(When You Can’t Buy Their Books)
Hello, my friends!
It’s been a while – my fault. I have been over-committed, work-wise (all good stuff, just busy!), and deeply concerned with what’s happening in the world.
Which is actually why I wanted to write to you today. I mostly follow book folks – writers, publishers, book bloggers, readers – over on Twitter, and basically none of us, myself included, are talking about books.
And that means, statistically speaking, very few people are still talking about books. And books and stories still matter, maybe more than ever. I’ve never had my mind changed by a Facebook meme, or someone shouting at me on Twitter, but I have had my mind changed by stories a hundred times.
We need to be standing up for the things we value – and that includes reading. So I put together a handful of ways you can (a) take a break from the news and social media firestorm and (b) support books and authors.
Especially when a book is out in hardcover, I know it’s financially difficult for some folks to buy a copy. And while that’s the best way to support an author for multiple reasons, there are plenty of FREE things you can do to support them. Here are a few:
1. Request your library purchase their book.
If your library doesn’t already have a copy, submit a request (many library systems have an online form for this, or ask a librarian how to do it) for them to purchase it. Bonus: if your library has book club kits, suggest they make one for one (or more!) of your favorite author’s books.
2. Check their book(s) out from the library.
Even if you’ve already read it. Please do this instead of buying a used copy or borrowing from a friend. The more demand there is for an author, the more copies they’ll buy. Plus, you’re supporting your local library – they often rely on figures about circulation to help them get funding.
3. When you’re in a bookstore or library, face it out.
Turn the book so the cover is showing. Minor shelf rearrangement is generally fine, but please don’t relocate books entirely (e.g. move them to end caps or tables). Not only have publishers usually paid for particular books to be in those spaces, it means that someone looking for the book won’t be able to find it. Plus, it makes extra work for librarians and booksellers, and we like those people to be happy!
4. Write a review and/or post a rating.
Amazon and Goodreads are two places that get a lot of traffic, but your library may have a rating system, and other bookstores, like Barnes & Noble, also have reviews.
5. Post about it on social media.
Preferably with a picture and a glowing recommendation. Bonus: you’re giving everyone else a break from the flood of terror too.
6. While you’re there, like/follow authors on social media.
It doesn’t matter which platform – if your favorite author is somewhere, connect with them.
7. And then interact with them!
This one is important. Facebook and Instagram, for instance, both use algorithms that pay attention to the number of comments, likes, and clicks posts get and share those posts with more people. Also, if you like a page on Facebook but never interact with it, you won’t see those posts in your feed. I know, it’s aggravating, but there’s an easy fix – just click ‘like’ every time you see one!
8. If they have a newsletter (like this one!) subscribe.
And make sure you open the emails!
9. Recommend it to your book club.
Introduce everyone to a new author.
10. Talk about it!
Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. I’ve never bought a book when the author demanded I do so, but I’ve bought tons when someone personally recommended it to me. Bonus points for recommending it to a librarian, bookseller, or book reviewer, who can multiply that recommendation ten times over!
I’m trying to post mostly positive things on Facebook, so if you need a rest, visit me there. And I’ll be back soon with news about the paperback edition of The Light of Paris, coming in April, and the anthology I edited, A Paris All Your Own: Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light, coming in July.
Stay strong, be a force for good, and read on!
[(NOTE:) The preceeding post is a copy of Eleanor Brown’s (The Weird Sisters, The Light of Paris) recent newsletter. After reading its positive message last week, I knew it had to be shared and, with Eleanor’s permission, that’s exactly my purpose here.
And, yes, I have known Eleanor since “back when” to the debut of The Weird Sisters. Ten days after publication it landed on the NYT Bestseller List…inevitable! I highly recommend both books.]