A long time ago I came across a delightfully amusing (though rather terrifying) meme of Annie Wilks, which read “If you haven’t tied your favourite author to a bed and hobbled them with a sledgehammer, you’re not fangirling hard enough”. Of course this delighted the dark side of my humour, and I promptly stole it* and slipped it into a post about Helena Hann-Basquiat – that tall, cool blonde with the scuffed Manolos and the amazing brain.
Course, these days there are any number of authors could use it on (the meme, not the sledgehammer (*hides ropes*))…
…but here’s the thing: there’s a far better way to get to ‘keep’ your favourite authors, provided you’re fortunate enough to know the people who’ve generated the contents of your ‘keep forever’ bookshelf. Or the (*shudders*) files on (*shivers*) Kindle, which you (*heebs out*) know you won’t delete. And that’s to REVIEW, SHARE AND RECOMMEND.
I’ll say it again so you know I really, really mean it – REVIEW, SHARE AND RECOMMEND.
Let’s start at the beginning, when your darling has spent a soul-crushing time editing the heck out of their manuscript, which required umpteen-bazillion hours of their time and mental energy to create in the first place, only to be told that parts of it had to change…so they fall upon their pen and re-jig it to appeal to the unwashed masses**, possibly more than once, and then they eventually get together a final draft they’re happy with before either releasing their baby to the ravishing hands of a publishing house, or selling the floor from under their feet to be able to pay for layout, cover design, printing, administration and publishing costs.
So they have their book – their precious – and they gear up with a blog tour or promotions or ARC readers and giveaways and ALL TEH PIMPING…and finally release day happens and they spend the entire time watching for signs of sales online, jacked up on [insert booze of choice] and biting their fingernails in terror that they’ll be revealed as an utter fraud and no-one wants to read their tale.
The feedback comes slowly…people buy it and your darling breathes a little easier. The people read it and tell their friends, and your favourite begins to unclench. They get in touch with the author and tell them how awesome/amazing/fabulous/wonderful it was…and then quite often they just drop off a cliff! Not literally, my lovelies, but metaphorically: the book has been treated as a consumable item and the transaction (once it’s been read) is done, with a little post-glutting petit four of compliment to the creator, who is then left, discarded like an empty, grease-stained Maccy-D bag at the side of the road.
Then they have to grit their teeth and withstand the onslaught of the worst things which can be said to a writer, a la Vikki Claflin, and try their best to play nice and not break down when they’ve exhausted their repertoire of tricks to get people to engage with their book.
It can be a thankless task for authors, and one in which YOU play an important role, with a couple of tweaks beyond the usual reader/book interaction (especially if you want your dearest to jump onto the bed and beg for the ropes rather than requiring any sledgehammering to make them stay).
Pay attention – the trust of an author is not to be underestimated and leads to untold wonders…
You’ve encouraged them during creation. You’ve cheer-led and hurkey’d your heart out pre-release. You joined in their blog tour. You sent them champagne on release day and you’ve read their book, at last, gleefully…and then what?
Now you REVIEW IT.
It doesn’t have to be five stars, because there’s always room for improvement, right? But it DOES need to be there – if you write a genuine ‘how it made me feel’ review, then other potential readers might engage with your words and roll with your recommendation, but how often do you read other people’s reviews or pay attention to the stars? Hmmm. Here’s the secret reason – book-selling websites have internal (highly mystical) algorithms, which they employ to promote popular books (FYI the widely acknowledged tipping point is 50 reviews) and once your pet’s book has enough reviews, the sale site will start working on their behalf.
And you need to do this not only on Amazon***, but Goodreads. And Barnes&Noble if it’s being sold there.
Then SPLATTER THAT REVIEW ALL OVER social media.
Might take you ten minutes or so. Your literary sweetheart just spent probably months of their life creating this book – if you won’t do it to honour that, do it to be a pal. You have time. If you’ve read this far on this blog post, then you have time to write and share a quick review. Promise.
Each site they see your review will have your author chuckling with delight and snuggling closer to you, petting your hair and kissing your cheek**** as you promote them officially – the way authors prefer to have it done to them. Each share of your reviews will curl their toes with excitement.
But to really send them into orbit…RECOMMEND THEM.
Endorse them with your conversations, your writing, your social media – don’t just shove your stars into the mix on the sale site, but make your opinion PUBLIC, online and offline. Get your fingers and tongue in there and get creative!
Recommend them soft-and-gently. Recommend them quick-and-dirty. Recommend them suddenly, in the middle of something else entirely. Recommend them relentlessly. And you will blow their mind.
Want your favourite to look something like this?
REVIEW; SHARE; RECOMMEND. Simple!
Now THAT’S what you call a five-star attitude.
Here are three of my favourites (all with stunningly good recent releases) for you to start with – see if you can usurp me as THEIR favourite*****
Beth Teliho – Order of Seven
Mandi Castle – Dear Stephanie
*Stealing pictures is NOT COOL and I don’t do it any more. To my chagrin really, because this meme is cool.
**Helena said it first, and she dabbles, so…yeah! Be washed if you prefer – totally up to you.
***If your Amazon is something other than .com, stick the review on both sites, to be consistent and most helpful.
****Probably only metaphorically, unless you’re super-lucky.
*****Definitely a self-awarded title, that, but I’ll take it until someone takes it from me.