As a new writer, I'm often intimidated by the idea of trying to get my yet-to-be-published novel into the public eye. I want to vomit whenever the host of an agent panel asks an auditorium crowd how many of them are writers and four hundred people raise their eager hands.
But I know I'm not alone. Writers with new novels constantly have to face the public arena and hope that their book will be picked out from the crowd. It's not an easy task when so many superstars (literary and otherwise) are already taking center stage.
I've been trying to help out my fellow writers when I'm at the book stores. First of all, while I still end up going to the library a lot, I'm also buying books more often, at least one book a month. And, I'm making sure it's a new book rather than a used one.
When I go book shopping, I also try to pay attention to more than what's on the most prominent display tables. Even if I end up buying something like Water For Elephants, I at least give several other books a chance first. I peruse the shelves, pick up several books from authors I haven't heard of, in genres I wouldn't normally read, and I look at several random passages before deciding whether or not to buy it.
I also try to give books as gifts whenever I can. When I first started doing this, I made the mistake of giving people--including non-readers--books that I liked. That usually ended up with the book crying on some dusty shelf. Now, I give books that I think the recipient will like, and for non-readers, I choose shorter books with topics I know they are interested in. This has had a much higher success rate and many more thank yous.
How do you all obtain books? Do you buy them? Used or new? What do you do to help your fellow writers?