A decade ago when we started this blog, one of our goals was to help promote other writers. We would do Q&As with them when their books came out. We'd have them on the DSD Podcast, which is starting back up this summer. We'd post reviews and giveaways and host blog tours. That was part of our purpose.
So imagine my heartbreak when I asked an author we'd often featured to consider blurbing my debut and was told he didn't have the time to help.
And the next time that I saw you
You were larger than life
Yeah, you came and you conquered
You were doing all right
You had an army of suits behind you
All you had to be was willing
I said I still make a pretty good living
But you must make a killing, a killing
And I hope that, that you are happy
I hope that at least you are having fun
Oh, but everyone is a fucking Napoleon
This wasn't the last time I was big-timed by an author I'd broken my balls to help. I don't understand how someone could do that, you know? Arrogance? Carelessness? Jackassery?
Many, many authors are shitty human beings. I don't have any damn interest helping them. But I thought I'd offer a couple suggestions (not 47. sorry) for authors, because these things tend to get overlooked.
Send signed copies of your published book to people you had asked for blurbs.
Soon after my own book came out, I got quite a few blurb requests. I tried to honor each one. It takes time to blurb a book. Lee Child blurbs, on average, 739 books per year. I have no idea how he does that. I read every book I was asked to blurb, which wasn't close to 739. Still, it takes time.
When an author takes the time and effort to blurb your book, be grateful. You're asking for help selling your book. Their name is going on the book. Their praise is going on the cover. When your book comes out, sign a thank you on the title page and spend the four damn dollars to mail that person a copy of your finished book.
Make sure the moderator of your panel has your book
If someone is moderating a panel or hosting you in a sit-down at a bookstore or in some way sacrificing time to help you sell books or promote your writing, make sure the moderator has your book.
I've been spoiled by the Virginia Festival of the Book, because they always make sure I have the books I need when I'm moderating a panel. Not all festivals and conferences do that. If you get an email from the moderator saying "Hi. My name is Hailey and I'm moderating a panel at BookFest with you and two other authors and just wanted to introduce myself" then make sure Hailey has your damn book. Please and thank you. Why should Hailey have to shell out $25 to buy your dumb book? At least you can make the offer. Maybe Hailey has your current book, but would like to have your debut.
Be prepared to promote authors in interviews
Often in an interview or on a panel, you'll be asked who you're reading. Please, please, please do not name someone on the best seller list. I mean, you can if you want. You don't have to listen to me. I'm not your real mom. But it's super nice if, when you're given the opportunity, you can promote someone who could use a little push. I've been in the audience when a Big Famous Author suggests someone I've never heard of and has delivered a nice review of that author's new work. Of course I've bought that book. It was recommended by someone I dig. Please, make sure you're prepared to promote folks who aren't yet big enough to be up there on that panel. Thank you.
So, please. I know many of you try to be nice and get caught up in a thousand things you have to worry about as an author. And I know so many authors already do so, so, so much to help those "up and coming" authors. That is fandamntastic and appreciated. It's just that, from my experience, I've seen good people accidentally behave like jerks as authors and thought I'd just mention a few things here. Of course, as I've mentioned, some authors are just shitty people. I'm not offering these tips to help them. I'm not offering to help them at all.
You told me "they always pay for lunch
And they believe in what I do"
And I wonder, will you miss your old friends?
Now you've proven what you're worth
Yeah, yeah I wonder when, when you're a big star
Tell me, do you miss the earth? Do you, do you miss the earth?
And I know you'll always, always want more
I know you, you'll never, never be done
Oh, 'cause everyone is a fucking Napoleon