The tools to write a book have never been more accessible than they are right now. For centuries, the entire process was done mostly by hand. If after completing a book you wanted to make a copy of it, a scribe would then rewrite the entire thing. Books were enormously time consuming to create, expensive to purchase, and the ability to read them varied. This is part of what makes the number of ancient Biblical manuscripts and the quality of those manuscripts remarkable. Many, many people invested countless hours meticulously copying and preserving the scriptures. Looking at just the Greek New Testament, there are 5,600 ancient copies remaining. The next closest is Homer’s Illiad with 643. After that it drops off considerably. We only have 10 copies of Julius Caesar’s writings. I digress.
The point is, with modern technology, millions of people now have the tools to create and distribute their written works. What was once difficult–or impossible–to access due to technological and education restraints, is now ready at the push of a button or tap of a screen (or even voice command). The challenge isn’t so much having a channel to distribute your work but getting people to pay attention or even be aware of it.
Readers have more choices everyday. Bowker reported that over one million books were published in the US in 2009. Finding something to read isn’t hard. Finding something good to read can be.
As an author or aspiring author–more often an expiring author–without a large platform, how do you get anyone to pay attention to your work?
Well, mainly you ask other people to share it with those they know.
Whether they have a personal circle of people you don’t know or posses a platform of some kind, asking others to spread the word in some manner is really the only way to get your book noticed among the millions of other titles out there.
Of course you can do marketing and pay to have your book promoted and try to build your own platform, but really those are just different ways of asking people to spread the word. They can be effective but often require financial investment.
This is why it is so helpful to an author when people review their book in some form or fashion. In essence, each person or publication that does so raises the books visibility and credibility with more people. Those that have no personal connection to an author will often rely on reviews to make a decision about whether to give a title a shot or not.
Because of this, I appreciate each person who has read and reviewed my work on Amazon, GoodReads, or their own site/publication. Of course I am encouraged by each personal message I get about the book and how much someone enjoyed it as well. Sometimes those particular messages come right when I need a little extra encouragement as I begin work on the second book.
But when someone takes a couple minutes to go online, rate the book, and write a couple lines, that helps both in the moment and going forward.
To be clear, I get that people often intend to do so and forget, I know I would. I also understand that some people value their privacy and I get that too. But for those who remember and take the time to go on and give a rating and short blurb or something more substantial, Thank you.