11
May
10

supporting your writers!

So this post is way late and not at all what I meant to write about, but it keeps coming up, so I thought I’d put it here!

So my first book, The Spirit Thief, comes out in October. So far away! But considering I’ve been a published author for nigh on 2 years now, that’s relatively quite close! Now that this whole publishing gig is worming its way towards reality, people keep asking me how they can support my blinking, blind, newborn career.

Now, I have lovely friends and family and am honored and flattered beyond all telling that they would want to stick their necks and hard earned dollars out for me. But I don’t want them to waste their time or their money, so when they ask me “Rachel, what can I do to support your novel?”, this is how I answer, condensed in useful list form!

How to Support Your Favorite Novelist Without Spending More Than 15 Minutes or the Price of the Book You Were Hopefully Going to Buy Anyway

  1. Wait until 2 weeks before the book’s launch before doing anything – This is the most vital time for support. Any sooner and people might forget, any later and you miss those vital initial numbers that mean so much to publishers. You can of course talk it up earlier, but save anything big, and the actual purchase, until this crucial time.
  2. Preorder the book – Since you were (hopefully!) going to buy the book anyway, this is the best way to do it. Preorders boost an otherwise unknown book up the Amazon or B&N or whatever seller you prefer’s list. Strong preorder numbers lead to more and bigger book orders from retailers, which make your author look really good!
  3. Leave an honest, informative review – Of course, we all love good reviews, but honesty is the most important. A page full of glowing reviews that ultimately say nothing won’t draw readers, but even a 3 star review highlighting the book’s pros and cons can lead sometimes lead to sales. After all, one person’s gripe can be another person’s love. Hopefully, your author has written a book that earns your giddy fandom, but even if you didn’t like it as much as you’d hoped, write about it.
  4. Mention the book on your social media – Twitter shoutouts, facebook links, blog posts, they all help to raise a book’s profile. Even if the only people who follow you are your family and that guy from high school who kind of creeped you out but you don’t want to unfriend because you don’t want to be rude. You don’t have to spam or be particularly verbose, you even copy/paste the review you wrote for the book’s sales page, just say something and get the title out there. Every little bit helps.

As Cory Doctorow says, an SF writer’s biggest problem is obscurity. Anything you do, even if it’s just one post, can be a big help thanks to the ripple effect of the internet, and your author will love you forever.

(Also, when I was typing the above I misspelled Cory Doctorow’s name and Google’s (I use Chrome) spellcheck corrected me. Folks, that is fame right there, when your name is in Google’s spellcheck. )

Anyway, that’s my list. You tell me, did I leave anything out? Mess anything up? Let me know!

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5 Responses to “supporting your writers!”


  1. May 12, 2010 at 1:13 am

    This is a great list. I’m going to add this post to my Friday Interesting Links because I think it’s important to know. I do support my favorite authors, but hadn’t really thought about the importance of preorders, so you taught me something.

    Thanks :).

  2. May 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Excellent — may I also add, particularly if you’re feeling the pinch but regardless, ask your local or college library to order a copy. Local author angle is always a plus.

  3. May 12, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Interesting blog. Hadn’t thought about the preorder. Thanks.

  4. May 13, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    As the mother of another (relatively) new author, I have learned about the value (to the author) of preorders. I have just preordered your first book from Amazon. (With all these books on preorder I need to become a Sleepless, like in Nancy Kress’s books.)

  5. May 18, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Brilliant post! I’ll definitely come back to this and use these tactics. I didn’t know preordering was so important. By the way, how effective are contest giveaways of the book? Do those who don’t win the book typically go out and buy it anyway? Is it a good way to reach potential readers and/or get them excited about it?


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