Friday, September 20, 2013

Four Things Readers Can Do To Help New/Indie Authors . . .

Hey everybody!  I’m sorry for the long delay.  Between getting book two (Betrayal in the Highlands) ready for its release next week, work, and family stuff, I haven’t had much of a chance to do much else; however, I have a few minutes and I thought I’d discuss something on my mind.

Whenever somebody takes the time to read and review my book on Goodreads, I try to send them a personal “thank you” note.  I just figure it’s the right thing to do.  Hopefully, it doesn’t come off as “stalker-ish.”

Anyway, it’s amazing to me how surprised people are to hear from an author. I’d say more than half of the people who write back use the word “Wow!” and some variation of: “I’ve never gotten an e-mail from a writer before!!!” In fact, many of these respondents have become good friends of mine and have worked tirelessly to help promote my book. (A big thanks to all of them!)

Which got me thinking… Wouldn’t it be cool to have “friended” a young Tolkien or Rowlings or Stephen King right as they were starting out?  And please, I’m not making any connection between me and Tolkien, Rowlings, or King!!! I’m just saying, wouldn’t that have been really, really awesome? Imagine telling Tolkien: “You know, I really your idea of lesser rings of power. Why not talk more about them?” Or, “Hey, why not write a book just about the Ents and their search for the Entwives?”  And so forth.  Wouldn’t that be incredible???

Then that got me thinking of something else…  Maybe some of writing friends WILL be the next Big Thing!  And I knew them way back when!  Wow!  Pretty incredible.  I wonder if the fame really changes people.

And THAT got me thinking of … how can readers and fans help new/indie authors who they like?  

How can you all help make your favorite undiscovered writers become, well… “discovered”?

Here are a few things that spring immediately to mind:

1.      Write a review!   Write a review and post it wherever you can!  Post it on,, and any place else you can think of.  Seriously, a well-written, thoughtful review sells far more books than anything else.  So write a quick paragraph explaining why you sincerely enjoyed the book and post it everywhere you can!

2.      Tell all of your friends!  If you like a book from a new author, tell all of your Facebook, Goodreads, G+, twitter, flesh-and-blood, and imaginary friends!  Tell them, “Hey, you know, I just read this book and it was really, really different/wonderful/exciting/etc.etc.  You might want to check it out!” 

But don’t just mention it once.  Research has often found that people have to hear things three or four times before it really sinks in.  So bring the book up a few different times and in different ways.  The trick is being able to do this without being annoying!

3.      Put the book on various lists! For example, there are all of these lists on—best new book, best fantasy by a female author, best this, best that.  If you like a book, mention it on one of those lists and tell your friends to vote for it. 

When I ask people how they heard about my book, the number one answer usually is: “A friend recommended it.” But the second most common answer is: “I saw it on a list of good fantasy books on Goodreads.”  So the lists really do help spread the word!  Put your favorite books on as many lists as appropriate and get people to vote for them!

4.      Let the author know what you think!  Finally, if you really like a book—tell the author.  Nothing turns a bad day around like getting an e-mail from some stranger who likes what I’ve written.  It’s wonderful!

Also, hearing what readers like and don’t like has really improved my writing.  Much of what is in Betrayal in the Highlands comes from suggestions from readers.  If several people tell me, “Hey, put more in there about Kravel and Gurding!” that’s what I do. 

So write your favorite undiscovered writers and cheer them on!!!  After all, writers are usually emotional wrecks and your support is always welcome!

Well, that’s it for today.  Please remember that Betrayal in the Highlands is going to be released in four days!  This book is far less dark than the first, so if you were put off by rats in a cage…don’t worry, they aren’t in this book!  Also, in the second book, Edmund stops running and begins to fight back. So you’ll be able to see him become more of a traditional hero (although not in a traditional way). He also meets some interesting new friends!  I hope you enjoy them!

Thanks again, everybody!  I’ll try to write more next week!

Have a terrific day!