How to support The Black Hour

At a conference I went to in March, my friend Catriona McPherson carried around her advanced reader copy of The Black Hour all day, cover out.

2014 Left Coast Louise Penny & me

Happy birthday to MEEEEEEE!

It was the single best part of the conference, maybe aside from the photo I had taken with Louise Penny on my birthday, which was also that week.

The advanced reader of The Black Hour had just come out, and it was still five months from publication day—but my book was part of the conference, thanks to a generous friend.

Clare, in front row, wearing a Black Hour shirt on her Malice Domestic panel. A very good friend.

Clare, in front row, wearing a Black Hour shirt on her Malice Domestic panel. A very good friend.

Two months later, my friend Clare O’Donohue offered to wear one of my book t-shirts (designed by another awesome friend, Kim Rader) to a major mystery conference. A woman asked her where Rothbert University was, and Clare had to explain that it was a fake university in her friend’s book. “You are such a good friend,” the woman said. Yes, yes she is.

And so are you.

Yes, this is going to be a post about How You Can Help Me. Sorry. But not just me. All these ideas are transferable, if you have writer friends of any sort.

Little things you can do to help your writer friend launch a book:

1. Yes, of course, buy the book. Pre-order at your local independent, if possible. If you don’t have bookstores near you (real thing), an order also helps other readers find the book.

2. Ask for the book at your local library. Even if you bought it somewhere else, see if you can get it purchased at the library so other people can discover it.

3. Tell people you’re excited about it. If you like to read, you probably know other readers. It’s not a hardship for a reader to hear about a book they might like.

4. Once you’ve read it, tell more people about it. Online reviews really help beginning and midlist authors find more readers.,, and Barnes and Noble online all allow you to post reviews. Write a short review. For bonus points, copy and paste and share it at all sites.

5. Ask for the book at bookstores. Even if you’ve bought it elsewhere, asking for a title reminds bookstore employees that the book exists. Bookstore employees are part of the author’s street team. You are keeping their membership current.

6. Easy: “Like” the author’s Facebook author page. Clicks draw clicks. Comment or leave a message that you liked the book. If you use other social media outlets, engage there as well.

7. Go to a book event. The author will have plenty of these. You don’t have to go to them all, but maybe one? If you haven’t bought the book already, buy the book at an event. It supports the store or organizing group and makes the writer feel like a rock star.

8. Select the book for your book club. You have a pick a book once in a while, so why not a book you’re already going to read? Also your writer friend would probably visit or Skype or send a little swag your way for your club; just ask.


Why NOT books?

9. Give the book as a gift to others. If you know someone who would like the book, make it part of their birthday or holiday gift. You’d be gifting the author as well as the birthday girl/boy.

 10. Carry the book cover out. I mean, if you’re carrying it, carry it cover out. You don’t need to tote it around like a security blanket. Although that would be perfectly welcome, too.

And in the spirit of this post, you should check out Clare and Catriona’s books. Not because I owe them (although I certainly do) but because their books are The Awesome.


In any case, thank you for your enthusiasm, for asking about the book, for your !!!! messages on Facebook, for being a part of this crazy thing.