Okay, if you follow me over at The Writing Spectacle, you may have read that I do this thing where I find new-to-me, underappreciated authors, buy their books, read them and review them.
I do it because I like to help authors like me. I also do it to find new and interesting things to read. Books the establishment wouldn't give a whit about. Books readers might not necessarily gravitate to because the author is unknown or the premise is slightly different from what they're used to. (For example, a book about a guy who creates magic using garbage or a book where the zombie is the hero.) Books people might not want to take a chance on because they are unknowns and they have so few reviews.
I don't like the phrase 'paying it forward'. And I don't think it necessarily applies here anyway. Maybe this is paying it sideways. I get a book to read, they get a review and maybe it encourages them keep writing books for me to read.
Sometimes I hit on a dud. Buying books this way can be a crapshoot, whether they're self-pub or trad-pub. More often than not, though, these are good books that haven't taken off yet. Occasionally, I'll download a book that meets the criteria, but by the time I read it, it has taken off. I'm okay with that, too.
Every rare once in a while, the author will contact me after I review. I've gotten some positive exchanges from them. And once, after the author contacted me and thanked me, he read the whole SCIU series in KU. He liked DE and wrote a review. Yay. Not what I'm hoping for with this, but hey, I'm not against that, too.
Now, I don't want you to think every book I download gets a review. Sometimes, like I said, they're duds. I don't finish books I don't like and I don't review books I don't finish. Plus, I don't want to harsh an author that way, especially when it's subjective. One bad review could tank the author's sales, or worse, tank their ability to keep on facing this business we're in. Why do that to someone?
Mostly, I snag the books while they're free. I'm a tightwad, okay? They offer a free book, I give them a review. Win-win. Sometimes I'll buy them, if budget allows. If they're really good, I'll buy the other books in the series. (If they have other books. Sometimes, they're so new they only have the one book, in which case, I hope my review gets them to write more.)
Anyway, it's a thing I do as a writer and as a reader. I've already read ten of these kinds of books this year. I try to average about one a month, so I'm on track for this year. I'll definitely reach 12 for the year.
I hope you'll join me this coming year. It really is fun and I like to think it helps all us little, low-list authors. Paying it sideways, eh? ;o)