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Etiquette on the book front

You’d think it would be a matter of common sense, but some people need rules to ensure that they put their best foot forward. Even in the book world.

Here are some guidelines authors should take a look at:

  1. Social media and live author events provide wonderful opportunities to promote your works. But don’t toot your own horn too loudly or incessantly. That can be a real turnoff. And when you praise yourself, provide attribution. “I write page-turners” should be “The Toronto Sun calls my books page-turners.” The praise of others speaks louder than praise of self.

  2. Never push sales at readings and signings. Readers can and will decide what books they buy, and sadly those books may not be yours. But I’ve found that some readers who’ve passed up my books will buy them at another author event. And readers who pass up your books may be big users of the public library. Library book loans produce revenue for you through Canada’s Public Lending Right Program.

  3. Your fellow authors are your biggest allies. When you join forces with other authors – such as driving to an event in another city – share the expenses. Contribute money for gas, or pay for the driver’s lunch.

  4. You and your fellow authors may be in this big book adventure together, BUT there are boundaries to respect. Don’t pressure fellow authors to share their contacts or their marketing strategies. Or to include you in their author events.

  5. Don’t always be on the receiving end. Offer space on your blog when fellow authors have a new book out, or do an author interview with them. If you’ve enjoyed the book, post a review on Amazon without being asked. One of my wonderful Facebook friends posted on Facebook yesterday about my current 99-cent sale. That’s a friend indeed!

  6. Attend authors’ book launches when you can. You’ll probably meet valuable contacts at these events, but remember that you’re there to cheer on the author, not to network with his fans, friends and business associates. AND buy a copy of the book that’s being launched. That’s the reason you are there!

  7. If you receive a major favour from a fellow author, follow up with a thank-you note and a gift. Book endorsements and manuscript critiques are two major favours that come to my mind. Consider how many hours it takes to read a manuscript and provide a cover blurb or a critique.

And some rules for readers:

  1. Don’t ask authors how much money they make from their books. Would you like to be asked that question? In Canada, there are about five crime fiction writers who earn enough from their novels and stories to live on. Most of us have other jobs or pensions to keep us going.

  2. Never ask authors for a complimentary copy of their book – even if they’re good friends or relatives. Authors can buy copies of their books at a special author’s rate, but they don’t get them free. And they shouldn’t be expected to give them away.

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