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How to support good authors - 10 things we can all do


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Initial post: Oct 15, 2012 3:45:25 PM PDT
D. Andrews says:
The readers of this forum are probably more clued up than the average Amazon browser, but not many of those who buy books from Amazon know how to use the book (product) page to support the books they love. I know I didn't until recently.

This article - which includes screenshots - explains how to use the Amazon product page to benefit your favourite authors. Feel free to share.

http://www.writers-and-publishers.com/?p=242

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2012 4:35:12 PM PDT
@D. Andrews:
This is going to sound snarky and I don't mean it to be. I don't feel the need to "support" any author beyond the money I paid for the book; I think that that is enough. I don't feel the need to support any maker of a consumer product beyond my financial investment in the product. JMHO.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2012 4:45:10 PM PDT
Scamp says:
I agree with G. on this, D. Andrews.

I will add that I do not think it wise to provide a link to your blog here. It advertises your book.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2012 4:52:52 PM PDT
Splinker says:
Nice article. I posted the link on my fb page.

Posted on Oct 15, 2012 4:52:59 PM PDT
Not to mention the 'helpful hint' to shill your favorite author's work by including their book title in a review you write about a completely different book just....sucks.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2012 4:54:37 PM PDT
Scamp says:
I missed that part because I skimmed really fast (basically because it was not interesting to me).

Lame, very lame.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2012 5:01:05 PM PDT
cathyr says:
@Miss Mitford - nothing he said on the post was against Amazon policies or guidelines, including posting links to other authors in a review.

"Tips for writing a great review:
Include the "why": The best reviews include not only whether you liked or disliked a product, but also why. Feel free to talk about related products and how this item compares to them." http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=16465311

It seems to be that time of the month - self-promo is everywhere and blog posts like this are popping up.

And as a reviewer, it's blogs posts like that which make me consider stopping reviewing on Amazon altogether. Thinly veiled "how to outsmart the consumer" posts just get up my nose.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2012 5:16:01 PM PDT
Aargh, you're right (not aargh you, aargh me ;) - I was thinking of authors who review and then insert links to their own books, 'cause I know I've seen those types of reviews removed.

That being said, the concept of an author suggesting to a potential reviewer to slip a mention of his book in when possible is just...yucky. Just my personal opinion, of course.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2012 5:21:12 PM PDT
Scamp says:
>>That being said, the concept of an author suggesting to a potential reviewer to slip a mention of his book in when possible is just...yucky. Just my personal opinion, of course.<<

Yeah, I'm not sure that is something intended by the guidelines. At all.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2012 5:36:16 PM PDT
I'm guessing they were more expecting refrigerator/microwave-brand comparisons, or stuff like that.
I think this suggestion goes more under the heading of the Absolute Write thread:
"Authors Should Really Stop Telling Readers How to Give Reviews"

I do have to admit I've picked up some interesting recommendations from non-fiction/history reviews about similar books in the period, particularly when readers start up a discussion in the comments section. But there's always been a logic to those type of recommendations (to me).

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2012 5:46:07 PM PDT
Scamp says:
If this author's readers actually start linking his book when they write reviews of other books, they'll look like his socks.

IOW, the plan backfires because it just looks/smells bad. I see a reviewer who keeps linking an author's book (and yes, I do look at a reviewer's other reviews when trying to evaluate that reviewer's remarks), I reject anything the reviewer says.

Posted on Oct 16, 2012 2:50:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 16, 2012 2:52:02 AM PDT
D. Andrews says:
Yes, I must stress these things MUST be genuine (just as we would genuinely compare a book to another when recommending a book to a friend - "I found this book to be somewhat like a cross between book x and book y", for example). I'd agree that by and large you'd just buy a book and consider that enough, but I think sometimes we do fall in love with the work of certain artists - be they authors, musicians, etc. - and this is a way to help them out on a site where visibility means a lot. I believe there are 4.5 million books on Amazon.com Kindle - there are probably some good ones we would like to read, but have never seen. The actions in the article can help bring them to our attention.

Posted on Oct 16, 2012 8:17:15 AM PDT
I guess I just feel like the SPA field somehow feels that they are so special that they deserve extras from people that buy their books. Over on the KDP forums, a lot of the SPAs seem to feel that if they give a book for free, the reader should be obligated to give a review because they got the book for free; some of the authors sound very indignant about not getting these reviews. I don't see this kind of entitlement/attitude from mainstream authors. The burden should never be on the reader.

I do get that the SPA author doesn't have the publicity and support from a company that will promote their book. A book that is quite good, will generate a lot of publicity through reader's word of mouth. Write a good book and positive things may happen?

Posted on Oct 16, 2012 8:35:15 AM PDT
Old Rocker's advice to authors: don't write books that suck, use a spell checker, and please, please, please, if you can't afford an editor, at least have someone pre-read your book and point out cases of bad grammar. Also, please don't shill, stealth shill, or guerrilla shill. Most people here are not as stewpid as you might think.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 16, 2012 8:37:57 AM PDT
I do think that there are plenty of traditionally published authors that have the exact same (if not more) sense of entitlement. Emily Giffen sicced her FB friends on some poor, unsuspecting reviewer and Jon Stock bragged in the Guardian about how he "survived a literary mauling" by tracking down a reviewer and emailing her until she changed her review of his book.

Having said that, I don't have a problem with a SPA posting on their blog the myriad of different ways that his/her fans can "help" him increase his profile on amazon. After all, it's his blog, and as long as those ways don't include his fans harassing negative reviewers or being unethical, asking them to "like" his book is both harmless and potentially effective.

I have actually heard really good things about D. Andrews book from trusted amazon friends. Posting a link to his blog post here, though, not the best idea.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 16, 2012 2:39:26 PM PDT
Oh I totally agree on Emily G. What a cluster-fark. I just don't see the trade-pubs whinging about the lack of support to the level that some of the authors here and on the KDP do.

That being said, I guess the whole "how to support" authors just rubs me the wrong way. ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 16, 2012 3:50:11 PM PDT
I don't have a problem telling friends about a book I like or even writing a review (although I don't review often). But I'm simply not comfortable with doing most of the things on that list. When I recommend a book it's a much more personal thing to me. I recommend based on a persons likes and dislikes are. I hate it when someone comes back to me and says "I spent $x on that book you recommended and it was terrible!" I'm more comfortable telling someone how I liked a book if they ask about it specifically.

Reading through that list was kind of creepy and off putting. Sort of like a used car salesman.

Posted on Oct 16, 2012 7:21:57 PM PDT
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Posted on Oct 17, 2012 9:09:53 AM PDT
Rick G says:
Since when do people need a "how to" list for something like this?

Sounds pretty simple to me.

1) Read something. If it provokes a response other than "meh" (positive or negative):
2) If you're the type who likes to write reviews, do so.
3) When talking to friends of similar taste, mention it if appropriate.

Posted on Oct 18, 2012 5:41:55 PM PDT
As Splinker said, this is a helpful article indeed. I've Tweeted its link, with automatic relay to Facebook.

I don't get why anyone would think the list is creepy or self-promotional. It's a way of clearly telling readers how they can help authors they may like, without spending a cent. Useful and sensible.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 6:15:54 PM PDT
Scamp says:
That's because you are an author and are thinking of authorly interests. Readers don't need to be told how to "help" or "support" authors. If we feel so moved, we will buy your book(s). If not, we won't. If we feel so moved, we will write a review of your book(s). If not, we won't. If we feel so moved, we will tell other readers about your book(s). If not, we won't.

Why in the world would I go out of my way to link an author's book when I'm reviewing a completely different book - unless the comparison between the two books struck me organically?

Authors are increasingly blatantly asking us to market their books. Not our jobs.

If we like a book and feel like recommending it, we will. We'll do it in our own time and in our own way. We'll do it because we feel moved to do it, not because some author is begging us to do it.

I've just read in the BBA thread on the Romance forum that authors are holding contests that offer prizes if we review, tweet, like, etc., their books. The offering of prizes for reviews strikes me as borderline fraudulent and a way to game the review system.

Authors: Marketing is *your* job. If you write good books then readers will spontaneously, naturally, and without hesitation recommend them. When an author tells people how to help him/her, it just feels icky, most particularly the *advice* to link an author's book in reviews of other books. The reader who starts doing that, not as a natural and spontaneous act but as an act to "help" or "support" an author, is when that reader loses all credibility with other readers.

The only "help" or "support" I will give is putting out my hard-earned dollars to buy a book - if it looks worth it to me.

Authors just, please, stop being icky. TIA

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 6:17:12 PM PDT
Scamp says:
Thank you for being wonderful, Rick G. I really appreciate you. I like so many of your posts, but I rarely say so.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 6:37:29 PM PDT
Rick G says:
Thanks, Scamp. I appreciate that. Just calling things as I see them. :)

Posted on Oct 18, 2012 6:47:55 PM PDT
Actually, Scamp, I'm a reader as well an author - and, let's see, I've written about 15 books, and read at least, I don't know, at least 500 books in my life, and that's probably a low figure. So when I evaluate anything related to books, I'm likely speaking more as a reader than an author.

Also, I think you're misrepresenting the intentions of D. M.'s post - he's not trying to get anyone who reads his post to buy his book, but to get information out to anyone who likes an author, may not want to buy the author's books, but may want to show support for that author.

Isaac Asimov is my favorite science fiction author. In fact, I've probably read all of his science fiction novels and most of his stories. I don't need or want to buy his books at this point. But, right, if I see a discussion somewhere of the Foundation series or The End of Eternity, I'll jump with my analysis and praise.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2012 6:56:37 PM PDT
Scamp says:
>>Actually, Scamp, I'm a reader as well an author - and, let's see, I've written about 15 books, and read at least, I don't know, at least 500 books in my life, and that's probably a low figure. So when I evaluate anything related to books, I'm likely speaking more as a reader than an author.<<

I wish I had a nickel for every time an author told me that they are a reader also. The point is that self-interest takes over. Sure, there are some authors who are able to participate as readers, but a great many of you cannot see beyond an author's interests.

Your post was clearly identifiable as *author interest*. Really. I mean, think about it... how many readers are going to post that they were so enamored of the *help the author, for God's sake* post that they "Tweeted its link, with automatic relay to Facebook."

You're it, Mr. Author.

Oh, and Splinker was enamored of it also. He posted the link on his FB page. (Not recommended, Splinker. And I say this because for some odd reason I do care whether you sink further into self-promotion hell.)

Where are the readers who think this is *all that*??
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
Participants:  37
Total posts:  162
Initial post:  Oct 15, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 9, 2012

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