If this is the first time you’ve read my blogs, it may shock you to know that for over a year now I’ve been doing almost everything I can do to sell my wife. Today, I’m hoping that my blog will encourage you to sell your loved one too, as long as he or she is an author.
Now, before you run to a phone to tell the authorities to let them know you’ve discovered a mad slave trader who specialises in authors, hear me out, you might like what I have to say!
I’m the husband of art historian and novelist, Gina Collia-Suzuki. Before Gina wrote her first book, like many people who know an author, I assumed that once a book is ‘out there’ in the big wide world, that’s all there is to it. A writer writes, a publisher publishes and then people all over the world would somehow know about him or her and hopefully they would buy those books in droves. Simple really.
As I’m sure you’ve discovered from speaking to your beloved newly published one, this is so far from reality that the mind boggles at the thought of it.
Practically overnight, your author will need, or has suddenly needed, to learn new skills in order to make sure that their baby, their precious book, reaches a wider audience. To varying degrees your beloved author needs to be a sales and marketing genius, a publicist, a public speaker (in certain cases), a blogger, a social networking aficionado, etc, etc. Most authors will have very little support, if at all actually, which I personally find incredible.
You know your own author better than anyone. He or she will have many wonderful skills and attributes, but seriously speaking, when your author looks at this long list of new things that they face, do you not think it will be a little daunting for them, even for the most accomplished? The thing is, I really believe you can help and make a difference. It occurred to me that maybe you could have a go at selling your own personal author. If you’re willing to have a go, I can assure you that it’s very rewarding and an awful lot of fun. I’m sure that your loved one will probably really appreciate your efforts too.
So, what can you do? You know your strengths and weaknesses, so it’s up to you to decide how you can best help your author achieve his or her dreams. Here are a few examples of how you might be able to help.
1. Emotional support.
This goes without saying and I am sure you are already doing that, but talk to your author anyway and see if there is anything specific you can do to help.
Press releases are just one example. Your author is a wordsmith. He/She will certainly come up with a press release that will wow the world, but you, dear reader, are the voice of the public. Look at the press release, read it carefully. Think about any other angles you can add, any suggestions that may help. Just get involved. If your suggestions aren’t taken up, then fine, it may be that the Press Release is perfect already, but the point is that you are attempting to seriously help.
3. Social networking.
Maybe you like being on-line? Join this site if you haven't already, Red Room is a fabulous community so sign up now. Also, go and join Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads with your author. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before. You can be yourself, have fun, chat to people, get involved with a community. Just being there, supporting your author will help.
Social networking is not painful, it’s one of those things that the more you put into it (even if you are just having lots of non-writing related fun), the more you will get out of it. Get involved with the communities, be yourself, have fun. I personally stick to Red Room and Twitter. Facebook is OK for making friends and keeping in touch, but I don’t feel it has a huge impact. Others may feel differently. Goodreads seems good as well. As you build up your own network of contacts, remember to regularly mention your author, how brilliant he/she is, mention the events your author will be at, post links to their Red Room/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads page often, add anything that you feel will encourage people to find an interest in your special writerly one.
When I have posted certain things on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook, the traffic to Red Room or Gina's website has spiked dramatically for both Gina and myself. It really works and, as an added bonus, it’s rewarding and fun!
4. Helping at book signings
Maybe you, or someone you know, is good at engaging people in conversation? If so, then attending a book signing event, walking about and talking to readers, and charming them into seeing your special author will be fantastic fun. It’s also one of the best ways to make a book signing event a very lively affair. At the very least, go along to the event to keep your author company and smile, a lot, at everyone... have a laugh.
5. Tell everybody about your author!
Always carry something like bookmarks, postcards, printed paper with a web address, a business card or anything, absolutely anything that has your author’s web address, or book title or anything on it. Give these out to anyone and everyone you meet. The tradesmen who come to do work at your home, the shop assistants you speak to every time you get a newspaper, at the bank, at work to your work colleagues, tell everyone! Ask your network of friends to mention your author to people they know at work. The idea is to spread the word! Anyway, I think you get the gist. These are just a few examples, you’ll find ways to help your author.
If I may, I’d like to suggest that you sit down and have a cup of tea with your author, talk things over, ask your author what they need and how they think you or people you know can help. I’m sure you’ll soon formulate a good plan. At the end of the day, I’m sure you know that anything you do will help.
The hope of my writing this blog is really just to open up ideas that might help because when Gina’s first book was about to come out, I really wanted to help but didn’t know what to do. We sat down, had a cup of tea and talked.
I hope that, if you feel the same as I did, that you’ll sit down and have that cuppa too. If nothing else, you’ll have a good chat at the very least, and maybe even have a good laugh too.
Oh, by the way, if you find this blog useful, please pass it on and if you could drop by Gina's website, that would be appreciated. :)
EDIT: In response to the request for an Author's Husband Clone application, a list of bug fixes for the latest prototype model can be found here.
Causes Ryoma Collia-Suzuki Supports
World Wildlife Fund
British Heart Foundation