This post piggybacks on a post over at Southern Writers Magazine about how writers can support other writers. Really, though, if you’re a reader who’s active online, some of it can apply to you too.
When I attempted the low-to-no response book of the year readers’ choice poll on this blog last year, a poll which allowed writer and writer associate votes by the way, the idea was to boost the books. Why boost the books? Because a boost can mean, more sales, more readers finding the books, and more of the books that you like; if you’re not just a reader but also a writer of your own books now or in the future, it’s also about paying it forward.
Publishing is a buyer’s market. Sure, we, writers, are out here trying to tell the stories dear to our hearts but self-published or traditionally published (i.e. with the resources of an established publishing house behind you), market matters. It matters to getting signed, to not getting dropped, to making money off of your books, to being in a position to write other books.
So, if we want more stories from the pen of whatever author we’ve ‘discovered’, and to be in a position to continue telling our own stories, this W. Terry Whalin article has some of the bare minimum things that we can do.
Like “write reviews of any book you read or hear”. I do this for most books that I read (see my blogger on books series). Maybe some find the words ‘write’ and ‘review’ scary. I get that. Sometimes someone will tell me face to face, or in an email, what they think (good and bad) about one of my books, but will balk at posting the very thing they just told me in a public forum (where, if it’s good, it can actually help me attract readers). Sometimes, someone honestly doesn’t think about it; well, I’m saying, think about it. It doesn’t have to be a review-review, just what you think. The internet makes it really easy (with all of those online book platforms or whatever social media you use) to just drop a word. Yes, even a word will do.
Like “as you read the blog posts from others, make a short yet relevant comment”. If you’re blogging, it’s important to remember that communication works both ways – drop by other blogs and say a word, and chances are they’ll return the favour. I will say that part of modern book marketing, a feature of the internet age, is finding community. But don’t use the community like a billboard, to which you pin your notice/ad and bounce; participate.
Like “use social media retweets”. The buttons are right there! I’m not on twitter but I’m quite a few other social media platforms, most actively on facebook, and sharing articles and other interesting finds, often by other writers is something I enjoy doing. In fact, the same urge birthed the Reading Room and Gallery series here on this blog. On my facebook, one of my favourite things to do is to share an excerpt from whatever book I’m reading on my social media with a #whatimreading which (sometimes) sparks curiosity and conversation.
Like “Introduce writers to each other” which simply means where possible being the conduit from one writer to another, from writer to opportunity that you’d like others to be for you. Don’t force it, let it happen organically but don’t shut down a connection you could be facilitating just because you can. Blocking someone else’s blessings won’t open up ours. This one may be the hardest of all but it’s a mindset that’s worth having.
I feel it’s important to add that I understand (and live) some of the hindrances – what if you don’t like the book? what if I don’t have time for all of that blog engagement? etc. To which I would say don’t put pressure on yourself to do everything – to write about every book, to gas up every book you do write about (honest reviews are always preferable), to engage with every blog, not to mention all of social media etc. I’m saying be conscious and if you can, do one thing one time and let whatever happens happen naturally. In the way that you would naturally tell someone about something you liked anyway, do that and realize that in a crowded publishing marketplace, it can make a world of difference.
The images in this post are all books by Antiguans and Barbudans, and all linked to the
reviews thoughts I shared about them. The last one is an example of another reason why: the book being out of print and sales not being a factor, it’s about owning and/or reclaiming a literary legacy (especially in a place where before things like the bibliography of Antiguan and Barbudan books built on this site) so much of it was unknown and/or ungathered.
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad! ). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.