How You Can Help An Author Who Inspires You

Have you ever experienced the excitement of discovering a new author who inspires you and wondered why you haven’t heard of him or her before?

With thousands of novels published every month, it’s tough to find an audience. Ten years ago, a strong review in Publishers Weekly earned The Jinx a place on bookstore shelves, but it failed to generate the word-of-mouth excitement it takes for commercial success. Today, social media offers new opportunities for breeding that kind of publicity, but thousands of authors simultaneously posting and tweeting “pick me! pick me!” tends to drown out everyone’s message.

A friend read a beta version of King of Paine, loved it, and asked what she could do to help spread the word. Here’s my response, advice that should apply to fans of any undiscovered author:

1.  If you enjoyed the book, write a review (even a quick blurb) and post it online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and any reader sites or forums (e.g., GoodReads, Shelfari) in which you participate.

2. When you receive an author newsletter or announcement about the book via e-mail or Facebook, share it with your friends along with your personal recommendation.

3. If you can afford it, buy a copy, and consider giving the book as a gift to friends and family if you like it. If you don’t have a personal preference, ask the author where to buy it. I prefer Amazon, where sales tend to generate more sales as the book moves up in ranking, even though royalties may be higher elsewhere.

4. If the book is appropriate for your book club, consider suggesting it.

5. If you have an active Twitter account, tweet a link to the author’s website or a favorable review.

6. Subscribe to the author’s blog and “Like” his or her Facebook page. The appearance of popularity breeds confidence in prospective readers.

Feel free to add any suggestions in the comments below and pass this post along to an author who inspires you!

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  • Larry and Ellie Kahn

  • When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2010, my neurologist told me there was nothing I could do to slow down an inevitable slide into disability. So I simply (apathetically?) went about the business of researching my third novel for over a year until I crossed paths with others who had discovered a curiously overlooked goldmine of scientific research suggesting vigorous exercise could help slow the progression of PD and improve quality of life.

     

    After experiencing the impact of exercise myself, my wife, Ellie, and I began brainstorming with other believers about how to effectively spread the gospel of exercise and hope.  We formed PD Gladiators in 2013, a nonprofit charged with developing a plan to ally metro Atlanta fitness instructors and clinicians to convince people with PD to take a proactive approach to managing their disease. PD Gladiators entered agreements with the Atlanta YMCA, Livramento Delgado Boxing Foundation, Yellow River Center and other independent fitness instructors to build a network of PD-specific exercise classes based on PD Gladiators’ promise to promote the exercise research and the PD Gladiators Fitness Network to local clinicians to create the referral “pipeline” necessary to make the adapted fitness programs sustainable. I believe recruiting the support of influential clinicians in our community from the start was the critical insight that has led to the phenomenal growth of the Network.

     

    By 2018, the Network consisted of over 60 weekly classes, and metro Atlanta “gladiators” logged almost 25,000 class visits for the year! On August 1, 2018, the Parkinson’s Foundation and PD Gladiators determined they could better serve the needs of the Parkinson’s community through an organizational unification. Ellie and I served on the Advisory Board for the Parkinson’s Foundation Georgia until retiring in October 2019. PD Gladiators Executive Director Annie Long continues to manage and grow the Network as an employee of the Parkinson’s Foundation.

     

    Ellie and I still practice the proactive, hopeful approach that we  preach. With Ellie’s loving support, I exercise daily, eat a nutritious diet supplemented as recommended by Dr. Laurie Mischley (a Parkinson’s researcher and naturopathic doctor practicing in Seattle), and have adopted good sleep habits. While excited to begin the retirement we had deferred to nurture PD Gladiators, I intend to devote some of my energy–without stress and deadlines–to brainstorm ideas for other areas of Parkinson’s care in need of intervention  for consideration by government and charitable organizations with the mission and resources to undertake these projects.

     

    I believe that problem-solving is a team sport, and I encourage you to join in the discussion. Let’s make Parkinson’s Ideas, Man an incubator for high impact solutions to the issues that effect us most.