Give a little, get a lot

When you read a piece of writing that you admire, send a note of thanks to the author –

Sherman Alexie

Yes, I’ve used this quote before, and recently, but it struck me that all I’d suggested was that you took the time to find and thank the author directly and in person. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still something that I think you should do – social media are great for this – but why stop there?

After the initial marketing push, assuming they have gone the traditional publishing route, much of the publicity work is being left to authors themselves. If the work is self-published then all of the marketing and publicity work falls to them. So here’s where we, as readers, come in; one of the greatest aids to selling books is good reviews by real punters.

If you’ve spent your hard-earned cash on a book and have enjoyed it enough to want to recommend it to other potential readers then spend the 10 minutes it takes to do it. If you think about it there is a win-win here for you:

  • Reviewing other people’s work is a great alternative way of practicing your writing skills.
  • By reading other authors you can improve and expand your own writing skills.
  • If you have a blog it’s a way of driving traffic to your site.
  • You are actively helping authors you love to be able to carry on producing the books you want to read.

Amazon has an incredibly easy to use review feature – though you have to have bought the book via them to use it. You should also investigate NetGalley, which is getting in to the professional world of reviewing.

Why not reach out to authors who, in my experience, always appreciate people taking the time to read their work pre-publication and give an honest review? As long as it’s well expressed, they aren’t only looking for positive feedback I’m talking proper reviews here.

Okay, so occasionally you’ll end up reading something way out of your usual genre but that can be a great opportunity. Even if you don’t really enjoy the read you can still learn a lot – sometimes you ‘see’ the writing skill much more clearly when you aren’t caught up in the plot.

Oh, and let’s not forget that you just might be lucky enough to get a review by them when it’s your turn to put your book out there…

I’ve talked before about how generous the community of writers is with time and knowledge; why not take the opportunity to give something back?

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