More on helping authors you love – and finding new ones to love.

Super Reader, as found on

Super Reader, as found on

Sorry, my bloggies and blogettes for the late post.  I have posts almost done, but also have a deadline and right now the deadline is winning.  Because I’m hoping that, if all goes to plan, this deadline will lead to a companion story for Rules are for Breaking (squee!).  For those of you who’ve read it, it’s Kate and Josh’s story and it’s close to my heart, as I love these characters.

But enough of that!  The other day I wrote a post on how to help authors you love stay in print.  Well, today (in a break from the ms) I read another author’s post that illuminates another aspect of how things beyond an author’s control can affect availability of their books.  The post is about the barney between Barnes and Noble and Simon and Schuster and you can read it here.

This is a sad state of affairs for this author.  But the point I want to make is that one of the big problems that all these things cause, for both writers and readers, is in how they affect discoverability.  How do you find the books and authors in the first place, so that you can love them and pre-order new books?

Short answer (and probably the long one too): the internet.  It may have contributed to the death of the bookstore, but it also gives us access to many more people that we would ever come across in our daily, off-line lives.  And many of these people LOVE books and love talking about them.

If you care about the future of books, seek them out.  Google ‘book bloggers’.  Follow the authors you already love on Twitter or FB, or wherever and look at who they’re friends with.  They will certainly be friends with other authors but they will probably also follow book bloggers and other bookish types.  Go read some blogs.  Dip into the comment streams and see who’s there.  That’s how I found the author whose post I linked to above, who sounds very interesting indeed.

Now, I know that there are many bloggers and even more tweeters and it can seem overwhelming.  But it doesn’t need to be.  No-one said you have to read all of them, or even all of the posts of the ones you love.  Dip in when you have time.  See what you find.  And if you have money to buy books, maybe commit to trying someone new every so often.  Take a chance.  Live dangerously.  And if you like them, TELL OTHERS. 

This brave new publishing world can be scary for all of us, but in some ways we as readers have never had more power than we do now.  We don’t have to rely on publishers and book stores to supply us, or the NYT to advise us  – we can go seek our own reading destiny.  And we can take potentially millions of others along with us, through the power of the interwebs.

So how about it – are you willing to split your infinitives and boldly go where you’ve never been before?  Your new favourite author might be just around the next virtual corner…

*LATE EDIT: Can’t believe I didn’t think of this before, but the other thing to do is to make friends with and support your local librarian.  They are wonderful curators of books and champions of writers.  And books borrowed from libraries do benefit authors!

3 thoughts on “More on helping authors you love – and finding new ones to love.

  1. A lot of the problem devolves to discoverability. In this age of e-publishing, it’s easy for the good stuff to get lost in the dross. Everybody has the same social networking tools – every voice is, in effect, similar. Yet books can – and do – get read. Is there a secret? I suspect chance has a lot to do with it, word of mouth – and, as you point out, the desire by readers to try someone new. You’re right – the onus is on readers to explore what’s out there!

    • I think it always has been to some extent, Matthew. You used to be able to go into bookshops more easily, true, but even then, you relied on what they stocked and what publishers provided. I suppose it’s always been about curatorship, in a way. It’s just the curators that have changed. Book buyers and official reviewers still have a role, but it’s increasingly open to regular readers to join or even surpass them in that role. Something I should have mentioned is the role librarians have always played and can still play in helping readers discover new books. Viva the curators!

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