Sai is unsure who to trust as her next mission might be her last, and a double agent seems to be manipulating both sides.

Without further ado - here is the cover, by the amazingly talented S.P. McConnell.


It's finally here

CHAMELEON Domino Project Front with Text 2

Isn't it GORGEOUS!?!?!

Sit back and bask in this for a moment.

It's available for preorder for a special price of $2.99
Amazon Link

It will be available on release from B&N, Kobo, iBooks - pretty much any platform I can find.
It will also be available in print via CreateSpace, Amazon, and *fingers crossed* my site.
Last but not least - it will be available via iTunes, Audible, and Amazon in audiobook form close to release date. My lovely friend Margaret Krohn will be narrating, and I'm so grateful to her and excited for you all to hear it. Check out her post here.

About the Author


KT Hanna has a love for words so extreme, a single word can spark entire worlds.

Born in Australia, she met her husband in a computer game, moved to the U.S.A. and went into culture shock. Bonus? Not as many creatures specifically out to kill you.

When she's not writing, she freelance edits for Chimera Editing, interns for a NYC Agency, and chases her daughter, husband, corgi, and cat. No, she doesn't sleep. She is entirely powered by the number 2, caffeine, and beef jerky.

Note: Still searching for her Tardis


To celebrate, we're giving away 2 x $10 Amazon e-gift cards (open to anyone who can receive and use an Amazon e-card) Just click on as many options as you like and enter!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Release Day blitz: Never Be Younger - A Shakespeare YA Charity Anthology


nbyWritten by nine authors, Never Be Younger is a Young Adult collection of Shakespeare retellings. From Othello to Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet to The Winter's Tale, each story has been crafted with a new spin. From the halls of a high school to hip night clubs to the depths of space, Never Be Younger gives Shakespeare's classic plays and sonnets a fresh spin for a new audience. Nine authors pay tribute to the Bard by taking his timeless tales to new heights, entrancing readers all over again. A Shakespeare story by any other name still reads as sweet. All proceeds from the sales of Never Be Younger go to United Through Reading, a charity dedicated to uniting military families through reading. Check out the bottom of the post for how you can win great prizes to celebrate the release!  

Buy now on Amazon and Kobo for only $0.99US

About the Authors
Rachel Bateman: Editor
rachelRachel Bateman is a writer and editor who spends too much time thinking she can out bake the Cake Boss. (Spoiler: She can’t.) She lives in the middle of Montana, but dreams of the South. Rachel is the owner of Metamorphosis Books, an author services company offering formatting and interior layout for independent authors. When not writing, editing, or reading books, she can be found playing with her husband, young son, and small zoo of pets. You can find Rachel on Twitter, and her website.

sharonS.M. Johnston: Star Crossed Lovers & A Gargoyle's Prom Nightmare
S.M. Johnston is a writer of weird fiction and soulful contemporaries from sunny Queensland, Australia. Her family includes a husband, two sons and a number of fur babies of the feline and cavy variety. You can find Sharon on Twitter, and her website.

jessicaJessica L Pierce: A Day of Errors

Jessica is a somewhat crazy – yet loving – blond. She lives in Green Bay, WI, hates the cold, and loves her completely awesome camo coat. She is passionate about football, baseball, photography and writing, and won’t go near cooked peas. (Raw peapods are fine.) She is a student at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, and will graduate in December 2015 with a degree in Communication with emphasis in Journalism. She is a sports photographer and her work can be found at: You can also find Jessica on Twitter.    

CORTNEYCortney Pearson: The Undreamed Shores
Cortney Pearson is the author of Phobic and Such a Secret Place, a mother, musician, and a lover of pink and sparkles. You can find Cortney on Twitter, and her website.

Em  E.L. Wicker: Star Crossed Lovers & A Gargoyle's Prom Nightmare E.L. Wicker lives in Hampshire, England with her husband and two children. Fueled by the bossy voices in her head, she writes New Adult fiction with a side of romance. You can find E.L. on Twitter, and her website.        

Nicole Zoltack: Any Way the Wind Blows
Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranromal, or regency. When she's not writing about knights, superheroes or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys, with another little one on the way. She enjoyes horse riding (pretending they're unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She'll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. You can find Nicole on Twitter, and her website.

olivia  Olivia Hinebaugh: Mark The Music Olivia Hinebaugh spends her free time writing. Obviously. The rest of her time is spent playing and reading with her two young children. She also loves: watching Sia's music videos, quoting Mean Girls, and folding laundry. She actually really does. You can find Olivia on Twitter, and her website.      

adrianneAdrianne James: A Witch's Life
Growing up Adrianne James couldn't get her hands on enough books to satisfy her need for the make believe. If she finished a novel and didn't have a new one ready and waiting for her, she began to create her own tales of magic and wonder. Now, as an adult, books still make up the majority of her free time, and now her tales get written down to be shared with the world. During the day, Adrianne uses her camera to capture life's stories for clients of all ages and at night, after her two children are tucked up in bed; she devotes herself to her written work. Adrianne is living the life she always wanted, surrounded by art and beauty, the written word and a loving family. As a New Adult Paranormal (and sometimes contemporary) author, Adrianne James writes strong women, powerful magic, and love that lasts a lifetime. You can find Adrianne on Twitter, and her website.

christina  Christina June: The Scarf Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and the world’s most rambunctious four-year-old. You can find Christina on Twitter, and her website.   To celebrate the release we have a wonderful giveaway.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ten Months Post #PitchWars

There are a lot of pitch competitions out there. From QueryKombat to NestPitch, Writer’s Voice to Pitmad, there are a whole heap to choose from. Most (all) include a lot of nail biting, sleepless nights, and second guessing from the entrant, as well as excessive eating, caffeine jitters, and for many, increased bladder control as they glue themselves to the pitch competition twitter feed, leaving only when one of the children (remember those?) ask for something.

So if these pitch competitions cause such anguish, why do them? Surely writers can save themselves from the jowls of the comp beastie by just not getting involved. Of course they could, but if they did, they’d sure be missing out, and I shall tell you why, using my own experience.

Ten months ago, or thereabouts, I entered PitchWars. Fairly new to the social aspect of the writing world, I hadn’t heard of it before. In fact, the only reason I found out about it is because someone tweeted me asking if I was going to enter. I found out more about it, thought it sounded fun, so I did enter.

From the moment I hit the send button, my brain computed that sleep was no longer essential, toilet breaks would be taken only when the threat of wetting myself presented itself, and eating packaged poison (junk food) would suffice for the duration of the competition. I have no idea how many gallons of chocolate milk I consumed throughout the entire ordeal (it was an ordeal), but I’m pretty sure a whole lot of cows got overworked.

Did I say it was an ordeal? I can’t just go throwing things like that around without explaining myself! I spent many a sleepless night trawling through the PitchWars feed, picking apart tweets, uploading gifs of cake, and stalking the mentors. (I became a world class stalker). As stressful as it could get at times, it was also a whole lot of fun. The entrants rallied together, cheered each other on, and sent virtual sugary goods to all those feeling a little down on themselves. When the day of the announcements came, everyone congratulated the chosen and commiserated with those who didn’t get through.

I did not get picked. My life did not end. Actually, this is the point in time where my writing career really began. Some of the people I met along the way became firm friends. I gained an editor and three critique partners. We all began working on each other’s manuscripts. Through team effort, I believe we became better writers. We may not have won the competition, but we were winners all the same, because we won each other. Sounds corny, I know, but believe me when I say that the people you surround yourself with become some of the greatest writing tools you will ever find.

Ten months post PitchWars, from that group of five people (myself included), three have now been signed, two blog here on YATopia, one soared to the top ten Amazon Kindle charts in multiple sub-genres, and another is querying. I can say with absolute certainty that I wouldn’t have gotten half as far as I had if I didn’t enter PitchWars. Through that one contest I gained true support, and because of that support, my book got shortlisted for an award a few days ago.

As daunting as pitch competitions can be, they are also a lot of fun. The writing community is a wonderful place, and by entering competitions, you can immerse yourself in that. I have been on both sides of a contest now, as an entrant and a slush reader, and I highly recommend taking a chance and entering. Focus not on the possibility of winning, but on the people you find along the way. And remember – these contests are not an answer to querying, just a different method that you can have a lot of fun with.

So go forth and write, enter, and have fun!
E.L. Wicker

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Agentopia: Clare Wallace

Welcome to the June edition of Agentopia! For more information and to see other Agentopia posts, click here.

This month Clare Wallace from Darley Anderson Agency is in the spotlight.

Clare joined the Darley Anderson Agency in January 2011. Clare is building the children’s list and is scouting for new authors of picture books, middle grade, teenage, YA and illustrators. Clare also represents commercial and accessible literary women’s fiction. At the Agency Clare represents authors both in the UK and the US including Rosie Blake, Caroline Crowe, Kerry Fisher, Martyn Ford, Polly Ho-Yen, Olivia Levez, Cesca Major, Adam Perrott, Beth Reekles, Dave Rudden, Phaedra Patrick and Kim Slater and illustrators Loretta Schauer and Lorna Scobie. Clare formerly assisted the Luxton Harris Ltd literary agency. Graduating with a first from a BA in Creative Writing and Cultural Studies at Bath Spa University, Clare went on to gain a distinction on the MA in Creative Writing. She has proof-listened to hundreds of adults and children’s audio books and worked for Cardiff University as a research assistant and coach to international students.

Query Clare according to agency submission guidelines.
What are you looking for in YA submissions right now?

I would be delighted to find a fantastic contemporary love story. I like unusual settings and high concepts. I’d like the narrative to be standalone, rather than a series. The YA market is cautious at the moment because it’s so saturated. More than ever, the writing has to be exceptional.

What's an immediate turn-off in a query, something guaranteed to get the author rejected?

When there are lots of other agents copied into the query. In fact, I don’t even read those. I just delete them. I’m also unlikely to want to work with you if you tell me how many millions you’re going to make me, who will star in the film adaptation or that you’ve done all the work and just want someone to publish the book.

Follow the guidelines. Every agency website has them. Personalise your query and let us know why you think we would be a good match for you. And stay focused on your writing rather than too much of your own personal history.

We are on your side. We want to find new writers. We can’t exist without you. But we do receive a huge amount of submissions every week. I received, alone, 250 last week. So, making your query shine will make it so much easier for us to find your talent amongst the other 249 submissions.

What's the story got to have to make you want to represent it?

Voice. A strong voice. Character is everything. And a cracking, well-paced, plot.

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.

Review It

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!

Request It

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.