Readers might be surprised to learn how shockingly little most authors who are not household names earn from selling their books. But realistic authors know that going in. Their goal is often to get the word out about a topic, a cause, or something they hope to inspire and help people to do. Sometimes they just want to share a bit of creative storytelling or knowledge with the world.
TO READERS: Naturally, we authors would like everyone to buy our books. And we’re so grateful if you already have! But there are lots of easy, quick, no-cost ways to support your favorite authors by helping them to promote their books.
TO AUTHORS: Why not let your readers know — by sharing this post — what they can do to support you? And what author is not also a reader? Keep reading — there’s a special section just for you at the end.
HERE ARE 10 FREE WAYS TO SUPPORT YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS:
1. LEAVE A REVIEW ON AMAZON
• I think a lot of readers don’t realize how easy this is to do, so they don’t even try. Maybe it doesn’t occur to them how much of a difference a review will make to the morale of the author and to the success of the book? This is particularly true if the book is self-published and sold only on Amazon.
• The book does need to be available on Amazon, and you do need an Amazon account (which most of us already have, even if we haven’t used it in a while), but you don’t need to have purchased the book on Amazon to leave a review there.
• First, find the book’s product page by searching Amazon for the title and/or author.
• Then, scroll down until you see “Review this product” and click the “Write a customer review” button.
• A review can be short, sweet, and as simple as “I loved it!” (Write whatever you sincerely thought of the book.) Authors are not looking for detailed, time-consuming book reports (unless, of course, that’s what you feel called to write). You can use your full name, initials, or whatever identification you’re comfortable with.
• This might seem like overkill, but extra credit if you leave a review and email a copy to the author, giving them permission to use it in other ways such as on their website. (The copyright for the review belongs to the author of the review.)
2. LEAVE A REVIEW ON GOODREADS
• You do need to be a Goodreads member to leave a review, but it’s free, it’s social, and it’s fun! If you’re not on Goodreads, why aren’t you? (Confession: I knew about Goodreads for years before I joined. But now I wish I’d started sooner!)
• Also, if you select the book and put it on your virtual Want to Read shelf, it helps to bring it to others’ attention, even if you haven’t read it yet.
3. LEAVE REVIEWS WHEREVER ELSE YOU INTERACT WITH BOOKS ONLINE
• Bookbub? Audible? There are many sites that welcome reviews.
4. CONTACT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY
• Request that they purchase copies of the book. My library has an online form for just such requests. Maybe yours does too? Every library is different in terms of what they will and won’t purchase. But it never hurts to ask.
5. POST ABOUT THE BOOK ON SOCIAL MEDIA
• Don’t keep the books and authors you love a secret! It’s fun, and encouraging, for authors (and our followers) to see that someone else is excited about having just ordered, about to read, or just read, our books!
• Don’t forget to tag the author. (Make sure their name is clickable, so others can follow them too, and so they’ll get a little surprise notification.)
• Extra credit if you include a photo of yourself reading the book, or of the book in an inviting, humorous, or intriguing setting.
6. FOLLOW THE AUTHOR ON SOCIAL MEDIA
• Like, comment, and share whenever they post about their own books! You don’t have to do all of these things every time, but interactions nudge the platform’s algorithm into showing their post to more people than it otherwise would.
7. SUBSCRIBE TO THEIR BLOG OR NEWSLETTER
• Subscribing signals interest even if you’re not keen on social media.
• This also ensures you don’t miss updates on existing and forthcoming books.
8. BLOG ABOUT THE BOOK
• It was a pleasant surprise to me that several of my wonderful blogging colleagues wrote terrific blog posts about (or featuring) my latest book!
9. INVITE THEM TO BE A GUEST SPEAKER
• Do you host a podcast? If the topic fits, invite the author!
• Do you need a speaker for your group? Depending on the situation, the author may request a speaking fee.
10. SELECT THE BOOK FOR YOUR BOOK CLUB
• Some authors will even join the discussion if you ask them! It depends, of course, on factors such as when and where the discussion will be held. Is it a local author? If not, can they join via Zoom? They might have a minimum (or maximum) attendee requirement. And it might not be free, but it never hurts to ask!
GIVE THE BOOK AS A GIFT
• OK, this one’s not free — and it’s also not numbered as one of the 10 promised tips — but a book probably costs less than you were going to spend on a gift anyway.
• The right book for the right reader makes a perfect gift!
FINALLY, HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR AUTHORS:
• Support YOUR favorite authors in all the ways YOU’D like to be supported.
• Share this blog post with your own audience!
• Blog about your book(s).
• Post about your books on social media.
• Ask your podcast friends (and strangers) to interview you.
• Share some of the terrific reviews and photos you’ve received on your website, in social media, and in your newsletter.
• Search the Nonfiction Authors Association blog site for keywords such as “reviews” and “promotion” for more ideas.
• Thank your supporters for their reviews.
Are you a reader? Does this list inspire you to support an author you know and/or love?
Are you an author? What promotional tips do YOU have for readers and other authors?
Hazel Thornton is the author of What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy and Hung Jury: The Diary of a Menendez Juror. She is currently working on Go With the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life (aka The Clutter Flow Chart Workbook). Visit her at www.Org4life.com.
The NFAA blog is always looking for contributions. Check out our contributions page and see if you or another nonfiction author or speaker you may know could provide an article or interview: Click Here.