Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Like an Author? Let 'em Know by Andy Scheer

A few weeks ago I waved the flag for for old-fashioned word-of-mouth publicity. If you like a book, tell others about it.

But I forgot to mention an important second step. I didn't even think of it. Fortunately an author whose work I admire gave me that advice through the back door.

I more recently wrote about my conflicted emotions in reading a novel that the author had announced would be the end of a long series. Somehow novelist Aaron Elkins discovered the column and thanked me for comparing his character Gideon Oliver to Patrick O'Brian's naval hero Jack Aubrey.

Busted. Why, in thirty years of reading his mysteries, had I never written to Elkins? Before the internet, search engines, and email, that would have meant mailing a letter via his publisher. But that excuse hasn't held water in more than a decade.

One of my part-time jobs brings me into contact with successful authors. Not one of them seems immune to life's frustrations—or so busy answering fan mail that they wouldn't mind an encouraging note.


Rick Barry said...

I second that motion. Although my mere two novels (so far) don't rate me anywhere near the level of success of Elkins, I gain great encouragement from readers who take time to contact me. Recently a teen reader sent a fan-art drawing based on one of my books. I felt honored and posted it on my site. This past Saturday, a mom told me her son had chosen a passage from my other novel to memorize and recite for his speech class. Another reader in South Africa found me on Facebook to say how much she liked my book she had just finished. (My books go places I've never been.) Each incident encourages me to push forward with my current story. So, yes, you are definitely correct.

Linda Glaz said...

Amen, I can't imagine any author (though I'm sure there are some) who wouldn't want to hear from folks who love their stories. That's what an author writes for, right? So by all means, let them know when you love their books!

Audrey said...

Thanks for this great reminder. Because most of our work is done alone and isolated, any chance we have to reach out to each other and establish some human connection is good for both the writer and the reader!

Davalyn Spencer said...

A timely reminder. Thank you so much.