For the last couple weeks, Jill Williamson has done an amazing job of walking us through the publication process. On Friday she talked about how writers get paid, advances, and why it's important to continue buying books, even though there are plenty of ways to get them for free.
Writers write because we love it, not because we're being paid. But publishing are a business. Many of those in the publishing business are in it because they love stories, but to continue paying their editors and marketers and sales staff and writers, they need to make money with their products.
So if an author isn't a profitable investment for them, eventually they have to cut them from their list. Even if they love their books. Even if they love working with them. Even if they're baffled about why the books aren't selling.
If you aspire to be published, or even if you are published, consider investing a portion of your time in finding ways to support the authors you love. I'll talk about some ways you can do that in a moment, but first here are some benefits to you for supporting other authors:
1. The author you love will be encouraged and their publishing house will know that readers are interested in seeing more from this writer.
2. It's a form of networking for you, a budding writer. When I read Nothing but Trouble by Susan May Warren, I loved it and sent her an email telling her so. She wrote back to me a couple days later. I pre-ordered the second in the series. Several months later when it released and I read it, I sent her another email.
If my situation changes and I start writing contemporary romances, I would now feel comfortable sending lovely, sweet Susan May Warren an email saying something like, "I'm not sure if you remember me, but we exchanged several emails a couple years ago about how much I loved the PJ Sugar series. My first contemporary romance will be debuting with DREAM PUBLISHING HOUSE in 6 months, and I would be honored if you agreed to consider endorsing it...."
She still may not be able to, of course. And the "I loved your book" emails you send can't/shouldn't have an ulterior motive, but the perk of networking is undeniably there.
So what are some ways you can support the writers you love?:
Ways that cost money
- Buy and/or pre-order their books. Like Jill said in her post on Friday, nothing says I love you to an author (or their publishing house) like plunking down your cash. If you want to see more from an author that is the biggest sign publishing houses look for.
- Give a book as a gift. My mother-in-law loves reading and is happy to receive books as gifts from me. Same with my almost-sister-in-law. Sometimes people are readers but not book buyers, for whatever reason. If you know people like that, next time their birthday rolls around, buy them a copy of that book you loved.
Ways that are free
- When you like a book, send the author an email telling them so. Almost all authors have websites and a way to contact them.
- Write a book review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, or anywhere else you can think of.
- Since publishers care about numbers, help give theirs a boost - "like" their author Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, support their blog, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and if you want to know when they have more books coming out, see if they have a newsletter you can subscribe to. (I can't resist saying that the author has a share in this as well - if they post a thousand times a day on their author page, are boring on Twitter, blog about stuff you aren't interested in, and their newsletter is all about their kids, then you should feel no pressure to stick around.)
- Put in a request for your library to carry their book. If they order it and it comes in, check it out.
- On Amazon, when you're viewing a book, click that "like" button. That apparently factors in to Amazon's algorithm of search results.
It would be a little crazy to do everything on this list for every book you read, but consider doing maybe one or two of them for the authors you love, who you want to see more books from.
Have other suggestions? List them in the comments section!