Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Care and Feeding of Writers

LUCY BURDETTE: I read a blog post today by one of my author friends, Lorna Barrett, about how readers can help the authors they love stay in business.

And this got me thinking that lots of readers don't realize how much power they have. So here are some suggestions for ways you can be sure to keep getting the books you love:

--click the "like" button generously, on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Facebook, you name it. Believe it or not, publishers look at these numbers!

--Share your opinions about the good books you read--on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Twitter, Shelfari, Facebook--this can make a big difference when folks are looking for something to read

--buy books! this may sound obvious, but it isn't. Sales mean that writers can continue to keep writing. Low sales mean contracts aren't renewed. Of course I don't buy every book I read--some are from the library or borrowed from a friend, but I buy a lot of them. And when I'm thinking about gifts, I think books!

How about you Reds? Any suggestions for how readers can support writers?

ROSEMARY HARRIS: It's true, we all need some love sometimes. Yes to everything Lucy said. Believe it or not, simply clicking Like on the Amazon book page or facebook author page has an impact. In the baroque and not easily explained (at least by me) Amazon system the more Likes you have, the more your titles will pop up when people buy similar books. That's the Cliff's Notes version, but it's a good thing.

Two things I'd add to Lucy and Lorna's list (say that three times fast) - click Agree with the Amazon tags at the bottom of the Amazon book page. The descriptive ones not the dopey ones that say the book is too expensive, as if the author has anything to do with that. Other thing, Share our good news on facebook. In fact...Share all the JR posts that you like. It's just like mentioning it to a friend. And then they'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends...;-)

DEBORAH CROMBIE: If you like a book (and we hope you like ours) take the time to post a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or both!  It doesn't have to be long. Publishers look at the number of reviews as well as the number of LIKES, and the book's rating. And the really big thing is PRE-ORDER! This makes a huge difference to the publisher, and gets buzz going on the book so that more people will buy it. You can pre-order from your local or favorite independent bookstore as well as the online sites. And lastly, what Ro and Lucy said, and it's really easy.  If you love a book, TALK TALK TALK. On Facebook, on Twitter, on Goodreads, on your blog, to your friends, to your librarian. It's free, and it makes a really big difference! We want to keep writing!

RHYS BOWEN: I think many people don't realize that authors don't make a penny from second hand books. I've had people say excitedly, "I found one of your books at the used book store and passed it around all my friends," and they wonder I don't kiss their feet in gratitude.

But if you're a reader don't apologize for getting my book from the library, not buying it. Of course nobody can go out and buy every book they want to read. If the book is taken out constantly from the library they will buy more copies next time. So authors love libraries.

JAN BROGAN: Well, you guys have it all so well covered. I'll only add that word of mouth is the greatest thing. And that authors really do appreciate every encouraging email and reminder the our characters and stories meant something to the reader.


  1. I love spreading the word about the wonderful books I've read.

    Great article and I posted it on my FB timeline.

  2. Oh thank you so much Dru. You are a DREAM READER:)

  3. I see a Raven in Dru's future!

    One other thing to remember is that just because you've seen something once or twice doesn't mean "oh, that's okay people know about the book." Facebook and twitter work so fast, and if you have a lot of contacts the news moves so quickly that people don't always see things so go ahead and Share something again!

  4. All great suggestions. But personally, I'd say the most wonderful thing you could do for a writer is make a huge sign that says her/his book is grossly pornographic and distasteful, nail the sign to a big stick, and then picket the most popular library near your home. Also, it would mean a lot to her/him if you brought friends with similar signs and called the media in advance.

  5. I am glad to read that the things I have been doing at the library are helpful.

    I send emails requesting they carry certain books and authors, make a point to thank them when I see someone's stuff on the shelf ESPECIALLY local authors, offer to hook them up with local authors I am friends with, donate my books (except signed ones and ARCs, of course), and make recommendations when I see people in the mystery section.

    This is all in addition to the obscene number of books I buy.

    I do like Jack's suggestion too though. I may have to get out my poster paint. : )

  6. Hooray Aimee, thank you! And we all need twisted fans like Jack:) Thanks Jack!

  7. Hey all! Missing you! I'm in gorgeous crested butte Colorado speaking at a writers conference... And battling a ridicoulous case of altitude sickness . Z

    But the wonderful reader -writer friends here make up for it!

    Yes yes yes... The "liking" and connecting is so important--on so many levels! And we are very grateful.

  8. Great article - sent it around FB...

  9. I always do #fridayreads on Twitter, even if all I do is post the title of the book and the author's name. I also try to add genre and, if it rocked my socks off, I say so.

    Often I wish I'd just take time off to read.

    I also pre-order when I can, which adds to numbers I suspect work like a movie's opening weekend earnings. You know the True Fans will be there as soon as the doors open.

  10. I love Jack's comment, and you are ALL wonderful! And actually I don't mind people telling me they've borrowed my books from a friend or bought them at a second-hand shop. Those are all ways to find new readers. And I just love people to read, no matter whose books!

    And now I'm going to post this on my Facebook page:-)

  11. I have developed a new routine. Library book, ebook and the paper. it's the only way I know of how to deal with all the books that show up here. I do everything I know of to support your books, and I will check like even time I remember. Meanwhile, I'm having a great time reading.

  12. Such a helpful post and I hope lots of readers see it. I will do my best to spread the word. I think sometimes folks just need a little reminder of the ways they can help the authors whose books they enjoy.

  13. Well said. Readers feedback is monumentally important. I'll be spreading the word.

  14. Excellent I once got the chance to explain to a used book store owner that he was doing nothing to support the writers and publishers who provided his "product."

  15. I simply cannot afford to buy all the books that want to read. (I already "triage" my grocery list every week.) However, I have made suggestions to my local library, and the library has always purchased every book I recommended, even if it takes them many months because the funds are not immediately available.

    I do purchase books written by my favorite authors. I frequently become introduced to their books at the library, and will purchase future books by them. I am trying to remember to preorder instead of stalking the bookstore around the time the book is supposed to become available.

    More than once, I have given someone a written list of authors if I am asked what I like to read! (Just did it again last week after a conversation with someone at the place where I had my hair cut. Most of the Reds were on the list-the person already was familiar with some of you -as well as some of the nonReds who visit here regularly!)And when I plan a vacation I put aside extra money so I can get to a local bookstore while I am away!

    But I definitely learned something new today: I've never noticed that Amazon and Barnes and Noble have places on their web pages where it is possble to "Like"a book! I will definitely look for that in the future! I will also try to remember to mention my favorite books on Facebook.

  16. Well said! I plan to share this with my friends.

  17. I try to support the authors I love to read as well as I can. Even if it's not a full review, I do post comments (at least 20 words) on my Goodread's page. I don't want my favorite series to disappear before the author is ready to end it.

  18. Thanks for all your support--we love you guys!

  19. Great post! I just reposted on Facebook.

  20. I don't feel at all guilty about buying cheap vintage books, especially if the author is dead or Stephen King. I buy what I can new. The one thing I do try to do even with second hand books is put a review up and tell everyone if I love their books.

  21. Anna said..
    Thanks for the reminder. I didn't realize that it is easy to help my favorite writers.