8 Ways to Help Your Favorite Author*

Rachelle Gardner

*and Get Your Fans To Help YOU

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

? You’ve got a book out, and you want to tell your friends and fans how they can help.

? Or you have friends who are authors, and you want to see them succeed.

? Or you have favorite authors whom you’ve never even met, yet you still want to help their books find readers.

For all of those situations, here are a few simple things that can make a world of difference to an author:

1. Amazon reviews. If you have positive things to say about a book, go ahead and say them! Don’t be false; don’t rave about a book you don’t really like. But write a good review if you can. Reviews are a powerful tool on Amazon that can make a big difference in an author’s sales.

2. Reviews on other retail sites. Barnes & Noble, the Apple store, Kobo, Smashwords… it helps to leave good reviews on any of the retail sites you visit.

3. Amazon “Like” button. See that little “thumbs up” icon on the Amazon page, right below the title and author? Click it!

4. Vote “up” positive Amazon customer reviews. At the bottom of each review, it asks, “Was this review helpful to you?” If you found a positive review helpful, click yes, and it will help move that one higher on the page.

5. Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. The crucial thing about these social networks is, don’t just post “I loved this book!” (although once wouldn’t hurt). Instead, pick several of your favorite lines from the book and quote them in your tweets and Facebook posts; and use the quotes to create fun Pins on Pinterest. You can get a lot more mileage this way, without becoming repetitive and tiresome.

6. Goodreads. Add the book to your “read” list. Write a review. Rate the book. You can also create lists in Listopia, and include the book in a list. There are public lists that anyone can add books to. In existing lists, you can “vote up” a book by clicking “vote for this book.” All of these things can increase a book’s visibility for potential readers.

7. Offer an endorsement. If you’re an author yourself, or if you have a substantial platform or notoriety in a particular circle, your endorsement could be valuable to the author. You could offer to write one that they could use to help promote the book.

8. Blog about the book. This is an obvious one, but I want to offer a caveat. I see many blog tours and allegedly “book reviewing” blogs that don’t actually offer reviews, but instead they’re simply canned synopses and/or author interviews that are repeated throughout the web. This isn’t helpful and doesn’t offer potential readers anything particularly valuable. If you’re going to blog, try to make it your own.

IHow Do I Decide? Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing hope that helps when you’re trying to figure out how to help out an author you love, or when you’re wondering how to ask your friends to help.

Now, if by any chance you’d like to put any of these tips to work right away, click on the image to check out my just-released e-book, How Do I Decide? Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing. If you like the book, then of course, any and all promotional participation is appreciated!

If you have any other great ideas for helping authors, please tell us in the comments.

 

 

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59 Comments

  • Anne Love says:

    Great tips Rachelle. Favorite tip–adding best book quotes. I’ve asked permission to quote a book on our blog book reviews. Most authors don’t mind or may suggest one they’d like listed. I’m always careful not to put up any “spoilers”.
    My pet peeve with movie trailers lately is that you feel like you’ve seen the whole movie by the time it’s through. I don’t think a book review should read like that either. Instead it should hook others and give them a feel for the author and the book.
    I’ve read mixed comments about whether we should be promoting our “friends” books on Amazon, so I’ve just stuck to the blog and Pinterest.

    • Larry says:

      Indeed! I agree with the movie trailer problem. Also, when I see people quoting books, it often appears they have no discretion. Sure, those pivotal, SPOILERIFIC parts might contain great prose, but are they telling me that there were nothing else to quote? Personally, if someone quotes a book where a “throw-away” or non-pivotal bit of prose is good, I’ll be more inclined to look into the book, wondering what the “good” parts are like if the rest of the book is already good!

    • Sidney Ross says:

      Anne,

      If you can’t help a friend with a post on his/her book then what’s the point for gods sake? I mean, hello? You gotta be a stranger to review a book? ummm duh?

      facebook: sidney ross
      sydrycalworks

  • Very helpful tips, Rachelle. Some are so simple to do — thanks for the insight!

  • ashlee says:

    Word of mouth is a very powerful tool and its way easy to talk about a book or author you like to get people interested.

  • Lisa says:

    These are great hints, thank you! I like that we have the ability as writers to support one another in so many ways.

  • I’m sure somewhere, in a movie or something the line was “Power to the People.” That’s where we are in the publishing world, and maybe, that’s where it should be.

    Working on several of these items currently, trying to help out.

    thanks

  • Jeanne T says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, Rachelle. As I have some friends with books coming out, I know just how to help them. :) I haven’t written many Amazon reviews. Is there a certain protocol or do you have suggestions about writing a good review?

    • Karen says:

      As a reader, the most compelling reviews for me are ones that highlight a books strengths and weaknesses. I skip those that just regurgitate the plot. I want to know if the characters are well developed, whether the plot is completely predictable and if it’s a can’t put down read or a book you finished because you hate to abandon stories part-way through.

      • Larry says:

        I, as well, look for reviews that tell me not only what makes the book stand out, but what impact it had on the reader. If I wanted to know the general idea of the story, I’d read the back of the book!

      • Jeanne T says:

        Karen and Larry, thanks! This helps me so much. :)

  • Debbie says:

    Thanks Rachelle. I have “gotten to know” a couple of authors through twitter or their blogs and I really never thought of taking the time to offer a review of their books (partly because I read so much I would be spending not a little time reviewing). However, this post made me think: these author “friends” of mine really are doing a ministry and it really does impact my life and their work is a blessing to me and others could use that blessing too. As well, they really do need the support and encouragement of their readers and I WANT them to sell more books. Therefore, it is important (not just a nice thing to do) that they have these reviews — and I should be willing to contribute. I am taking this to heart. Thank you again. Debbie

  • Heather says:

    I never hesitate to shove a physical copy of an author’s book I bought and loved into another reader’s hands when I’m excited, though this is getting more difficult to do as I buy e-books. Wish there was a share option for those.

    But I do Good reads, and I have reviewed books before. Guess I’ll do more as I love the authors I read.

  • Images are so important now. I love the idea of putting a quote on FB or Pinterest, perhaps on an appropriate picture (being careful of copyright of the picture, of course). They are so eye-catching!

  • Thanks Rachelle for the very specific helpful hints! I have found the writing community to be very supportive. What a joy!

  • Great tips, Rachelle. I would disagree about blog tour spotlights and interviews not being helpful, though. As someone who has coordinated blog tours for over five years, featuring an author even with a canned synopsis, cover art, and links, still provides exposure for the author’s work. There are so many books out there, that I don’t have time to follow all my favorite authors. But, if I visit a blog and it is featuring a new book from one of my faves, then I can add it to my wish list or order it.

    While reviews are better at helping consumers decide if they want to purchase a book, I still feel there is value in featuring an author at your blog in any way, shape or form; especially because there are so many virtual book tour companies out there now, that good reviewers are overwhelmed with requests. Isn’t some exposure for the author better than none at all?

    • Sarah Sundin says:

      While I agree that this exposure is very helpful, I have one caveat. When my publisher (or I) goes through the expense of sending a book to a reviewer (cost of book + postage + time), I feel disappointed when all the reviewer posts is the back cover copy and cover – which they could have pulled for free from Amazon of my website.

      • With our company, bloggers who post only a spotlight don’t receive a book. Instead, they take time out of their schedule to post about a book without any type of payment. Now, that’s definitely not the case with every company, but as an author, I certainly wouldn’t want to pay to send someone a book and not get a review out of it.

      • Sidney Ross says:

        Sarah,

        WHAT? You actually expected someone to read something? No one does that anymore Sarah, they just look at the pictures. Have you tried pop-outs? Just a thought.

        facebook: sidney ross
        sydrycalworks

    • Iola says:

      Personally, I ignore blogs that only post canned blog tours. If I’m thinking about purchasing a book, I want real opinions.

      I agree with Sarah – why spend money sending books to people who aren’t actually reviewing them?

      The exception, I think, is a really bad book (and, yes, some are). One example I can think of is a book I was asked by an author to review. It was awful – every writing mistake in the book. The author had organised a blog tour, and when I looked, I found many of the tour blogs had just posted the cover and plot summary. I can only assume that they (like me) felt guilty posting a negative review.

      This makes me wonder every time I just see the canned information on a blog tour review – did the blog owner not read the book… or did they read it and hate it?

      • I think there is one company out there that provides canned book information and sends out books to bloggers with the hope they will review them. If that’s the case, it’s not a good policy. Working with bloggers as long as I have, I can tell you, sometimes they just don’t have the time to review, but they want to help promote a book anyway. I haven’t taken new review requests at my blog for two years. I’m simply overwhelmed, and it’s not fair to expect authors to wait forever for a review.

        That’s the main reason I offer a first chapter review on my blog. The author sends me the first chapter only of their book via email. I read it, and provide a short synopsis, my opinions on the cover art, and let my readers know whether I would continue or not. It’s been a popular feature.

      • Sidney Ross says:

        Iola,

        And who decides what is real, my dear?

        facebook: sidney ross
        sydrycalworks

    • Sidney Ross says:

      Cheryl,

      Sounds like you’ve got every angle cornered. Excellent post Cheryl.

      facebook: sidney ross
      sydrycalworks

  • Larry says:

    When even a literary agent goes the self-pub route, you the times, they are a-changin’. :)

    • Sidney Ross says:

      Larry,

      You are so right and I’m stuck, still watching and reading old 1902 Charles H. Dow theory stuff.

      facebook: sidney ross
      sydrycalworks

  • Great ideas from a terrific agent!! Going to share these ideas with some readers…

  • Leah E Good says:

    Great post, Rachelle! My online presence is basically built around the many books I read. It is so much fun to help avid readers by recommending good books and know that it also helps other authors. It’s a win-win situation.

  • ED Martin says:

    Thanks for these tips. I think we often forget that publishing, especially self-publishing, isn’t a zero-sum game. People read more than one book, so why not help out as many authors as you can by sharing the books you enjoy?

  • Jenny Tavernier says:

    This is excellent! A bit more in depth and a fuller understanding of just what all these up buttons and such do. I have often wanted to participate, but have found that there seems to be more of a “if you “like”, there is more time added and things to fill out! (Only some sites – now I just read.) This succinctly gives one a great direction and more tightened up protocol for reviewing. Thank you! For some reason, this just really made me smile! Thank you for shining a light, and simplifying it.

  • Great post, Rachelle. I am already doing some of the things you listed and didn’t even know I was doing a good thing. My husband tells me every once in a while a blind squirrel finds a nut. Thanks!

  • Michelle Lim says:

    This is an awesome article! Thanks for the information. I will pass this along to my ACFW Chapter!

  • While it isn’t related to marketing per se, I’d add that a really good way to help a favorite writer is to let them know that you enjoyed a given book. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been discouraged and the Lord dropped a grace note into my writing day through a reader taking time to let me know that something I wrote gave them joy. So I’d add “encourage them” to the list of ways to help your favorite writers.

  • . . . . basically: Be kind and share with others.

  • When I review a book I like to make them a little different from the ordinary review. Sometimes they have a bit of how it impacted my life (like when my eleven year old read the same book), how I related to the character personally (giving a piece of myself in the review) or how it is an example of a skill a writer can learn from (ie. great character development). I don’t like long-winded standard synopsis/reviews. Either make it fun or make it short and to the point. That’s just me :o).
    I LOVE helping other writers. Fiction is important to me, both as entertainment (which I desperately need), or as a ministry. I like to further that for those around me.

    • Kiersti says:

      What great ideas, Connie! Thanks for sharing them with us. :)

    • Sidney Ross says:

      Connie,

      How about stick-figures(a fictional character lacking depth & believability)wouldn’t that be of benefit as well? Yeah, I know it’s hard to draw those things on a keyboard(but just sayin). :)

      facebook: sidney ross
      sydrycalworks

  • Sorry, but I have already decided. I published my first book in 2006, one in 2007, one in 2008, and I have now over a dozen books in print. Most of them I did not write, so I now have a small publishing company where I do the cover, the text layout, everything. Most are out of copyright that I have republished. But I expect to have a bestseller new book this year.

  • Susan Corpany says:

    If you want to help an author, tell people about the book and when they ask if they can borrow it (because you know you’ll never get it back), tell them you loved it so much you are afraid to loan it out for fear of it not being returned and that they should go BUY THEIR OWN COPY.

  • Virginia Rush says:

    Great ideas and I’m always reviewing…thanks

  • Thanks for sharing this post. As authors it is nice to get the support of your readers and know that people enjoy and are blessed by your work. These are great ways readers can show their appreciation for their favorite authors.
    Blessings,
    Deborah H. Bateman-Author

  • I appreciate these tips. While I’m familiar with several of them, I do like #5 on the list the best. You truly would get more mileage going that far with it.

    I have more.

  • Shawn Inmon says:

    Hello, Rachel,

    Thank you for the list, but I have a question for you. Do you really have reason to believe that hitting the “like” button on the Amazon page helps the author? I’ve done some research on this subject and the best I’ve come up with is that doing that helps Amazon understand the reader’s interests and helps them funnel book information that will interest them. That’s completely fine, but I don’t think it helps the author any. If you have different info about this I would really love to know about it!

    Thanks again for another informative blog.

  • Dan Erickson says:

    These are all great ideas, but actually activating people to do these things is the hard part. I’ve found that I’m lucky to have one in ten engaged readers actually post about my book. People are busy and doing their own things. I’m very grateful for the ones who do post.

  • Roxanne Sherwood Gray says:

    I do want to help my favorite authors but I hadn’t heard of Kobo or Smashwords. I’ll need to investigate what sites are represented by “…” so I can promote those authors more.

    ;-)

    Thanks so much for another helpful post.

  • Sidney Ross says:

    Rachelle,

    Here is an original and striking idea *buy-out* the book.
    facebook: sidney
    sydrycalworks

  • Nancy Petralia says:

    Personal recommendations always get a read.

    When a couple friends of mine published, I put together an email (yes, many of the people I know are not obsessed with social media) introducing my author friend and his/her new publication. I included a few sentences about why I liked the book and why I thought my friends would too. I ended with a link to the Amazon page to buy it. I also suggested the author’s book(s) as gifts for specific occasions. Finally I asked that the email be passed on.

    I don’t know how effective this was since the Amazon sales couldn’t be tracked back…but I felt I’d done something helpful.

  • GREAT idea on using quotes from the book! I’ve seen this more and more lately, and have got to start doing this! I have really liked it quite a bit when I’ve seen it, and since it’s suggested here as well, I am going to start doing this!
    Thanks SO much for a great article! I really enjoyed it AND the Comments! They were equally as GREAT! Thanks everyone!
    Laurie Carlson

  • Shelina says:

    I liked this a lot. Makes it so much easier to show the love to our faves. I would like to add doing creative video interviews and responses are great too. It’s a change from the more typical written Q&A.

  • Peter DeHaan says:

    Rachelle, this is a useful list. Sometimes I wonder if my efforts are actually helpful or just a waste of my time. Now I know where to focus my attention. Thanks.

  • Mary L. Ball says:

    Great Little bits of info. Yes, all these help and are appreciated!
    Mary L. Ball
    “Escape to Big Fork Lake”

  • Minal Jagtiani says:

    Hi Rachelle,

    First I really like this blog site, its very useful indeed and helpful – tips that help and advise new entrants in the world of publishing. I like the way you have enumerated your ideas – one does come across some of these on other websites, too, but the explanation and the simplicity is what made it work for me. Its easy to follow approach is what makes it doable.
    Thanks Rachelle.
    Minal

  • Helpful tips Rachelle. To date I have tended to mostly use Goodreads and my own blog to post reviews.

  • Elena Eulo says:

    What a wonderful article. I posted it on Facebook and Tweeted it! Thank you so much!

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