Friday, June 27, 2014

Helping Me as an Author

I’ve recently come across online articles offering suggestions for readers to support authors whose works they enjoy reading.

What I’ll hope to do with this short article is to offer suggestions (requests) that would assist me as an author, helping to ensure that the future novels I write will find both publication and readers. After those four points, I’ll briefly explain why readers doing any or all of the suggestions is important.

Four Things Readers can Do, and Why:

1.    Buy my books. While that’s an obvious one, each sale makes a difference. Sales make the book profitable to the publisher. It affects online rankings (at Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Audible, etc.) and also the stocking habits of brick and mortar book stores. This offers opportunities for potential readers to come across one or more of my works, where they otherwise wouldn’t have. If it’s not seen then, in essence, it doesn’t exist.

2.    Buy my books for gifts. If a reader enjoys my works, sharing them through gifts (to someone who the gift-giver believes is a good match), further accomplishes #1 above, while introducing my works to another reader. Plus, I think books make good gifts.

3.    Post reviews. Reviews can be posted at online vendors (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc.) and places readers hang out (Goodreads, forums, Facebook groups, etc.). Potential readers expect the author and the publisher to say positive things. A reader saying something positive carries far more weight. And a large number of reviews builds confidence of potential readers that the reviewed work just might be genuinely a good read.

4.    Online social media support. Liking, and sharing on Facebook, joining Flankers (an online group created by readers and fans of the First Civilization’s Legacy Series), sign up/follow my blog (Up Around the Corner), and comment on occasion if something is of interest, clicking of helpful for positive reviews on Amazon, and more.

At Flankers a variety of fun things come up in discussion and I usually mention things related to my writing there first. At my blog, I write about a wide variety of things, from writing related to what I find interesting and humorous, usually having nothing to do with writing and my published works.

What I suggested/requested above does take a little time. Some suggestions are nothing more than a one-time effort, while others might be both fun and interesting to participate in on occasion.

This is why reader efforts are important:

First, publishing is a business. My publisher, Gryphonwood Press, invests time and financial resources to publish my novels. There is a lot of competition out there, and if my novels fail to sell, it would make sense for Gryphonwood to go with another author for upcoming slots in the publication schedule. Publishers have to make a profit to remain in business.

Second, while I have a core of readers who enjoy what I write, it takes time to write a novel. A lot of time. Outlining, researching, writing the first draft, revising, editing, revising, re-reading and revising, research again. Revise and edit. Send out to beta readers. Revise. Send to publisher (and hope it’s accepted). Then work with an editor. Revise and edit, and finally proof the galley. Then there’s proofing the audiobook versions before they’re released.

Plus, there’s working with the artist, and doing what I can to help market those novels already published, and pave the way for new novels through online social networking stuff such as FB, blogs and forums, writing articles and doing interviews, attending signing events and presentations, among other things.

All of that takes time and, for me as an author, there has to be a return on investment of that time. I’m not talking about vast monetary riches, and tens of thousands of avid, rabid readers. But there’s only so much time in the day, and time spent writing means time that cannot be spent elsewhere—with family, friends, on other jobs and other activities. Ask my turtles.

This isn’t a ‘woe is me’ or ‘poor overworked author’ sort of thing. I figured that I might as well be straight forward about this, especially as many readers of my novels and stories may not realize what they can do to help me out as an author (and other authors), and why it’d make a difference.

All I ask is that you consider doing one, two or all. Whatever you’re comfortable with. Maybe you already have.

And please know: Your efforts have been and will continue to be very much appreciated.


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