The last book in my Taken trilogy, Forged, released last week! (Such a bittersweet moment.) I heard from lots of readers through social media, all of whom were excited to get their hands on the final installment and see how things concluded.
I am so very grateful for all the readers who pre-ordered Forged or went out and bought a copy during that first week. Pre-orders and first week sales are hugely important for authors. The pre-orders help publishers gage interest in a book and determine first print runs. Opening week sales are a continued display of reader interest and, for best-seller hopefuls, an important sales window if the book is going to hit the list.
But as many of us know, success in the publishing world is a marathon, not a sprint. While out-of-the-gate performance is important, authors’ careers are dependent upon continued sales and steady growth in readership.
So how can you support authors beyond buying their book(s)?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and have a compiled a short list…
1. Post a review to a major retail site.
I think this is one of the best things you can do after purchasing a novel. Reviews on Goodreads are great, but only the super-passionate-uber-book-fans are on Goodreads. Your average online book shopper is not. By leaving a review on Amazon or B&N, you are increasing a book’s chance of being seen by others. The reasoning is two-fold: Many ‘you may also like’ algorithms consider a book’s popularity when making suggestions to consumers, therefore more reviews means more potential for exposure. Additionally, a greater number of reviews has a more positive impact on shoppers. What seems more enticing to you: the book with three reviews or the book with three-hundred?
2. Tell others about the book.
Plug the book to anyone and everyone—friends, family, your followers on social media. Word-of-mouth is huge for authors and simply talking about a title you loved can have a ripple effect. A friend picks it up because you were gushing about it. They love it and recommend it to others, and another person picks it up. And so on and so forth!
3. Gift the novel.
It’s a well-known fact that books make amazing gifts. If you think a certain title would be great for your sibling/cousin/parent/friend/etc, consider buying a copy for a birthday or an upcoming holiday. Authors are grateful for every extra sale!
4. Donate a copy to your local library.
Was the book fun, but not something you plan to read again? Head to your local library and donate your copy to their collection. Loved the book so much you can’t part with it? Considering buying a second copy specifically for your library (sort of like point #3). Either way, this ensures that new readers continue to find the title!
5. Read the book in public.
This is like the silent version of #2… If you have a physical copy, flaunt that bad boy in public spaces—the coffee shop, the park, the train ride to/from work. Book lovers are always noticing what other folks are reading, and someone might pick up a copy of the book just because they saw you enjoying it.
6. Recommend the title to booksellers and librarians (when you don’t see it on the shelves)
If you notice the book isn’t part of the collection, tell someone who works there! Simply knowing that readers are interested in a title will put that book on the bookseller’s and librarian’s radar. The store might order a few copies. The librarian might snag one next time he/she expands the collection. Shy? Put a hold on the title through your library’s catalog system. They’ll get a copy (one for their shelves or through ILL), and you won’t have to say a thing in person. ; )
Aaaand… that’s about it.
Personally, I do #s 2, 3, and 4 a lot, and I feel like I can safely say they have an overwhelmingly positive impact! Are there any other suggestions you’d add to this list? Share ’em in the comments, please!