Beliefnet
Your Charmed Life

My husband commented a few days ago: “You’re always weird when you have a book coming out.” This month, I actually have two: Living a Charmed Life: Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every Day is going on sale this very day. In the middle of the May, The Love-Powered Diet: Eating for Freedom, Health, and Joy breaks loose. 

Birthing a book is a little like birthing a baby: it’s a joyful time, but you’re always nervous about everything going right. I guess I’ve been in the nervous phase lately, thus William’s insight into my atypical behavior. I also spent the weekend at the annual conference of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and I see that all of us in this profession are seeming a bit “weird” because of the many changes taking place in journalism and publishing and the way people obtain information. As I spoke with colleagues who are hopeful but cautious about their recent and upcoming books, I wanted to do all I could to help them. And I thought it might be nice to let you know some things you could do to help your favorite authors’ books get a good start in life. Think of it as a shower gift for a bouncing baby book. 
Top Ten Ways to Keep an Author Afloat

  1. Buy the book. I know this sounds obvious, but everybody is watching their budget these days so we have to plan to make purchases. If you’ve enjoyed an author’s previous books, get their new one into your spending plan.
  2. Give it as a gift. This way you’ve both helped out with a sale and introduced this author you enjoy to someone else.
  3. If you believe a book is deserving, write a positive review on Amazon.com or BN.com. 
  4. Attend bookstore signings. Even if you already own the book, or you’ll have to buy it later or get it from the library, just being a living, breathing, supportive person in that audience really helps. 
  5. Blog, tweet, talk, share…However you communicate with people, if you love a book, communicate that to them.
  6. Read the book in public. I’ll never forget how, in my twenties, I got on the bus one morning and Wayne Dyer’s bald head was looking at meet from eight different angles because eight riders were reading his first book, Your Erroneous Zones, which featured (at that time) a photo of the top of his shiny pate on the cover. I bought the book that afternoon.
  7. Teach a class, start a group, suggest it to your book club. If you’re crazy about a book, you can make it your own. When Creating a Charmed Life, the predecessor to Living a Charmed Life, was new, women started “charmed circle” groups all over the country. One, “the Lucky Charms,” met in Washington state for nine years, reading  books in this genre by scores of different writers.
  8. Tell a bookseller. Customer comments mean a lot, especially in the beautiful and stalwart independent bookstores out there. If you love a book the store isn’t carrying, your recommendation is likely to get that changed. 
  9. Contact the author with your ideas. Maybe there is a radio host or a newspaper writer in your area that you know would like to interview a particular author. Chances are, the author doesn’t know that and his/her publisher’s publicist probably doesn’t either. Let us know!
  10. Hold this book and its writer in the Light. People who don’t write books don’t always understand what goes into one. It’s a year or two or more of life—either full-time, or late nights and early mornings and weekends. There’s the conception, the formulation, the convincing of an agent and an editor, the writing and rewriting and tossing out enough text for two other books. Then come the rounds and rounds of edits, the prayers for the right title and the right cover and that some journalist or renewer or TV producer might see this book, in the pile of the dozens that arrived this morning, and hear its message. I know you  have a lot to pray for, but if you love how somebody writes, if someone’s ideas speak to your condition, he or she would appreciate your praying for their latest effort. An author is only as good as the last book. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the quality of the last book, but rather the sales of the last book. If there’s to be a next one, this one has to do well. If you think that’s worth a brief chat with God (or Saint Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers), may I say for my colleagues and myself, thank you. 
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