All my suggestions have to do with one thing: spreading the word about a great book or writer. Now more than ever, the average person is disconnected from any news about books. Even someone who deals with books ever day—librarians, booksellers—don’t hear about every book that gets published.
One of the most important things I’ve learned in the nine months since publication of my debut novel is that the mainstream book media tends to feature the books that the publishers have put the most money behind. This excludes all but one or two debut novels a year—debut novels don’t get the half-million dollar advertising budgets it takes to attract the press. But once a book fails to meet the publishers’ expectations, the downward spiral begins: fewer of the author’s next books are printed, the author gets less marketing and promotion…until the contract runs out and the author is dropped.
So, if it drives you crazy that your favorite author is still a virtual unknown while the latest flavor-of-the-month book is trending on Amazon, the power is in your hands to change this. Word of mouth is still the one thing that can spur sales. Your author can’t do it alone—she needs your help. It doesn’t take money. It just takes a few extra minutes of your time. Think of it as an investment in your future reading pleasure.
1. 1. Tell a librarian or local bookseller. With several hundred thousands book published every year, librarians and booksellers can’t read every single one. At best, they’ve seen a sentence or two about your favorite book in a catalog or magazine or maybe seen the ARC lying around in the breakroom. By sharing your enthusiasm with that librarian or bookseller, the name of your favorite book will jump to the front of a very long line of possible recommendations.
2. 2. Post a review on Amazon, Goodreads or Barnes and Noble. Many people check out the reviews on these sites even if they don’t order online. Readers are looking for a smart, spoiler-free review that gives a fuller sense of the story than the jacket copy. Authors need their followers to do this for them—we can’t post reviews about our own books—and we will be forever grateful to you.
3. 3. Do you subscribe to an author’s enewsletter? Forward it on to five friends who love to read.
4. 4. Do you follow your favorite author on Facebook? Consider “sharing” posts on your wall, especially when a new book goes on sale or when the author is coming to your town to do a reading. By sharing your author’s posts on your wall, you extend the author’s reach and might persuade some of your friends to follow the author as well.
5. 5. Remember to tell others about the book. It’s as simple as that.