Tag Archives: help an author out

Help! I Need Someone #atozchallenge


Help? Who needs help?

Authors need help.

There’s the critique partners, the beta readers. The editors, the formatters, the cover artists. The publicists, book tour companies. Street teams. Agents, acquiring editors, the staff of the publisher, if the author goes that route.

I’m sure I forgot someone. Because these days, it takes a village.

And don’t forget the IT people! Whether you write on a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, or a phone (true story, that one. I once edited for an author who wrote an entire novel on her iPhone. She sold that sucker the night I sent it back with the typos corrected out), you need IT people these days if you’re gonna write a book.


There’s another type of help you can give an author. Yes, YOU. Doesn’t matter if you’re a fellow author or just a reader (and really, there’s no just about being a reader because without readers, who are we writing for?). YOU are an important player in the success of an author.

Sounds all high-falutin’, I know. But it’s not. Nope. Not even close.

You can leave a review online. You can buy a copy of the book and give it as a gift. You can talk about the book on social media and encourage your friends to read it.

It’s word of mouth, and of all the crazy promotions and schticks that authors resort to as they try to get more eyeballs on their books, word of mouth is the ONLY proven method. That gives you, the reader, the consumer, an awful lot of power.

Reviews help. Many sites consider a book’s worth not by its ranking but by the number of reviews — so even if you want to leave one star because the story was an utter failure and even dinosaur porn would be better than THAT, you are helping! (obviously, as long as the review is constructive in its 1- and 2- star discussion). Yeah, four- and five-star reviews are good, but there are plenty of people (like me!) who only read the 1- and 2-star reviews as we decide if a book is worth our time. Like I said: it’s a numbers game. The more reviews, the better.

It’s a nice and easy way to help an author.

And if you’re feeling unsure about a review you’ve written, drop me a note. I offer a service over here that’s super cheap and will help your review shine as much as the book you’re helping out.


#SaystheEditor In Return for a Freebie…


I know I’ve harped on this before, but it came up the other week, so I thought I’d harp some more. You see, I was chatting with an author friend of mine. She’d gotten SEVENTY (yes, you read that right) copies of one of her new releases from her publisher. They were promo copies, and the idea was that my friend, the author, would send all SEVENTY out and get some early reviews for her new book.

She’s got quite the publishing history, my friend. Sixty-three books under one name and another thirty under another.

Do the math, folks. That’s 93 books.

You’d think that after 93 books, her following would be devoted, large, and willing to write a few words of review that’ll help spread the word about how awesome a writer she is (and she is, whether or not she’s my friend).

Know how many reviews those SEVENTY books spawned?

Do you?

Any guesses?


Okay, I’ll quit teasing you. She got SEVEN.

That’s really sad. It was a free book! She sent it to YOU, reader. And you couldn’t be bothered to write a few simple sentences. Even, “Author X did it again! This is her best yet!” or “Woo, this was so hot, I haven’t cooled off and it’s been three days!” or even “I liked [title z] better because the main character there wore jeans and this guy wore business suits and I’m a jeans sorta girl. Jeans are comfortable. Business suits are stuffy, and so was the guy in this one.”

C’mon… really? Ninety-three (coincidentally one for each of my friend’s published books) readers grabbed a free  book and ran with it. *

I hope those 93 have to buy their own copies from now on.

Which brings me to my soapbox. Although do I really need to get on it? Word of mouth is the  best way to sell books. Writing a review helps sell books. You love an author or a book, taking a few minutes to write a review is the best, simplest, most appreciated way to say thanks. (Okay, other than buying 100 copies and spreading the love, yourself, but how many of you really do that? I’ve bought multiples, but never 100.)

No one said you HAVE to include the plot in your review. Or that it be long or insightful. Just that it be readable. Enthusiasm is super, especially if it’s a book you loved. Pointing out flaws is perfectly acceptable but if you can’t think of any, that’s okay, too.

Just… take the plunge. Authors will be glad you did. And you can be one of those seven who not only got a free book, but showed your thanks in a very meaningful way.

Help an author out. If you  love his or her works, taking those ten minutes to write a few thoughts down will help him or her get more books on the market. It might even let them quit the day job and stay home and write.

That’s the effect YOU can have. Seize it.


(and, of course, if you aren’t confident in what you wrote, we at West of Mars are more than willing to help you polish it up. But really, be confident without us. Your opinion is valid, it matters, and we’ll forgive spelling errors if your words are heartfelt.)


*And here, Susan proves why she’s a wordsmith and not a mathematician.