Tuesday, April 21, 2009

6 easy ways to help authors

From time to time people ask me what they can do to help the writers they enjoy. Here're my top 6 easy suggestions for helping an author or a book you love. If you have other ideas, leave them in the comments!

  1. Buy the book. Of course. Or check it out from the library-demand could make the library buy more copies. And the closer you can do this to the book's release date, the better for the book.

  2. Make booksellers aware of the book. There's no way they can keep track of all the books they sell. When you're in the book store, casually mention to a bookseller how much you enjoy this book/author's work or are looking forward to this book.

  3. Write a review on Amazon, BN.com, Borders, Goodreads, Shelfari, your blog.

  4. Talk it up. Tell people about the great book you just read. Word of mouth is everything in publishing! Ask people what good books they've read lately. Encourage others to talk up the books they read. Post a comment on your Facebook or Twitter feeds. A book I just read and loved is THE AIR BETWEEN US by Deborah Johnson, and I've been talking it up a storm. It's only a month old in paperback so there's time to push this one up the charts!

  5. Send a picture of your book club holding copies of the book to Essence magazine patrikspicks@essence.com. Every month they run a photo of a book club and the book they are reading.

  6. Play "shelf elf." Don't tell anybody this recommendation came from me, but we authors love our books "face out" (with the cover showing) rather than spine out. And if your bookstore has a display that you believe a book fits well with (i.e. I added Orange Mint and Honey to a Mother's Day display the other day), then ask your bookseller if you can add the book to the display. Don't get too creative about reshelving though. You don't want your favorite books to be where booksellers can't find them when they're looking for them.


Anonymous said...

As the manager of a small bookstore, I will definitely encourage the second suggestion. There is just no way for me to keep up with all the books coming out, even if I read PW and 20 book blogs and whatever else. I trust my customers' taste very far and will bring in books just because they suggest them. So at a small indie, especially if the staff knows you, this can be very helpful to an author.

Of course, I also highly encourage the first suggestion too! We change the proportion of our stock all the time based on what's selling. If you want to see more of a certain type of book at my store, buy more of it. Next round of catalogs, I will be paying way more attention to that type of book and bringing it in.

PatriciaW said...

Just read THE AIR BETWEEN US over the weekend. I too loved it. I wrote a review for FreshFiction, I tweeted about the book, and I mentioned it on a few blogs.

Doret said...

The Air Between US was a great read. The author came to the bookstore I work at for a signing. She was very nice. I'll put it on store staff picks when I see the paperback, love that cover.

For easy way #2 please be nice about - If customer goes into a bookstore with 'tude asking why such and such book isn't in the store, it won't help their cause. Booksellers like bees enjoy a little honey

Carleen Brice said...

Bookavore, good to hear.

Patricia, Yay you!

Doret, You are so right. That's why I said "casually mention." No need to demand the book be present! Matter of fact, I could see how that would totally backfire for the author.

Connie Briscoe said...

Great tips. I practice #6 all the time. :) And I love the title of this blog.

Claudia said...

Great suggestions! And I'm adding The Air Between Us to my list!

Sustenance Scout said...

I'm guilty of number 6 (and love helping out that way) but number 2 is the best on the list! Thanks, Carleen!

wdjenkins1 said...

I agree with those who really enjoyed The Air Between Us. It's a wonderful choice for book clubs. My book club has it on the schedule for this summer.