Monday, May 27, 2013

How Readers Can Help Authors - Kathryn Knight

I saw this article by Penny Sansevieri the other day, originally published in The Huffington Post Blog.  There are great ideas on ways readers can help their favorite authors, and the original article (found here) kindly gives authors permission to post the list on their websites.  Below are my favorites:

  • Review the book:  Readers are some of the best resources for reviews. If you are an author, ask for a review. You might even include a note at the end of the book to your readers inviting them to review it and telling them why. I'm surprised that many readers don't do this, it's not because they're lazy but because they wonder if their opinion matters. Guess what? It does! Like a book? Please review it. Even if you don't like it review it, too. Most authors welcome feedback if it's constructive. Always be positive.

  • My thoughts:  I do try to encourage readers to leave reviews, although sometimes this feels like asking a lot when people are so busy.  Plus, people unfamiliar with the process sometimes aren't sure where to start.  But the best reviews are short and to the point, with examples to back up statements.  That said, it's best to avoid spoilers, as other consumers DO read reviews--or at least warn of an upcoming spoiler.  I absolutely love getting personal emails from readers expressing how much they enjoyed my book, and I always respond quickly with a thanks and save them for days I'm struggling.  It means the world to me when someone goes out of their way to connect with me.  But the public reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, itunes, etc. are especially important, as they really help other readers choose books they may enjoy--I know when I love a book, I always want to share it with others!  Like the article says, your opinion DOES count.

  • Photo sharing:  This is another thing that I would love so much. A reader holding up my book, snapping a picture and posting it on social media! This is a fun, visual way to share your love for a book. Even better, snap a picture where you're reading it. Taking a book on vacation? Why not show yourself enjoying the book (cover out!) laying in a hammock or sitting somewhere sipping espresso (Paris?). If you don't have any travel planned, take a picture anyway. Authors love, love this so much!

  • My thoughts: What a great idea!  My sister did this on a few occasions, although it wasn't her in the picture...she caught a photo of her 3-year-old "reading" Silver Lake, her auntie's first published book (good thing she can't read, the steamy scenes aren't really meant for kids, lol).  My sister put it on Facebook, plus another one later of her cat curled up on the bed with the book!
  • Local bookstores: Though it may seem like every author who is published gets a shot at bookstore shelf space, the truth is that most don't. If you've found a book you love and had to buy it on Amazon because your local store didn't carry it, tell them. Bookstore managers have told me if they get multiple requests for a book they will consider stocking it. 

  • My thoughts:  Combined with the item below, this was a powerful tool for me.  I received prime shelf space at a local bookstore for the entire year when a local bookclub chose Silver Lake as their January pick--see my post about the sometimes difficult process of getting shelf space.

  • Reading groups: This is often a tough one for authors to get into. Reading groups are a fantastic way to get the word out about your book but many are tough to reach and often pick their books months in advance.  If you know of a local book club let them know about this book and then put them in touch with the author.

  • Buy the book for a friend:   This is pretty basic. If you love the book you just read, buy a copy for a friend. I do this almost every year for Christmas. If I love a book, I gift it. When you gift it, remind the person to review it.

  • My thoughts:  Books are great gifts for readers...if you can get a signed or personalized copy, even better!  Amazon even allows a person to gift a Kindle version of a book--all you need is their email address and you're done.

  • Social Media:  Sharing has become part of our lives. We share good and bad news but when was the last time you shared what you are reading? Here's where that great picture you just took of you reading a book can come in handy. Or even better, hop on over to Goodreads or Library Thing and share your love for this author to the millions listening there.

  • My thoughts:  I'm truly thrilled when I see my books on lists at Goodreads or Library Thing...some readers will post what they are reading in the groups they belong to, and some readers add a book to popular lists.  Silver Lake has been added to 7 different lists on Goodreads, and I'm grateful to each person who took the time to do that.

  • Bookmarks:  Most authors will get things printed up like bookmarks, postcards, etc. Bookmarks are especially fun because despite the eBook surge, many of us are still reading printed books. Email the author and see if he or she will send you a stack of them that you can share with your local library or bookstore.

  • My thoughts:  I have beautiful bookmarks, as well as business cards and postcards featuring my cover art and blurbs.  My sister gives them out to her patients.  My husband gives them out to his contacts.  They are not incredibly expensive, and I gladly mail out plenty to anyone willing to distribute them.

    As an avid reader, I can rattle off a list of books I've absolutely loved.  No, I never bothered to contact the author before I understood the process...but now I've promised myself that when a book really resonates with me, I will drop the author a quick note or at the very least leave a glowing review.  Because now I understand how much it means to have someone enjoy your work.  When I began writing Silver Lake, I said it would all be worth it if just one person I didn't know in any way contacted me to say they loved it.  Thankfully, that's happened on more than one occasion, and each and every time I find myself floating on air.  I'm thrilled when I find a book I can't put down.  To hear I've created that experience for someone else is truly one of the best feelings in the world.



    1. This is so true and valuable! I'm glad you shared it! :)

    2. Thanks Melissa, glad you stopped by!

    3. Wonderful ideas and suggestions here.

    4. These are great ideas. Thank you for sharing.

    5. Thanks Beth and Paty, glad you came by!

    6. I'm very glad that I've discovered your blog. Your blog is so informative and helpful.

      Goji Berry Magro