There’s something magical about sharing a story with someone else. It’s an innate human need, and it’s why writers write. We want to entertain our readers, touch their hearts, or maybe teach them something new. It’s also why fandom exists. Geeking out about a book you loved with your friends and swapping headcanons about your favorite characters can be incredibly fun and rewarding.
If I could give new authors a single piece of advice, it would be this: Fans can give a book a life of its own. This is incredibly important, especially for LGBT and queer authors. Most of us release our books through independent publishing houses, and while many of these publishers are fantastic, they often have small or nonexistent advertising budgets.
That’s where you come in, fans!
If you want to read more from your favorite author, here’s how to help them—which in turn helps you. The more successful an author’s book is, the more books they’ll write. You’ll find other like-minded fans to befriend, and more creative works like fanfiction, fanart, and even merchandise will spring up. Your favorite book might even inspire other authors to write similar works.
Here’s how to support your favorite author, and in turn, make your own experience as a fan way more fun.
Gush About Us On Social Media
If you aren’t following your favorite authors on social media, please go and fix that right now! When we talk about our work on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook, be sure to share our posts. People need to know about a book before they can read it, and the most effective way to get the word out is by telling everyone else how much you love your favorite author. If one of our social media posts gets attention, that translates directly into new fans and new sales. By the way, liking isn’t nearly as effective as sharing. Reblogs and retweets are the way to go!
Leave a glowing review on the site where you bought the book, and leave a review on Goodreads as well. Goodreads is a very large and influential website where readers can review and recommend an author’s books. The best reviews give away some of the plot without revealing the biggest spoilers. If you just say, ‘I loved it’, someone considering whether to buy the book or not won’t be impressed. If you say, ‘I loved this book because the badass lesbian main character and her bisexual girlfriend fight a virtual dragon in cyberspace’, people are going to notice. (If that example sounds interesting to you, then you should check out Lucky 7, my latest release!)
Sign Up For Our Mailing Lists
You’d be surprised how important mailing lists are to authors. That’s because the more people buy our book at the same time, the higher our rankings go on sites like Amazon. When I have a new release, I send out a mailing list. That means my biggest fans know the book is out, and they can all go buy it. My Amazon ranking goes up, and when it reaches the front page in my category, brand new readers who have never heard of me before will see the book pop up. Become part of the tidal wave for your favorite author’s next release, and watch them succeed! (In return, we promise never to spam you. Here’s my mailing list, if you want to sign up!)
Fanfic, fanart, fanvids, and other fanworks are an amazing way to introduce new fans to the books they’re based on. If someone sees a really awesome picture you drew, or reads a short drabble you wrote, they’re going to want to know about the source material. People are thirsty for stories about LGBT and queer characters, so tell them all about your favorites in a way that shows off your own talents! Plus, the more people join your fandom, the more fanart and fanfic there will be for you to consume, too.
Request Us At The Library
This is a great way to help your favorite author, even if you don’t have enough extra money in your budget to buy their books online. Put in a request to the library! I guarantee that librarians love receiving requests. Almost all libraries have online catalogues now, so this works with ebooks, too. Not only will the author get paid when the library purchases their book, other fans will find it on the shelves, and they might decide to pick up a copy of their own, or purchase the author’s other work. This works at bookstores as well. The more copies leave the shelves, the more replacement copies the bookstore will order.
Suggest Us As Guests
You might not run a large blog, podcast, or convention (although if you do, let’s talk!), but the people who manage these platforms and events want to please their fans just as much as authors do. Tweet your favorite podcast and tell them how much you’d love for your favorite author to be a guest on their show. Email a website you visit regularly and ask them if your favorite author can write a guest post, or ask if one of their reviewers can write an article about your favorite book. Submit a request for your favorite author to speak or sell their work at a convention you’re planning to attend. It gives us a chance to talk about our work, and it gives you the chance to meet us!
Loan Your Copy To A Friend
Let’s go back to basics. The best way to convince someone else to read a book is a one-on-one conversation. Tell a friend about the awesome book you just read, and offer to loan them a copy. Amazon allows you to do this for free with ebooks, or you can let them borrow your paperback. Better yet, if you can afford the expense, buy them a copy! Sites like Smashwords have all kinds of formats aside from Kindle (mobi) files, including pdfs and ebooks.
Spread The Word, Reap The Rewards!
Now that you know how to plug your favorite author and their books, get out there and start sharing the love! People are hungry for new and diverse stories, but they can’t read them until they hear about them. Books with LGBT and queer characters can be just as popular and sell every bit as well as “straight” books if they get the proper buzz going—and since many of us have small advertising budgets, we rely on our fans to help us out.
Most of all, thank you. You give our books life, simply by enjoying them and sharing them with others. It’s a gift we authors will always appreciate, and that’s why you will always be so incredibly important to us.