How to support an author’s book: 26 simple ideas to use now

My most recent post explains how you will benefit from supporting other authors. Essentially, helping others helps you. What’s more, it creates good karma.

If you don’t agree with the reasoning outlined in “Being a cheerleader for others helps you promote your own book,” then stop reading now.

Maybe you don’t believe that contributing to the success of other authors is an investment in your own success.

It’s possible you feel so overwhelmed by the tasks related to publishing and marketing your own book that you can’t bear to take even five minutes a day to help someone else.

Or . . . perhaps you’re willing to help, but don’t know what to do.

Get some good karma going

For those who understand karma, appreciate that you can learn by doing, or don’t have a lot of time, here are 26 super simple things you can do. They might not change the world, but each will mean a lot to authors you know or whose work you like or admire.

1. Cultivate a network of authors.

Keep expanding it. The more authors you know, the more you can support.

2. Buy their books when you can.

Nobody truly expects you to buy a book that you will never read or give away, but when it makes sense, buy a book written by an author you know rather than one written by a stranger.

3. Use your social networks to share information about new books with links to a purchase page.

4. When you receive a review copy of a book, take a picture of the cover and share it on Facebook with a positive comment.

Share that photo and comment on Instagram, too.

5. After you’ve read a book that you like, write a review on Amazon, BN.com, Goodreads, and other sites that are relevant.

6. If you’ve read a friend’s book and don’t like it, don’t review it.

Bad reviews help readers, but our goal here is to help writers.

7. If your blog readers will be interested in the book, review it on your blog.

8. Invite the author to contribute to your blog with a guest column, written Q&A, or an audio or video interview.

Similarly, if you host a podcast, invite your author friends to be guest on your show.

9. If you list books you like on your website, add your friends’ books to the list.

10. Send a brief book announcement e-mail to people in your address book you think will be interested in a specific book.

Be selective so your message has impact.

11. Recommend your author friends as speakers.

12. Like the author’s Facebook fan/book/author page.

13. Look for the book in stores.

If you find it, position it on the shelf so the cover faces shoppers. If it’s not there, ask the store to order it.

14. If it’s a great gift book, buy several copies so you’ve always got one to give away.

15. Make books in general your “go to” gift, whether it’s for bridal showers, birthdays, graduations, Christmas, or Hanukkah.

Become known as the person who gives great books that are carefully selected for the recipient.

16. When an author asks for help, oblige when you can.

Sometimes it’s impossible or not appropriate, but if you have to say “no,” try to re-direct the author to someone who can say “yes.”

17. If you write for magazines, newsletters, and/or websites and cover topics that your author friends write about, find ways to use them as sources in your articles.

18. Be generous with information and connections.

Help everyone by making those connections without being asked.

19. Check it out of your library.

20. Share their content with your social networks.

For example, promote the author’s virtual book tour appearances, re-tweet their exciting book news, or comment on (or share) their book updates on Facebook.

21. When they’re up for a “popular vote” award and ask for your support, vote early and often.

22. Add yourself to their mailing lists.

Publishers and others like to see author platforms with large mailing lists. Even one more subscriber helps.

23. Participate in and promote their book contests.

If they’re looking for contest prizes, offer to contribute if you can.

24. Provide a testimonial when asked . . . and if it makes sense.

25. Attend their book launch parties (and bring a few friends!).

26. Talk it up!

When you’ve read a book that you like, tell people about it.

I’m sure you can add to this list.

What are you doing to support authors, or what do you wish others could do to support you? Comment here! 

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  1. I am the board member of the California Writers Club, Mt. Diablo Branch, who is responsible for arranging our monthly speakers, including luncheons and workshops. I actively search for local writers, as well as other related professionals, to appear before our 150 members and speak on the craft of writing. Yes, we pay for their time. I also promote their books. Then I recommend the good speakers to our other branches. We heavily publicize those appearances. When I think I might enjoy them, I also buy their books. If you know of any local writers clubs, or libraries, or other venues where writers are invited to speak and hawk their wares, see what you can do to help make it happen.

  2. I can’t agree more.
    I’ve encouraged friends to join Goodreads and set up an author page, and I’ve made sure they had a few fans waiting when they did. And a few nice reviews.
    I’ve also reviewed other authors’ works on Amazon and if I don’t think a book is for me, or don’t give it many stars, I make sure to say why and say who might like it better. This is more helpful than just not reviewing a book I don’t like. For instance ‘I’m not a great fan of horror, so someone who is would probably enjoy this book more and give it more stars.’
    Thanks for this post!

    1. This is very generous of you, Clare. Thanks!

      I love how you handle reviews of books you don’t like — so smart. I wish more people were capable of that.


    2. Clare, I’d be happy to have you review my current historical fiction, if that genre interests you! Check out my name on Barnes & Noble (I’m still a week away from Amazon); if you are interested, I’ll give you a code for a copy. Cheers, Don

    1. Thanks, Lauren! You’re welcome. Imagine — just doing 1 of them consistently could really make a difference. : )


  3. I’m a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and often feature Christian writers on my blog. Many of my guests feature me in return. We also do reviews, tweets, post to email loops, put announcements on Facebook, Pinterest, and other social sites. In addition, we often feature a “giveaway” copy to entice more visitors to the blog posts. In person, I talk up books by others. I really appreciate your list and attitude regarding promotions and reviews. I personally made a decision not to review a book if I can’t honestly give it four or five stars. Like you said, I’m trying to help the writer, and some books are just not my cup of tea. There are plenty of naysayers out there to warn readers off from titles that aren’t well done. On the other hand, I’ve actually read some 3-star books that I thought deserved a lot more credit than they were given.

    1. Donna, I love that you have a whole community of authors supporting each other. That’s wonderful!

      Yes, there are definitely enough naysayers out there in the reader reviews department! They don’t need us chiming in, too. ; )


  4. Thanks for posting this. I am an Indie Author and an Indie reader. I read nothing but Indie authors’ books and do reviews afterward. I Think we should help and support each other. There’s plenty of room out there for good writing.

    1. Carole, authors must love you! Quick question…what’s your best source of good indie books (meaning high quality and good reads?)?


  5. Please excuse the boldness of this remark, but I have written a book that will be every author’s best friend. “Point to Reading” is about how to build the love of reading in the 80% of Americans who don’t like to read, and therefore don’t buy books. Presently all authors compete for the attention of a very small group. I have discovered what turns children into lifelong readers and, in less than ten minutes, can show any parent how to do it. I am convinced PTR will transform reading habits in America practically overnight, therefore doubling and tripling the number of people who are every author’s market. It is a truism in business that a company must find new customers for its product or stagnate and die. It could not be more true for the publishing world. I hope Point to Reading will become #27 on your list. Thanks for listening.

  6. I am asked to reveiw books by numerous authors, but there is only so much time in a week. If a story can grab me in the first couple paragraphs I am happy to accomodate them and provide a review. If it obviously has promise, but has problems I will give private editorial feedback. A bi-monthly eFile addresses specifics to help writers that I’ve learned over the past 50 years and continue to learn about. Call it payback for the help I’ve received. You have provided a nice list of things-to-do, but again, there is only so much time so a person has to pick and chose what is important.

    1. Thanks for all that you do for authors, Sean.

      Time is definitely an issue for most. But … even if authors just pick one thing on the list to do for others, it would make a big difference.


    1. I’m glad it was helpful, Paddy! Thanks so much for sharing it. Doing so might very well help a few authors!

      : )


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