How to Help Your Writer Friends

Originally posted in June 2012

Some readers like a book — or a writer — so much that simply reading books is not enough.If you are such a reader, you might be interested in ways to help your writer be more successful in the publishing world.

1. Buy the writer’s book. This seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? But this is the single best way to help a writer. It not only provides royalties, but will demonstrate to other people that you want to read a writer’s offerings. In addition, traditional publishers often want to know that a writer has a substantial following before they commit to publishing a novel. Having previous sales from self-published books or short stories is one way a writer can show that s/he has that following.

2. Recommend (or lend) the book to a friend. Word of mouth is a great way to promote a book or story. And here I’m talking about using your actual mouth, not your keyboard. “Hey, I just read this great book by John Smith, and I think you’ll like it, too!” If you own a Kindle, you can lend a book to another person if you have an email address. How do you do this? Log on to Amazon, and then go to “Your Account” in the upper right corner. Then choose “Manage My Kindle”. The author’s book will appear as part of a list. Hover over the “Actions” button to the right of it. If the book is lendable, one of the options will be “Loan This Title”.

2. Write a review on Amazon or Goodreads. When you’ve purchased something on Amazon, how many times have you read one of the reviews that are listed on the product’s page? Those reviews drive (or drive away) sales. Even if the book or story already has a lot of reviews, yours will help other people decide to buy it. Likewise, mentioning or reviewing the book on Goodreads can also generate buzz for it and drive sales to Amazon. (It goes without saying that if you are a book blogger, writing a review on your blog could be a great help as well.)

3. “Like” the book on Amazon. When you see the book’s product page on Amazon, there might be a small button at the top that says “Like”. If you press this, you’ll be registering that you like the product on Amazon (not on Facebook). While this is not as helpful to other buyers as a review is, every little bit counts.

4.Tweet about the book. Tell your Twitter followers how much you liked the book or story, and include a link to the product page on Amazon. There is a large and active community of readers on Twitter, and tweets like this do encourage readers to buy. Consider including a hashtag to help people find your tweet, like #Kindle or #reading.

5. Write a post on Facebook.This might be the next best thing to real word of mouth, and this time you don’t have to use your actual mouth. Your writer friend likely does not know all of your Facebook friends — even if you are the writer’s identical twin! — so sending a post out with a link to the book’s page on Amazon might be the only way your friends hear about it. And who knows? One of your friends might share it with their friends, as well, multiplying your effect.

It takes a lot of readers to make a book or story successful. Most writers are even more interested in reaching readers than in the royalties they will accrue from book sales. (In fact, if royalties were the only factor, most writers wouldn’t write at all.) Helping your friend get the book into readers’ hands will be a great gift and show of support.

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