Starting a new feature on a blog is a lot like planting a seed. You have to nurture it, take care of it, but also give it the room to grow and prosper. When I first started the Ask an Author feature on this blog, I wanted the world to get to know some pretty amazing authors. It was a small wish of mine that became reality when a group of authors hopped on the project and started churning out answer after answer to questions first posed by me, and then sent in by readers.
It’s always nice to go back to the beginning when reflecting on the success of a project. And so, I thought the most befitting celebration of having achieved twenty editions of the Ask an Author feature was to go back to the very beginning, to the very first post that started off the adventure, posted on 13 February 2015 on this blog.
It seemed appropriate for me to launch Sahar’s Blog latest feature so close to Valentine’s Day. After all, the new Ask An Author feature is only a reflection of my love for authors, whose works have provided me with countless hours of entertainment as well as a wellspring of inspiration.
This new feature, to be published here twice a month on Friday afternoons, will ask a group of authors who have kindly agreed to embark on this journey with me one question, from lighthearted ones to more serious ones. If you are an author and would like to be added to this list, I would love to hear from you. If you are a reader with a question you would love to hear a group of authors answer, send it over!
This Feature’s Question, in honor of Valentine’s Day: How can someone best show an author their love?
I think there are several ways that someone can show an author their love. One way is by reading the authors work and giving an honest review, whether good or bad. Helping to get the author’s name out is another, but I believe the most important way is, for family and friends to tell the author often that they believe in him/her because sometimes it’s hard to believe in yourself, especially if you feel like no one else cares about your writing.
Indie authors need help getting discovered. Telling people about the book you loved or leaving a review online does a lot more than people realize. The best things are shared by word-of-mouth. Your words are just as powerful as those of the author that moved you. Crow about it! A book that doesn’t have online reviews doesn’t tend to sell well. There is a threshold where it starts gaining attention and momentum. Each review is precious as it bumps up that total to where new people decide it’s worth taking a shot on. So talk, type, and share your love for your indie books and authors.
The best way to show an author your love is to tell as many people as possible that you love the author, their book and their style and WHY by writing a public review on Amazon and any other public platform to which you have access. Reviews = sales= love.
Great question, Sahar. My answer is, the three R’s: Read, Review and Recommend. That’s it. Showing an author your love is simple as that. Nothing makes a writer happier than to know their stories are being READ, that their hard work is not simply languishing on a shelf or in a file somewhere. Writers need to know that people are reading their words, engaging with their characters, getting carried away with the plot, and lost in their worlds. Because like that proverbial tree falling in the forest that no one sees, writers, even famous writers, don’t feel like writers if no one reading their work. And if you enjoyed the story, then write a REVIEW, explain what you liked, and even the things you disliked. Yes, it’s okay to mention what you disliked. Writers love an honest review. They do! For example, recently I received a review of my young adult novel from someone who felt it was achingly slow, and that there was just too much waiting around. The reader wanted me, the writer, to hurry up and tell the story. They wanted to know what happened and I simply wasn’t getting to it fast enough. I wasn’t discouraged by this review because Misplaced is the story of how a teen copes when his mother mysteriously goes missing. In this situation, the hardest part is the not knowing, the interminable wait for news, good or bad, which sometimes never comes. So for me, this particular review showed me a lot of love, because the reader’s impatience to know what happened, told me I’d been successful in capturing my protagonist’s frustration. But, in general, a good writer will consider constructive reviews and use those suggestions to inform and improve their later writing. Your favourite writer, like a good wine, will get better over time! If you liked the story, then RECOMMEND the book to everyone you think might like it. Spread the joy and let your friends in on the secret. Or, for extra credit that will make your favourite author shiver with excitement, put your money where your mouth is and buy a copy. Or buy the series. Get one for yourself, and one for a friend. Making a living as a writer is hugely difficult, so you never know, your economic encouragement could be the difference as to whether or not your favourite writer is still around next year.
An author can be shown love in several ways. For me, the best way is to spread the word about his/her writings or books. Spreading the word about an author or his/her books can be in form of a review in sites like amazon, lulu, kobo books and other book sites. Also, the word can be spread by recommending the author’s books to friends and family, as well as sharing an author’s post to online friends and acquaintances. When some of my readers do the above for me, I feel very loved and appreciated.
I feel the best way to show authors love, would be to leave a review on the book they’ve read. No matter if the review is good or bad, it shows the writer that there’s someone out there willing to give them a chance. Now with that, it also provides the author with constructive criticism. Some authors need to grow that thicker skin, being told what’s wrong with our books, helps us all better our craft. On the flip side, telling us how much you enjoyed the book is always a blessing, keeps us writing, and wanting to do better.
The next edition of ‘Ask An Author’ will be published on Friday 27 February. Send in your questions and/or, if you are an author, a request to be added to the mailing list!
Image credit: Chad Mauger.