Author Taylor Stevens Tells Us How to Keep Our Favorite Authors and Books on the Shelves
Taylor Stevens, an author herself, talks about the new trend in which publishers stop printing books that don't sell to their expectations. Taylor tells us what we readers can do to make sure our favorite authors and books stay on the bookshelves. She gives very practical advice.
Let’s say you found a book you love, or an author you love, or series you adore—something like that. It would be a tragedy, wouldn’t it, if all of a sudden the books stopped coming and the author just faded away?
It happens. It happens a lot. Especially in this day and age with traditional publishing in such turmoil, many authors find themselves getting turned down for new contracts. Because they’re not mega bestsellers, publishers don’t want to waste resources. With digital publishing now so readily available, a number of these authors do find an alternative way to build their audience, but you’ll no longer accidentally stumble across their books on a shelf or table in your bookstore. Might not even know they exist on Amazon unless you specifically search for them.
If you have an author you love to read, there are three things you can do to keep the author writing and the books coming—and every one of these matter:
Buy the book: Good sales are what allow the publisher to offer the author another contract. If the author’s book doesn’t sell well enough, the publisher won’t pay for another book, and the author will need to find an alternative way to keep the lights on. If you prefer to read second hand or from the library, you can get your library to buy the book. In fact, even if you also buy the book you can still get all the libraries in your city to buy the book by making requests. A book sold is a book sold.
Talk about the book: More books are sold by word-of-mouth recommendation than by any amount of publicity. If you believe your author deserves an audience, you can share the work with those you feel would enjoy the read and help build the fan base.
Review the book: Online reviews really do matter. They may possibly matter more to the author’s ego than to actual sales, but they matter to sales, too. Some readers only look at star ratings before deciding to make the purchase, so stars matter as well.
Although I can’t speak for all authors, most of the ones I know truly appreciate feedback and interaction from fans. I live something of an isolated life and spend more time with my imaginary characters than I do with real life people. I spill my blood onto the pages and send them into the world, and nothing means more to me than to know that someone out there has connected with me through my creation.
Like everyone else, I have good days and bad days, and on my bleakest days when I’m full of self-doubt and frustrated with the industry, I wonder if it's worth slogging my way through the next one. Then I get a letter from a fan telling me how much my work has meant to them, and I change my mind and carry on. If you have an author whose work you love, three minutes to email them and tell them how much you enjoy their work might be just what they need to keep on bringing characters to life. Even if you never hear back, I can guarantee that your support is appreciated.
P.S. Please forgive all of the extraneous lop-overs. You know I am technologically challenged!