The winner of PBW Holiday Giveaway #2 -- Times Change is:
Crista, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to info to LynnViehl@aol.com, and I'll get your package out to you. Thanks to everyone for sharing their favorite SF/F reads with us.
One question I dread during interviews (and probably why I dodge them so often) is "Who is your favorite author?" I always say something like I can't pick one and then name every writer I can think of who has a book on my keeper shelf. I always miss someone, too, and hate myself afterward.
There are a couple of authors whose books I would buy even if they published their grocery lists (what does Linda Howard eat for breakfast, I wonder?) but I have no permanent, exclusively number one favorite. That would be like sending me into a French bakery and telling me I can only buy one specific pâtisserie for the rest of my life.
Today my favorite author is a historian I've been reading for the last couple of days. She never fails to immerse me in whatever time and place she chooses. I envy her characters. On the page she's charming, intelligent, beautifully devious, and makes writing look as easy and automatic as breathing. Want to know who she is?
A couple of nights ago my favorite author was someone I discovered by accident back in 2001 (I was sucked in by a great title and killer cover art.) I didn't expect anything more than a decent story, but in this case, I got great story. I found an e-book version of a story of hers that I'd somehow missed -- must have been in an anthology -- and downloaded it to test the whole Adobe thing. I didn't really have time to read the story that night, but of course she owned me after the first page and I was up until 2 am finishing it.
There are so many writers I admire for different reasons. I want to praise them all, and nag my readers to buy their books, and see to it that they're going to keep writing. I give away their books like presents because to me they are gifts. I miss favorite writers who have retired from the game (Sharon and Tom Curtis) or who aren't here anymore (Oscar Wilde.) I do what I can here on PBW to support my favorite authors and the books they write because I see it as in investment in my reading future -- and great books have to be shared with others.
Things you can do for your favorite authors that don't cost anything:
1. Talk about their books to other readers. This is pretty obvious, but I don't think readers know just how powerful they are. As a writer who has not been an overnight success, I can absolutely guarantee you that I wouldn't still be working in the biz if it wasn't for word of mouth. One concrete example: by talking about it, my readers actually brought one of my novel series (StarDoc) back to the market, and gave me the opportunity to write and publish more books (which is the best gift you can ever give a series author like me.)
2. Ask your local library to carry their titles. With the way the economy is going, more and more readers are getting their books from the library, so you'll be doing them a favor by stocking it with great reads. Also, many readers won't first buy books by an author who's new to them; they check them out at the library to give them a test drive. If the book isn't available, no test drive.
3. Pass along a favorite book to a family member, friend or someone you know who enjoys reading. Sharing books also helps during tough financial times; I pass along all of the hardcovers I read now to others whom I know can't afford them. I also find people are more likely to read a book that I personally recommend and give to them. Finally, it's a great way to recycle books and give the author another shot at acquiring a new reader.
4. Write about them online. We're all busy, and the time we're able to spend online is generally pretty limited, especially during the holidays. But when you take a few minutes and tell people online how much a favorite book means to you, whether it's on your blog, a discussion board or elsewhere, you do something that is more real and effective than the even priciest advertising.
5. Write to the author and tell them how you feel about their work. There are mysterious forces at work in the universe, and readers are one of them. I swear, it's the weirdest thing, but you guys have downright spooky timing. Each time I've thought seriously about throwing in the towel -- and there have been more than a few of those -- an e-mail or letter arrived from a reader telling me how much they enjoyed one of my books, or asking me questions, or just saying "Please, write another story about [insert character name.] And that was enough to give me hope, make me feel that I wasn't doing all this for nothing, and keep me going.
As for me, every time I go into a bookstore, I know there are undiscovered favorites in there, just waiting for me to find them. Being a devoted reader means being on an endless treasure hunt. Someday, I know, I will find them -- and when I do, you'll hear all about them.
For the fourth PBW Holiday Giveaway, I have:
A Gift Bag of 9 PBW New and Old Favorites
-- unsigned hardcover copies of Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle, The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square by Rosina Lippi, and The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid.
-- unsigned trade paperback copy of Maximum Exposure by Alison Kent
-- unsigned paperback copies of Cry Wolf and The Hob's Bargain by Patricia Briggs, Kidnapped! by Jo Leigh, and The Wild Road by Marjorie M. Liu
To have a chance to win this giveaway, in comments name a story or book that you would most like other people to read (or, if you can't pick just one, toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Monday, December 15, 2008. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner the gift bag with the 9 PBW New and Old Favorites, plus an extra stocking stuffer -- a signed, printed* copy of my December Darkyn novella e-book release, Master of Shadows. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something from PBW in the past.
*Printed by me on bond paper and placed in a three-ring binder.