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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