I’ve recently re-started a run of reads/reviews for more new authors, giving my George R.R. Martin series “A Song of Ice and Fire” a much-needed rest for a while. Yes, it’s a great epic, but sometimes it’s time to exhale and get some variety in my brain.
As I’ve written before, I belong to a number (I don’t know how many, can’t keep up) of author’s groups. I haven’t come across a new author that I’ve found offensive; usually it’s the opposite: Pleasant, encouraging, and generally fun. We exchange ideas on how to get our work promoted, and some are generous enough to feature others on their blogs.
Don’t get me wrong these people are great. But there are a couple of elements usually omitted from the masses of virtual hand shaking. Are new authors reading the books by their comrades? If that’s not bad enough, I’ll throw in another abominable question: Are the new authors purchasing the books by their comrades?
OK, OK, somebody had to ask. No, everyone’s not a billionaire. Not everyone has time or money to read everyone’s books. Also, to be fair, many of these bright authors would love to have the time and money to do just that. And so would I.
Reality is that none of us have the capability. So what do we do? Feature each other? Cool. Blog interviews? Cool. Tweet each other? Cool. As new Indies or new writers from small presses, that’s all we’ve got in the beginning. John Locke and I, amongst many others know the “price” of hired marketing with dismal results.
New authors need each other, but not just for promotion (and it helps), but we need readers. Concerned about competition? Here’s a non-secret: Most readers read more than one book! Unlike many industries, new authors don’t compete one-to-one in the same way like PC or Mac. (What’s a PC?...moving on..Miss you Steve!!)
To go full circle, to me, supporting a fellow author’s work by purchase is fine, but why buy something you don’t want to read? That doesn’t make sense. But, what if the new author writes in your genre? Why not take a minute and request a copy from a known colleague-author or download one and knock it out in a day or two? I’m not suggesting hundreds, or dozens. Why not two? Or one?
It’s no secret on this blog that I support new authors with reviews of products I purchase. Reason: When I purchase, I’m a member of the audience. Also, if I don’t want to post a review for whatever reason, at least the author got a sale. I don’t purchase books and let them marinate in my e-readers. (OK, 50% of each book I don’t complete marinates. The current count is two.)
New authors, if you need promotion, I’m happy to pitch in. I won’t unfollow you if you don’t buy/read my books. But for new authors, free promotion from their colleagues, to purchase, read, and review a book of theirs is not only good will, it makes for a more solid virtual friendship. I agree money is scarce. What else could be done? I’ve got an author colleague whom I’ve reviewed a couple of his books is putting together a group of short stories by his supporters for publication as a free or low-cost ebook. So, it’s not just buying and reviewing, other methods can be used to help other new authors. Hence, the title above: When you give, you receive.