Friday, January 22, 2010

Support your local author

I want to discuss the topic of supporting your local author from several different points. First, do you know who your local authors are? How do you find the local authors?

I will be the first to tell you that I as a local author am probably standing on my rooftop shouting to the world, “Here I am! Read my book!” Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but if you ask my neighbor she’ll tell you I asked her to paint me a sign (she’s a painter/artist) that says “Denise Robbins – author lives here.” You think I’m kidding?

My point is that most local authors are truly trying to shout out their names so look around, read the calendar section in the newspaper, do a search on the web for your area, check out the local writing groups, or even ask the local library or bookstore.

Now that you’ve located a local author or twenty, how can you support us?
I’m going to look at this from two perspectives, the first being from a reader and another author, the second from the viewpoint of a local business.

As a reader and an author, the number one thing you can do to support your local author is to buy the author’s book. Even if you don’t read romance or science-fiction, buy the book and give it a try. If you can’t bring yourself to read a horror story, but want to support your local author then buy the book and give it to a friend who does like horror.

Okay, you bought the book and read it. Now what? Write a 5-star review. It doesn’t have to be longwinded and detailed, just tell everyone why you liked the story. Did the author capture your attention from the very first page? Could you not put the book down even when it was one in the morning? Maybe the descriptions were so vivid you thought you were actually seeing the story come to life. Whatever reason you have for liking the book, write a quick one sentence or small paragraph and submit the review at Amazon.com, BN.com, even your local newspaper book section. As much as we authors like shouting about our books, it’s even more fun when a reader makes a little noise for us.

A few other things you can do to help your local authors include telling others to read the book. Tell your librarian and local bookstore managers that they should carry the books or even suggest the library or bookstore host a book event with the author.

When an author you have discovered has a book event, attend. Even if you already have the book, go and take a friend. Tell the audience how much you enjoyed the story and encourage them to buy the book. Heck, buy another copy and have the book signed by the author. Then give your original copy to a friend. Remember, the best marketing is word-of-mouth.

As local author and a reader, I do all of the above and more. I arrange as many book events as possible, am always willing to, and like to invite other authors to participate in events with me. Group events are a lot of fun and give the readers more opportunity to meet more local authors. Spread the word by including others.
When you write a press release for an event you are attending, mention the other authors’ names and what they write. Always suggest to a host that if that would like to do another event in the future that you can recommend some other authors.

Attend another author’s event. This evening is the perfect example. I will be going to Elaine Isaak’s book event at the Milford Toadstool this evening after work starting at 7:00 PM. Yes, I will buy a copy of her book!

As a local businessperson you can do all those things and a little more. You don’t have to be a bookstore to host a book event. Doe a local author come into your bagel shop or your pizza joint on a regular basis? Ask the author to have a book signing at your shop.

What’s the benefit?

Well, as my friends who own a bagel shop can tell you, “It’s a win-win” situation. People who come in for their Saturday morning bagel will buy a book. People who are going to your shop to get a book will buy a bagel or a cup of coffee or perhaps a glass of wine if the event is at a local winery. It’s exposure for both the author and the business owner.

Bookstores and libraries are a different matter…they sell /lease books. Why would they not want to sell a local author’s books? Or host a local author book event? Even if you carry just one copy of the book at a time when a reader asks the author on the street where she can buy a copy, the author can tell the reader to go to your location. There’s a no-brainer.

Bookstores and libraries host all kinds of events, why not a “Meet your local author night”? I bet people who visit the store or the library on a regular basis would be thrilled to know they have an author living right down the street. The first time a man I met in a restaurant found out I was an author he couldn’t believe it. He was even more aghast when he was driving home with his wife one day and saw me in my yard planting some of my flowers. He yelled out the car window, “I can’t believe I live down the street from a real live author!” That, by the way, is no exaggeration.

Many bookstores or libraries host book clubs. Why not host a book club that reads local author books? Invite the author in to the meeting so the readers can ask questions. Reading is great but it makes it so much more enjoyable when you meet the person behind the words.

I hope this little editorial has helped inform you as a reader, a local businesssperson, or author as to what you can do to help support your local authors. If you have other suggestions, please feel free to post them here.

5 comments:

Tammy January 22, 2010 at 12:19 PM  

I love the idea of a local author of book club. I'm sure I can find a few or twenty authors! Tammy

Denise January 22, 2010 at 12:48 PM  

Gotta love a take charge person!

Let me know if I can do anything to help.

Emma Leigh January 22, 2010 at 2:51 PM  

Excellent post, Denise. As I told you before, my town has a brand new library. Would love to connect with local authors to get their books for my town.

I'll see you Saturday at the bagel shop.

Denise January 22, 2010 at 3:23 PM  

Emma Leigh -

See you Saturday.

Pauline B Jones January 23, 2010 at 11:05 AM  

One of the huge reasons for buying books new is keeping writers publishing. I see readers complaining about authors' series not being finished and left them hanging. Well, the author probably didn't want to stop but their sales didn't justify their publisher's investment. The lucky authors switch gears and try something else, but many--more than you think--quit.

I understand why readers buy used, but if they can buy at least one new book and maybe one new author's book, in support of authors, it helps. Also, never EVER download books from file sharing sites or buy "collections" from places like eBay. These are always pirated copies. Authors aren't rich and it is theft to download books that are still copyrighted.

If you see an author's book on a pirate site, let them or their publisher know.

You wouldn't keep working at your job for no pay and authors can't either. :-)

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