Saturday I drove two hours to a book signing. It wasn’t my book signing. Fellow Mantle Rock Publishing author Regina Rudd Merrick was celebrating the release of the third book in her Carolina series. We’d only met once prior to this event, but we’ve “spoken” several times via email. Besides, I wanted to support her.
I held my first book launch event last year. Faith’s Journey was my first book, and I wanted to celebrate with friends, family, and anyone else who might be interested. I planned the party for months. I wanted it to be special. And the night before I was scared to death. What if I put all this time, energy, and money into the party and no one showed up? I was, after all, a first time author, a nobody in the publishing world.
I worried over nothing. It was a great day, and I will always remember those who came out to support me. I’d like to tell you I’ve learned my lesson, but as I’m preparing for Grasping Hope’s launch party I still fight those feelings. I know those of us who do show up will have a great time. I plan on celebrating even if no one but my husband and kids show up! But I’d like to share that day with as many of our friends and family as I can and maybe make some new friends too.
I share these stories with you because I don’t think I’m that different from other authors. We write because we have stories to tell. We hope readers enjoy what we’ve created. We hope they come away from our work encouraged or challenged or maybe even both. We hope they connect to the characters and find a little of themselves in the pages.
We hope, but often we don’t know. God gave us a passion for writing and the ability to do it. We are blessed to find God’s plan for us includes this thing we love so much. In our hearts this is enough. But like anyone who creates, whether it’s a novel, a painting, or even a beautiful dessert, there is a desire to know what we do means something to someone.
This is where you, the reader, comes in.
When I was a teenager, I wrote letters to my favorite authors. I told them how much I enjoyed their stories. I was thrilled when they wrote me back. I still have their letters tucked away somewhere. Back then, contacting an author meant hand writing your thoughts, finding an envelope and a stamp, and addressing it to the publisher in hopes that it didn’t end up in a garbage can before reaching the author. Today, there are much simpler ways to encourage an author who has encouraged you.
- Review their books. Amazon reviews are like gold to authors. They not only let them hear from readers, reviews help them from a sales standpoint. You can also review on sites like Goodreads. In addition to being an encouragement, your reviews help others find the same books you enjoyed. It doesn’t have to be complex. Just tell everyone what you liked about the book.
- Follow the author. Not literally, of course. That’s stalking and it’s illegal. But most authors have social media accounts. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon author pages, and Goodreads author pages each allow readers to stay connected with what authors are doing. They allow interaction with the author.
- Go to events. Launch parties and book signings not only give you the chance to speak face to face with your favorite authors, they are also a great encouragement to the authors. Even the introverts enjoy hearing from those who enjoy their work.
- Sign up for their newsletters. Authors tend to get a little more personal in these email newsletters. Readers get to know them better and have sneak peeks into what’s coming for the author. Giveaways and behind the scenes looks into favorite books are a couple of other perks subscribers may receive.
Readers: What are your favorite ways to encourage and connect with the authors you enjoy?
Authors: What are your favorite ways to hear from readers?
Here are some photos from the Faith’s Journey book launch last year. Stay tuned for new ones after the Grasping Hope Launch Party in March!