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Did You Know… - Donna Everhart

Donna Everhart

Did You Know…

…how you can help out authors?  It’s not just buying the book, which is certainly a big deal in of itself.  There are a couple (well okay, five here) more steps that can take the simple, yet powerful act of buying a book go that extra bit towards helping an author gain traction.

Here’s a list of what I’ve heard/learned.

  • A while back, our lovely Shark (a.k.a. Janet Reid, literary agent extraordinaire) posted about this.  Wherever you go to purchase books…if you don’t see the one you want?  Ask for it.  Find someone and ask if they can check their database to see if it’s been ordered, or if they’ve put it on their list of books to order.  (or to be re-ordered if their inventory is depleted.)  One point she made – which, as a newbie I thought was very interesting – don’t go to the author and tell them their book isn’t in a store because the author can’t do anything about it.  The reason?  Authors aren’t part of the process to distribute their book.  Hence, the “ask a person in the store” advice.  Now, if the author is self-published?  That’s a whole other topic outside of my wheelhouse.
  • If possible, rate the books you read, or even provide a short review.  An astute observation made by a commenter here  on this blog (Heidi Kneale) stated even bad reviews are a good thing, in that if all an author has are good reviews, that can start to look fishy.  500 five star reviews = things that make you go hmmm.  Of course, a book’s success is based on being well received, but all reviews are helpful and show people cared enough about the story to leave one.
  • If you are on Goodreads,”shelf a book” you want to read.  (pssst!  even if it’s not out yet)  The more people who shelf a book, the better the chances for the good folks at Goodreads to showcase it.
  • If you are a member of a book club, pick a book as your book club’s “pick of the month,” and then…
  • …talk about it!  This is typically The Way I find out about books I want to read next.  Interesting, it’s still a fact today, despite the social media interactions of authors online, this is the very best thing to help a book – good old word of mouth.


Courtesy Village Booksellers

13 thoughts on “Did You Know…”

  1. Your second point is something I’ve been struggling with. Since I appreciate and understand what enormous effort goes into writing a novel and also how detrimental low ratings can be, I’m loathe to leave less than a 4 or 5 star review for my fellow writers. If my take on a book is less than 4 or 5 stars, I usually won’t rate it. The shelving books thing I can definitely do, though; I had no idea it had such an impact.

    1. I know what you mean, Eve! It definitely changes the dynamic if one is a writer, and like you, if I can’t say something nice? I won’t say it at all… So, in this case, I’m talking to Readers only, those who only read for pleasure. And yes! That Goodreads thing? Big. Deal. For authors! Thank you for stopping by! (Coincidentally, I’m out on your blog now reading about THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED. I don’t read YA, but I will if its really good. This one sounds… REALLY GOOD!

  2. In my humble opinion, THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED is YA novel that definitely crosses into literary territory. If you like emotional impact in your reading, it’s a good one.

    1. I do, absolutely and definitely love/lean to literary as well. Thanks for the tip, this is one I’ll be adding to my TBR pile. (see, just like mentioned above – Word of Mouth!)

  3. “Shelf a book” you want to read on Goodreads is new to me. I really like how thorough you are. I’m sure many people want to help, but they don’t know how. Great post, Donna! <3 <3 <3

    1. Thank you Lilac! The Goodreads thing was new to me too – wouldn’t have known about that had my publicist not mentioned it. And then of course, JR always has great info and the day she posted about an author who called his editor (I think?) asking why his book wasn’t in stores…well, that response was classic JR.

  4. Thanks for the mention. 🙂
    I am not afraid to leave a less than 4 star review of a book. If I didn’t like it, I will mention so and why, within reason. If the book simply wasn’t to my taste I won’t leave a review, but if there were issues with the book (weak plot, terrible characters, no mastery of the craft, etc) I will mention it. If I found a book so-so because of taste, but can see why someone else would love it, I’d mention this in my three-star review.
    For me, the whole idea behind reviews is to help other readers find the books they will enjoy.

    1. Sure, I can see how that wouldn’t be all that bad – as long as the review is honest, and isn’t a claim like, “their writing just sucked,” with no other reasoning. Still, I think – for me at least – crossing over into being published has somewhat changed how I will operate going forward.

      I especially won’t do any sort of reviews where I might “cross paths” with another author. For example, one book I read I thought, ho boy, this writing is forced, confusing, and rather contrived. I won’t post a review b/c this author is published under the same house as me. Yeah, not gonna do it. But for a writer like…*Cormac McCarthy? My opinion matters about as much to his publishers, and to him more specifically, as a dollop if bird poop on his car, right?

      Basically, I think what I’m saying is I’ll tend to steer clear of writing anything negative where it could come back to bite me…b/c the publishing world is smaller than we think, and if I can’t say something nice…my old fashioned southern upbringing says, “don’t say anything at all.”

      *I’ve given mixed reviews on McCarthy – out on Goodreads. Love some of his books, other stuff, not so much.

  5. So glad you posted about this. Before I read similar vibes on JR’s blog, I had never really thought about doing this for the Author’s sake, just for other readers’. Nice info 🙂

    1. Ya know, lots of folks (me included) used to never really think about a book’s trajectory if it was successful. Pre-publication, and really, pre-writing, if I liked a book, I’d talk about it without really thinking much about the impact. Of course all that has changed now…and the Kensington team is teaching me even more as I go along. Two of the points above (about book clubs and the Goodreads shelving) came from my publicist.

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