Note: This is a repost from October 2011.
I've noticed a lot of fans really don't understand how much power they have to keep their favorite writers in the business of writing new books. Even something as simple as buying the first book in a trilogy or series can ensure that the rest of the trilogy or series will be published. I know of trilogies and series that were canceled because the first book's sales did not meet the publisher's expectations. Also, indie authors have to fund their own books, so if the first book of a series does not sell, it's actually a cost-saving device to cancel the series and direct their energies elsewhere.
So as a refresher, I thought I'd share this post again.
Over the last six years, I have personally witnessed the power of fans. If not for their almost rabid support when I was writing AS THE WORLD DIES as an online serial, I may never have finished the story that would eventually lead to a three book deal with Tor.
If not for fans, I would not have won the Dead Letter award two years in a row.
If not for fans, I would not have had the sales that drew the attention of a producer from Hollywood.
If not for fans, I would not have reviews on Amazon.com and other online book sellers.
If not for fans, I would not have...more fans.
Fans are extremely important to any writer's career. They wield the power to push you to greater heights -- like bestseller lists -- and better and bigger book deals.
The reality is that fans can enable a writer to keep writing and churning out books they will enjoy. Though inspiration and dedication are a huge component to writing a book, any writer needs sales to keep them on the writing path.
Most writers have day jobs (either full-time or part-time), families, and social lives. Writing is often something they do after everyone else is in bed, or early in the morning. They struggle to carve out time to take hold of their inspiration and wrangle it into a cohesive story. Most of the time, writers are not making one red cent off that writing. They're doing it because they love to write and are probably hoping it will lead to some monetary reward in the future.
I doubt there isn't a writer out there that dreams of writing full-time. But it is very hard to get to that point. Hell, I'm trying to make my own full-time writing gig stick.
So here are some tips on how to keep your favorite writer(s) doing what you want them to do....write.
1. Buy their books.
This seems like a logical way to support authors, but a lot of people don't realize how important sales really are. On more than one occasion I have had someone tell me "I'll buy your book at Half-Priced Books when I find it" or "I'll get it from the library." Though the initial sale DOES count toward an author's royalties, all second-hand sales and library loans do not.
If your favorite author is published through a major publishing house, sales will dictate whether or not that publishing house will buy the author's next project.
If your favorite author is an indie author, most likely the money they make off of self-publishing is going to fund their next self-published work. Cover art and editing are very expensive.
So when you buy a book (not second-hand), it really does help your favorite author.
Note: I totally get buying second hand when you don't have the funds. I've done it myself. Later on when I had money, I bought my favorite authors latest books at the bookstore.
2. Write reviews (on goodreads, amazon.com, etc)
A lot of readers don't understand the power of their opinion to influence other readers to read their favorite author. With so many books being published every week, people look to reviews by other readers to help them decide which book they should buy or avoid. If you love a book, write a review. Even if it is a short one, it does help out.
3. Loan your books to friends.
You may think this contradicts #1, but it actually doesn't. If you're trying to convert a friend to your favorite author, chances are they would rather read a borrowed book then risk spending money on an unknown author. If they like the book you loaned them, maybe they'll buy a copy of their own, or later buy the author's latest work.
4. Spread the word on your social media sites (or your blog!)
I was turned on to the JENNI POX series by J.L. Bryan when I saw the Bookish Brunette twittering about the books. I read up the reviews on the series on goodreads and purchased the first book. I loved it! I know I have gained new readers because they saw a fan talk about my books on facebook, twitter, or other media sites. Blogging has also brought me a slew of new fans.
5. Email your favorite author.
A short email to your favorite author really does help. Writing is a lonely endeavor and hearing from fans about how much they like your work is very energizing.
So to sum up this post, if you want to keep your favorite author writing, buy their books, spread the word about them, and let the author know you appreciate them.