Hi guys. I want to offer up a little challenge to you out in reader land. The idea is to find one new author that you like this week. This is how I’m going to do it.
So I’ve been rattling this idea around in my head (I say rattling instead of rolling because my head rarely moves slow enough to roll anything) for a couple weeks now. It started because I was searching for ebooks to review that fit the same general concept of the Viral series: short, low cost, new author, some kind of speculative genre (sci-fi, horror, fantasy, that kind of thing). Finally it occurred to me that there are a bunch of free-bees out there and I hadn’t even scratched that market yet.
Then I expanded the idea. Just because an author puts something out there for free doesn’t mean that the writing is necessarily bad or even sub-par. I’ve seen $20 books on the shelf at Barnes and Noble that I wouldn’t invest a quarter in. That’s not to say that they contain bad or improperly formatted writing, but I don’t jive with the writing style. On the other hand, I’ve read 99cent books that I absolutely loved from the first line to fin. These are authors that are looking to gain some attention to their writing.
The idea reappears in my head that I’m not doing this book-writing thing for money, and a lot of authors out there are on the same page. We’re looking for the people that would enjoy our stories, so that the stories can reach them. In many ways, a writer cares about their stories like a parent cares about their kids. We want them to go out in the world and make something for themselves. The only way to do that is through marketing, promotion, and reviews. This week I want to give something back to other authors, who have been my inspiration. I want to call attention to their writing in any way that I can.
What I’m going to do
I’m going on an author hunt. Anyone out there who has a free short story or novella, those are my targets. These people are trying so hard, and putting their work out there for free to anyone who wants to read it. I’m going to take them up on that. I’ve selected ten stories, downloaded them, and I’ve finished one so far. The freelancing thing is taking off and eating a lot of my time, and I have family and doctor stuff going on. But I’m going to read these ten stories, and if someone recommends one to me, I’ll probably read that, too. I’m going to leave an Amazon review for each one. An honest review, which means I’m going to be putting out a couple bad reviews, but that’s life. My bad reviews try to show why I didn’t like the story, so maybe another reader who isn’t me might still take an interest. Not every story is for everyone.
If I rank any 4’s or 5’s, I’ll do a write-up here on writefarmlive.com to share what I think are the best of the free ebooks on amazon. If you like Viral Spark and Viral Fire, keep an eye on this page because I might find something you could really get into in the coming weeks. It’ll be short, and free, so that you can give a new author a chance.
This week, I want you to do something for me. I want you to go out on Amazon and find a new author. You can do this at the bookstore too, but it might be costly. Find one new author that you like, and read something they wrote. Here’s how you do it (on Amazon, other sites or stores, you are on your own). Search books, in my case ebooks. If you want short, select “short reads” from the menu on the left. Under “browse by reading time,” select a slot most appropriate for yourself. Take into account that you might be sifting through several before you find one you like. I picked 30 minutes. Then select a genre, and sort by price, low to high.
That’s it. What you should now have is a bunch of genre-specific titles that are short reads. Scroll through the titles and descriptions and start downloading. They’re free, so don’t be afraid to download a bunch, even if you don’t plan on reading them all.
When you finish a story, go back to Amazon and leave a review on it. This is the best way to thank an author for letting you access their work for free. Not every review is going to glow, and there will be some one and two star reviews. No biggie. We’re used to rejection by now, trust me, but try to say something meaningful about why you liked or didn’t like the book. Was it the writing style? The main character? One of the other characters? The story pace, ending, stakes? Whatever. The first part of the challenge is to leave one Amazon review.
Now, for the hard part. Keep doing it. Keep reading until you find an author that you really like, and would like to read more from. They might have other free books out there. They might have some 99 cent bargains. You never know until you look. Try to remember their name, and the next time you look for a story, see what they have to offer.
Writers are built on their audiences. By shopping around for a new author who might not be a NYT bestseller yet, you are aiding not only a handful of writers that you pick up and look at, but all of us who drive ourselves forward each day, trying to create new stories and entertain. You can drop me a line or leave a comment telling me about your experience.
Hopefully, by posting this challenge, I’ll help a few writers find some more people to fall in love with their work. Share this post on your social media pages (that’s what all the little links are for), spread the word, and help spread a little joy and happiness. Find a new author and some new stories to love and talk about with friends. Check out my upcoming posts for the books I reviewed. And most of all, keep being you, keep reading, and keep driving your own plot. Thanks for stopping by my website today.