How to Help a Novelist

The Shards of Heaven

The Shards of Heaven

My novel The Shards of Heaven is coming out on November 17, and for many reasons I really want it to do well. A number of you have generously asked what you can do to help toward that end, so I thought an official blog post on the matter might be in order.

How to Help a Novelist: Three Simple Steps


1. Order the book.

I want to write more books, and that means I need publishers who want to buy them. And that means sales. Because unless I win a Nobel prize for literature with my historical fantasy about the rise of Augustus Caesar and the Trident of Poseidon — fingers crossed! — the publishers are going to make their decisions based on numbers in ledgers. So nothing could help me more than you purchasing the book.

Where should you buy it? In general, wherever you want. Whether you buy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local independent bookseller, it still ultimately goes down as a sale, and that’s the Most Important Thing. (And, as an added bonus, encouraging your local library to also buy it is a gift that keeps giving!)

When should you buy it? Well, whenever your finances and interests allow you to do so. But if all such things are equal, I would very much encourage you to pre-order the book. Doing so bumps the Amazon ranking or encourages bookstores to put more copies on the shelves — both of which will lead directly to more sales.

If you want to do even more to help — and thank you thank you thank you — then the best thing you can do is:

2. Boost the book.

People can’t buy what they don’t know about. So tell someone you know about the book. Speaking personally, I know that I’m more likely to buy a book because a friend linked it to me than because some critic gave it a starred review. I think most people feel the same way.

And if you don’t want to put your own stake in it, you can simply share some of the publicity posts I’ll be running on my website and cross-posting to Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. These posts are intended to heighten awareness of the upcoming release, and how that happens is by having folks like you, if you are so inclined, share these kinds of things among your friends and family. When it comes to getting the word out, every boost to the signal helps.

If you still want to do more — you are the best — then once you have read the book and (I hope) enjoyed it, the most magnificent thing of all to do is:

3. Review the book.

Whether it’s on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, or Somewhere Else, a positive review of my work will encourage others to buy it and share it. And if they like it, they will do likewise, encouraging others to do the same … and pretty soon the rock is rolling and we have ourselves a bestseller on our hands and they’ll be making the movie version — and it won’t be as good as the book, but that’s okay — and all of it might be thanks to your one little click here at the beginning.

Thank you all, as ever, for your support.

Order-Boost-ReviewThe Shards of Heaven. Tor Books. November 2015.


  1. Know what you could do to help? Put an Amazon link in your blog posts 🙂

    • An excellent point, Oliver! I was just linking to my book page which has buy buttons for multiple outlets (that way I’m not favoring Amazon) – but perhaps I can do that in some other way or just send folks to the one-stop shop of the Macmillan page. Or I can just throw my hands in the air and just direct people to Amazon. Looks like I need to troll websites of some other authors to see some solutions.

      Thanks for the feedback! I’ll take every bit I can get! 🙂

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