I’m blessed by a number of friends who write books and a related, intersecting group of friends who enjoy reading books. I love putting them together, primarily on Facebook.
I don’t blindly promo any friend who has a book on sale or an event coming up. I want to ensure that my reading friends will get something fun for them to read. I also want to protect my own credibility as a book recommender. So here are the questions I ask myself before I decide to share a book on my Facebook page or elsewhere.
- Is the author a good writer and is the book clean of errors? Or do I know enough about the press to know that the basics of copyediting and structural issues will be taken care of?
- Have I read enough of the book or the author’s other works to know whether a normal person who enjoys that genre will enjoy it? There are some genres that I don’t enjoy, military SF and horror, for example. But I’ll read my friends’ work to get a sense of their story and writing style to see if I can recommend them. Generally if I don’t like a genre but think the writing is good, I recommend them with a note to the type of reader who will enjoy it. (Example: “If you enjoy military SF, you might enjoy Bill Webb’s latest…”)
- Is the book the latest book from the author? I’m going to recommend the latest and greatest.
- Is there a particular value to the reader? For example, the book is on sale for a short time. Or the author has the latest coming out soon and places the first book in the series on radical sale.
- Am I simply ga-ga for the writer’s other work? If Jim Butcher (Dresden Files), CL Polk (Witchmark), or Mary Robinette Kowal have a new book go on sale, you’re going to hear from me because I’m a true fan. If they need my blood to keep writing the next in the series, I’ll open a vein.
- If it is an event, is it reasonably soon but not too soon? The sweet spot for me is about a month out to mention a book signing or other event.
- Is the event near me or my family (Memphis, TN or Denver, CO)? If not, there is no point in telling people about that event.
- Is it easy to figure out where the event is being held? If I can’t figure out where the event is, I’m not going to share it.
- Is it reasonably easy to find the link to further information that I can share? If I have to search for more than a few minutes for a link, I’m not going to share it. Life is short.