What Published Authors Really Need

For those who don’t do this on a regular basis (yes, I admit it, I do), imagine you’ve just found out that the manuscript you’ve been working on for the last million years, your blood sweat and tears, is going to be published. The phone call has been made. The happy dance around the kitchen table is complete. You’ve done it! Your book is going to be out there for the world to see!

Now for the really hard work to start and there’s about 12-18 months to get it all done before your little bundle of literary joy is unleashed.

Marketing, websites, twitter feeds, schools on board, tv/radio interviews all go into overdrive and you will find yourself checking the mirror occasionally to make sure your head is firmly on when it seems like everyone else around you is losing theirs …or is it the other way round? Chaos ensues and all rational thinking goes out the window as you channel your inner Girl Guide and BE PREPARED!

Before you know it, launch day/night/week has arrived and internal butterflies become the norm. Hands are shaken, smiles are beamed and sleep is finally allowed when the venue door is closed and the after-drinks consumed.

In the cold light of day you wake up. The first thought that comes into your head isn’t ‘wow, that was an amazing night’. No, it will probably be ‘What if they don’t like it? What if no-one reads it? What if it gets slated on-line?’ and so begins the covering of head with duvet and the curling up in a ball until someone says it’s safe to come out.

I have no idea if this is the actual scenario as I haven’t been published in my own right yet but this is how I imagine I would feel. What I do know, from speaking to author friends that have already travelled down this successful path, is this:

Write a review for their book everywhere you can. Be honest and fair but write a review. Leaving a review on your chosen on-line book store/on the author’s blog/or by handwritten letter means you actually care about the words. They left you with something to say. Months, even years of hard work have gone into those pages, so what would you like to tell the author about their book? Obviously a good review is what they are looking for but it’s what you think that matters to them. Did you like it? Why, what made you turn the page? Did you not like it? Why not? All these things and more are important for them to grow as writers. Feedback, good or bad, nurtures the writer’s soul.

So please, the next time you read a book, write a review. Make an author happy (and force them out from beneath their duvet cocoon).

Young or old, it doesn’t matter, just have a go.

My 8 year-old wrote his first on-line review for Emily Dodd’s new book ‘Volcanoes’. I just typed what he said… http://www.amazon.co.uk/Collins-Big-Cat-Volcanoes-Emerald/dp/0008127867.

And if you know them well enough (you might need to ask them first), give them a hug. Everyone needs a hug every once in a while.

This post is for RC and JF.