Why Content Edits Matter by Liana Brooks

editing-ad-3Writing a book is hard. It often involves late nights, early mornings, crippling doubt, and the looming sense that nothing will ever be right in the world again. But, eventually, anyone can put 80,000 words onto a page and write a novel.

Making the novel coherent, enjoyable, and memorable is a whole other matter.

A content editor is like a personal trainer. They come in, they note the novel’s weak points, and they focus on tightening and perfecting the plot. Just like someone timidly approaching the gym, most authors are inclined to stay in their comfort zone while editing. There’s a temptation to cheat the book and keep a beloved scene because it just means so much to you!

Your content editor keeps you from cheating on yourself. They can tell you when your characters are acting out of character, when the logic fails, and where the gaps in the plot are.

More importantly, content editors edit with the intent of improving the pacing and making sure the emotional highs and lows are dramatic and breathtaking. The difference is a book that’s OK, and book that develops a passionate fan base of fully immersed readers.

Which probably leaves you wondering… what does the content editor look at, specifically, when do I need one, and how do I find one?

First, let’s start with WHEN you need a content editor. If you are published by a press – big or small – the first round of edits you do with an editor are content or developmental edits. You may also do a round of these with your agent before shopping the book. For indie authors, you hire a content editor after you’ve done your basic edits (all the scenes are written, you’ve checked for typos, and it is edited as well as you can on your own). After getting your content edit back you’ll probably rewrite a few scenes, maybe cut a few scenes, and then your manuscript will go to a line editor who will look for spelling and grammar errors.

So, what is the content editor going to hammer you on? The most common mistakes I see are:

  • A lack of body language. Human communication relies heavily on tone and gestures. Without those in the text, the dialog can become confusing.
  • A lack of descriptive language, or too much description. Either is bad. You need to set the scene well enough that the reader can visualize what is happening, but not spend so much time describing the rolling hills that the reader falls asleep
  • A missing plot. Sometimes author write beautiful books but all they’re showing is vignettes, cute little scenes where things happen, but nothing really matters. There needs to be a risk of failure, an antagonist keeping the hero from their goal, and a ticking time bomb that keeps the whole book moving along.
  • Illogical or out-of-character responses to situations. A genius character makes an amateur mistake, a frosty character falls madly in love after a single glance, a detective ignores compelling evidence… if you have to bend a character to fit the plot, something is wrong, and a content editor can help get you back on course.

That leaves us with the last question: How do you find a good content editor?

Anyone, literally anyone, can hang up a shingle and say that they’re an editor these days. So before you hire anyone there’s a few things you need to do to make sure you are getting the right editor for you.

1 – Make a budget.Content edits can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per edit depending on how in-demand the editor is. If you’re planning on querying the novel it’s much more cost effective to get a partial edit (the first three chapters) and then make sure anything learn in those edits is applied throughout the book. If you are self-publishing, you need the full manuscript edit but you probably don’t need to pay $2000 for the edit and a skype session with a bestselling author who edits books on the side.

Side Note: If you can afford the $2000, by all means hire the bestselling author. The skype session will be informative and you’ll have a wonderful experience.

2- Find someone who knows your genre. If you write erotic horror you do not need someone who specializes in MG Fantasy editing your book. Shop around and find someone who knows your genre and market.

3- Ask for recommendations. Network with your other author buddies and see who they recommend. Even if the editor is booked solid, they can probably recommend another editor who will have an opening. Be aware that most editors book several months in advance, the better known they are, the fewer openings they will have. But, it doesn’t hurt to ask! Someone’s last minute change of publishing schedule could always make an opening for your book!

4- Ask for samples. Good editors will either be willing to edit sample pages for you, or will have permission from one of their other clients to share sample pages. Since every editor has a different style, and every author learns a different way, it’s important find an editor who speaks your language.

5- Don’t be afraid to make changes. Publishing is a very fluid industry and it is always changing. If an editor isn’t working out for you, can never fit you in, or seems to be giving bad advice… go shopping! Friendships are great, but this is first and foremost a business. You should always be learning, improving, and working for your next stretch goal. If you’ve outgrown a business contact, that’s okay. Send them a thank you note for all their amazing help, and move on to the next stage of your career!

BIO:

Liana Brooks writes science fiction and sci-fi romance for people who like fast ships, big guns, witty one-liners, and happy endings. She lives in Alaska with her husband, four kids, and giant mastiff puppy. When she isn’t writing she enjoys hiking the Chugach Range, climbing glaciers, and watching whales.

Before jumping into the wonderful world of fiction Liana was a newspaper editor for a local paper. She’s a hybrid author with experience prepping books for Big 5 publishers, agents, small presses, and self-publication, and she knows what the publishers are looking for right now.

You can find Liana on the web at www.lianabrooks.com or on Twitter as @LianaBrooks.

To request a sample and see her editing style, contact Liana at liana.brooks1@gmail.com

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Stock Photos and Covers by Victoria Miller

victoriaI have long been a fan of award winning cover designer Victoria Miller and I was thrilled when she agreed to let me republish her recent post about stock photos.

This is definitely worth a read regardless of whether you are self-published, published through a small Indie Publisher or through one of the “Big” publishing houses.

You can find her online here.

Facebook

Website

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PSA about Stock Photos.

There’s a lot of misinformation floating around that traditional publishers don’t use these for bestselling authors. This isn’t true. Many stock images are used on big pub books. A lot of the times they are edited to the point that they aren’t recognizable, but they start from stock. Likewise, indie authors can and have used custom photoshoots for their books—it costs more, which is why most stick to stock. However, what does this mean in the long run?

Indie authors may (and will) use stock traditional publishers have used on books. Sometimes they will have used it prior to NY pubs getting their hands on it. The difference is one has a farther reach in marketing so it will become more known as the NY pub’s work than the indie’s.

That doesn’t mean one is ripping off the other. In fact, there is a good chance they might not know the other book exists until after they have paid for their art and/or the book has gone out into the world. Cover Artists do look at a lot of art to see trends and what not, but there are so many books out there that they won’t know what every cover looks like, even in genres they prefer.

As an artist, I have accidentally created a cover using the same font for a book with the same title as another in the same genre. I’d never seen the cover before and had no idea. (Great minds though. You know the saying!) I have purchased stock that I’ve had to back burner for a year or more because a bestselling author released a book using the stock. I’ve made a cover using stock and then a bestselling author releases a book using the stock. I’ve used an image for a cover and another author later used the image as promotional material in paid promo that has out-marketed the cover that it was used on. It happens all the time.

Stock images can be used by any author or artist that pays to use them in the way the licensing dictates it can be used. Multiple authors can use it. There’s no rule against it. However, a good artist will try to change images as much as possible so that when the stock is used again it won’t be exactly the same. Of course, some authors prefer the original image and they have to pick their battles. What does this mean?

Don’t assume another author is ripping another off based on stock images. Because of popular genre tropes, images will be used by authors for similar stories. If you think there is plagiarism going on, you will need to read the book triggering this suspicion BEFORE making any accusation, no matter how innocent. Social media witch hunts are started for lesser things, and even if it is addressed privately it always starts the same way.

1. Addressing similarities without reading the content itself

2. Name calling the other author based on suspicion.

3. Passive Aggressive online behavior. Messaging the author to mention the other book. Some will do this publicly. Some privately. It spirals out of control from there.

4. It starts to get noticed because someone has mentioned it to the author. Other people discuss it.

5. People share it in groups, messages, pages, and other social media outlets. The torches are being lit.

6. Based on an assumption, the author is then under attack either publicly or privately on social media by people who have never read her work. Fan bases for both authors clash. Then it turns ugly. The both fan bases take it out on the authors. Negative reviews for no reason. Bad word of mouth. Etc.

The moral of the story: don’t assume. Yes, there is a chance an author might use an image because another author made it popular, but there is as much of a chance they didn’t. Don’t assume. If you read the book and there is a call for alarm, contact the appropriate sources.

The Humble Book Review

book-631746_1920One of the more interesting discussions that often takes place between authors and readers is the issue of reviews. Not only the need for reviews – after all, reviews are vital – but also the act of reviewing and what makes or breaks a review.  It is something that troubles people and may be a contributing factor behind the reluctance some people show when asked to review books.

Domino recently wrote a great guest post for Romance Reviews Today on the importance of book reviews and gave some tips that could be helpful. If you are considering writing a review or if you have trouble, it is certainly something worth reading…

One of the most important marketing tools for an author is the humble book review. After all, what better way is there for a prospective reader to know if they should take a chance on you or not than by reading what others have had to say about your work?  Reviews contribute significantly to potential sales, but having said that, it’s one of the more difficult things for an author to get. 

No matter how amazing the book is, the sad truth is that for many readers, once the book has been bought and read, it’s soon forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there aren’t books that stay with us, but the reality is that most of us have busy lives and despite our best intentions, we don’t always remember to log onto Amazon or Goodreads and post a review of the book…. read full article here

I would love to hear what you think. What was the best review you received or read and what made it so amazing? What is the most useless review you’ve ever received or read and why?

Is there anything a reviewer can say that will almost always make you want to buy a book?

Until next time…

BM xx

Why Should I have an Author Page on Facebook?

This is a question that I hear often – mostly from authors who are just starting to build their social media profile.  Many will have already set up an author profile, so they wonder why a page is a necessary addition.  Many don’t know how to use it effectively and so it becomes a daunting thought.  Today I’d like to simplify it for you if I can.

  • You absolutely should have an Author Page on Facebook.facebook-pages-logoAs an author, in this modern age of digital connectivity, it is easier than ever for you to control your interactions with your fans.  We’ve already discussed my position on adding people as friends on Facebook as an author, but this is a great option for those of you who don’t want to add any “strangers” to your personal profiles. Having a page will allow you to maintain contact with readers while maintaining your privacy and in order to build your author brand and possibly generate sales, interacting with readers is important.
  • How do I know what to post?I would recommend that you search for your favourite authors on Facebook and find their author pages. “Like” the page and then spend some time looking at what they post and how they manage their page.  If it’s a fantasy author, do they focus solely on fantasy style posts? A murder mystery author who shares only relevant info? Or perhaps they share various things about writing and reading in general?  Most post a mixed bag of things. From pictures and links to advice and articles of interest. An example of things to post would be to post funny pictures, writing memes, author quotes, links to favourite recipes and even music on YouTube.

    One of my favourites writes with a view of a river, so she posts pics of the boats on the river. She’s also an avid gardener, so she shares pics of crop successes (and failures) as well as meals that she’s cooked and photo’s of her favourite travel destinations… as well as pictures that are relevant to her books. Inspiration for settings, new covers, character inspiration etc.

  • So how do I remind people that I’m also trying to sell books?There are a few different ways to do this that don’t boil down to “here’s my book, please buy it”. It’s time for you to get creative and to think outside the box.  Sure, you should share your book covers and links to buy pages etc, but there are many other ways to remind people that you’re a writer!

    When you’re working on a book, let’s say a romance set in medieval Scotland, you could post a picture of a sexy, topless man in a kilt with a comment that says something like “I’m working on my new release and I needed a hot Scot for inspiration… you’re welcome! #Scot #inspiration #Sexy”. This will make people smile, make them wonder what your hot Scot is up to in the book and make them look forward to hearing more! When you participate in blog tours or if you’re having a giveaway, you also share these links on your author page.

  • This is going to take up a lot of time. Shouldn’t I rather be writing?You’d be surprised. Once you get the hang of it, managing your page will take up remarkably little time.  There is a great feature which will also make your life much simpler… you can schedule your posts!!  This means that you can set aside a few hours and schedule posts for several days to come.
  • Do I really need another social media profile to manage?Another great benefit of the author page is that you are able to link it to many of your existing other social media outlets.  This means that you can schedule posts to your page and also post simultaneously to your Twitter feed, Tumblr page etc.  Many birds with 1 stone!  (Just be careful not to link your Twitter feed to your Page, especially if you Tweet a LOT!).
  • How often should I post?Ideally, the frequency for posting to your page should be around every 5 hours.  This keeps your page active without being “spammy”.

Once you get into it all, you’ll find that it’s rather fun to search for images, links for articles and if your page is about you as an author, the kinds of books you read and write, fun trivia etc, you’ll start to build a following of people who are fans of you and your work.

If you fancy some further reading, this is a great blog post to start with.

Until next time…

BM xx

How do I know you? An author’s Facebook dilemma

MinionAdmit it… we’ve ALL been there! We log into Facebook, ready to waste – I mean, spend – some time trawling through our newsfeed and there it is… The “Friend Request”. Mostly, this is something which doesn’t even cause us to pause… we see, evaluate and either accept or ignore, but every now and again, something happens which makes us develop a twitch.

Every now and again we will get that weird friend request… and I don’t mean a request from a weird friend (been there though)… The friend request to which I’m referring is of course the total stranger.

The person who has selected us – apparently at random – from amongst the millions of potential profiles on Facebook. There is not only not a single friend in common, but they invariably live in another country and may even have a totally unpronounceable name. It’s like the Facebook equivelant of winning one of those great email lotteries… millions of Dollars from some dead dictator… you know the ones I mean.

What is it about your profile picture that made them decide that YOU were the lucky person they would pick? The truth is that you’ll never know… unless you decide to accept the request and ask them *grin*.  At this point, most of us hit the decline button and possibly even the block button (depending on how creepy this person seems).  But what do you do if you’re an author?

This is where things get slightly trickier. Naturally, even authors would like to hit “decline”, but is that the best course of action? These days, social media has enabled us to connect with our readers in a way that wasn’t possible before. Yes, this also leads to a degree of loss of privacy, but is the trade-off worth it?  Many authors circumvent this problem by setting up a professional profile (not page) and adding friends to that profile.  This allows them to keep friends and family on their private profile and still connect with readers, but it isn’t always practical for an author to manage more than one profile.

So what to do? Naturally, every author must decide for themselves, but the advice I would offer is this…

See if you can see more about the person. Do they appear interested in your genre? Accept the friend request If you aren’t sure and take a few minutes to “check them out”. You can always unfriend or block them if they turn into internet trolls or become a bit creepy.

The truth of the matter is that if you are building your author brand and you have set up a Facebook in the name that you use for publishing, then it is reasonable to assume that new fans who are discovering your work or who have perhaps heard about you would add you as a friend. They aren’t necessarily going to be friends with any of your other friends and that is ok. After all, you want to be reaching new readers all the time and if you only reach friends of friends, then you’re paddling in a very small pond really.

What do you think?

Until next time…

BM xx

The Issue of Gender in Publishing

Male&FemaleSymbolI read a very interesting article today by Kristian Wilson (link below), that talked about the definite bias towards male authors in publishing and it really made me think about this issue and how it impacts on me as a female author and as a reader. A perusal of my bookshelves, both print and digital, reveal that although I have specific authors who I collect because I love their work, in general I am not swayed by the gender of the author if the cover / subject of the book have already hooked me.

There are a few exceptions to this.  I noticed that almost without exception, my Chick Lit and Romance authors tended to be female and although I had bought a number of books in these categories that had been written by men, I still spent the money more easily on a new female romance author than a male one.  Similarly, my Suspense and “Whodunnit” selection was populated by more male authors.  Then there were the ambiguous authors, those using simply initials and last name, making it impossible to know at a glance if they were male or female.  Even there, I tended to guess at the gender of the author based on the subject.  Strangely, this is something that seems to be confined to fiction … at least for me!

I will say that I know that my reading habits have changed a lot over the past nearly two decades as I found myself working more and more in the media and publishing fields. So why is it that this article struck such a strong chord with me today?  As a reader, my spending habits have changed and become more open to a less “gender defined” habit when it comes to selecting new books / authors, but as an author, I realise that the industry hasn’t changed sufficiently.  There are a number of genre’s that are “traditionally male or female” and I realised while reading her post that it was making me more uncomfortable as an author.  To consider my chosen profession and to be honest about the challenges facing me is something I do regularly.

Good writing, good editing, beautiful covers, marketing efforts, etc are all things that I’ve thought about and work on.  My gender working against me with agents and publishers was not something that I had contemplated as clearly.  I realised that we still have a way to go to resolve these issues in a real and meaningful way, but forewarned is forearmed!

To read Kristian’s original post, please click here.

My inner geek is yelling… “To boldly go…” And so, we shall!

Until next time…

BM xx

Written a Book-

Ten Things Not To Say To A Writer

hashtagUnless you’ve been living under a rock (and really, that’s no excuse), you will have seen posts on either Facebook or Twitter this week about the trending topic #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter.  I confess, some of them were hysterically funny, but mostly, what struck me, was how accurate they were.  Sitting down for coffee with a few authors we started to compare notes on which ones were our favourites.  After all, we’d all had vastly differing author journeys and so it would follow that we’d heard totally different things.  As it turned out, we had all heard essentially the same things, only the wording differed *grin*

So what was it about this particular hashtag that resonated with so many writers?  I think it was the fact that we were able to see that it didn’t matter whether we were published or still writing, a multi-millionaire or self-published dreamer, we all had common ground! Here are some of my favourites from Twitter…

“Writing is so easy. Your life must be like a vacation all the time!” @Samantha_Eaton3

“You’re a writer? But I’ve never heard of you…” @cristela9

“I always thought I’d write a book after I retire, once I have some time to kill.” @i_Author

“I heard that writing books is really just a formula. And there’s software that does it all for you.” @janmoran

“Why should you get paid? You like writing. I don’t get paid for my hobbies.” @LIanaBrooks

“I wish I could sit at home all day, writing, but I have a real job” @Author_Devika

“Are you still doing that little writing thing?” @gabesingin

“Writing YA is easy, right? I think I should try it. I need some money.” @ashposton

“Self-published, so you’re not really published then?” @chadh1234

I could totally have included almost all of them, but these (or variations of them) seemed to be very popular and when we’d finished giggling and commiserating – round about our third glass of wine – we started to wonder what it was about being a writer that made people think it was ok to say these things to us. Don’t get me wrong, I love to get feedback from people and I really enjoy talking to readers or potential readers, but why do people think that being a writer is just a hobby? What is it that makes people discount so blithely the hours of time we’ve spent working at our craft?  For craft it IS!

Yes, it’s certainly true that everyone “can write”, but equally true is the fact that while everyone can string words together and possibly even in a pleasing way, not everyone has what it takes to create worlds, characters and stories that reach people, that touch the heart, move the mind and build fandoms.  Not everyone has the discipline required to make the time to write – and believe me, if you consider how many authors hold down full-time jobs, raise families and STILL manage to complete book after book, it really does come down to making time to write!

WritersIn the end we agreed that like most creative endeavours, writing is seen as somehow “less”.  Less than working in an office certainly. Artists, photographers, writers, we all seem to get asked the same kinds of questions and this #TenThings hashtag certainly shed a lot of light on that.

Ultimately, seeing that we’re not alone in our experiences was not only entertaining, but also strangely cathartic. It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting out, self-published, have a publishing deal or fortunate enough to do this full-time… we are ALL working hard at something we love, something we’re passionate about.

So by all means, say what you want.  Ask the silly questions.  Put down the dream I’m pursuing.  You may well end up in my next book or fade into obscurity.

Either way, I’m living my passion and your approval isn’t needed.

Until next time…

Domino xx

Write What You Want to Read

IMG_8391There is something about this quote that really resonates with me.  It is the kind of advice that is deceptively simple and yet manages to be quite profound at the same time. It’s certainly one of the most honest pieces of advice that you can give to a writer – whether they are brand new to the endeavour or long established – and what it boils down to is this…

Write what you want to read!

So why is this advice so very important – perhaps more so today than in decades past?  The truth is that with the sheer volume of books being released every MINUTE of every day (the statistics are scary), it’s important that you remain true to your “voice” as a writer.  You could certainly try to write for the buying public, and by all means, if you can do it successfully, find the genre that is selling best and contribute, but for most of us, that would spell disaster.

At the end of the day there is no magic formula for either literary or financial success.  The buying market is fickle and as changing as the wind and truth be told, they can tell if your heart is in it or not.  Ultimately, it is your passion for your subject, your characters and the story you are trying to tell that will either speak to a reader or not.  And if you cannot guarantee that your buyer will love the book, then at the very least you should love it!

So… ultimately, when you embark on a new story, make sure it’s a story that you want to tell, one that is driving you forward so that it can exist.  Put your heart into it and hope that your reader will follow.

I can’t wait to see your book on the shelf (be it digital or otherwise).

Until next time…

BM xx

Social Media

social-media-logos_15773Let’s be honest, you don’t have to be an author to love social media.  At least to a degree *grin*. As an author though, social media is less about mindlessly being social and more about figuring out how to make the most of your social media “leverage”.  Yes, that sounds quite mercenary and it really isn’t meant to.  You see, authors have had to adapt or die (as it were).

Before the rise of eBook publishing and the age of the internet, you’d find that most authors were published by well established publishers who had an in-house marketing or publicity department that would assign a proportion of their annual budget to promoting your book.  They would invest in traditional print or radio advertising, perhaps some marketing material (posters or the like) for bookshops and then they would arrange signings and tours for their authors. Even smaller publishing houses tended to follow the same path and so your journey as an author could be fairly predictable.

Fast forward to today and your journey as an author is very different. Even those authors that are published by the larger publishing houses are encouraged to engage with their fans through various social media channels.  For the author published by smaller, independent publishing houses the social media journey is a “must” rather than a “nice to have” and for those authors who self-publish, it’s an absolute non-negotiable.

Why is that?  Well, in an average day, people are bombarded by information from thousands of sources. In order to stand even the smallest chance of being heard in all that “noise”, you need to be one of those sources. Authors can no longer afford to simply write and wait for sales to come to them. We need to take control of our voice.  Modern readers like to feel connected to their authors and at the end of the day, they are far more likely to part with their hard-earned money if they feel like it’s going to a human being they care about rather than some faceless “writer”.

Let’s be honest though, social media can be extremely overwhelming. It seems as though there is something new every time I turn around and it’s almost impossible to keep up.  Even if we only tried to post to every social media platform that currently exists without worrying about new ones, we’d never have time to write!  Yes, there are tools that can assist in posting to multiple platforms, but even those require time to be set up.

So what would I tell a new author about social media?  Well, there are some basic guidelines that I have shared in the past.

  • Have a website or a blog: Having an online presence in this digital world is essential.  You don’t need to invest a lot of money in having a site built, you can use one of the many free website building tools or simply set up a blog through Blogger.com or WordPress. Figure out what works easiest for you.  Then figure out how often you can update the site.  You need to have fresh content that returning visitors or fans can read when they come back to your site.  It doesn’t have to be every day, but it should be regularly.
  • Facebook: Facebook can be fun and useful for you to stay in touch with friends and family.  It has just as much usefulness for an author. You can set up an author page on Facebook that will allow your fans to “like” you and stay in touch.  This should definitely be updated far more often.  The recommended frequency is roughly 3 – 4 posts a day (or approximately every 5 hours).  Share interesting articles, information regarding inspiration you found for characters, pictures of your writing area, gardening achievements… you name it.  Anything that interests you or contributes to your writing journey could be fun for your readers to see.
  • Twitter: What can you possibly say in 140 characters or less?  You’d be surprised! Best of all, you could also set up your Facebook page to automatically post to your Twitter account.  This means that you’ll catch two different types of audience with 1 post.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest is another interesting and great way to draw attention to your work in a visual way.  It’s also fun for you!! You can create boards for each book and pin images of pictures that inspire characters, locations, story ideas, covers and even links to the graphics in your blogs which will lead people to your blog / website.  You can also pin the cover from Amazon or other sales websites which will allow people to click on that “pin” and buy your book.
  • Goodreads: This is an amazing place to reach a dedicated community of readers.  As an author, you have a lot of functionality on Goodreads, including being able to blog there, offer give-aways and more.  It’s worth setting up a profile even if you’re not terribly active.  This is a site dedicated to lovers of books and there’s really no better place for an author to be!

Is there more to social media than these 4 elements?  YES!  There is Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, YouTube etc.  I think they all have their merits and if you want to swap out one of the others (Twitter or Pinterest) and use one of these or even use them in addition to the ones I mentioned above, that is great.  You need to do what you feel comfortable with.

My greatest advice to authors is to investigate all the various options that they’ve heard of.  See what makes sense to them.  What they feel is manageable and what is too daunting to even try.  Start small.  Don’t be afraid to experiment to see what works for you.

In future blogs I’ll try to expand on various individual forms of social media.  If you have any questions or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time…

BM xx

I Support Indie Authors

Blog indie authorsWe’ve all seen this meme on social media at some point or another right? For most of us, it’s an automatic share with fairly little thought behind it. At best we nod and hit that share button with a sense of purpose, hoping that others will sense the strength of our feelings about this matter.  Let’s take a look at this meme.  First of all, I would suggest that while this is focused on Indie Authors, it holds true for any author.

Jack sparrowFirst of all, the issue of paying for books. I’m an honest woman and I confess, I like a good pirate… sigh… but unless that pirate happens to be the ever delicious Johnny Depp, there really isn’t any place for them in the real world. There certainly isn’t any place for pirates in the world of publishing.  Sadly though, no-one has yet started a petition to hang them high and dry and so we suffer with them still!

So when I commit to paying for the books I read, this is an important issue for me. Have I ever wanted to read a book or series that I couldn’t afford?  Of course.  Have I ever been tempted to hunt down pdf copies online?  Never.  I believe in having respect for the author and the hours of hard work that they put into creating that book.  Additionally, I was raised by a police officer, so perhaps that plays a role in it too?  I have long believed that anyone who supports or defends the piracy of books (music, photography, etc) was raised badly, but that’s neither here nor there.

An author has worked really hard on their book, the least you can do is pay for it.

Next, let’s look at the issue of writing reviews.  This one shouldn’t need much explaining.  If you’ve read a book that you really enjoyed, then saying so is a great way to thank the author.  Taking the time to acknowledge that their words moved you or entertained you or educated you is such a simple thing, but it can mean the world to an author.  You have no idea!  There is some basic review etiquette that I’ll cover in another post, but basically, if you don’t have anything nice to say… it really is better to keep your mouth shut.

Reviewing ties in nicely to the last item in the meme… Spreading the word.  Reviewing a book will tell other potential readers and buyers something about the book, will encourage them to take the chance on a title that has already caught their eye.  By sharing your review on your own social media channels, you help to bring attention to that book… you help the author to reach new people that they could otherwise never have reached.  Naturally you can spread the word whether you review or not.  Every little bit helps to support authors.

As I said at the beginning, while this meme is specific to Indie Authors, I would say that it’s the same for every author.  Being published by a mainstream or “big” publisher doesn’t make that person any less in need of honest readers, good reviews and spreading the word.

Now… go forth and support the creative endeavours of authors everywhere!

Until next time…

BM xx