(All Hail) Creation

The Poor Person’s Guide to Helping Your Favourite Authors

About a year ago I wrote a post about how you can help creators make money, without spending any of your own. I got to invent a character called Jiminy Snicket to use in examples, so I count it as a success regardless of the quality of the advice. I thought I’d do an updated post with authors in mind specifically, since that is my area of interest these days. Let’s say that our friend Jiminy Snicket, a year on, is a published author. It’s probably a poetry anthology, and they’ve probably illustrated it themselves…

Request their book from your local library

If it’s already available, borrow it. In the UK, authors can earn revenue when readers borrow their books from libraries. If Jiminy’s book isn’t in the catalogue, suggest the library purchases it. I do it all the time (not for my work. That would be embarrassing. I tend to request obscure YA novels and Nabokov. You guys can request my obscure YA novels for me. I’m not that desperate yet).

Engage with social media posts

This was on my original post, and still applies! Comments, shares and tagging-your-mates is good for feeding the Algorithm Gods and is also quite a nice mood boost for whoever’s running the social media account. Posting to the socials, especially when you have to do a certain number of promotional posts, can get repetitive and a little bit depressing. How many ways can you say ‘hey I’ve got a book out’ without boring your audience senseless? It’s hard to tell when the algorithm means that each follower might only see one of your posts every six months. Anyway. Put that screen time to good use! Engage with the social media channels for Jiminy’s publisher as well, if they have one, so the marketing team know that this is an author making waves in the, um, poetry anthology world.

Send work to friends who aren’t on the same channels as the creator

This still applies as well! Most authors have a presence on most platforms (Twitter, Insta and Facebook still seem to be the big ones), but not every reader has an account on those same platforms. Some people are even… deleting their social media in favour of doing something else.

Jerry from 'Tom and Jerry', eating an entire block of cheese
from Giphy

Also I’m told that The Youth are all on TikTok?

Gif of Jonny Rose saying 'Hash tag. Is that two words?'
from Giphy

By the way, if anyone wants to do some TikTok posts with my work, I’d appreciate it. I’m too old busy for another social media platform.

Anyway, yeah, word of mouth is still very much the name of the game with book sharing, whether the mouths are online or offline. Continuing with that:

Add their book to your wish lists or to-read lists

Most online retailers have an option to add a product to your wish list. Add Jiminy’s book to yours! According to a very quick search which I can’t link because writing this post took about two months: to-buy lists and reviews don’t impact a book’s ranking on Amazon (only sales will). But social sites, like Goodreads, suggest books to users based on what they have ‘shelved’ or what they have previously reviewed. So if you’ve read or want to read Jiminy’s anthology, add it to a list and it may be suggested to people who have read similar work.

All right, there we have it. Four easy peasy ways to do a good turn for the authors in your life! Truly I am a fountain of knowledge. I’m also off to watch the Olympics, so I will see you in the next one!

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Art · Books · DISCUSS. · Halloween

This is a story about tarot decks and YA novels.

This evening I bought two sets of tarot cards. Officially it’s because I’m going to a Halloween party at the weekend. Unofficially, I feel really guilty about a small amount of book piracy in 2015.

Officially, I need tarot cards for my costume. I don’t, really, but the dress and shawl I bought in a charity shop are actually just a regular dress and shawl, so I feel like I might accidentally just look like an eccentric  if I don’t bring props. I left it way too late to buy anything fancy – and it’s a house party, not a seance – but I probably could’ve just bought a used deck off eBay or Depop. Instead, because I’ve been meaning to learn more about the tarot for ages, I trawled Etsy and Folksy and eBay and Depop looking for a deck with I genuinely like. No faux realistic graphics. Nothing with too many cats. No pictures of ethereal nymphs wearing gauze.

I found this cute major arcana deck on Etsy with incredibly sweet coffin-shaped cards, but the processing time is up to two weeks! So I bought it anyway because I wanted to support an indie artist (and because incredibly sweet coffin-shaped art, it turns out, is totally not an oxymoron). But I was still thinking, you can’t just dress as an eccentric, Francesca. You already are an eccentric, Francesca. So I trawled for decks with one-day shipping. They were all ethereal nymphs! Or quite expensive given this is a house party not a seance.

Then I remembered that in 2015, I bootlegged a copy of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Dream Thieves. If you’re new here, Maggie’s Raven Cycle series, in which The Dream Thieves features, is my favourite book series. I’m trying to be kinder to myself when considering past actions, so I am going to reflect upon my reading of a pirated copy-and-paste edition of TDT as a minor moral misstep during a time in which a fictional world brought me great comfort. Also, my library was taking forever to get its copy in.

I knew it was a shitty thing to do though. Then I bought a couple of Maggie’s books used off Amazon, that tax paying, small business supporting gem. Have I mentioned I’m now an indie author.

I’ve since atoned for my sins: I have a print from Maggie’s official store on my wall; at least three of the Maggie books on my shelf were purchased from a bricks-and-mortar shop; I’ve bought copies of her work for family; my YALC ticket that time was absolutely not scalped unlike My Chemical Romance tickets 9 years ago but that’s for another day; her next novel is pre-ordered at my nearest Waterstones.

But my grandmother was Catholic, so every time I see her post about book piracy and The Raven Cycle, I feel completely responsible.

So when I was considering one-day shipping and a costume prop I will realistically be too drunk to focus on, I got Maggie’s Raven Prophecy deck from Waterstones. Express shipping straight to the front door.

cover of Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Prophecy tarot deck

Officially, I’m a professional indie creator and a little bit into karma. I can’t ask people to buy creepy cute art from my Etsy shop if I don’t get my own coffin-shaped tarot decks on Etsy; I can’t ask people to buy my weird magic YA novel instead of moaning about why it’s not already on Amazon if I don’t buy weird magic YA novels somewhere that isn’t Amazon. Or, in this case, buy the tarot card-companion to the weird magic YA novel. And really, if we’re being spiritual, the whole reason I have a vague interest in the tarot is The Raven Cycle, so this is quite… cyclical.

I’ve just now realised I don’t have a tarot guide. I have no idea how to read the multiple decks I’m expecting in the next one-to-fourteen working days. Good thing I’ll be three sheets to the wind for most of this party, then!

Did I ever tell you guys about the time I had my tarot read in Thailand? I can’t remember if I ever wrote about it. I can’t remember much of the reading, to be honest, except that I think I was supposed to get married at 24 or 26. It was dark, though, so maybe she interpreted marriage when she should have interpreted huge professional success. Or the desire to drive on motorways. Not sure how specific these things get.

If either of these decks actually turn up by Saturday evening, I’ll post pictures of them with my costume. I’ve bought a lace scarf and gloves off Depop that was originally for an ’80s night… I’m starting to think I’m just going to look like one of the Shelbys.

Update: I did in fact look like one of the Shelbys. I’ve put multiple card/costume photos here.

9 Raven's Prophecy tarot cards with a hand

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