Rosanne Dingli

Rosanne Dingli

Monday, August 29, 2011

How to be a special reader

We have all heard how publishing is changing, and how fast the shifts are taking place. We have also heard how this is affecting publishing - how the big publishing houses are trying to catch up with the technology, trying to understand it as well as the smaller publishers do. We've heard of the decline of the bricks and mortar bookshop... and how people are buying everything - including paperbacks - online.

What does all this mean to the humble reader? All I want is good books, the humble reader cries. Yes - a reader reads, but that simple reading means a lot of things to a great number of people. Reading provides jobs and makes money for a very long chain of interested parties. Humble readers and their purchases, habits, likes and dislikes support a whole industry.

IRex iLiad ebook reader outdoors in sunlight. ...Image via WikipediaThe industry is currently experiencing a momentous upheaval. It will in turn affect the humble reader, in what that reader can obtain to read, the form in which it can be read, and its cost. How - as a reader - can one ensure that there will always be good, affordable reading material to read? How can you and I be special readers?

A special reader knows there are key roles in the publishing game that need to survive in order for books to stay available as a source for education, information, and entertainment. Special readers know that the whole industry is there because of them. All of it. No readers, no book industry. No publishing.

The most important roles in the industry are the indispensible ones. One needs authors, and one needs publishers. One needs producers of physical and digital books. One needs a place to buy the books. Sometimes, these roles overlap - some authors write, publish, produce and sell their own books. Some use producers and retailers. Some use publishers and sell some of their titles themselves. It's a melange that has many possibilities.

Endpapers of the original run of books in the ...Image via WikipediaA reader is a reader - and yes, many writers also read. How can a humble reader become a special one? Here are the things you can do to make sure you support the industry in the best ways you can. The book industry needs sustaining. It runs on what readers do. If you are a reader, you need to DO things to make sure it lives on to bring you more books.

ONE: Buy books. It seems obvious, but borrowing, stealing and finding books does not support either the industry or the authors you like so much. Stealing books is especially nefarious: books are getting cheaper (If you haven't noticed it yet, you will soon.) Buying inexpensive eBooks is great. Downloading them from pirates is not - it will eventually destroy your authors, so pay the three bucks!

TWO: Discover as much as you can about your favourite authors. Not only the titles of their books, but where they work, what else they write, how they come by their ideas, whether they are on FaceBook or GoodReads or your favourite hang-out. Do they write in another genre? Have they published short stories? Do they give out any free reading examples? Free reading examples supplied by authors and publishers are different from stealing an illegal copy of a book.

THREE: Let your favourite authors know you love them. Most are approachable, nice, contactable... they love their fans back. Write a review, send a message, like them on FaceBook, reTweet their Tweets. Follow them, wherever they hang out.

FOUR: Special readers spread the word. Authors know that word of mouth is the greatest seller of books. So talk about your favourite authors at parties, at the supermarket checkout, on the phone, in your posts and comments. Mention their names, tweet their links. Message the titles of their books. In this way, more people will know about your authors, more people will buy their books, and they will be more likely to still be around when you next want something good to read.

Being a special reader makes the authors you love special. They will survive to go on and write more books. Do you know what it takes to write a book? Think about it - it is much harder than you think. For your authors to keep writing those fabulous books they need support from special readers like you.

If you are an author, tell me what you'd like your readers to do. If you are a reader, what have you done lately to show your favourite authors you like what they do?
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  1. Rosanne, I re-read your short story ' The Axe'. I love it! Mostly because of the intermingling of real description with imagination in a beautiful way.I find this link with imagination and fantasy here more than in your novels. As you know, I'm fond of suggestion, unreal situations, interwoven in real life, witch gives me a very poetic enjoyment. I put it on my wall at FB! XXX Lieve.

  2. Thank you Lieve! That is a very special story, which is in one of my short story collections, The Astronomer's Pig. I'm so glad you like it enough to repost it.

  3. Hi Rosanne, I love how you encourage readers to contact authors. I think sometimes we are so in awe of these amazing people who can create such reality from imagination, that we wouldn't dream of contacting them. But we must remember that authors need feedback just as much, if not more than most. Every connection with a reader is another burst of motivation for a writer.

  4. Rosanne, such a good summary of what readers can do to help authors in these changing times. You're so right. If readers don't buy or at least get their library to buy books, their favourite authors will vanish. Publishers run businesses and if books don't make money, that author is dropped.

  5. Shirley, Anna - I wrote it because the feeling I get when a reader writes me a special email after finishing one of my books is great. Real encouragement to write more. Connecting with fans is something most writers like - so readers should know it.

  6. At last! I did it! Margaret S

  7. Margaret - It's great to have you here.