Thursday, October 31, 2013

Where to Find Online Writing Jobs

Today I'd like to talk a little bit about making money as a freelance writer and some of the places I've discovered that won't hesitate to pay you for your work. The following guide is a nice starting place for working online, but is shouldn't be all of the searching you do. New sites are opening every day, and that means opportunity.

Up Front Payment

Authors and assassins always take their money up front.
When most people think of getting paid to write, this is what they think of. The writer creates a piece of content, the client pays a fee, and the job is over. This is pretty much how magazines and newspapers worked in the good old days of traditional mass media. For writers who like knowing what they're getting paid before they start banging away on the keys though, there are still several websites that can start fattening up your collective bank accounts.

Demand Media Studios

You've likely been to a Demand Media Studios site. They run, they run, and they run dozens of other websites in addition to partnering with even more. As far as fees and work go, Demand Media Studios is one of the higher-paying markets out there for writers who want guaranteed, up-front payment for writing articles. I myself have completed a great deal of work for them, such as this article, this article, and this article too.

The application process is simple. Simply go to the homepage at and apply. A word to the wise though; this is not a content farm. If you don't have a college degree, or several years of experience in a professional field, this might not be the place for you. In addition to writing jobs though, Demand Studios also has room for editors looking for a way to earn extra income.


There are a lot of negative things written about this website, but there are only two questions you need to ask as a writer; do they offer work at a price I'm willing to take, and do they pay on time? In that area at least Textbroker is simple and straightforward. I've completed thousands of articles there myself, and it is possible to get enough work from this site to pay one's bills. Possible, but not easy. A tip for those who plan on becoming contributors; impress your customers, get a high rating, and get added to as many teams as you can. Team assignments always have higher pay, and there's less competition over them. This shouldn't be your only place of employ, but it is a solid option.

Content Current

Yet another website which has earned a lot of shaken fists, is not a website you can just go to, write a few hundred words a day and retire. However, when work gets scarce and budgets get tight, this site often has assignments that can make the difference between paying your bills and not. Assignments tend to run scarce at Content Current, but it also has the option of editing along with writing. This can be a life saver for writers who aren't afraid to wield the power of the red pen.


It always feels like free money, for some reason.
There are few things guaranteed to perk a writer's imagination more than the notion of royalties. The idea of writing a single story, a single book, or even a single article and being paid for it over and over again is extremely appealing. There's a hitch with royalties though; they pay you nothing unless they get popular. So if no one reads your articles, or no one clicks the ads on your page then you, as the writer, have spent a great deal of time and effort in creating a piece of content for nothing. On the other hand if your content gets truly and wildly popular you could see checks for hundreds of dollars, or more, showing up in your bank for months to come. Years, in some cases.

Infobarrel & Xomba and are both websites that can provide a lot of earning potential as long as someone has a Google AdSense account. Both websites allow users to write articles, and they will split the AdSense revenue with the content creator. While Infobarrel is more popular for articles (my account for that is located here), Xomba has the advantage in that users can create bookmarks (which is the sort of content I recommend creating. It worked great for me, as evidenced by this). Xomba doesn't let you create content that links to something you wrote, though. On the other hand, if you have a friend that creates great content then you can build a bookmark library for that other person. That person might, in turn, feel obligated to build some backlinks for your content as well.

Update: Infobarrel no longer requires you to have an AdSense account of your own! If you'd like to take advantage of the ability to earn ad revenue without having to get let into Google's secret club house, then you can sign up right here!

BlogSpot and Others

Anyone who can entertain users can run a blog. If you want to make money blogging (I already covered this topic here in greater depth), all you need is an AdSense account (or an alternative adsense provider), and an audience that is willing to click your ads on occasion. Fortunately there's no rule that says you can only have a single blog. Any activity that you're knowledgeable enough about to create content for, you can do it. For instance, in addition to the Literary Mercenary I also run a blog for tabletop gaming titled Improved Initiative. This allows you to cover a number of subjects, and to market yourself and your work simultaneously to a bigger overall population. It also requires double the work of creation and promotion, and there's no guarantee of earnings if no one reads what you wrote.

Hit Lists: Finding New Jobs

Can't be afraid of a little red work.
Not all writers work for a single, stable employer. Some writers simply make their way from one want ad to another, building up a stable of steady paymasters until they have access to more work than they have time, effort, or desire for. Even writers who do have steady work might check the boards on occasion to try and fill in the cracks, and save a little bit on the side. While I can't vouch for every job at these locations, I can vouch that they collect more than enough jobs to keep you busy applying for days.

Online Writing Jobs

There's never been a website with a simpler name and purpose. Simply go to and tool around until you find something that strikes your fancy. This site combs through a dozen online want ads, bringing all of the writing jobs one could want to a single place every, single day.


Though I'm a relatively recent convert to, I can vouch that there's plenty of work available on the site. Not all of the work is meant for an American audience, which means that sometimes the prices being paid are much lower than a first world writer would be willing to accept. That said, with enough looking it's a relatively simple matter to match a writer with an employer.

Is That All?

Of course not. I could run an entire blog devoted to nothing more than writing jobs and where to get them. As of this particular moment, though, these are the locations I can personally vouch for, and which I feel comfortable recommending to my fellow writers who are looking to make their ends meet. There might be further installments of this topic as I broaden my reach, or if readers decide to leave comments regarding places they've worked for that aren't mentioned here. Seriously though, do that.

Writers always have to look at the assignment and ask themselves if it's worth the time and the effort. If a writer doesn't want to work as a cashier, a security guard, or any of a dozen other low-rent jobs, these are some good places to start building up a writing job history. It also helps to start expanding your contact circle, and to get you into the professional mindset. If you're going to write, then do it, and don't look back.

As always, thanks for tuning in to the Literary Mercenary. If you want more updates then follow me on Facebook, or main line me on Tumblr. If you want to see a particular topic covered, or if you have information to enrich this particular post, then please leave a comment or drop me an email. It's your patronage and support that makes this blog possible.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Things You Should Never Say to an Author

It isn't easy being an author. It's a lot of work building worlds out of blocks of imagination, carefully studying people and methods of speech, and creating an entire rule system for a universe so we can explain it to other people. Muscling through writer's block, plotting out novels, and waiting for months for a publisher's response all pale in comparison to the single challenge authors face every day, though; not choking the life out of the general public.

Deep down, we know you mean well. We know you're trying to extend a hand in friendship, and that you're just curious about who we are and what we do. You want to touch us, because to you we're strange creatures in some exotic petting zoo. Problem is that what you say is one thing; what we hear is often something else. So, here's a little guide to the most common faux pas you can commit when faced with a chance to meet the flesh behind the fiction.

Are You Published?

Sally eventually stopped mentioning her series and introduced herself as a student.
If I was keeping count, something I stopped doing for mental health reasons, this would probably be the most common question I've heard. More often than not it's just one of those cultural differences, and I have to forgive those who live in the undiscovered country of normal. In this instance the word publish is the only one in my language they know, and so they're using it to show they're following what I'm saying. That's not what I'm hearing though.

When someone asks this question what many writers hear is, are you a real writer, or just a hobbyist? We know that many times a person doesn't mean that. We know what they really mean is, I am curious to know where you stand in your professional field and what you have accomplished as a self-proclaimed artist. Here's a tip: if someone introduces him or herself as a writer, an author, a columnist, or any other exotic and wordy profession, assume they're published. Chances are good it wouldn't be on their business cards otherwise.

Have You Written Anything I Might Have Seen?

Depends... where do you shop for books?
Probably not. The reasons for this are complicated but, generally speaking an author who isn't famous simply won't have the advertising budget or the fan base for you to have casually picked up one of his or her books. This is a faux pas because it challenges the writer's status. It has an inherent quality of I haven't heard of you, so you can't be that important. Most people don't mean to do that because they're aware statements like that are rude. To put it in perspective, this question is the equivalent of walking into a clothing store and asking a customer service representative "do you have anything here that I'd like?" How should they know? They just met you, after all.

Better questions for these scenarios are, "what have you written?", "what was your last project?", or "what are you working on now?" These express interest, while at the same time not putting pressure on the author to prove his or her professional status by rattling off a pedigree.

How Much Does That Pay?

More than you'd believe, but less than you think.
This question is rude on more levels than can be expressed in polite company. The issue of how much a person makes has become less private over the years, but asking directly is still seen as something of a challenge. The questioner is demanding to know if the artist makes enough money to justify being a professional. This is, unfortunately, a cultural by-product. Lots of people sketch, or paint, or write stories for fun, so creative things are seen as a hobby that anyone could participate in. Being told someone is a professional leads to a knee-jerk, "prove it" kind of reaction.

A solid rule is not to ask an author any question you wouldn't ask a carpenter, an investment banker, or a car salesman. In short, don't disrespect the creative types. Always assume that the writer makes enough to be at the same event you are, but that he or she will never make enough to turn away a new reader.

Remember Us When You're Rich and Famous

Sure. I'll even put you in a story. You, personally.
This phrase is a variation on the "You could be the next King/Rowling/whoever is hot right then." It's something people say when they want to be supportive, but they don't want to do more than tell you they have faith in you. That's the reason most writers will ignore it; encouraging words don't do much for one's career. If you really want to support a writer then you should buy books, leave reviews, tell your friends, come to events, and generally show that you are there and you want that person to succeed. In addition to helping that writer get rich and famous, chances are good they'll notice you and aren't likely to forget you.

Do You See Yourself in Your Characters?

Sure. We'll go with that.
Nothing is more irritating than people who want to play amateur psychoanalyst with your work. If a writer composes a visceral tale about a serial killer, readers wonder how he got into that monster's mind. If an author writes a steamy best-seller, readers may secretly wonder how many people she slept with to assemble her cast. If you write a story about a nine-foot-tall super soldier, fans will wonder if you have masculinity issues.

We, as writers, are partially responsible for this. With the sheer number of times we use write-what-you-know as a mantra, and the ridiculous tally of occasions we've used the "my book is a secret confession for what I really did" plot twist, we were going to get this sooner or later. Yes, most of us will put our life experiences into the books we write. We will also talk about places we've been, dreams we had, or little phrases we've stolen from the hundreds of novels we've read. Just be aware that when you ask this question you're implying one of two things; either the writer is in need of therapy, or the writer is composing self-insert-wish-fulfillment. This question is like the lady and the tiger, except there are two tigers, they're both female, and they're both in heat, and starving. Avoid whenever possible.

I Wish I Had Your Job

Sure. Sure you do.
No you don't. You want a job where you can wake up whenever you please, have a socially accepted excuse for partying too hard, and lounge around in your pajamas all day. Because deep down that's what society has told you authors do. Edgar Allen Poe got blitzed on absinthe, Stephen King did so much coke he doesn't remember writing "Cujo", and Ernest Hemingway was an alcoholic who eventually committed suicide... that's what writers do, right?

You don't want to spend 8 to 10 hours in front of a machine that you've purposefully disconnected from the Internet to focus. You don't want to take endless notes, and re-write a manuscript three or four times before you feel it's good enough for submission. You don't want to make less than minimum wage for years until you finally catch on with something popular, or develop a big enough following to pay your bills. Lastly, you really don't want to go through the endless frustration of people telling you they know how great your job is, and how they envy you for it. You don't. Trust me.

I Don't Read

He appears to be speaking... words of some kind.
This is the most direct form of this sentiment, but there are others. Polite inquiries like "aren't books on their way out?" or statements like, "it must be hard to compete with movies, and so many other forms of media," are also fairly common.

The next time you think about saying something like this, especially if you're saying it to someone who is an author, don't. It's the equivalent of saying, isn't your profession quaint and antiquated? This can be mitigated with the proper apologetic tone, turning the message instead into, my apologies, but I don't consume your type of media. It's a quirk. Whatever your intention when you make your entertainment habits known though, tread carefully. Readers and authors are clannish, and they look with suspicion on those who ignore the written word.

As always, thanks for dropping in. If you'd like to see more from the Literary Mercenary then consider dropping by The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to leave a little bread in my jar. Or tell all your friends about me, and spread the word. You can also pop over to my Facebook or Tumblr page, and follow there. All support is appreciated.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How to Write a Strong Female Character

So you've decided to write a strong female character. Maybe she's your lead, maybe she's a secondary, or maybe she's the villain. Whatever role she fills, you want to make absolutely sure your best foot goes forward as a writer as you create a woman the likes of which no one will soon forget. The road ahead is paved with good intentions folks, so I suggest you get your hands on a good map.

Muscular Isn't Strong

If I were to say "She Hulk is a strong female character," would you know why?

Is the word "hulk" a clue?
For those of you who said it's because she can bench press a small tank, you may be missing the point of the lesson here. Jennifer Walters is Bruce Banner's cousin. She wound up with a blood transfusion that gave her many of the same anger-induced hulk powers as Dr. B., and over time she's been worked in as a member of the Avengers who can walk through a hail of bullets and rip apart alien war droids without breaking a sweat.

But you know what else? Jennifer is also a professional criminal defense attorney. She's a woman with great compassion, strength of purpose, and personal ethics. She is also not someone who, even stripped of her powers, will let you walk over her. While being a big green rage monster is certainly impressive, it's the latter characteristics that make her a strong female character. If you want a strong female character you need to examine who she is, what she wants, and how she handles both herself and the world around her. You don't have to be able to sword-fight a kraken or arm-wrestle a giant to be strong.

Aggressive Isn't Strong

There's a trend in fiction for women with attitude. It's not new, and in fact it's wormed it's way into quite a few sections of TV Tropes (stop in and take a look around if you have a few hours to kill). Strong female leads are snarky, rough, standoffish, crude, and more than a little harsh... or at least that's what you'll end up with if you're not careful.

The aggressive/bitch female character has been done to death, and she is roughly half the population of the paranormal romance genre. You've seen her, at least in passing. She's constantly talking down to people, cursing like a sailor doing a stint as an over-the-road trucker, and she's generally seen as rough-and-ready.

Ask yourself this question; if you made this character male, would he been seen as strong, or as just another posturing, preening dick wad?  I'm not saying these characters don't have a right to exist. By all means, write as many socially aggressive and foul-mouthed characters as you want! Just don't delude yourself into thinking that a "take no shit" attitude translates instantly to a pillar of strength. Mostly it just makes the character bitchy, regardless of the gender.

Violent Isn't Strong

This is sort of a sub-section of the "many kinds of strength" mentioned above, but I felt it deserved its own slot. Let me be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a female character who mixes it up with the bad guys. Machine-gun-toting G.I. Janes, mysterious snipers, magic-driven sorceresses, and mutant power-houses are all more than welcome. That said, having the ability to kick the shit out of someone doesn't make you strong.

No, no, no, no... a thousand times no!
This archetype, which I recently found out thanks to Tumblr (follow me there if you're of a mind) is referred to as the fighting fucktoy. You couldn't have avoided this one if you were sitting under a rock with your eyes closed and your thumbs in your ears. In movies she's Elektra, Catwoman (the Halle Berry version anyway), Alice (of Resident Evil fame), and the list goes on and on. She's a one-woman weapon, covered in guns, resistant to damage, able to leap tall buildings at a single bound and beat a horde of ninjas to death with her bare hands. So why isn't she strong?

The reason is that it isn't about her; it's about the male audience viewing her. All you need as proof of that is what she's wearing. If a woman was a dedicated vampire hunter she would, I guaran-goddamn-tee you, be wearing body armor. She wouldn't have a bare throat, much less a bare midriff. She would have sensible boots, probably with steel toes, and none of this stiletto-spike nonsense. Do you know why? Because if she were this kind of hardened warrior, even if she were indestructible for some reason or other, she would not go into the field in fetish gear. It's impractical, and it goes directly against the grain of the sort of character that's being portrayed.

There's a lot wrapped up in this, from endless arguments about boob armor (yes they exist), to why female superheroes dress so skimpily, to just how much attention should be paid to a female character's outfit during a fight scene. So, I'll cut through all of that and just say this instead. If you are writing a woman warrior, switch her gender. If she looks, sounds, or acts ridiculous, chances are it's because you tried to make her strong and sexy, but failed at both.

Sexy Isn't Strong

Feminine wiles have been used in stories ever since oral history. Whether it's the Black Widow seducing secrets out of world leaders, or the exotic dancer who dangles men like plot points from her fingers, sexuality and the embracing thereof is supposed to be a sign that a character is strong. It's not. It just means she's sexy.

In all fairness, there are worse things to be.
Sex and sexuality is an important part of who a character is and what she does. If she uses sex as a weapon or a tool, then that is a part of her character. If she's promiscuous, then that is also all right. She could also be a temple virgin, a medieval nun, or a happily married housewife. Sex doesn't make you strong either by its presence or its absence.

Masculine Isn't Strong

I'm not even going to grace this section with a picture. There's this idea that in order to be strong, a female character can't be feminine. This is hypocrisy at its finest. An author who falls into this trap strips away anything feminine from a character; she won't use makeup, she'll dress in masculine clothing, she'll use blunt language, and in many circumstances she'll even approach sex from a more traditional masculine perspective. Often the mysteries of the feminine confuse her, such as getting her hair cut at a stylist, wearing dresses, or the finer arts of seduction. This is not inherently wrong, as there are occasions where a woman might not have been exposed to these aspects of culture. It doesn't make a character strong, and if taken to extremes it can make your character seem outright ridiculous.

The Secret of Strength

Okay, so now we've covered what a strong female character isn't. So how do you do it? Start by listening to this man.

Who were you expecting?
I am not saying here that George R. R. Martin is the greatest writer who ever lived. Nor am I saying that you should imitate everything he does. However, to paraphrase him, when George was asked how he writes strong female leads his response amounted to, "I was always had the weird notion that women are people."

There you go.

The idea of a strong female character is flawed premise; simply write a strong character. That character should not be wholly defined by gender anymore than he or she is defined by ethnicity, profession, familial upbringing, or anything else. These and a thousand other things will shape the character into who he or she is, but no one factor should be given the absolute power to define everything else.

Writing strong characters isn't easy; if it was then everyone would be doing it. But much like getting six-pack abs or winning a golden globe award, there are no short cuts. You have to practice, research, and constantly ask yourself who your characters really are. Only then will you be able to create real, believable characters regardless of their genders.

As always, thanks for popping in on the Literary Mercenary. If you'd like to follow more of my writing then fan my Facebook page, or check me out on Goodreads. For those gamers in the audience my blog Improved Initiative tackles a wide variety of roleplaying game issues, offering tips and tricks to make your game that much better. Please spread the word, and remember, this page runs on your ad clicks!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why Cat Videos Will Always Be More Popular Than Your Novel

Before we get started, watch this video.

That video was 31 seconds long, shot on a shaky hand cam, and absent a single piece of real dialogue. It's been reposted thousands of times, and the original posting had over 100,000 views in the first month. People all over the world watched this video, and instantly told all their friends about it for days and days. Their friends watched it, and the process repeated itself. In fact, I will almost guarantee that 50%-75% of the people who share this very post do so because of the cat video on it.

I can confidently say that this will never happen to your novels. Or to my novels. That isn't a statement on our status as writers. It's just that you cannot compete with this. Here's why.


The argument about quantity over quality is a big part of this section. Novels, by and large, take a long bleeding time to write. Even if someone can manage the phenomenal pace of an author like Stephen King, there's still the months of review by editors, the art that has to be created for the cover, the promotion for the book, and additional time tacked on for any problems in the process. At the absolute best, a novel will take a year from page one to release date. Absolute best rarely happens.

Cat videos on the other hand can be produced at a fast clip, taking days or weeks at most depending on editing and whether the creator is setting up a certain situation. This means that the audience gets more hits of their drug of choice more often, and it leads to a constantly re-enforced fandom which can be very hard to create with books. Also, reading a book can take days or weeks. This video can be watched in half a minute while you're supposed to be working.


Not everyone reads. It's an unfortunate and painful fact, but it's true. Whether it's because of time, personal preference, or just a hatred that was instilled in third grade English class, there's only a certain portion of the population for whom a novel is a preferred form of escape. A significantly larger portion of the world has access to the Internet, and is willing to spend at least half a minute watching something hilarious and adorable on their computers, tablets, smartphones, etc.


This is one of the biggest reasons that books cannot compete with cat videos, much less with all of Youtube. An author who gives his or her work away for free is never going to be able to achieve financial independence through that work. Internet videos on the other hand have advertising revenue backing them, that means the creator gets paid if the audience takes the time to click an ad in order to support said creator. That's also the way blogs work. Blogs just like this one.

You have to convince people that your epic post-apocalyptic sci-fi story where a hybrid super soldier unravels a government conspiracy is worth $10. Users on Youtube can slap their videos up for free, and just wait for word of mouth to spread.

What Difference Does That Make?

This was the same question video game giants asked when Angry Birds got popular. A dinky little game produced by a handful of upstarts wasn't going to be a threat to their empire. Until it was. Video game companies who had thought nothing of the casual game market suddenly saw their profits shrinking, and they had no clue they were even in a fight.

Casual gaming is a lot like Internet videos in this sense. They're fast, engaging, portable, entertaining, and they can absorb users for hours. While both Skyrim and Conan the Usurper are more deeply involving than their casual counterparts, they require someone who can set aside the entertainment snack food and delve a little deeper.

How do You do That?

There are a lot of methods for luring people away from quicker, faster entertainments though there's no guarantee any of them will work. That's the nature of the beast when discussing marketing.

The first is to fight fire with fire. To that end authors may make trailers for their books, creating a visual experience that can suck readers in and make them want more. In addition to trailers authors may run vlogs, or offer free clips of themselves reading snippets of their books or short stories. Some authors go so far as to have a fully-acted cast, creating an old style radio drama out of their material.

Another approach is to focus much more narrowly on an audience that prefers books over the Internet's cat crack. Audiences like older Americans who don't use the Internet, academics who prefer reading to simply observing their entertainments, genre fans for whom the vistas of new worlds will always be a first love, and others of like mind.

Some authors realize that if you can't beat them, you should join them. These authors use the memes and popularity of short, simple videos to gain a following, and then slowly start introducing their books to that audience. It's more insidious, and it requires multiple skill sets, but this method can work wonders for those who know how to play on viewer's heart strings.

People Will Always Read... Won't They?

Probably. As long as teachers and parents instill a love of books into young people, and that love isn't destroyed by all the academic reading required in college, then there's always going to be a place for books. As long as people who see movies want to read the original source material, and as long as there's an audience that craves the fantastic and the horrifying, there will be readers.

You just have to be loud enough for them to notice you.

If you're looking for some more funny stuff about cats, check out all of their superpowers here. If your furry friend is suffering from a urinary tract infection and you want to provide a simple, at-home cure, check this out. If you want to keep up to date with my author activities, then follow me on Facebook, or check me out on Tumblr. A total list of my books, including the post-apocalyptic sci-fi mentioned above titled Heart of the Myrmidon may be found on my Goodreads page. Lastly please feel free to like and share any and everything you find here. Remember that this page runs on Google AdSense. If you want to see something in particular featured on The Literary Mercenary, just drop me a line and I'll look into it.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Like and Share This Post

Most people think that authors are literary rock stars. They sit in their posh studios writing down made up stories, and when they're done cashing their million dollar checks they take vacations to go to book signing events or conventions to rub elbows with the unwashed masses.

It's not like that. It's more like this.

We who are about to write, salute you!
In the coliseum of modern entertainment, authors have become the new gladiators. We create a personal experience, a unique brand, and in many cases a persona just to get noticed. We practice, sharpen, and edit ourselves until we reach the peak of our game. We are not there to perform for the publishers, the Caesar who sits above the game and decides yay or nay on whether we publish or perish. We are there to perform for you. The Mob.

The Truth of the Metaphor

It's a little sad, but it's true. As I said in this post, publishers are not interested in art. They're not interested, by and large, in literary merit. They don't really care if the books they publish are going to remembered for years to come as the books that set the standard of the age. What publishers care about is whether or not they sell books. As with the gladiators of old, the arena masters care about how well their staff of authors plays with the crowd. The louder the crowd roars, the more support they throw behind a particular author, the longer and more fruitful that author's career will be on the bloody sands of the bestseller lists.

So if you want to see an author succeed, you need to raise your voice and make sure those on high can hear you loud and clear.

How to Support Your Favorites

Now that your illusions about how easy your favorite artists have it has been irrevocably shattered, you might start to worry. After all if the audience goes silent then it doesn't matter how long the gladiator in question has been the champion; the blade's coming down. Unless you and all your fellow fans start making yourselves heard, that is.

The best way to do that is of course to buy books. Publishers notice when people buy books, and they make sure to do more promotion for authors who's books fly off the shelves. Unfortunately money is not an easy-to-come-by commodity, no matter how big of a fan someone is. Fortunately you can raise a ruckus even if your pocket book is a little on the lighter side.

The next best thing you can do is to help promote authors you like. For instance, if someone wanted to help promote me, I would ask them to follow my blog here, and to drop by my author Facebook page, to follow me on Tumblr, and to drop by my Goodreads page to see what books I have available. I would also ask my readers to leave reviews of the books they'd read, and to help me signal boost posts about my work. Sometimes all it takes is for one person to start the wave for the rest of the bleachers to join in, and that will catch everyone's attention.

Is That All it Takes?

Yes and no. If an author writes a novel that is a smash hit, but doesn't do anything else (the literary equivalent of pop music's one-hit-wonders) then that one splash in the pond is going to stagnate pretty quickly. The same is true of an author's fan base. Someone who writers a book review that goes viral has done a great service for that author in the short-term. But the wheels turn on constant awareness. Authors have to keep writing, and fans have to keep talking them up.

Lastly, remember this. Cheers are contagious, especially in crowds. The louder you cheer, the more interested your fellow mob-members are going to be. Pretty soon they're going to be cheering right alongside you.