Cory Doctorow : How to support a writer’s career
Je pourrais dire la même chose pour le soutien aux éditeurs indépendants. Une série de règles d’usage qui sont essentiels dans le monde très concurrentiel du livre.
Since the earliest days of my novel-writing career, readers have written
to me to thank me for my books and to ask how they can best support me
and other writers whose work they enjoy. Nearly 15 years later, I have a
pretty comprehensive answer for them!
Writers’ commercial and critical fortunes are intertwined: a writer
whose books perform well is a writer whose publisher buys and promotes
more books from them, creating a virtuous cycle, as promotions beget
more sales and more promotions.
The most important time to support a writer is just after their latest
book comes out — my novel, Walkaway, is in its first week of
publication — because that is the make-or-break moment for that book,
and, conceivably, for its writer.
Books that perform well in their first weeks become bestsellers.
Bestsellers are more likely to be reviewed by major outlets, they are
ordered in larger quantities by booksellers (a bookseller who takes five
or more copies of a book will very likely place that book face-out in a
new releases section and/or on a table at the front of the store). They
are given close attention by collections-development staff in libraries,
and are snapped up for translations by foreign publishers. They are read
by production staffers for TV and movie studios. They renew interest in
the author’s backlist, too.
Contrariwise, books that flop go into a death-spiral. They are returned
by booksellers, their sales-figures are used to justify a smaller
advance for the next book (and less promotions budget), and booksellers
order fewer copies of the author’s next book. In really dire situations,
a badly performing book can kill a writer’s career.
Thankfully, Walkaway looks to be on course to be a bestseller, judging
from early numbers and indicators. You readers have helped me in
innumerable ways to make this happen and I am very, very grateful to you
for it. Here are ways that you can continue to support Walkaway, my
career, and future books from me:
1. Buy Walkaway or check it out of the library. Either one sends a
strong signal to my publisher, to reviewers, to foreign publishers and
to the industry. This is the most important thing you can do.
2. Review the book and tell your friends. Put your recommendation in
your social media, in an online bookseller’s page, on Goodreads. There
is literally nothing that sells books better than personal
recommendations. This is the second-most important thing you can do.
3. Buy Walkaway from an indie bookseller. The independent booksellers
are the best friends authors can have. They support our tours, hand-sell
our books, write shelf-reviews and talk the book up to other bookish
people. I am visiting 30+ indie bookstores on my tour and leaving signed
copies in my wake — any of the stores I’ve visited will be glad to send
you one by mail-order (and you can always call a store with an upcoming
event to request a personalized, inscribed copy). Indie bookstores are
experiencing a renaissance and your custom gives them the stability they
need to continue.
4. Come out for the tour! I’m in Chicago tonight at Volumes Bookcafe,
with Max Temkin from Cards Against Humanity. Bring along your old books
to sign, but buy the new one from the store that’s hosting the event, to
help them recoup the cost of extra staff, promo, etc. Coming to a tour
stop tells bookstores that you value their place in your community and
encourages them to continue bringing authors in.
5. Buy a fair-trade ebook. I just launched the first-ever fair-trade
ebook store. I am a retailer for my own ebooks and audiobooks, selling
on behalf of my publishers worldwide. Buying direct from me doubles my
royalties, and the book you get not only has no DRM, but it also comes
without any kind of license agreement, and it is the only way to buy
ebooks from a major publisher without having to sign away your legal
rights in the bargain. Buying a book this way tells publishers and the
industry that fair compensation for authors and fair legal bargain
matter to you.
6. Buy the audiobook. The Walkaway audiobook is amazing, read by Wil
Wheaton, Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Amanda Palmer (The
Dresden Dolls), Mirron Willis, Gabrielle de Cuir, Lisa Renee Pitts and
Justine Eyre. I produced it independently and it is without question the
best audio adaptation of any of my work, ever. Of course, it’s DRM-free,
I’ve been on the road for a week now and I’m just hitting my stride.
I’ve met thousands of readers so far on this tour and every meeting has
been a pleasure and an honor. You readers are what make my writing
possible. Thank you so much for your support, I literally would not have
a career without you.