10 ways you can help your favorite author


question_markI had a bit —

Of a blow up at my second father the other day. I’ve been killing myself posting about the book on social media sites. That’s what you have to do if you’re an author, just to make people aware a title is out there. That or rent a billboard in Times Square, which is sort of not in the budget. This has been going on a while, and there have been other all book fun things going on to help promote the book. The meme competition. Going Banksy. The book trailer. And now the book just came out in paperback and is up on Amazon. Cool, huh? And I share the link.

Not one member of my family ever shares the book link. Not one. Friends do. Fans do. But the family? Never.

So I’m feeling bruised and sharky, especially since he just posted a link of a cousin’s CD on his FB page. And I’m thinking, Really? My cousin rates? But not your daughter? And I snap at him. At which point he immediately posts a book link and I feel kind of bitchy and like maybe there was a better way to say it.

The thing is, lots of people, and not just the clueless-about-the-way-things-work-for-writers crowd, lots of authors too, have absolutely no clue about the impact social media has or how important it is to freaking help or even how to help an author struggling out there in Promotion Land. If they did, the people who say “I love you” on a regular basis would actually get behind you and your book and help you push. I am convinced of this.

So. A little help for those of you out there who would like to help a writer, you just don’t know how.



1. Buy the book. This would seem like a no brainer but it must be said. Sales help numbers and sales rankings and also, you know, that’s how the writer gets paid. The book sells and the writer makes a royalty. Also, a little known fact: Writers pay for their own books. So if you are sitting back thinking, Hey, I’m family, that writer should give me a free copy? News flash. It’s not a “free” copy to the writer. Just to you. Because the writer paid for it just to give it to you. Greedy! Go buy the damn book.

2. Write the review. Reviews places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble and iBooks and Good Reads count. A lot. They’re word of mouth. They tell someone else considering buying and reading the book that someone else out there liked it and thinks it’s worth buying and reading. Reviews do not have to be long or erudite. This isn’t being written for The New Yorker. They just have to be there and say, “Hey, I liked this, I think you will too.”

3. Blog the book. Lots of people out there have blogs. You have a favorite writer? Post their book. Say something nice about it on the blog. I don’t care if you only have ten visitors a month on that blog, every little bit helps. You can get fancy. Here’s a blog post about the book by author and editor Nancy Bilyeau. But it can also be short and sweet. Here’s a short blog post by writer and blogger Kym Kemp. And another short one from Patricia Burroughs. They all work. It counts a lot that they are out there. [Thanks Nancy and Kym and Pooks. You rock.]

4. Share the book on social media sites. Facebook? Twitter? StumbledUpon? A web community you visit regularly? Share the book. Post about the book. Talk about the book. This means more than simply hitting a like button when the writer posts the book. It means keeping the fire going by passing the link forward in the social media chain. Don’t just hit like. Hit “share.”

5. Talk about the book. This would seem like another no brainer, but apparently it isn’t. Talk. About. The. Book. That will be much more interesting at the next cocktail party than one more diatribe about Ayn Rand. Trust me. We have all heard the Ayn Rand diatribe. Time for something new. Yay!

6. Ask about the book at your favorite book store. Suggest the book store carry the book. [Do not special order the book and not pick it up. The book store people do not just shrug and put those special order books on the shelf, they return the books to the publisher — which sucks for everyone. Just ask them if they carry the book and tell them you like it a lot and why maybe they should.]

7. Hit Amazon and add tags and like the book. This is more important than liking the book on Facebook, this is liking the book at the source, with a seller. It effects ranking. And tagging helps other people interested in the book’s subject find the book. I’ll stick a short tutorial in here to help you go about that.

8. Belong to a book club? A writing group? Suggest the club or group cover the book. Sometimes books are available at discounted rates if purchased in bulk by clubs or groups too so find out, everyone wins on that one because the group gets a better price.

9. Host a book event. Say a reading/book signing. This counts double if you, say, work at a book store. But it doesn’t always have to be a book store. My first book reading was at an art gallery. Some groups meet regularly and need speakers, well, surprise, the author is a speaker. Be a little creative here.

10. Post comments on author or the book’s Facebook pages and other websites. On Facebook, a page doesn’t get points because of how many people are hitting like buttons, a page gets points because of discussion happening on the page. So don’t just hit like. Say something on the page. It goes a long way.

That’s ten. Feel free to suggest more in the comments section. [Yeah, the comments section, we just covered that right?] Now here’s the video clip:




Now go forth and help an author. It doesn’t have to be me, though that would be greatly appreciated. But help an author today. You’ll feel good about yourself, and the author will like you too. Yay!

Also, here’s another great post on helping authors with promotions from Mike Duran:


Hit that baby, it’s good reading.


2 Responses to 10 ways you can help your favorite author

  1. Max, this is an excellent post on how to help a favorite author. I can see a few I’ve missed. I’m going to do them for you and I’m going to pass this article on to my author friends!

  2. Max

    You rock. Thanks. Smooch! The RaffleCopter idea is pretty interesting too:

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