So your favorite author has a new book out! Yay!
How can you best support them and their book and continued career writing the things you want to read?
1. Buy the book
I hope this goes without saying but buying the book legally is the single most supportive thing you can do for your favorite author. However, readers often ask me what is the best WAY to buy that book that gives the author the most money. (The following list this is VERY loosey goosey and presupposes that the author be wide & hybrid like me. We authors have many different business models. Or, in some cases, no business model what so ever. Which just allows the author to be taken advantage of. Sigh.)
Here is “the most money per book goes directly to the author”…
- Digital, print, audio purchased directly from an author’s website
- Digital purchased from Amazon – Kobo – B&N – Apple
- Amazon print on demand
- Anywhere else print on demand online or in a store (these books almost all originate from Ingram)
- Traditionally published print, purchased online or in store (high format dependent – hardback, trade or mass market paperback)
- Traditionally published digital (highly contract dependent)
- Traditionally published foreign editions & translations (digital or print)
- Short story reprints (anthologies/audio collections)
- Anything priced below $2.99
Not included but probubly falls at the end of the list: Digital book subscription models (like Audible, KU, Raddish) where the author is paid in listened hours/page-reads/check-outs via a communal pool
I am a wide hybrid author which means my indie books are available in most formats on most venues, often as many places as (if not more so than) my traditionally published books.
The above 10 options cover the gambit of my experience and take into account the same book priced the same in all venues and what actual % of the retail price I (theoretically) earn from a purchase. I talk more about how I came up with this list and the complexities of royalty calculating in this blog post.
* Libraries are a special case because they’re important for access and discoverability (see #8), but generally speaking most authors see very little actual money from them.
2. Buy that new book within the first 2 weeks of release
But up to a month after release is pretty darn good too. Again this has to do with algorithms and something called the “honeymoon period” that surrounds a new book’s release.
Also, if you want your favorite author to make lists and win awards the first few weeks of sales are the most critical. It’s the only way for them to do so (with some very rare exceptions).
3. Rate a new book as soon as you can
Star ratings (and reviews, even short ones) provide social proof as well a juicing search algorithms. The more ratings (and reviews) a book gets during the above mentioned honeymoon period, the more it will be recommended to prospective readers and the more those readers will trust that is it good and give it a try.
Honestly whenever you can review a book, please do. However and wherever!
4. Please, please, please review it
If all you want to do is throw it stars, please do that. But if you want to write a few lines about it, that’s awesome too.
And if you want to use your review in multiple venues that’s even better. Goodreads, Amazon, BookBub, B&N, Apple, Foyles, – none of them are proprietary about reviews, you can post the same review to multiple venues. Generally speaking, Amazon is the most important but if you review in one of the other venues it counts more because there are so few.
- 3 Amazon reader review myths: What you need to know
5. Tell a friend
If you know someone who will love this book TELL THEM. This is the number one way readers find new books, because someone said to them that they thought they’d like it.
In person, online, in a book group, it doesn’t matter. Just tell a friend, share the love!
If you think someone will like your favorite author, share that author’s work with them. Now you have a common interest, you can drink tea and gossip together.
Honestly? This also takes the form of posting about it to social media whether it’s a pretty picture or a few words about this fun book you read recently.
6. Nominate the book you love for lists & vote
Whether in a Libby or Goodreads list or via tagging or if it’s up for an award. Tell others about the book and what tropes it uses by voting it up lists (or adding it to them), campaigning for it with your favorite bloggers, suggest it for your book group.
Lots of readers actually find new books this way. If it’s on a list or people are already talking about it then add your 2 cents, post a comment, vote it up. All this means it gets attention from different arenas.
7. Preorder the next book
Preordering a book is a big deal. Whether the author is traditionally published or not, preorders are a career godsend. They facilitate everything being prepared ahead of time, and they prove to publishers and vendors that there is real enthusiasm for the book and author.
Also, there are certain vendors that will juice their recommendation algorithms if a book is getting a lot of pre-release attention.
In other words, places like Amazon will show the book to more prospective readers because it’s clear people are excited about it via those preorders.
8. Ask your library to order that book
Libraries play a huge role in the arena of authors getting discovered by NEW readers. Many many readers find new authors and books via their local library. Also it’s very important for accessibility, making the book available to everyone. But that print book has to be requested and in demand for it to be worth it for the library to get it in stock.
You can also request it digitally via your library’s app.
9. Join the author’s newsletter
If they have one. A newsletter is an author’s only real safe way of staying in touch with you. Authors can (and do) get kicked off of (or frustrated by) social media. Also if the stars aren’t aligned just so, you will likely miss their posts (especially about new books).
A newsletter is really the only way authors can stay in touch with readers in a way that isn’t threatened by bigger, meaner, for profit venues like Facebook. These places make money by restricting who sees a post (even if you follow the author) so that they can charge authors advertising fees to actually reach their own readers. A newsletter is the only tool and author has to bypass this.
10. Follow the author for releases
Follow the author in a way that means you’ll know when their next book comes out. Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads will send you notifications when your favorite author has a new release, if you follow them.
Even if you don’t buy or participate in these venues you can create an account purely so that account sends you new release notifications about your favorite authors. Just create the account and associate your preferred email address with it and then +follow your favorites. All three of the above will let you know when any author you follow releases a new book.
Bonus! Super fan?
Buy in multiple formats & older stuff
If you like to consume this way, multiple versions are great. Say you want a print edition for your shelf but actually like to read digital. Or a print edition to share with friends, the audiobook for your commute. That kind of thing. Also if you are a collector and support you favorite author by buying special or limited editions that is a huge deal to most of us. Thank you!
But if you don’t like multiple formats, consider multiple books. Many authors have backlists, and you may not have read everything. Consider poking about their website to see if there’s something you missed. A few of us will have “all books” pages or checklists so you can collect them all.
If you realize you’ve missed one or two in there, taking the time to fill out your collection is actually a huge deal to most full time authors. Those of us who manage to make a living this way are usually doing so entirely on the strength of our backlist (AKA older, previously published books).
Authors have careers and write new books because YOU READERS spread the word, share the love, and support them.
For no other reason.
Thank you for thinking about how you might best help us.
Thank you for giving me a career as a writer.
Thank you for reading.
Want more like this?
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- 10 Books That Inspired Me – This Is Why I Write
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BOOK DE JOUR
- Tired of the hero’s journey?
- Frustrated that funny, romantic, and comforting stories aren’t taken seriously?
- Sad that the books and movies you love never seem to be critically acclaimed, even when they sell like crazy?
The Heroine’s Journey is here to help.
Multiple New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger presents a clear concise analysis of the heroine’s journey, how it differs from the hero’s journey, and how you can use it to improve your writing and your life.
GAIL’S DAILY DOSE
Nibble of Cute
Way back in the day when I was first publishing my mum or agent or publisher would send me flowers on the birth of a new book (or when I made the New York Times). They stopped – probably because I wrote too many books!
With Divinity 36, for the first time, a dear friend/reader sent me a box of chocolates on the birth of an indie book. They were boozie & YUMMY from Li-lac Chocolates. I was beyond touched. I think they knew how hard it was getting to the place where I could write this book (write again at all) and how much this series means to me.
Quote of the Day:
“Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.”
~ Oscar WildeTags: Beginning Writers, FAQ