Books Forward June 2022 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

Read the June 2022 newsletter here!

Books Forward BFFs June Influencer Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter for our Books Forward Friends. This issue features highlights of our BFFs, fun titles available for review, and special opportunities for our friends.

Download the June 2022 newsletter here!

Books Forward May 2022 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

Read the May 2022 newsletter here!

Books Forward BFFs May Influencer Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter for our Books Forward Friends. This issue features highlights of our BFFs, fun titles available for review, and special opportunities for our friends.

Download the May 2022 newsletter here!

Books in our fav Abbott Elementary characters’ TBR stacks

Class is in session, and your homework? Watch Abbott Elementary.

The new ABC sitcom created by the funny and talented Quinta Brunson is the mockumentary-style comedy we needed. It’s absolutely one of the best sitcoms right now, and with stars like, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, and Sheryl Lee Ralph, it’s easy to see why.

And reading is fundamental to a great education, so what kind of books would make up these teachers’ TBR stacks?

JANINE

Janine is sweet and a little naive but overall is the epitome of what a teacher should be: Caring, almost to a fault, and ready to do whatever it takes to motivate and educate the young students in her second-grade class. We know she definitely has a TBR stack that’s as inspirational and excitable as she is.

Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

The poetry collection by the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

This is an electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing. It’s a whip-smart and dynamic thriller with sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace.

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Eighteen-year-old Daunis has never quite fit in. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold. The only bright spot is Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother’s hockey team. But as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses he’s hiding something. And everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.

GREG

Oh, Greg. Even though you eat plain boiled chicken and have a hard time opening up not just to your students but to your colleagues, we can’t help but love you and your awkward glances to camera. Greg is a surprise in himself, and the books on his TBR might surprise you as well.

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

This book is a gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs set in the 1960s. It’s a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

This book is a hilarious, razor-sharp skewering of America’s workforce, a crackling, satirical debut novel about a young man given a shot at stardom as the lone Black salesman at a mysterious, cult-like, and wildly successful startup where nothing is as it seems.

AVA

You either love her or you hate her — and you can trust that she does not care either way. You can count on the fabulously funny principal of Abbott Elementary being up to date with the hottest books of the moment and ready to drop whatever it is she’s doing to talk about them.

Miss Me With That by Rachel Lindsay

Rachel Lindsay rose to prominence as The Bachelor’s first Black Bachelorette and has since become one of the franchise’s most well-known figures — and outspoken critics. But there has always been more to Lindsay than meets the eye, and in this book, she finally tells her own story, in her own words.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, this book is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live.

Luster by Raven Leilani

Irresistibly unruly and strikingly beautiful, razor-sharp and slyly comic, sexually charged and utterly absorbing, the book is a portrait of a young woman trying to make sense of her life — her hunger, her anger — in a tumultuous era. It’s also a haunting, aching description of how hard it is to believe in your own talent, and the unexpected influences that bring us into ourselves along the way.

BARBARA

Can we go back to kindergarten and have Barbara be our teacher? (Okay, but really.) This education veteran knows how to dish out tough love but never doubt that she would drop whatever she’s doing to help those she cares for. From faith to fiction, we think Barbara would gravitate toward books that really make you think — and we would happily listen to all her thoughts on them in the break room.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

A stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

Uncommon Ground by Timothy Keller and John Inazu

These two authors bring together a thrilling range of artists, thinkers, and leaders to provide a guide to faithful living in a pluralistic, fractured world. Providing varied and enlightening approaches to reaching faithfully across deep and often painful differences, this book shows us how to live with confidence, joy, and hope in a complex and fragmented age.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

This novel follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. The book illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed — and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.

MELISSA

From food to family to telling Janine like it, Melissa is down to earth and refreshingly honest. She talks tough, but we know she’s got a heart of gold and is ready to fight — figuratively and literally — for what she believes in. Like her, there’s definitely more to her TBR than meets the eye.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

With humor and heart, Zauner tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. The essays in this collection draw on the raw, hilarious particulars of her new life, and this book is Irby at her most unflinching, riotous, and relatable.

Five Families by Selwyn Raab

This is a vivid story of the rise and fall of New York’s premier dons, from Lucky Luciano to Paul Castellano to John Gotti and others. This definitive history brings the reader right up to the possible resurgence of the Mafia as the FBI and local law-enforcement agencies turn their attention to homeland security and away from organized crime.

JACOB

As nerdy and awkward as he can be (and as bad as he is at roasting) we’re glad the students at Abbott have Jacob as a teacher. Even though he tries a little too hard to be woke, we know his heart’s in the right place. And the books he’s picking up would go perfectly on any millennial’s shelf.

Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen

A tour de force of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense, its action largely unfolding on a single winter day, this is the story of a Midwestern family at a pivotal moment of moral crisis. Franzen’s gift for melding the small picture and the big picture has never been more dazzlingly evident.

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

The Guncle is a warm and deeply funny novel about a once-famous gay sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew for the summer. It’s a moving tribute to the power of love, patience, and family in even the most trying of times.

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

A singular and stunning debut, this novel is about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.

Why is developing an author brand important? PLUS tips to help you develop your brand now

You probably hear it all the time: What’s your brand? Are you developing your brand? How are you cultivating your brand?

The word “brand” can feel so highfalutin, it’s easy to tune out with the rest of those buzz words we hear so often. But essentially, it’s just your reputation as an author. Think about it as what readers are saying about you on message boards and comment threads — all those times and places they think we aren’t looking.

“This author teaches me about periods in history I never thought about…”
“They inspired me to read a different genre…”
“I love them because their characters are based on Sesame Street puppets…”

You get the gist. Your personal author brand is a set of standards and practices that readers can come to expect from you. If you’re a fact-driven true crime writer with a deep knowledge of musical theater, embrace it. If you write romances that incorporate your volunteer work at animal shelters, use that to build your brand.

Anyone can write, but being an author means you’ve gone the extra step to publish your hard work to reach a certain audience. Why should a reader pick up your book instead of one by another author?

Discover your why and then put that knowledge and effort into the how.

Know your message

And it can’t be, “I want to sell books.” If you spent all this time writing a book, you’ve invested a part of yourself into the endeavor and you should be aspiring for more than just sales.

Maybe you’re a middle grade author looking to inspire children to read more nonfiction. Or maybe you’re a thriller author looking to highlight injustices in the justice system.

Whatever your message is, make it clear. And make it count.

Know your audience

Your book, your message, your brand — it’s not going to be for everyone, and it’s unrealistic to expect that everyone is going to hop on board. Every reader has their own individual tastes. And while many readers’ interests span multiple genres, you can only focus on the readers who you know will get behind your message.

Building your audience definitely takes time. Once you have a grasp on that audience, consider building a street team to further your efforts to reach similar readers and promote your work.

Be consistent

Your author bio, headshot, social media handles, etc. should be the same — or close to the same — no matter where someone is reading about you. The last thing you want is to gain a new fan and then they have a hard time finding you.

And speaking on that author photo: We know, we know, it’s a pain to have done, but getting a professional headshot really is important. First impressions really are everything — check out our post on why it’s important to take a great author headshot.

Get creative

Whether it’s your website or social media or swag you mail out with books, remember to carry that consistency with you — but don’t be afraid to get creative!

You don’t have to be a Photoshop or Illustrator whiz to create on-theme graphics. Sites like Canva and Adobe SparkPress are user-friendly and have a variety of templates you can use and adjust to fit your brand.

Decide on 4-5 colors that resonate with you (if your books have a color theme, even better, you can borrow from that). If you rock monochromatic looks in your personal style, incorporate that into the graphics you share on social media. Or if you’re partial to pastels, make that the theme of your email newsletter.

Also select 2-3 fonts you can consistently use across all social media platforms, your website, etc. Play around with weight and size within those font families, but generally try and stick to a maximum of 3 fonts.

There are millions of authors out there — focus your attention into cultivating an aesthetic that sets you apart from all of them.

Continue evolving

Think about it: Coca-Cola isn’t using the same logo it used 50 years ago, so it makes sense that as you grow and develop as an author, so will your brand. It’s okay to change, and change is necessary. You might discover down the line that your message or audience have changed, and your brand should ultimately reflect that. You’re never truly done when it comes to solidifying your author brand.

Ask around

Crowdsource your friends, family, colleagues, strangers at the supermarket, etc. to figure out what works. If your own family and friends can’t make sense of your brand, you can assume strangers of the internet will have an even harder time. Run potential blogs by people to see if they make sense to post. If you’re questioning how a social media post looks, ask someone you trust to take a look. Just like you would trust a writers’ group or a publicist, use your personal network to affirm that your efforts to solidify your brand are cohesive.

Ask for help

We get it; writing is it’s own full-time job. And we know many authors are doing much more than writing. It’s okay to ask for help, and if you have the budget and resources available, allocate out some of that responsibility. If you hate dealing with social media, hire someone who can plan and create graphics for you. If you don’t know how to run your email newsletter, find someone who can teach you or take on that responsibility.

Put in the effort

The more time you spend engaging with your audience and truly getting to know them, the more you’ll receive from them in return. It’s easy to schedule social media posts or write a blog every now and then, but to truly connect with readers, you have to care. Listen to your readers and respect their opinions. You may even find that you’ll learn something from them that will help you develop your brand.

Be authentic

Believe us: Readers can tell when it’s fake. When you’re thanking them for reading and reviewing, make it sincere. If you love a photo they took of the book, let them know.

Books Forward March 2022 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

Read the March 2022 newsletter here!

Books Forward BFFs March Influencer Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter for our Books Forward Friends. This issue features highlights of our BFFs, fun titles available for review, and special opportunities for our friends.

Download the March 2022 newsletter here!

Books Forward February 2022 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter featuring our award-winning authors and industry news. This issue features upcoming book releases, recent media coverage and much more!

Read the February 2022 newsletter here!

Books Forward BFFs February Influencer Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter for our Books Forward Friends. This issue features highlights of our BFFs, fun titles available for review, and special opportunities for our friends.

Download the February 2022 newsletter here!