A reporter once asked an industry insider how an author gets on the New York Times bestseller list.
"Oh that's easy," the guy said. "Already BE on the NYT Bestseller list."
His answer was a nod toward the reality that once an author makes it to the big leagues, it's usually hard to knock him or her off the list. First, because usually (and especially in children's lit) the book is really, really good. Second, because the publisher will support that author/book with even more aggressive marketing for current and future projects. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.
So what are the rest of us to do (outside of writing the best book we can)? We do our own marketing, especially if the publisher is smaller. We "hit the streets" as best we can--telling librarians and booksellers about our books, sharing about it on FB and Twitter, and asking our friends and acquaintances to help spread the word.
Supporting a local author doesn't necessarily mean having to buy the book (though that would be nice!). It could be as simple as:
- Asking your local library to carry it.
- Telling your child's school librarian about it.
- Requesting that a local book seller carry it.
- Recommending it to book clubs.
- Sharing the book with friends and getting them excited about it.
- Writing a review of the book for Goodreads, Amazon, Library Thing, or Barnes and Noble. Or even better, on your blog!