Sunday, January 14, 2018

5 gifts for readers to give to authors

Authors love it when readers buy our books. It's expensive to be an author, probably more than you would think. We're business people. Manufacturers of stories. We want our customers to enjoy our products--books--and we know that, for readers who have a serious "book addiction", it can be expensive for you, too.

So I'm going to suggest 5 things you can do that have no cost but your time. And they're easy. All they take are a few words or the click of a mouse.

Tell a friend. If you enjoyed a book, tell a friend who might enjoy it, too. Let them know why. You could say things like...

  • I know you love American history, and this time-travel story is so well-researched.
  • I have another Pride & Prejudice retelling to recommend.
  • I think you'd really like this new mystery author, with all his twisty plot points and none of the gore.

Tell a teacher or a book club.  Do you know any people in book clubs? Any middle or high school English teachers? They are looking for good books to read or for their students to read. Suggest the books you love, especially if the books have lower "discoverability." Hundreds of thousands of titles release each year. Books from authors with a big fan base will be noticed. Books with big marketing pushes behind them will be noticed. But many great books will get lost in the noise. So if you enjoyed a small book, a quiet book, a book that deserves to be noticed more than it has been, recommend it to people who are actively seeking new and amazing stories.

LIKE a positive review. This one is so easy. Go on a site with reviews, such as Amazon or Goodreads. Find a positive review that seems to reflect a story well, and click LIKE. Simple, no cost, and helpful. That positive review is more likely to be seen now. That's because the number of LIKEs influence where the review appears by default. Reviews with lots of LIKEs "float to the top." You could really be helping an author by helping that good review to leave a first impression on potential readers.

Request it from the library. Libraries have limited budgets, so they have to make careful choices on how to spend them. They have to predict what their patrons want to read. If you request a book, you are telling them what you want to read--and they don't have to guess any longer!

Be social. Let us know you're there. Send us a fan letter through email; we all have contact forms on our websites. LIKE us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Find us on Bookbub or Instagram. Subscribe to our newsletters. With all of the way there are to control what you see on social media, you won't get overwhelmed with content. (Well, there is a gotcha with Facebook. FB generally only sends an author's postings to 10% of her followers, so you might not see them often.)

There you are. 5 ways to give back to your favorite authors--and they don't cause anything but time.

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