How to REALLY Help an Author Out
So The Mermaid’s Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy] is one day old. At this point, a lot of authors will talk about the things readers can do to support the book. You’ve probably seen lists like:
- Review the book in your blog, at Amazon, at GoodReads, or wherever, because word of mouth is the biggest factor in a book’s survival in this cold, cruel world.
- Buy books right after they come out, because the publisher and the bookstores pay attention to those early sales.
- Ask your library to get a copy in stock. Better yet, tell ’em to get two!
- If you like the book, recommend it to your friends, family, and that guy down the street with the weird lawn gnomes.
Those are decent suggestions, I guess. But you want to know what most authors really want? How to truly support your favorite writers? Read on, my friend.
- You see that guy carrying the huge manuscript and jogging after our author friend? That’s Bob. Bob doesn’t actually know our author, but he’s nonetheless going to fling that manuscript at the author’s feet and demand a critique, a blurb, or a referral to the author’s agent. If you could run Bob over with your car, that would be very much appreciated.
- Authors aren’t supposed to respond to bad reviews. It’s tacky, and it just leads to more bad publicity. But there’s no rule against you tracking down the person who posted that review, following them to their house, kicking down their door, and screaming “Nobody expects the Goblin Inquisition!” as you beat them with a dog-eared paperback.
- Mow my lawn. (I know it’s a long shot, but I thought I’d throw it out there. I despise lawn mowing, and it’s going to be a few years before my kids are old enough to take over.)
- Accept the crazy. Authors are nuts. Peek inside my brain right now, and you find me wanting to refresh Amazon (even though I checked the rank 30 seconds ago), an ego that’s simultaneously huge (I am Published Author) and fragile (Why isn’t my book selling as well as Random Author’s? I must suck!), and the emotional scars left from 500+ rejection letters. Just smile and nod and slip the meds into our drink when we’re not looking, just like Murdock and BA from the A-Team.
- Finally, taser anyone who asks the following questions*:
- When’s the movie coming out?
- When are you quitting the day job?
- Where do you get your ideas?
- Can I have a free book?
Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments!
*I don’t actually mind when people ask most of these, but the questions come up so often they start to show up in my dreams. I lay there in my sleep mumbling, “Can’t quit. Need benefits and steady paycheck.”
October 7, 2009 @ 12:24 pm
This is absolutely priceless (and yes, writers are certifiably nuts). I think it must be a job requirement, along with a monster ego and equally huge neurotic neediness. I have simply got to link to this in my blog post tomorrow.
October 7, 2009 @ 1:23 pm
How *do* you track down the evil reviewers that a) are ABD and find it amusing to torture authors whilst in the library enjoying their ABD lassitude b) haven’t graduated high school yet, but feel they have a world-wise and weary grasp of all that is good…and all the time to write about how you are *not* c) precisely how many dog-eared copies do I need to pummel them ruthlessly?
Jim C. Hines
October 7, 2009 @ 2:35 pm
Glad you enjoyed it! I don’t know if it’s a job requirement or a side effect. Maybe both 🙂
Jim C. Hines
October 7, 2009 @ 2:37 pm
I wish I knew, although I think c) depends on the book. I find Pat Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind to have a nice, brick-like heft to it, and I’d recommend it for all of your pummeling needs.
October 7, 2009 @ 3:54 pm
I want to do this one! “Authors aren’t supposed to respond to bad reviews. It’s tacky, and it just leads to more bad publicity. But there’s no rule against you tracking down the person who posted that review, following them to their house, kicking down their door, and screaming “Nobody expects the Goblin Inquisition!” as you beat them with a dog-eared paperback.”
It sounds so much fun! Are you going to post my bail though??
Jim C. Hines
October 7, 2009 @ 3:58 pm
Bail is only required for people who get caught 🙂
October 7, 2009 @ 6:51 pm
I want a free book, but only so I’ll have a replacement when I wear out the copy I bought
because beating people who leave bad reviews is tough on a book. 🙂
October 8, 2009 @ 9:26 am
Hi Jim 🙂
I’ll be smiling all day now.
Thank you for the humorous post. Humorous because it all has a grain of truth. You’re one talented writer!
All the best,
October 8, 2009 @ 11:15 pm
Hmm, how about adding to your list: sitting down all family member and friends of said author and hypnotizing them. While they are open to suggestion, explain that fiction writers are not to be confused with grammarians, copy editors or millionares just because they’ve published a book or three.