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Shaka

Yes, you really should buy that book now

At Christmas this year, I got several copies of the one present I ALWAYS get: book store gift cards.

I'd call it a running joke, because if you've seen my current To Be Read shelf and know my current hectic schedule, you'd know that both the former and the latter are Very Full. But hey ... it's books. I like books. I *will* get to them, honest. Not coincidentally, I also get plenty of the same gift cards at my birthday, which is very conveniently spaced halfway from Christmas, in June.

This is a good thing, because between Magical Words, the SiWC, and my own Internet puttering, I've discovered many more writers whose books I want to read.

Okay. So that's where my birthday and Christmas gift card money goes: to these writers. I buy a few books from the ones new to me, and when I run out of funds, I dither about the rest. After all, growing up with my dad's shelves of fantasy to read, I became very spoiled about wanting to consume entire series at once. (Thanks, Dad. Yes, Dad, I get it now. This is why you insist I acquire a signed Jack Whyte hardcover for you every year I'm at the conference.)

My point is, that bad habit led to me waiting around to buy books at my own convenience.

But then as an aspiring author, I began to learn the ins and outs of the publishing business. (Writing aside, it's kind of an important thing to know.)

And then I learned that authors need decent sales of their current books if we want them to make more awesome books. #obvious

And then, just recently, I learned exactly why it helps authors if they sell well when their book debuts.

Publishing is a numbers game. Sales matter—not just people buying books in general, but signs that large quantities of people are buying. So when an author has enough copies preordered or bought in the first week after the book's release, it can lead to Very Good Things.

It's a scary market out there right now. Daunting enough that it makes a person stare deep into her soul and ask whether or not trying to write for publication is worth it. So what can I do to make it less terrifiying?

Well, for one, I can support the authors I care about.

Back in January, one of the authors I follow had a book released. Meh, I thought. Despite the buzz on her blog and on Facebook, etc, etc, I had *just* purchased another series she'd written a few years back. I didn't *need* to buy this new book. I mean, this current series isn't even finished.

(Don't look at me like that. I swear I'm trying to get over this "whole series" thing.)

And then I thought, "Well, hey, I've got these Christmas gift cards to spend. Why not?" So I preordered the book anyway. I didn't think much of it until the week after its release.

That was when the author learned that, for the first time in her life, she'd hit the bestseller list.

From a numbers perspective? This is a Very Good Thing.

The warm and fuzzies from being a part of this event aside, that was when it struck me just how important it is to support the authors you really want to support as soon as possible. I'm not saying that anyone should bankrupt themselves doing so. You could even request it at your library. But if you have the money and you're going to spend it on an author anyway, then buy their latest book in the week it comes out. If you can, preorder. Publishers look at these numbers, because they prove that the author is a viable breadwinner for them. And that ensures we get more books.

Besides, speaking as someone who'd really like to get published, it never hurts to send some positive energy out into the universe if I ever want to hope for anything back.

As for my To-Be-Read shelf ...

*whimpers*
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Comments

I don't always take time to leave a comment, but I'm laughing and can't resist responding to this.

First, I *love* bookstore gift cards. Second, everyone in my family apparently thinks they're too impersonal to give, so I rarely receive them. Third, my bookshelves are crammed, the TBR shelf sagging, and I know I'll never get caught up. So why is it that I have trouble resisting new books??? I want every cyberfriend's new release and all the books in a series when I discover new ones. I can't go into a bookstore (or browse Amazon and Chapters) without feeling guilt at the purchases when I leave. The budget won't let me indulge to the extent I yearn to. I'm so greedy it's painful.

But I'm a writer, too, so I get it. Hopefully one day when I'm published there will be others like me out there, anxious to read and willing to support my efforts. (Oh, yes, and I buy an autographed copy of Anne Perry's latest every year at SiWC for my aunt!) :)

Carol,

Thanks for the comment! (Late again to reply, sorry.) I laughed, too. Sorry that you don't get more gift cards. It's like a gift that we can use to give back to the writers by buying their stuff!