I’m often asked what my next book will be about. I smile and say I have a couple of ideas. Which is true.

It’s also true that being an author is not the route to becoming wealthy except for a handful of people. It doesn’t matter if you go the indie route or a publishing company.

That’s why I haven’t started the next book. The bills are getting paid with my freelance and massage work. In other words, the book writing is extra work after everything else is done. And that’s fine. It’s my choice. It’s not a complaint.

What would make things easier is if I had more book sales. That goes for all authors. So, I have a couple ideas for how you can help every author that you know. And this goes for ones you don’t know, but like and want to support.

Write reviews—and make sure they are 5-star reviews. Reviews help drive sales. They influence other readers. In fact, write those reviews for people who are selling anything. It helps them, too.

Cut and paste what you wrote and put it on every applicable site—Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and every other place you can think of.

Sleeping With Strangers BookThose negative reviews you like to write. Stop. Or at least stop and think before you hit post. Maybe a call or email directly to the person or business would be more effective than public condemnation. This is true for opinions about books, restaurants, and other purchases.

There are snarky people out there who want to hurt those of us selling products online. The day my latest book (Sleeping with Strangers: An Airbnb Host’s Life in Lake Tahoe and Mexico) was available on Amazon—so before anyone actually had the book in hand—someone left a 1-star rating. No words accompanied the rating, so no actual review. I’m guessing it was from someone who doesn’t like me. (Still plenty of those people in Tahoe. Such are the hazards of being an honest journalist.) Nonetheless, it drags down my overall rating.

If someone really thinks the book is worthy of only 1 star, that would be different. After all, when I was in a book club I gave a book all zeros. So, I understand not everyone is going to like every book. But I didn’t post my thoughts online. I understand the work involved to write a book and applaud anyone who does so.

Speaking of book clubs, that’s another way to help authors. Choose your friends’ books. Or maybe once a year choose a local author.

Last year a book club in Todos Santos, Mexico, read Sleeping with Strangers and then I was able to be the guest author. This was so much fun for all of us.

A club in Chico is reading the book this month. I know because I hand delivered the books. I’m hoping other clubs are reading it, too.

If I can’t attend in person, I could do so via Zoom if you wanted. It never hurts to ask any author to be an integral part of your book club.

Oh, and it comes to sharing books. Well, I understand that helps you financially, but it does nothing for the author. Sorry, just had to put that out there.

The most important thing is to keep reading books. Support authors. Support bookstores.

The irony in writing the last sentence is that sales through bookstores is where I make the least amount of money, unless I’ve supplied the store with the books. But they are who I want to support. A society without bookstores, well, that is a depressing thought.

So, after you buy your next book at your local bookstore, go write a 5-star review about the store and then another 5-star review about the book.

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