As the release of my debut novel Bandun Gate fast approaches, family and friends have been reaching out asking what they can do to help make my book a success. Aside from the obvious (purchasing a copy,) there are many COST-FREE ways readers can support an author; here’s what I request from my ‘team’ in terms of assistance:
1. Post a review on Amazon, BN.com, GoodReads, etc. Reader reviews are the lifeblood of book promotion since they help determine how much free publicity a website gives each title. Your honest review (even a quick ‘I found the story’s setting fascinating’ or ‘the characters really came alive’) will be a huge boost. The more reviews a book has, the more prominently it will be featured and recommended to potential buyers.
2. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media. Numbers matter in the writing business, and every person counts! Publishers, book sellers, booking agents and others will check out an author’s ‘following’ when deciding whether or not to offer a deal, and even a few more supporters can make all the difference. Readers, too, often equate a serious fanbase with a quality product, and seeing a higher number will make them more likely to purchase the book.
3. Share book / author info on your own social media. Remember that old ad saying, “I told two friends, then they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on” while the picture showed the resulting exponential explosion in product awareness? That concept still holds true: one of the best ways to get exposure is by word of mouth (or in the modern era, word of cyberspace!) Sharing an author’s posts, posting a picture of the book’s cover, suggesting others check out the title, etc. will all go a long way in boosting the writer’s profile, and hopefully result in sales.
4. Sign up for author’s newsletter. Many authors (myself included) have websites offering info on published titles, reviews, photos, etc. In addition, we encourage fans to sign up for a newsletter that will keep them posted on new projects, book give-aways, author events and other happenings. Writers love sharing ‘insider’ information with readers, and a monthly email is a great way to cultivate the writer / reader relationship.
5. Watch the book’s promo videos on YouTube / TikTok. In today’s high-tech environment, authors are increasingly using short promo videos to advertise their works on YouTube and TikTok. Every ‘view’ helps raise the author’s profile, and it only takes a few seconds to give the clips a look. To help promote the book even more, you can also ‘like,’ comment on and share the promo videos.
6. Add the book to your GoodReads ‘Want to Read’ shelf. GoodReads (now owned by Amazon) is the premier website connecting books and readers. You can help boost the book’s prominence on the site by adding the title to your “Want to Read” shelf, then posting a review once you’ve finished reading it.
7. Ask your local bookstore to carry it. Next time you’re in an actual ‘bricks and mortar’ retail book seller, look for the title. If it’s not there, ask the store to stock it. Having the book’s full title, author and publisher info on hand will help make the request more appealing to the store manager / owner.
8. Ask your library to add the title. Likewise, check your library shelves for the book and ask for it to be added if it isn’t already part of their catalog.
9. Suggest your book club feature it. If you’re part of a book club, recommend reading and discussing the work. Even the request will get the members talking about the book and spark interest.
10. Most of all, spread the word in your everyday interactions! Tell your friends, family, co-workers, associates, fellow parents at the soccer game, the other folks waiting along with you for an oil change, etc. about the book. “My friend just wrote a novel, you should check it out!” is a great conversation starter, and helps reach potential readers who otherwise might never know about the work.
All of these tips will help with promotion without costing a single cent. I speak for authors everywhere when I say we truly appreciate anything and everything you do to help make our books successful, and we can’t thank you enough for your support!