I know a lot of authors!
And I know even more readers!
Naturally we’d all like you to buy our books. But even if you can’t — and we’re so grateful if you have! — there are lots of no-cost ways to support your favorite authors.
(And, author friends, there are a few tips in here for you, too. Keep reading!)
Your support is especially meaningful to authors who are not household names, and whose books are not best-sellers. I’m doing some catching up myself, on books by organizing colleagues, now that my new book has been released and I have more time to read them.
Authors who are not famous make shockingly little money from their books. And they know that going in. The important thing to most of them is getting the word out about their topic, their cause, the thing they hope to inspire people to do, or the bit of creativity and storytelling that they want to share with the world.
If you can’t buy the book, or want to do more to help promote it, here are some easy, quick, no-cost ways to support your favorite authors:
1. Leave a review on Amazon
- I am so grateful for each of my Amazon reviews! (Click for examples: Hung Jury + What’s a Photo Without the Story?)
- The book needs to be available on Amazon, and you need an Amazon account (which most of us do, even if we haven’t used it in a while), but you need not have purchased it there to leave a review.
- First, find the book’s product page by searching Amazon for the title and/or author.
- Then, scroll down until you see “Review this product” and click the “Write a customer review” button.
- A review can be short, sweet, and as simple as “I loved it!” (Or, whatever you actually thought of the book.) Authors are not looking for detailed, time-consuming book reports (unless, of course, that’s what you feel called to write). I think a lot of folks don’t realize how easy it is, so they don’t try. Or, it doesn’t occur to them how much of a difference a review will make to the morale of the author and to the success of the book.
- This might seem like overkill, but extra credit to you if you leave a review and also
email a copy to the author and give them permission to use it in other ways such as on their website. (The review copyright remains yours.)
- NOTE: For those who seek alternatives to purchasing from Amazon, you can buy any book through your favorite local indie bookseller by providing them with the ISBN number. Also, though, sometimes buying local means using Amazon!
2. Leave a review on Goodreads
- I am so grateful for my Goodreads reviews! (Click for examples: Hung Jury + What’s a Photo Without the Story? )
- You need to be a Goodreads member to leave a review, but it’s free, it’s social, and it’s fun! If you are a reader, why aren’t you on Goodreads?
- (Confession: I knew about Goodreads for years before I joined. But I love it now!)
- If you select the book and put it on your virtual Want to Read shelf, it helps to bring it to others’ attention, even if you haven’t read it yet.
3. Leave reviews wherever else you interact with books online.
- Bookbub? Audible? I don’t even know what all sites welcome reviews. You tell me!
- Here are some suggestions in this article: The Best Book Review Sites For Enthusiastic Readers
4. Contact your local library
- Request that they purchase copies of the book.
- My library has an online form for just such requests. Maybe yours does too?
5. Post about the book on social media.
- It’s fun, and encouraging, to see that someone is excited about having just ordered, or just read, our books! And it doesn’t hurt that their friends now know about it too!
- Don’t forget to tag the author! (Make sure their name is clickable, so others can follow them, and so they’ll get a little surprise notification.)
- Extra credit if you include a photo. Here are a few of my favorites:
6. Follow them on social media
- Like, comment, and share whenever they post about their own books!
- (You don’t have to do all of these things every single time, but any and all sorts of interaction nudges the algorithm into showing their post to more people than the handful it started with.)
7. Subscribe to their newsletter
- Especially if you’re not keen on social media.
- Also so you don’t miss updates on existing and forthcoming books. (Yes, I’ve started working on my next book!)
8. Blog about the book.
- I had not anticipated that anyone would do this, much less several of my wonderful blogging colleagues, but here are some terrific blog posts about (or featuring) my new book:
- Cathi’s Pics (Cathi Nelson)
- Paper Doll’s Holiday Gift List: Warm Their Hearts and Fill Their Tummies — AND — Paper Doll’s 22 Ways To Celebrate GO Month 2022 (Julie Bestry)
- Review of Hazel Thornton’s book “What’s a Photo Without the Story?” — AND — Shifting from 2021 to 2022 (Janet Barclay)
- Have Photos? (Lisa Gessert)
- How to Make a Family Heritage Scrapbook (Sabrina Quairoli)
9. Invite them to be a guest or a speaker
- Do you host a podcast? My organizing colleague James Lott features his writer friends all the time on his In Between The Pages podcast.
- Do you need a speaker for your group? (Depending on the situation, the author may request a speaking fee.)
- I don’t have anything to link to for my new book yet, but I do have some things scheduled.
10. Select it for your book club.
- Some authors will even join the discussion if you ask them! It depends, of course, on a few things like when and where the discussion will be held. They might have requirements such as a minimum (or maximum) number of attendees. It’s not a slam dunk, but it never hurts to ask!
Give it as a gift.
- OK, this one’s not free (and also not numbered as one of the 10 promised tips), but a book probably costs less than you were going to spend on a gift anyway. Right?
- The right book for the right reader makes a perfect gift!
Finally, here are some tips for my author friends:
- Do YOU support YOUR favorite authors?
- Julie Bestry shared this article with me (and the rest of the NAPO Authorship & Publishing SIG) a few years ago. A few of the tips could probably be debated or updated, but it’s still a pretty good list! Book Marketing: 15 Practical Ways to Get More Book Reviews
- I found this randomly on the internet just now: 20+ Encouraging Writing Quotes from (Mostly) Famous Authors
- ASK your podcast friends and relevant businesses to interview you, if they don’t think to ask you and you think it might be a good fit. I didn’t ask for this one, but it’s an example of a relevant business being interested in my topic before it got turned into a book: SMEAD [PODCAST] 277.
- This is by no means an exhaustive list!
Are you a reader? Does this list inspire you to take action in support of an author you know and/or love?
Are you an author? What promotional tips do you have for readers and other authors?
Please share in the comments below!
Copyright 2022 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life and Beyond
Author of What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy
Please contact me for reprint permission (other than direct social media links).