five things you can do to support your favorite authors: new & improved!

Talk to people about YFA’s newest book, let them know why you like it; mention it at dinner with cousin Trudy or in an email to a friend you think might like it. And if you have no friends who fall into this category, consider that you might need to get out more.

The next time you are in a bookstore, ask for YFA’s newest book, and also for one of his or her backlist. If they don’t have it, look surprised. If they volunteer to special order it, say, thank you, but (a) I saw a pile of them at B&N or (b) I’ll get it from Amazon.

Every once in a while, buy one of YFA’s books new. If you have Joe Morgenstein’s fifteen volume series of novels about a pirate with a weakness for high heels, but you got them all used, then consider buying volume sixteen, Manolo Masquerade, new. Because used books don’t really help YFA out much.

If you visit the author’s website or weblog, look for clickables. You know, “digg this” or “stumbled upon” or “technorati favorites” or “email this to a friend”- and click ’em – in moderation, but do click. Think of it as a thumbs up, much appreciated by YFA.

Concise Amazon reviews that provide balance Maybe not so much in terms of actual sales, but they do a lot to dispel that feeling that you’re shouting into an empty room.

Let’s turn this around

Edited to reformat and reformulate::

Let’s take for granted that you want a good story, plot, characters, and all that. What else makes the experience of reading a novel or a body of work more enjoyable or interesting? You can pick all or none of 1-13, or tell me to mind my own business with 14. If there’s something you’d like to suggest, please mention it in the comments. (if you don’t see the poll, hold on; I’m tinkering).

Well, shoot. The polling plugin isn’t working with the new version of WordPress, so I’ll have to do this the old fashioned way. Here’s a list of things you might like or dislike. If you are so inclined, could you tell me which ones appeal to you?

  1. maps (somewhere inside the book)
  2. illustrations (other than maps)
  3. a note from the author about how the book came to be
  4. a note from the author on the research (if there was any)
  5. suggestions for further reading that’s relevant to the book’s theme or setting
  6. a cast of characters list
  7. footnotes (this has been done in novels, specifically in The French Lieutenant’s Woman, for example)

more specifically to the author, are these things you’d rather have, or not have

  1. an author website
  2. an author weblog that is regularly updated
  3. a discussion forum maintained by the author
  4. discussion forum, but it can be anywhere and the author doesn’t need to be present
  5. author biography
  6. photographs
  7. book recommendations and reviews
  8. writing tips and exercises
  9. interviews with other authors
  10. giveaways/contests

Use the comments to tell me what you think, okay? This would be a help to me — and other authors, too.

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9 Replies to “five things you can do to support your favorite authors: new & improved!”

  1. I’d say an interesting setting, or if it’s a often used setting show me it from a different angle/view/perspective.

  2. Well, the first thing a book has to offer me is a subject I’m interested in. I tend to always finish books I start so I’m likely to keep reading even if it turns out to be something different than what I thought — however, I’m not likely to pick up anything by that author again. There is a particular book that folks rave about (you did, actually, Rosina, as did others). It took me halfway through the book before I began to see its appeal and, by the end, I did like it. However, I’m not likely to ever read another of that author’s work because it was just too hard work for little ol’ me. Anyway, if the subject doesn’t appeal to me — no matter how well it’s written or how many raves it gets — I won’t read it.

  3. Set #1 (1-7) for me what would matter the most would be 1, 2, 3, 4, 6.

    Set #2 (1-10) would be 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10.

    Hope this helps.

  4. Good suggestions about helping out my favorite authors and I try to do quite a few of these things. I definitely post about books I really like and now and then I’m moved to write an Amazon review when I’m crazy about the book and I know the author could use it (I don’t think Ian McEwan needs any help from me so I usually do it for lesser known authors).

    I really like an after word from the author about how the book came to be and I’ve never seen suggested further reading, but that would be pretty nice too.

    I like author websites and now and then I like author blogs, but an awful lot of authors who have websites seem to start blogs when they have a book coming out and then they don’t do much with them. I like blogs if the author keeps up with them and genuinely wants to blog. Too many author blogs look like the author thought he or she ought to have one and then it was too much work. I like 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. I don’t care much about 10 myself, but I guess a lot of people like them.

    I also like the author to have contact information listed so I can email, or better yet, send a nice note when the book especially moves me. I’ve written maybe a half dozen notes and emails to authors and I’m always surprised when they respond (every one of them has) and how appreciative they seem to be to hear how much readers love their work.

    I noticed you’ve got “Martin Amis” as a tag on this post. I recently read TIME’S ARROW and thought it was incredible. Just curious about the tag — on this post.

  5. I should have thought to include contact information as a choice, so thanks, Lisa.

    Authors generally do really like to get feedback from readers. It’s a very solitary occupation, after all. Contact with the outside word (supportive contact, especially) is very welcome.

    I don’t always have the time to answer email, because I get a lot of it and it just gets away from me. But I read it all, and it means a great deal to me.

    You are probably right that many authors start blogging not knowing what’s really involved, and then they just drop the ball. Things are still evolving in this cyberworld, and my guess is that it will shake out in another five or ten years.

    Re: Martin Amis. In an earlier version of this post I had a quote from him. I should have deleted the tag, and I’ll do that now.

  6. Other things included in a book:
    * list of characters
    * some note from the author about how the book came to be. Maybe an interview with the author.
    * reading group questions. Some books do this now. See Memory Keeper’s daughter.

    For the author:
    * weblog that is regularly updated
    * biography (for new readers) & bibliography
    * contests
    * recommendations of other books
    * links to interviews
    * contests

  7. 1. Maps – I LOOOVE maps.
    2. Other illustrations – Nope. I don’t like to fool with someone else’s mental idea of something. After all, I’m always right!
    3. & 4. OK
    5. Yes
    6. If it’s written by Donati or Dunnett. Otherwise probably not a monstrous cast of characters that need differentiating.
    7. Probably not.

    1. &/Or 2. Yes
    3 & 4. Maybe. I’d rather the author be writing the next novel.
    5. OK
    6. OK if updated and not a glamor shot.
    7. Recommendations: Absolutely YESYESYES.
    8. Nice.
    9. OK
    10. Neutral.

  8. Answering question #1, 1. I love maps, and 3, 4, 5 and 6 are great, too!
    Question #2, 2. I love your weblog, 6. I love photographs, and 10. giveaways are fun!

  9. Depending on what type of story, I like:
    # maps (somewhere inside the book)
    # illustrations (other than maps)
    # a note from the author about how the book came to be
    # a note from the author on the research (if there was any)
    # suggestions for further reading that’s relevant to the book’s theme or setting
    # a cast of characters list
    Footnotes: I don’t see the point, and a book that would require footnotes is probably not my genre anyways:)

    Author:
    # book recommendations and reviews (I really like this, in particular the type where “if you loved my books, you’ll like…”
    # an author website
    # an author weblog that is regularly updated OR a discussion forum maintained by the author

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