Monday, August 12, 2013

Let's talk about books baby

I've said before, more that once, that the number one thing you can do to support your favorite authors, and the books they write, is to talk, even briefly, about books. You don't have to start a blog and write 500 word reviews for all of the books that you read. But what you can do is mention on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or whatever social media use (including the OG social media site -- your daily life) that you just finished reading a book, that you liked it, and if you're feeling generous, a couple of words on why. That's it. If you read, you should become a new type of book reviewer, a book talker.

Let me demonstrate the importance of talking about books, using specific examples.

I read Driving Alone by Kevin Lynn Helmick. It eventually made my end of year list and I nominated it for a Spinetingler Award. I first read about it on Paul Brazill's blog.

I read The Liminal People by Ayize Jama-Everett. It too  made my end of year list. I first heard about from Jeff VanderMeer.

I read Lost in Clover by Travis Richardson, and it, wait for it, made my end of year klist and I nominated it for a Spinetingler award. I heard about it on Facebook when Eric Beetner mentioned that he had picked up a copy.

Pig Iron by Benjamin Myers was put on my radar screen by this tweet from the publisher. It caught my eye because I liked the title. It made my end of year list and is one of the more powerful books I read that year.

Someone sent me an email about Katja from the Punk Band by Simon Logan. Basically a "holy hell, you have to read this" kind of email. Holy hell is right. Again made my end of year list.

When Publishers Weekly did their end of year list The Four Stages of Cruelty by Keith Hollihan caught my eye because of the great cover and the interesting blurb. I read it and loved it.

When I read about Balzac of the Badlands by Steve Finbow over at Bookmunch it sounded intriguing as hell. When I read about it at this blog my intrigue was solidified. I had to read this book. And I'm glad I did because it too, say it with me, made my end of year list.

Brian Evenson mentioned on FB that he blurbed Jonah Man by Christopher Narozny and that was enough to make me search it out, buy a copy, and read it.

Andrew Nette is great for book recommendations from Australia because he's reading books that are tough, impossible, or expensive to get here in the U.S. He talked about Wake in Fright by Kenneth Cook like it was a must read. And he's right, it is.

When you start talking with people about books a couple of things happen. You find people whose opinions you trust and they seek you out to tell you about books. Jed Ayres read Cold Quiet Country by Clayton Lindemuth and just had to tell some people to read it. And he did, on Twitter.

There was something about this review of Waste by Eugene Marten that intrigued me. And I’m glad it did because it is one of the best psycho noirs I’ve ever read.

Bottom line: If you like books talk about them, even if only briefly. The more you talk about books the wider your network will be. The wider your network is the more likely you are to catch your next favorite read.


Dana King said...

Yep. I estimate 80% of the books Iread are by authors I learned about from someone else, usually via a blog or Facebook. makes it hard to read as much of some authors as I like--I'm always learning of someone new I decide I have to add to the TBR list right now , but it also means I get recommendations from people I've come to trust.

seana graham said...

Great advice. Often we think we have to do something more extensive and so never get around to mentioning what we're reading at all.

As an example, I just discovered Loren Estleman's Amos Walker novels because a guy named Joe Veselik mentioned them in some blog comments where we were talking about the Detroit bankruptcy.