So TRANSPARENT is roughly 8 months away from debuting, which is actually starting to sound close seeing as I had a total of 25 months to wait when I sold. Suffice it to say, debuting has weighed heavily on my mind recently. Even crushingly at times.
I've always loved supporting debut authors—it might not seem like it, but your support is HUGE for authors just starting out. Especially for a mid-list title like mine and many, many others, every sale, every mention, every shelf matters.
Today I want to share 5 simple things you can do if you want to support a debut author you particularly love, in order of cheapest/easiest to most expensive/hardest (not that hard though).
1. Tell Your Friends
Yes, it's that simple. If you have been following a debut, or just read a debut author's book and loved it—tell people! One of the hardest things for debut authors is that they don't have an automatic audience. They can't rely on repeat fans or really anyone taking a chance on them (It's slightly easier for well-placed lead title debuts, but still not easy). They have to hope that someone will pick up their book, love it, and then start talking about it.
2. Request At Your Local Library
Librarians are hugely influential within the reading community, but there are lots of books to buy and a limited budget. The more a librarian hears requests for a book, the more they'll consider getting it on their shelves. For a debut, every shelf means a lot. Visibility is the biggest obstacle. Librarians are a huge help in getting new books to the people who might love them.
3. Request At Your Local Bookstore
It's the same principle as the library—visibility is a debut's best friend. If people are asking for a book, stores are happy to provide. And if a few people start asking for a title, they might even start stocking it more consistently. Shelf space at a bookstore is not a given for every author, and it's becoming more and more common for mid-list authors—even ones published with the big publishers—to be overlooked by brick and mortar stores.
Publishers look at pre-order sales. If they are good, on track, or behind expectations. It impacts their view of the book and their likelihood to push the title. Having good pre-orders could help your favorite debut continue their career. Besides, pre-ordering often costs less than buying at a store or after debut.
5. Buy Debut Novels Within The First Three Months
Did you know that most novels only get about a quarter of a year to sell in a bookstore? If a store doesn't sell a novel like it expects to, they won't re-order. That book may not be on the shelf ever again. And even more difficult for a debut author—that first book not selling fast enough could mean that their future books will not make it to the store at all. It sounds sad, but that is a reality a lot of writers face everyday.
And those are my five easy things that can really help a debut author out! Of course, these things also help all authors, and most of them don't cost you anything. If you have other suggestions, please leave them in comments:)