A black cat with orange-toned eyes faces the viewer.

What’s in Spoon Knife 3?

Spoon Knife is Autonomous Press’ annual anthology of original stories by queer and/or neurodivergent authors. Spoon Knife accepts short fiction of any genre, plus memoir and the occasional poem. Each volume of Spoon Knife has a different team of editors and a different theme.

The 2018 Autumn Equinox saw the publication of Spoon Knife 3: Incursions, edited by Nick Walker and Andrew M. Reichart (who are also the co-creators of the Weird Luck stories, a growing body of interconnected speculative fiction tales).

So, what’s in Spoon Knife 3? Twenty unique and wonderfully strange pieces by twenty authors representing three generations of queer and neurodivergent literary talent. Let’s take a walk through the table of contents and see what each piece is about…

The Bob Show, by Jeff Baker (fiction)
A fugitive hiding out at his eccentric brother’s home discovers his brother’s TV picks up shows from another reality.

Future Dive, by Alyssa Gonzalez (fiction)
A hilarious but all-too-plausible glimpse of a future dominated by the gig economy.

9-5, by Eliza Redwood (poetry)
A short poem about soul-deadening office jobs.

A Twentieth-Century Comedy of Manners, by Old Cutter John (memoir)
An autistic software designer creates an unintentional disturbance in a corporate hierarchy.

Only Strawberries Don’t Have Fathers, by Judy Grahn (fiction)
Released from a psych ward and hired as a gardner, a sensitive soul becomes witness to the evolving relationships within a family of humans and a family of cats.

Stag, by RL Mosswood (fiction)
A depressed man is revitalized by an erotic encounter with the supernatural.

Life on Mars, by B. Allen (memoir)
A childhood suicide attempt leads to a revelation.

Black Dogs, Night Terrors, and Lights in the Sky, by Sean Craven (memoir)
How do you conduct yourself in the world, when your world is full of monsters and weird visitations?

The Trumpet Sounds, by Alexeigynaix (memoir)
How does one make sense of an encounter with a Mystery too big to fit within the bounds of language and rationality?

Vigilance, by Mike Jung (fiction)
An autistic superhero faces a world-destroying cosmic force.

Spacetime Dialectic, by N.I. Nicholson (poetry)
When you look in the mirror and catch a glimpse of an alternate version of yourself looking back at you, it can lead to some interesting dialogue.

Kill Your Darlings, by Verity Reynolds (fiction)
An alien secret agent, stalking a historical figure in an alternate timeline, learns that her mission has some unforseen complications.

B3: Or, How an Autistic Fixation from the Past Blew the Lid Off My Future, by Andee Joyce (memoir)
A fascination with an old Top 40 song sparks a life-changing creative awakening.

Who Is Allowed? by Alyssa Hillary (poetry)
Being autistic in academia means navigating a system that’s determined to exclude you.

Unworldly Love, by Steve Silberman (memoir)
A gay writer’s memoir of sexual awakening.

The New World, by Melanie Bell (fiction)
In a utopian culture of scholars without gender or sexuality, the gender and sexuality of outsiders becomes a controversial topic of study.

Heat Producing Entities, by Dora M. Raymaker (fiction)
Two young thieves from very different backgrounds have to figure out how to deal with each other when they both go after the same item.

Space Pirate Stowaway, by Andrew M. Reichart (fiction)
A powerful being trapped in the form of a cat stows away on a pirate ship that travels between universes — but there’s something else on board that’s far more dangerous.

The Scrape of Tooth on Bone, by Ada Hoffmann (fiction)
A timid lesbian robot mechanic who can channel the spirits of the dead gets caught up in the deadly intrigues of rival paleontologists.

Waiting for the Zeppelins, by Nick Walker (fiction)
Agent Smiley of the Reality Patrol finds himself in dire peril when his plan to stop Sigmund Freud from destroying London goes awry.

You can order Spoon Knife 3 direct from Autonomous Press, or from Amazon, or through your local bookstore.

 

Call for Submissions: Spoon Knife 4

The Basics

Autonomous Press seeks submissions of poetry, short fiction, and short memoir pieces for an upcoming anthology, Spoon Knife 4: A Neurodivergent Guide to Spacetime.

Scheduled for publication in Spring 2019, this fourth volume of the Spoon Knife Anthology series follows The Spoon Knife Anthology: Tales of Compliance, Defiance, and Resistance (Spring 2016), Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber (Spring 2017), and Spoon Knife 3: Incursions (Spring 2018).

Deadline for submissions is November 30, 2018.

What We’re Looking For

As people, we’re drawn to both telling stories and listening to the stories of others. Navigating life can be joyous, frustrating, frightening, sorrowful, and complex. Among all these realities we usually find one truth that always remains: the unknown. And what do we do when confronted with the unknown? We might fear it, try to avoid it entirely, or charge towards it with aplomb or gusto.

Speculative fiction has long dealt with themes surrounding the unknown. Sci-fi and fantasy themes have allowed their creators to conceptualize how space and time can exist, merge, warp, or even disappear in strange and terrifying ways. How in the hell do you map a black hole? Can you really kill your own grandfather? And what happens if your past self travels forward and meets the present iteration of you? What do past, present, and future even mean?

Those are just a few thoughts, but we’re basically looking for work that examines and explores two fundamental ideas: time and space. Moreover, we want work that engages with themes of neurodivergence, queerness, and/or the intersections of neurodivergence and queerness. These might include, but are not limited to, themes such as:

  • Travel through time and space via technological methods (vortex manipulators, star ships, big blue boxes, etc.)
  • Involuntary acts of time travel through PTSD-related mental/emotional trauma
  • Deliberately journeying/revisiting through memories in one’s own timeline
  • “Slipping” through time and/or space via astral projection, quantum jumping, or other non-tech means (such as in Octavia Butler’s Kindred)
  • Outcomes and consequences of changing past events
  • Meeting one’s past/future selves

The Editor

Spoon Knife 4: A Neurodivergent Guide to Spacetime will be edited by N.I. Nicholson.

N.I. Nicholson is collectively four cats in a human suit, as well as a legal and pen name under which members of the Teselecta Multiverse publish poetry, creative nonfiction, and essays. Nicholson’s work has appeared in publications such as GTK Creative Journal, Alphanumeric, and Assaracus. Editorial work includes collaborating with V.E. Maday to produce Barking Sycamores, a journal for neurodivergent literature, and bringing transformative works to print on Autonomous Press’ NeuroQueer Books imprint. Stay tuned for Nicholson’s first full length poetry collection, Time Travel in a Closet.

Format and Length

Fiction and Memoir: We’re looking 10,000 words or less of fully-polished prose, submitted in standard manuscript format (title page with contact info, double-spaced Times New Roman 12-point font, pages numbered with either title or author’s name in the header.)

Poetry: You may submit up 5 pieces of any length and style, provided they fit the theme of this collection.

All submissions must be in a Word-compatible format (.doc, .docx, .odt).

When and How to Submit

Submissions are now open. Please submit your work no later than Friday November 30, 2018.

Authors will be notified of their acceptance or rejection around the end of the year.

Payment for accepted submissions will be 1 cent per word, to be sent by check during the first quarter of 2019.

Email all submissions to ian@autpress.com.

When submitting your work, please put in the subject line one of the following:

  • “Spoon Knife 4 Submission – Fiction”
  • “Spoon Knife 4 Submission – Memoir”
  • “Spoon Knife 4 Submission – Poetry”

Also, please include a cover letter that clearly specifies the name under which you want to be credited, along with a 3-4 sentence bio written in the third person. The name and bio should be typed exactly as you want them to appear in the book.

Gujareeh, from the cover of The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

Need Pointers on Worldbuilding? Here’s Some Advice From N.K. Jemisin

[Featured image: The city of Gujareeh, from the cover of The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin]

Whether you’re writing a single novel or you’re constructing an expansive science fiction or fantasy epic contained in several volumes, you’re engaging in worldbuilding of some kind. Lacking a well-developed culture doesn’t just rob your weird fiction of strong settings in which it can unfold. Storytelling doesn’t just rely on plot, but also requires multidimensional characters and settings to create a self-contained universe for your narratives. We’re happy to review some sage advice about worldbuilding from award-winning author N.K. Jemisin, whom you remember we discussed in our Black sci-fi authors roundup this past November.

Immersing Readers in Your Fictional World

In a 2015 Writer’s Digest Online Workshop presentation, Jemisin addressed the common adage that only 10% of your worldbuilding should be apparent in your writing with the remaining 90% beneath the surface like an iceberg. She challenges that assertion when it comes to creating settings in your weird fiction, suggesting that it promotes the view of the “hidden” 90% as scary.

Moreover, she reveals that this “rule” can be skillfully broken and leaves us with sound advice for immersing readers into our fictional worlds. She proposes an “immersion pyramid” with three levels of absorption into your novel’s native culture:

  • High immersion, in which the world’s bizarre qualities are conveyed via context as opposed to direct explanations in the narrative
  • Moderate immersion, which includes occasional breaks for the narrator to explain aspects of the culture
  • Low immersion, in which the narrator frequently stops to explain details about your fictional world

She cautions weird fiction writers that deciding on an appropriate level of immersion can be tricky, since each person needs to strike a balance that keeps readers invested in their stories. Her own advice is to increase the level of immersion as the amount of difference between the “primary world” (the world most of us live in) and your distinctive fictional secondary world increases.

Don’t “Reinvent the Wheel”

Jemisin is herself a master when it comes to creating original and unique universes, but what’s notable is that she repeatedly defies the usual trope of making magical and supernatural worlds based on medieval northern Europe. Her first series of weird fiction novels, The Inheritance Trilogy, depicts a realm in which gods and mortals frequently intermingle within a collection of multicultural societies that regard race and social ranking as important. Bustle writer Charlotte Ahlin cites Gujaareh from Jemisin’s The Killing Moon as one example of a non-European fantasy world in a 2016 article, noting that it was roughly based on ancient Egypt and calling it “a complex and multi-cultural desert society.”

Jemisin also pointed to a “fear of worldbuilding” in her workshop, citing it as one possible reason why many fantasy realms tend to be based on medieval northern Europe. Writers of weird fiction set in distant-future societies may want to take a hard look at the cultures they create as well and consider building distinctive alternatives of their own, avoiding the trap of borrowing heavily from space navy-style tropes such as what’s present in Star Trek and similar works. Of course, if you’re going to borrow, you may choose to go the path of clever subversion — but that’s for another post.

Infrastructure, Environment, and Culture Support Your Story

We already know that setting is a critical component of crafting literature, but Jemisin calls attention to how your speculative fictional worlds impact your plot and characters. In her workshop, she mentions that inhabitants of your imaginary cultures will adapt to the climate, land, water, flora, and fauna present in their environments. Io9 writer Charlie Jane Anders supports Jemisin’s arguments by listing a lack of consideration about basic infrastructure and failing to account for how unusual technology or magic affects a society as just a couple of her “7 deadly sins” of worldbuilding.

Furthermore, Jemisin’s own Broken Earth novels prove these points abundantly. Stillness is wracked with daily deadly earthquakes and other destructive climate events. Without this setting, there would be no need for the series’ orogenes, the class of individuals with seemingly magical abilities who can control these forces. So the Stillness’ inhabitants fear of orogenes, thanks to their fantastic powers that can both heal and destroy, is no surprise.

AutPress Loves Weird, Wonderful Fiction

We’ve discussed some of the major points that Jemisin makes, but her full Worldbuilding 101 workshop outline is available on her own blog for your own reading. As you’re writing, don’t forget to feed your need to read. Check out the AutPress store for great suggestions like Verity Reynolds’ debut novel Nantais and Ada Hoffman’s collection, Monsters in My Mind.

 

 

Author 101 Part 4

Author Marketing 101, Part 4: Tools for Promoting Your Book

In Part 3, we talked about the who and why of promoting your first book. In Part 4, we’re going to talk about the what and how.

No one author marketing plan fits every author or book. The audience you want to reach and how you want to engage with them, based on your own personality and preferences, are unique to each author. This means that, to make your marketing both effective and enjoyable for you, you’ll want to choose a mix of tools that you enjoy working with.

Popular options include:

1. Web-Based Approaches

Every author should have a basic web presence as a part of promoting their first book, whether it’s an Amazon or Goodreads author page, a Facebook page, or a simple website bio. Curious readers are likely to look you up online, so make sure they can find you (and find how to buy your book) when they do.

Some authors, however, go much further. Regular blogging can help you build a community. Many authors love Twitter for its fast-paced, constant-conversation approach. Several authors even create their own podcasts or YouTube channels in order to connect in a more personalized fashion.

2. Meet and Greet

Before the Internet, book promotion was much more personal. Today, it still is – or it can be. If you prefer meeting people in the real world, consider:

  • Book launch parties or signing events
  • Giving readings
  • Hosting a writing workshop
  • Guest-teaching in a school or college classroom
  • Pop-up events or performance art

Think about the audience you’ve envisioned for your book when deciding when, where, and how to reach out to potential readers in person.

Added Bonus: Monetizing Your Marketing

An added bonus of either of the two approaches above: they can often be used to make money on their own, in addition to promoting your first book.

For example, blogs can be monetized through ads or product promotions, or you can encourage donations to your work through tools like Ko-Fi and Patreon. Give enough presentations on writing, and pretty soon you’ll be able to charge a fee for your presence – or at least be able to ask the venue to cover transportation and expenses.

Monetizing your promotion is part of becoming a professional author, not merely a writer. It takes time – but thinking about how to do it in the early stages can help you prepare to seize later opportunities.

Author 101 Part 3

Author Marketing 101, Part 3: Before You Create an Author Marketing Plan

Nearly anything you do to share your book with potential readers counts as “marketing.” To use your time and energy best, however, it’s good to have some kind of author marketing plan. Your plan will help you stay on task and focus your efforts where they’ll offer the biggest return.

If the words “marketing plan” make you want to quit writing altogether, don’t worry. Creating a plan isn’t as tough as it sounds, and we’ll cover what needs to go into your strategy in the next few weeks.

Today, we’re going to talk about the pre-planning stages. Before you start deciding what and how to promote your book, sit down with your writing tools of choice and answer these questions:

1. Who’s your audience?

Who will like or appreciate your book the most? What do they like to read, watch, or listen to? Your audience’s interests will guide nearly every aspect of your author marketing plan, so it pays to understand what inspires them.

Aim for a list of 3-5 broad groups or categories of people who would appreciate your book. For instance, if you’ve written some neurodivergent sci-fi, your list will include “sci-fi fans” and “neurodivergent readers,” but it might also include “fans of lgbt fiction,” “fantasy fans,” or even “young adults.”

2. What makes your book worth reading?

Write several one-sentence descriptions of your book that would make you want to read it, even if you had never heard of it before. Keep working until you have 3-5 descriptions you like.

This exercise helps you see your book from the perspective of a reader. It helps you zero in on what’s most compelling about your book and what sets it apart. And it generates ideas that can form the basis of your book blurb, author bio, or other author marketing plan elements.

3. Who are you?

Finally: What makes you, the author, worth getting to know? What are your best qualities? What do you love sharing with other people?

Many readers these days are less interested in books than they are in following authors – and many authors capitalize on this fact by building strong social media or in-person followings. Build your own strengths into your plan so that marketing becomes something you enjoy doing, not something you have to do.

Author Marketing 101 Part 2

Author Marketing 101, Part 2: Three Well-Known Authors Who Do Their Own Author Marketing

Both first time writers and established authors like to dream of a world where we don’t have to do our own marketing. We’d all love to do nothing but write, mail the occasional manuscript to our editor, and watch the accolades (and the royalty checks) roll in. In our dream world, publishers market writers; we just write.

Here in reality, many publishers do promote their own writers. The Big Five do it with big budgets; independent publishers like AutPress do it more strategically. But every author, large or small, promotes their own book – at least if they want it to sell.

Here are three writers you’ve probably heard of who are engaged in their own marketing:

1. J.K. Rowling

Rowling’s publishers have plenty of money to support her marketing efforts, which is how Rowling produces lush interactive websites like Pottermore instead of your average author blog. But Rowling is also active on Twitter, where she’s as well known for her political wit as she is for talking books.

2. Stephen King

Stephen King has produced approximately one book a year since the 1970s; Google’s answer to “How many Stephen King books are there?” is “At least 107.” There’s no doubt that King works with a publisher that promotes its own writers.

But King promotes his own work as well. He’s active on Twitter and still does public appearances. He also promotes his books by writing more books: On Writing, published in 2000 (and released again in 2010) encourages new readers to pick up King’s books by offering a bit of insight into how they were written.

3. N.K. Jemisin

Yet another writer who loves Twitter, N.K. Jemisin uses the platform to connect with other writers, share publishing news, and tweet images of her adorable cat, in between writing bestselling books. Jemisin has also leveraged Patreon’s creative platform, where the support of her patrons has put her well over her original monthly income goals.

To give your own book its best chance to be read and loved, it’s important to choose a publisher that promotes its own authors. But it’s even more important to choose your own promotion approach. No matter how famous your book becomes, you’ll need to market your own work.

Author 101 featured image

Author Marketing 101, Part 1: Why Every Author Needs to Do Their Own Marketing

Very few writers daydream about becoming their own marketing point person. On the list of exciting things that might happen after you complete your manuscript, “author marketing” might rank near the bottom.

In order to succeed, though, you need to do what every successful author does: take the lead on your own marketing.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to show you how to do just that. First, though, we’re going to answer a burning question: Why do you need to promote your own book?

1. No one knows your book like you do.

You’ve lived with the world of your book for months or even years. You understand what’s going on, why it exists, and how it operates. While a professional promoter or your publisher can help you place promotional materials in front of the right audiences, the most compelling promotions are going to come from you.

2. People like to put their money where their friendships are.

“Author marketing” isn’t just about an author promoting their own book (although that’s a lot of it). It’s also about promoting yourself: as an author, as a source of fun and creative ideas, and as a person.

About 350,000 books get published each year in the U.S. alone. Most of us only hear about a fraction of them, but we definitely hear about the ones our friends and acquaintances write. By building a strong following, you expand your “friends and acquaintances” circle – thus expanding the circle of people who will line up to buy your book.

3. Promoting your book will make you a better writer.

Try this writing exercise: Imagine someone else wrote your book. Generate 3-5 one-sentence descriptions of it that would make you pick it up and read it.

Not easy, right? But a lot of fun. Marketing your book gives you a different perspective on the work. It demands that you write in different ways. And in doing so, it sharpens your own writing skills.

If author marketing feels like a total mystery, don’t fret. As a publisher who markets our writers and teaches them to market themselves, we’re going to break down the details for you over the next several weeks. Stay tuned!

AutPress- Bookshelf

First-Time Writers: AutPress Wants You!

If you’re an emerging author, you know how challenging it can be to break into print. In a market flooded with both conventional and indie publishers, how can first-time writers even get noticed? Probably the most frustrating part of your endeavors is building a track record that convinces publishers to even open and look at, much less touch your work. This prospect can be even tougher if you’re transgender, neurodivergent, queer, disabled, a person of color or part of any group that’s typically marginalized by the mainstream. These challenges, plus the rich untapped potential of new perspectives and untold stories, is why Autonomous Press exists. At AutPress, we’re here to help new writers realize their goal of getting their best work into the world.

Emerging Writers in Our Anthologies

Both the Spoon Knife and Barking Sycamores series include work from first-time writers and other new voices. For instance, we were honored to include poetry by Marcel Price, a Michigan spoken word artist performing and writing as Fable the Poet, in our first Spoon Knife anthology released in 2016. Later that year, we released his chapbook Adrift in a Sea of M&Ms. It’s a collection that “shine[s] a light on anyone who has ever felt like an outsider,” as poet and critic Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib eloquently states. Price’s work is not only imbued with incredible structure and rhythm, but it’s a vehicle to bring issues of race and mental health to light.

Indeed, Price is one of many first-time writers in each anthology who also come from a huge range of lived experiences and backgrounds, including neurodivergent, queer, transgender, mad, disabled, racialized, and currently or formerly homeless individuals. Every volume of Spoon Knife and Barking Sycamores is also available as a digital anthology, so enjoying each exciting collection is as easy as purchasing it from the AutPress store.

More Books in Store From New Writers

We’ve got more titles in the works for early 2018, but we wanted to quickly mention one of our fall releases before we sign off. On deck we’ve got Nantais, a science fiction novel by emerging author Verity Reynolds that features an engaging web of mysteries demanding to be solved before a child, a starship, and an entire alien species are lost forever. Want to know more? Stay tuned to this blog, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep posted.

AutPress- For Writers

AutPress: Where Writers Get Paid for Their Work

If you’ve ever searched for mainstream or indie publishers that are also paying outlets for writers, you already know how difficult it can be to receive fair compensation for the labor and creative efforts you’ve put into crafting your fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, memoir, or nonfiction pieces. At Autonomous Press, we’re not only changing the game by the books that we offer to our readership, but also by what we offer to our authors. With a business model that’s drastically different than other publishing houses, we set ourselves apart from the rest of the industry.

How Is AutPress Different From the Rest?

 There’s one major difference between AutPress and other indie publishers that we’d like to call attention to straightaway: One of our central focuses is on compensating writers. It’s part of our total plan to revolutionize publishing, which also includes uplifting marginalized voices that are underrepresented in mainstream media. We want work that pushes boundaries and ventures outside conventional genre norms. In short, we’re looking for unique, untold stories that demand an audience, along with storytellers willing to craft them into self-contained universes and receive royalties for doing so.

How’s that for a fancy way to say, “Get paid for writing fiction”?

Speaking of Writing Fiction….

 Fiction’s not the only type of work we want from aspiring writers seeking indie publishers, but you’re going to see a lot of it released by AutPress in the coming months. On deck for our extravaganza of deliciously weird fiction this autumn we’ve got Verity Reynolds’ sci-fi novel Nantais that’s packed with a rogue computer virus, a search for a missing child and an interstellar plaque that could wipe out an entire alien species. Coming up we’ve also got Hoshi and the Red City Circuit, a science fiction novel by Dora Raymaker, and Monsters in My Mind, a mind-bending collection of fiction and poetry by Ada Hoffman. Keep an eye out for these titles in the AutPress store.

Come Join Our Revolution, Comrades

You’ve now seen three reasons why we’re unlike any other indie publishers in existence. We not only center the voices or marginalized people but we also pay them for their work. Moreover, we love material that’s engaging, innovative, weird and just plain fun to read. That’s a major departure from many media and publishing companies, and we’re glad to be a standout from the pack.

stack of blue hardcover books

4 Things You Can Do to Help Your Favorite Author Succeed

Following a favorite writer can be hard on a fan. Often, it’s years between books, and even when a writer is as prolific as possible, it can be hard to find people to connect with unless there’s already a broad base of fans. That means your favorite funky sci-fi series might just have to be enjoyed in solitude. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to connect your favorite authors to your social media following. There are also a couple of great ways you can help promote a writer’s work so that more people will see it. None of them take very long, and when fans get active about promoting the books they love, it provides opportunities and leads to others who are looking for their next great read.

Since publishing companies base their release schedules and their future book contract offers on the sales of individual books, promoting your favorite writer isn’t just a way to share the love. It’s also one of the best ways to make sure the author will be able to continue doing good work. Here are four things we encourage every Autonomous Press fan to do when they want to help encourage our authors.

1. Review the Book

You don’t need to be a professional writer to put together a review for your favorite book. In fact, you don’t have to write more than a sentence if you don’t want to. Doing something as simple as going to the Amazon page for a book you love and leaving a four or five star review with a statement like “This book changed my life and made me a fan of all this author’s work” is enough. See, the major bookselling sites like Amazon recommend books based on past readers, reviewer social networks, and the number of reviews it has received. Whenever you leave a review, it helps those numbers.

If you want to go a little farther, leaving three or four paragraphs will let you show people why they should love the book. Make sure you give a brief summary of the plot, compare it to one or two other similar works, and provide clear explanations for the things you like about the book. If you do that, then you will be able to sway readers who might be on the fence. You will also be able to get more traction out of your review, because on top of being great for Amazon, it will also be a great fit for book loving social networks like Goodreads.

If you blog at all, then you might want to consider posting a blog about the book. If you do, make sure you link to the writer’s page and to a place where people can buy the book. This does a few things:

  • It helps your review show up when people search for the writer or places to buy the book
  • It helps the writer find your review for their own promotional purposes
  • You provide the book wider traction on search sites by making sure it is mentioned on more websites

2. Suggest the Book to Other Reviewers

OK, so you might have a book blog or a Goodreads account, but chances are that unless you’re a journalist or an aspiring author yourself, you probably don’t have access to a large platform for your reviews. That’s OK, though. You can suggest books to reviewers with larger platforms than yourself, too. Sometimes they will post threads on their venues asking for suggestions, and that is your opportunity to get in there and make a suggestion. It can also be helpful to drop notes or link to your review in the comments of related books. For example, if you follow a reviewer and they cover something similar to your fave’s books, you can always drop a comment suggesting your favorite to people who also enjoyed that book.

3. Nominate Your Favorite to Your Book Clubs

The fastest way to get ten or twelve new fans of a book to talk to is to get that book picked up in your local book clubs. Whether you gather in a friend’s living room to exchange notes on favorites or your club is larger and more organized, it helps to make sure you can spread the word and it gives you the chance to really talk about what you loved in detail. If you have the reach and the support to turn this into a larger-scale reading event like a community read-along, then that’s even better.

4. Buy Copies as Gifts for Friends

Last but not least, if you have people in your life you want to share a book with, it’s important to put copies into their hands. This is most easily done by gifting out copies to anyone you want to encourage to read the book. It also helps you figure out what to get people when you have a gifting opportunity for people you don’t know that well. Nothing works better for a Secret Santa present than a great book, too.

When you go all-out to make sure people know about the books you love, it helps build community around them in ways that are important for both readers and authors. Make sure you are taking the time out to encourage writers by gifting your favorite books. You can also help people find new writers by giving them books that their favorite writers are in–for example, if you know someone who loves Michael Scott Monje Jr.’s Shaping Clay series, you might want to get them The Spoon Knife Anthology to help them explore similar writers, or even Spoon Knife 2, the anthology where “Michael” is revealed to be Athena Lynn Michaels-Dillon, one of our founding partners.