How Best to Make Sure the Books You Love Keep Coming

How Best to Make Sure the Books You Love Keep Coming by Linda Rodriguez

Some of the things I’ve learned as a published novelist have turned me into a better fan of my own favorite authors. I’ve written on this blog before about pre-ordering and how I learned of its importance to writers. Instead of waiting for the books of my favorite author to be published, I pre-order now, knowing I’m contributing to their success, as well as assuring I’ll have their book as soon as it’s available.

I thought I was already helping with reviews. On my blog,, I try to spotlight books by literary writers of color who might be hard for the average reader to find, as well as mystery novelists who are writing high-quality fiction. I do this with profiles, interviews, and sometimes reviews of individual books. However, I’ve learned that reviews on Amazon and Goodreads count more toward sales than those longer ones on my blog or elsewhere.

I’ve always just given stars to books on Goodreads. I’ve read so many books that I didn’t think I had time for more than that. I was wrong. Those stars don’t do much good. It’s the reviews that make others decide to pick up the book to read. It’s the same with Amazon—reviews lead to sales. Even for authors who seem to have it made! Often even famous writers are just a breath or two away from tumbling down the slopes in the fickle game of publishing (as we saw recently when the major publishers all suddenly threw off multiple mystery writers, leaving many scrambling for new publishers or trying to reinvent themselves), and success is even more volatile for midlist authors. I try not to buy much on Amazon, so I’ve not done much except hit the ‘Like” button for a book/author I enjoy.

I learned about how important these reviews can be to authors, and I’d set myself a goal to post a daily review of a novelist whose work I enjoyed on either Amazon or Goodreads.  Unfortunately, Amazon now won’t allow me to review many of the books I’d like to, because they assume I’m friends with the author. In some cases, I barely know the author, and in others, I don’t know them, at all, but Amazon has decided that, since I’m an author myself, I must necessarily know all other authors, apparently. So this is one way that I can’t contribute to keeping my favorite authors publishing, but if you can, those reviews matter more than almost any others. I have learned how to link my blog, so a review on my blog posts to my author page on Amazon or Goodreads, however. This is one thing I can do to make sure the writers I love don’t disappear on me.

I’ve always been a person others ask for book recommendations, primarily because I read so much in so many areas. Now that I’ve learned how important that word-of-mouth advice on books can be, I’ll be doing a lot more book recommendations and not just waiting for folks to ask me. I have occasionally requested my library system buy a book I want that they don’t have. Now, as soon as I know a book is coming out by one of my favorite writers, I will request my library system order that book—and my own pre-orders for those books will be through local bookstores because that helps them decide whether or not to order in that book to have on the shelves.

The publishing business is in deep flux right now, and authors are being required to do more than ever to promote their books. Every novelist I know, famous or unknown, is buried in a mountain of promotion efforts while still trying to write the books we fans love and wait for breathlessly. The sheer numbers, literally millions, of books flooding the market now, some by authors who haven’t bothered to learn to be good writers or good editors, makes it hard for the potential buyer to find the writers who have worked for many years to hone their craft. Everything we, as fans of good writing in whatever genre, can do to make our favorite authors successful ensures that in the volatile atmosphere of publishing today these favorite novelists will survive and thrive—and continue providing us with our favorite addiction, their good books.

Do you know of other strategies we fans can do to help ensure the success of the book and authors we love?


6 replies
  1. Susan Baughman
    Susan Baughman says:

    Linda Rodriguez! I’ve read your books, taken classes from you AND your husband (Guppies classes)–learned so much from both of you! As a newbie wanna-be writer, I read a lot too–always looking for more books to read, to enjoy, to learn from… I love your Native American background (knew and loved Hillerman, as I grew up in Monument Valley, the four-corners area)–just finished reading all of James C. Wilson’s mysteries set in Santa Fe/Taos and the four-corner’s areas, such as Chaco Canyon (he lives and teaches there at the Univ of New Mexico). Just finished David Putnam’s 12 book Bruno Johnson Thriller series–he just released the first in a trilogy called “The Blind Devotion of Imogene,” which is hilarious. Loved writer Elizabeth Crowen’s “Hollywood Noir” recent release: “The Hounds of the Hollywood Baskervilles” set in 1940’s Hollywood, and which is a big hit among Sherlock Holmes fans–Looking forward to taking more of your classes Linda! Thanks so much for you and your husband’s contributions! Really love your books!

  2. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    You raise a good point. I find it important to reply to blogposts and social media posts, too. Every little bit of connection is a help, not only to the author, but to the reader. Today’s world is all about relationships.

  3. Mary L Kennedy
    Mary L Kennedy says:

    A wonderful blog, Linda! Pre-sales, reviews and recommendations are the key. There’s a saying I always liked about advertising. “Half of all advertising works, but no one knows which half.” Will share this on my FB page. Thanks for doing this!

  4. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    Great points. I know it doesn’t mean a lot of sales, bt I’m also glad when people ask their libraries to get my books as it again helps word of mouth when the book is available.

  5. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    Linda, this is such a good reminder to all of us, and our readers, too, that—if we enjoy books by certain writers—we should let other potential readers know about it. Thanks for the post!

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