(This question is part of a larger subseries called Perpetual WIPs: Published Authors. For the remaining questions, see here.)
Other than the obvious buying, reading, reviewing, and recommending, what are the best things a fan can do to help you and your books out?
There are lots of things that fans can do. Sending an email to the author saying how much you loved the book helps an author keep her writerly spirits up, and is a great motivator to write more. Turning a favorite author’s book out on the bookshelf of your local bookstore is a fun and sneaky way to give their cover more exposure. Asking about a book at the information desk of a bookstore helps get a favorite author on the radar of managers, which can’t hurt. If you have a good indie bookstore in your area, bringing up a favorite book to the owner is also an excellent way to help spread the word.
Obviously, participating in, or starting a fan forum or a discussion on Goodreads is an awesome thing to do. Suggesting a favorite author’s book for a book club is great. My personal favorite is to do cross-fandom fan fiction including your new favorite author’s characters. Any fan fiction at all is great publicity, even though I know not all authors approve of it.
Click “Like” on good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, so that those reviews move up to where people will see them. But nothing is better than a fan who presses your books on his or her friends and says, “You’ve got to try this!”
Recommending on social network is great, as it reaches a wide audience. Personal recommendations are also fabulous, especially if someone passes my info on to another group who then make contact with me. But most of all, I love personal feedback. Just recently, a dad contacted me just to say that he had heard me speak because his wife always sends him to mandatory school meetings (yawn). He wanted me to know that he was the guy at the back playing with his smart phone, but for once, he wasn’t working, he had been taking notes! Instead of rushing out, he picked up a set of my books, and read them with his son, who loved them. For me, this sort of contact and knowing you have touched someone’s life, not to mention their relationship with their child, is the ultimate reward.
I’d say really it’s talking about the book to other people. I know that’s recommending (and one of the obvious points listed) but if one of my friends is raving about a book, I’ll go check it out. I also go to Goodreads and see what my friends who have similar taste as I do say about it. Other than that, I love to get emails, FB comments, and tweets from readers. They give me motivation while I’m working on the next book.
All those things are fantastic. I think recommending to the right people is really important, too. Obviously, if you know a celebrity or the member of the media, that would be perfect. But you can influence other people who are important to the reading public, too. For instance, your local librarian or indie bookseller (not much you can do as a reader to get a book into Target or Barnes & Noble). If the books aren’t in the library system in your town, you should encourage your librarian to take a look. This is especially important in kidlit again. And if you’re a teen reading a YA novel, recommend it to your school librarian, too. And if you see our book in the bookstore, face it so the front cover, not the spine, is out.
I think recommending the book is the highest compliment a reader can pay – and it’s especially helpful to recommend it to friends or family outside the book world, those who might not typically read YA. Give books as gifts. Mention what you’re reading on Facebook. I’ve gotten loads of friends hooked on YA authors who might not have otherwise heard of them.
Just keep the conversation going.
David Dill said:
For me, the recommendation is probably the biggest compliment I can pay an author. I make sure to recommend my favorites to anyone that reads and especially to people who claim that they don’t.