At least once a week an email arrives. While the words are always a little bit different, they all say the same basic thing, “I love your books. What’s the best way to tell everyone else how great they are?”
Translation: “How can I help promote your books?”
Look, I need to say something right here. My favorite emails say things like, “Your book really blessed me” or some variation of that. When someone sends her story about how she’d walked away from the Lord, someone gave her my book, and now she’s studying the Bible again, going to church again—just got baptized… (yep, that one happened, too!), my soul is so encouraged.
It’s enough. Really.
That said, those messages and emails from eager readers who just want to help people discover my books—those also bless the socks off me. Don’t worry. I live in the desert. Sockless feet are much more comfortable here.
It occurred to me recently that having a blog post to send people to would save me a lot of time, might get shared around and help other authors, and would give people answers—quicker. So, here I am.
Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me a small commission at no extra expense to you.
5 Easy (& FREE) Ways You Can Help Your Favorite Author
- Social Media
Almost everyone is on some form of social media. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter… you name it. One of the simplest ways to help your favorite author is by using the magic of social media. You can:
- Take a picture of the book you’re reading and post a line or two about it. Can’t think of one? Wait and post a quote instead. Reading on Kindle? Take a picture of the cover on your Kindle screen. It counts! And it helps!
- Did your favorite author share a sale on a book, something about a new release, a quote from one of his books? Share it. Just hit the share button and boom! Easy peasy lemon squeezy (you can thank #4daughter for that one).
- Reply to requests for book ideas with the title of your author’s most recent book.
- Pin it, tweet it, snap it, chat it—just kidding. I couldn’t resist, though. Seriously, social media has made sharing your likes so easy, there’s no reason not to hit that share button!
Next time you see a book you want but can’t buy, write it down on a sticky note and slap it on the back of your phone. Then, when you’re at the library, pull it off and pass it to the librarian. Say these seven simple words, “Can you get this book for me?”
How does it help your favorite author when it’s one book sold for dozens of reads? Okay, that’s true. It doesn’t give us hundreds of book sales. We don’t get paid for every read from a library like we do from Kindle Unlimited, but when a book gets onto a library shelf, people read it. And when people like a book they’ve borrowed from the library, they often want another… and another… That either means more requests for books (that more people may discover), or sales. Because sometimes you just don’t want to wait for them to order a book or for another patron to return it.
Did you know that book clubs read books? Shocker, I know. Such a novel idea! If you want to help your favorite author, suggest her book to the leader when it’s time to decide on the next book. “Amazing Authoretta has this new book coming out that I’ve been dying to read…” That’s it. Just a suggestion. You don’t have to push for it, lobby, get picket signs, and chant, “Amazing Authoretta or Bust!” or anything.
Forward a Newsletter
Author newsletters are there to let their readers know all the things—sales, new releases, books they read, blog posts they wrote, you know… all that cool stuff. Not all your friends are on your favorite author’s email list. Maybe you just met a new friend and discovered she’s dying to get “back to the land” in a simpler way of living. Then, a week or two later, your favorite author’s newsletter shows up in your inbox with great news. That book she wrote about a gal who lives on a hobby farm without electricity—almost off grid—is FREE for a few days. What’s a gal to do?
Forward that newsletter! Just hit the forward button, add a few words to the subject line (Something like, “Had to share this”), and then add a couple more lines inside about why she will like it. “Remember when you were talking about wanting to get back to the land? Well, this book is about someone who lives that way. It’s one of my favorites, and it’s free right now…” Boom! Helps her, and helps you. Double whammy!
This one is tricky, though. See, the last thing an author wants is for their newsletter to annoy someone. So don’t just forward to everyone in your email list. Authors spend a small fortune to build and maintain those email lists. They really cannot afford to aggravate potential readers and those email services.
Bonus tip: If you don’t want an author’s newsletter anymore, PLEASE unsubscribe instead of hitting the “junk” or “spam” buttons. When you do that, other people on that list who use the same email provider as you may not get the newsletter they really want. Additionally, the author gets to pay for the privilege of you not receiving that email. Unsubscribe really is a kinder way to stop emails you no longer want.
Review the book
Come on. You knew I was going to “go there.” You did. But it’s true. See, reviews are written for potential future readers. They are. And when you write a review, that person is who you should keep in mind. However, those reviews help your favorite author, too.
How? I’ll tell you:
- They may prevent purchases by people who will only leave a bad review later!
- Many book promotion companies won’t accept a book until there are a minimum number of reviews (depends on different sites, but almost always over 20).
- Some bookstores and libraries won’t touch books without a specific number of good reviews.
- Once the author has 25-50 reviews, Amazon begins to recommend his books to other readers, will sometimes pop that book up on a Kindle, and other lovely little things like that. So, reviews are magic juice!
I can hear your protest. “But you said that this was a list of EASY ways to help an author. There’s nothing easy about writing a book review!”
In fact, I’ve even written two blog posts on how to write good reviews.
One requires four sentences (five if you feel generous). The other uses ten. Seriously. That’s it. And even better, I tell you EXACTLY what to write in each sentence. The first is:
Hey, I even wrote one on how not to write a book review!
And of course, there’s one easy (but not always free) way to promote an author’s books, too.
Buy the book.
Believe it or not, sales help promote the book, not just fill the author’s nest egg.
So, if you really want to go the extra mile (or is that dollar?) to help your favorite author, just click the “buy now” button now and then—especially if you notice she’s really promoting a particular book. It helps that book get recommended to people who bought other books you have, helps it show up in promotional ads, and gives her a leg-up next time she tries to get it on a few good book lists.
Oh, and remember how I suggested forwarding a newsletter up there?
You know, if there was a FREE book? Well, anyone who knows me also knows I almost always have a free book on Fridays. I call it “Freebie Friday.” And, I do tend to send out newsletters about it. However, sometimes I do a blog post. Like this one. And see those little share buttons above and below? Those make that #1 idea so easy. Click and done. Meanwhile, Will Not See is FREE through Tuesday, March 12.