The 3 Best Ways to Keep Your Favorite Authors Writing the Books You Love
yep, lil ol' you can make a big ol' difference
The sweetest (and most unexpected!) thing happens every time I launch a new book:
I get overrun with emails, DM’s, and comments on social from readers asking me how they can best support the book and me as an author. That you think about this kind of thing, and that you care enough to ask, never gets old. And I know other authors feel the same.
That people keep reading my books feels like an ongoing miracle. After giving this some careful thought, I’m pretty convinced that you are the reason this happens, over and over again.
So I’ve compiled a list of things this community has been doing since 2018 to keep my books on the shelves. Your efforts have not been wasted! These simple steps are replicable not only for Letting Magic In (my new memoir), but for your other favorite authors and the books you love.
1. SHOUT IT OUT!
(because sharing is caring)
There are so many ways to help spread the word to not only help authors find new readers, but help readers find books they’ll love!
share your pre-order, review, or book images on your social media account
give your favorite books as gifts
simply tell people you talk with about your favorite authors and books
follow authors on Goodreads and add their books to your “Want to Read” list
add the author’s books to booklists on sites like Goodreads
tell your favorite podcast or book club about the author or book
ask your local bookshop and library to order a copy of a book
A way that I work with my local bookstore, Malaprop’s, is to offer signed pre-order copies of Letting Magic In exclusively when you pre-order from them.
*After the release, you can find signed copies of ALL my books at my shop, Herbiary.
The only other way to get a signed copy of Letting Magic In right now is to become a Biggest Fan here on Unkempt.
(even if you’re 100% sure you’re going to win a Goodreads giveaway)
Pre-ordering books (from reporting bookstores like Amazon, BAM, Barnes & Noble, and your larger local book sellers) makes a HUGE difference in a book’s success. Pre-orders tell the book industry and all its players which books have the greatest potential. Yup, pre-orders determine the bestseller lists, a book’s visibility in your local bookstore, and so much more.
This is why authors and publishers offer pre-order gifts to encourage readers to order their copy (or copies!) before the book’s actual release date. From the author side, I love this, because it feels like I get to send readers a big THANK YOU for being a such important parts of this process. Speaking of which…
Get Your LETTING MAGIC IN Pre-Order Bonus!
Again, because I (and my publisher) SO appreciate your pre-orders, we’re offering a gift of a fabulous tote bag with a quote from the book. Pre-order a copy of Letting Magic In from wherever books are sold, then head here to upload your receipt so you can get your quote tote and my sincere gratitude.
3. SHARE YOUR HONEST REVIEW
Reviews (whether on Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever you bought your book) are really important not only to show interest in a book, but to help others decide whether the book is right for them or not.
This is one of my favorite things about the book community: it’s a whole space dedicated to helping people find the books they’ll treasure, books they’ll return to again and again, books to revisit when they need a little something, books that stir something within them.
Writing (and reading!) book reviews is one of the best ways to help a book/author find their “people”… and to help readers to find the books that will become their favorites.
BONUS: IF I LOVE A BOOK, I BUY IT IN HARDCOVER
And when I posted this on social media, one of MY favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver, responded and agreed (to my delight)!
Want a deeper look behind the scenes of book publishing? Hold onto your tea!
The Hard Truth About Selling Books
The sense of being seen and supported as an author is especially gratifying because, after spending infinite hours stringing words into paragraphs and paragraphs into chapters, many authors learn the devastating truth: most books don’t sell.
I know that looks like a vast generalization, but I feel safe calling it a summation.
Every once in a while stats go around like: Only 20% of books sell more than 2,000 copies! or 98% of books sell fewer than 5,000 copies!
(Andrew, my partner, loves news and sets Google alerts for all sorts of things including missives about the publishing industry. So when these types of articles appear, he gets pinged, and then delivers the URL to me with all the reverence other people reserve for gifting puppies and airplane tickets.)
While the numbers and percentages vary, the bottom line remains: writing a book is a heart-wrenching gamble.
Here, I’ll pretend I’m Andrew, and lovingly link to some of my favorite book industry URLS:
To deep dive into the reasons why it’s hard to calculate what percentage of books sell at what rate, check out this article. Be sure to scroll down to the comments where a lead industry analyst from NPD BookScan breaks down the statistics. But wait, you might think, I know the author has a huge social media following. I’m sure those statistics don’t apply to them… Unfortunately, a social media following is not determinate. Here’s why. After you’ve read all this and convinced yourself you don’t even know what a book is, let alone why it might or might not sell, flip over to this fabulously titled piece No One Will Read Your Book.
When a book releases right onto the New York Times Bestseller list, it’s often because of pre-orders (who would’ve ever guessed that?!). While readers may pre-order over many months, all those sales get recorded on the day of the book’s release. So a book with 7,008 pre-orders seems to sell 7,008 books in ONE day. And voila! Instant NYTimes bestseller. Which is why authors try to motivate readers with pre-order gifts and ask for shout-outs months before the book is even released.
It’s tough out there. But luckily, there are amazing readers ready to love and support their favorite books and authors… and a great number of authors ready and willing to take the plunge into this crazy world of book publishing to get you the stories and books you love.
Head over to Unkempt Conversations to continue down the rabbit hole of the behind the scenes look at authors, writers, and the writing process in a candid conversation with Linda Sivertsen, Isabel Ibañez, and Adrienne Young.
Gosh, I've learned so much from working with authors... it's nothing like most imagine it to be. Blows my mind. And makes me SO appreciate what authors are willing to do to get their work out there and let it find it's readers. <3