Saturday, February 17, 2018

How To Support Your Favorite Author

One of my clients recently gave a talk to a local community group about the romance industry as well as about publishing. Prior to the talk, we were discussing things she would want to cover and we started talking about what readers could do to become more active in publishing. More specifically, how can they help out as readers. I wanted to share with you some of our ideas.

First of all, before we focus on the solutions, we have to remember that publishing is all about sales. When it comes down to it, the fate of an author always returns to the numbers. How much did that author sell? How much money did that author bring in during that last time period? How much well is that book selling? "Show me the money!" When an author does not sell, and those sales figures are below average, this gives the publisher a reason to start looking to someone else who can sell. Publishers are not producing books to just "feel good." It is a business and they, like everyone else, wants to turn a profit. It was this idea we built our answers around. So here are 6 things readers (actually everyone) can do to help their favorite author:

BUY THEIR BOOKS NEW Look, I get it. We all want to save some money. In my family, I have one in college and swims competitively (cha-ching), one who rides competitive hunter/jumper arena jumping (yes horses cost big $$$$), and one who is on a dance team (those costumes are expensive). But, when we want to support authors, we have to buy their books. Buy the hardback copies. Buy the books at full retail price. When we buy those books, the publisher sees the sales figures! The author and everyone makes money! You will see more on this in the next three things to do.

DON'T BUY ONE BOOK AND THEN PASS IT ON TO FRIENDS AND FAMILIES This one always kills me. My mother-in-law loves getting books for Christmas presents. But what kills me is that we hear from her around February that her entire family has loved reading that one book. 8 people just read that one book. How many sales numbers made it back to the publisher? 1! It could have been 8! I know this might sound like a small number, but think of how many other people did that? Those numbers add up fast. The solution is simple! Show them the copy! Recommend they get a copy of that book!

LIBRARIES ARE GOOD, BUT BUY THE BOOK OK, don't kill me on this one. I love libraries. These are needed in the world! But, like that prior comment, getting the latest copy of your favorite author from the library is still only making one sale. The library bought one book, and now we are looking at 50+ other sales that went in-recorded. Now, I do not want you to give up on the libraries. If you are told of this new author from a friend and it sort of sounds interesting, yes, take advantage of the library. Read one of their books. Take that author on a test drive. But, if you love the writing, quit taking the "discount" approach! Start buying their books.

USED BOOKSTORES ARE GOOD, BUT BUY THE BOOK One of my best friends owns a new and used bookstore. But, when we go to her bookstore, I always buy the new books. It's the same mantra here. Even if we are buying the book used, and we are spending that money, the sales are not making it back to the publisher or the author. Like the library, take that new author for a single test drive, and then, from that point on, but the books new!!!!!

WHEN YOU HAVE A BOOK YOU LIKED, WRITE REVIEWS EVERYWHERE If you have read my blog in the past, you know my dislike of reviews. For the most part, readers do not read the reviews. The publishers read the reviews. The authors read the reviews. But the readers don't. Reviews do not dictate sales. BUT, what the positive reviews do is to keep the author in the mind of their editors and publishers. If you read a great book, go to ALL of your online bookstores and write a great review. Copy and paste that review! Just write the best dang glowing review ever! Keep those authors at a 5 star level!

SEND YOUR FEEDBACK DIRECTLY TO THE PUBLISHER AND AUTHOR This might seem silly, but send them a note telling them how amazing their books were. If you notice, there is a way to contact that author. Send the author a glowing review! Tell them they are amazing. You can also send the letter directly to the publisher and their editor! After they read the note, they will pass it on to the author. Being always in the positive spotlight will encourage the editors to put that author in line for new projects.

This doesn't take much, but if you can support those authors more, you might see more bookstores opening up.


  1. This was possibly your weakest post for me, Scott. Yes. Buy the book. Buy every book Don't by used books, buy the original. Don't go to the library (do you realize how much the libraries need patrons?), buy the book. 8 members reading one copy? (Shame on them? Do you realize how much 8 copies cost?) I get it that publishers (and agents) want and need to make money. So does everyone. But can every reader afford to buy all those books? This was th most disappointing advice I've read from you. And I'm an author. And, yes, I'd love to sell books. But I'm a reader, too. We need our libraries, our used book stores. We need our friends and family who pass on good reads to us, and to whom we can pass on good reads. This is the real life of real people. Real people who are not wealthy, but who read.

  2. Elizabeth, I fully understand your point. As I state, I am 100% supportive of libraries and used bookstores. I also fully agree that these are perfect for those who cannot afford books. The end point I was making is that decisions are indeed based on sales. The more we can do to buy those original copies, the better we can support our authors. This is not just about "making money" but demonstrating the sales figures. Thank you for the comment!