This spring has been a busy one for myself and many of my friends. Seems like everyone in my author circle has a new book to launch, so we’ve been having fun celebrating and getting lots of personally autographed books.
My own book, The Secret of Zoone, came out officially on April 9th, and we celebrated by launching at our favorite local indie store, Kidsbooks.
However, it wasn’t the first launch of the season. Preceding mine was the release of two new books by my friend Holman Wang: Great Job, Mom!and Great Job, Dad!
At his launch, Holman talked about the different ways that readers can support authors. And make no mistakes about it—authors need support! Even though it might not seem like it to the casual reader browsing the shelves of the local bookstore (or the virtual shelves of amazon or any other online retailer), authors aren’t necessarily automatically getting tons of reviews or attention for their books.
Any attention helps!
So, provided to me by Holman, here are ten easy ways to support an author’s book:
1. Tell your friends about the book
The age-old strategy of word-of-mouth is still the best!
2. Write a review of the book online.
For the record, here are the links to the pages for my new book The Secret of Zoone:
Please consider rating the book (which is a simple click on most sites). If you have more time, consider leaving a review. Honest ones are welcome; this may not seem that intuitive, but ALL reviews generally help authors—even negative ones.
3. Take a book selfie for Social Media
This one can be a lot of fun, especially if you want to get creative. Some people like to show them reading the book in a certain location that relates to the book. (For The Secret of Zoone, I encourage people to take pictures of them reading it in front of doors. The older the door, the better!)
4. Turn the book face out on store bookshelves
You know when you peruse the shelves and you see some only as spines and others as facing out with the cover? Well, obviously the ones face out will get more attention!
5. Read the book in public
I don’t know about you, but whenever I see someone reading at the coffee shop, or on the subway or plane, I always sneak a peek at the cover!
6. Check out the book from the library
Some people feel bad for not buying a book, but only taking it out from their local library. But this really helps! It keeps an author’s book in circulation. Plus, if the library doesn’t have the book, but is getting lots of requests, then they will order copies of the book.
7. Lend the book to a friend
That’s the great thing about books—you can pass them on. Personally, I always love it when I see a dog-eared copy of my books knocking about at a school or library. It means that it has been read.
8. Ask your favourite bookstore or specialty retailer to carry the book.
There are thousands of books published every year, and not all of them automatically go into stores. So public engagement and requests really help.
9. Follow the author’s social media
This is a simple click, and most current authors are on the major sites. Myself, I’m on facebook, twitter, instagram, and youtube. I also have a newsletter that you can sign up for here.
10. Buy the book for yourself and others
If you (or your child!) loved an author’s book, then buy extra copies as gifts for birthdays or other special occasions. Book gifts can always be combined with other items that relate to the books. For example, you could buy a small stuffie of an animal that might appear in the book. (Sadly, there are no “skyger” stuffies yet—but let’s hope that happens!)
Of course, it’s one thing for ME to ask people to support me, but I feel that being a part of this community means also doing the supporting. I’m really lucky that a big part of my career is teaching creative writing to tweens and teens—that means I have a lot of opportunities to introduce books to my students, and to connect them to the authors.
Each time we have a book discussion in one of my classes, I tweet and tag the author so that they (and others) can see that we’re focusing on their book that day. This has been a huge success for me as a teacher because my students have LOVED connecting with the authors and are always thrilled when authors acknowledge our messages.
One recent success for us was when we discussed the book Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger (he of the Origami Yoda fame). I tweeted out a picture of my class holding up the book and wearing—you guessed it—fake mustaches. Tom Angleberger was so thrilled he offered to host questions from my students about the book. What an opportunity for them!
So, I’ll close out this post by giving a shout out to some of my friends and colleagues who have recently launched books.
I already mentioned the books by Holman Wang, but here they are again—Great Job, Mom!And Great Job, Dad!:.
Matab Narisimhan‘s new middle-grade book, Embrace the Chicken, came out in January:
Eileen Cook’s new young adult book, You Owe Me a Murder, was launched March 8th:
Nafiza Azad’s debut, The Candle and the Flame, comes out May 14th:
Lots of books to celebrate this spring season. I hope you enjoy them. As for me? Yep, I have a lot of reading to do!