Until I started writing, I had no idea how important reader support was, nor did I know the many simple ways readers can help. Last year, In honor of Valentine’s Day, I did a “Show your Favorite Author some Love” event, in which I posted a unique idea for readers every day for 58 days. Below are ten of my favorites. Most of them are quick, free, and almost painless!
1. Write a short (1 – 2 sentences are great!) honest review of your favorite author’s book(s) and post it on Amazon. Love Amazon or hate them, they are a key player in book sales, and reviews help your favorite authors rank higher in the Amazon search engines. Some promotional opportunities are only available to authors if they have a certain number of Amazon reviews. Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and personal blogs are also fantastic. Most authors I know think Amazon reviews provide the most access to new readers, though. Best yet--you don’t have to purchase the book on Amazon to review it there.
2. Buy their books! This may seem obvious, and I know not everyone can buy all of the books that they read. However, if you really like an author, purchase their books rather than borrow them. Publishers drop series that don’t sell, so the best way to help ensure you’ll see your favorite author’s next book is to buy it. If you’re on a limited budget, save up for the books you really like. Your purchase helps ensure that there will be a next book in the series! And remember, books make great gifts!
3. Attend their events, virtual or in person. There is nothing worse than hosting an event that no one except your mother attends. And sometimes even your mother is busy! Make your favorite author’s day by coming to their signings, asking questions, and sharing your enthusiasm. While you’re at it, bring a friend! I promise, we don’t bite, and many of us give out bribes. (Oops, I mean prizes!)
4. Talk up their books at your local bookstore. Depending on which source you believe, there are between 1600 and 2700 new books published every day in the US alone. Your neighborhood bookstore can’t carry all of them or even keep up with new titles. So nudge them in your favorite author’s direction. The next time you’re at a book store, talk up your favorite author with one of the employees. Point out the cover. Tell them what you love. You might just provide the information that helps that employee connect a future customer with that author’s work!
5. Sign up for their newsletter! Facebook is a lovely community-builder, but it only shows a very small fraction of the posts written on author pages (considerably less than 5%) and Tweets fly by faster than geese flying south for the winter. So how can an author best communicate with her most loyal fans? Via a newsletter! If you go to your favorite author’s web page, they may have a link to their newsletter. Join and be sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun! My newsletter is at http://tracyweberauthor.com/newsletter.html
6. Ask your local library to carry their books. Library systems vary greatly in budgets and ability to act on patron requests, but you never know until you try! Sometimes all it takes is a single request for a book to get placed in the ordering system. And even if your library can’t carry THIS book, you’ll have put your favorite author on their radar screen for the next time they order. Just think, you may be introducing your favorite author to dozens of readers by requesting a single book!
7. Join their street team! Street teams are made up of readers who enjoy an author’s work. They help spread the word in lots of ways, including social media. Even better, they are often first in line for cool author swag! My street team is at https://www.facebook.com/groups/DownwardDogMysteries/
8. Tell a librarian about their work! Librarians are in the business of matching readers with work they will love, but they can’t read everything. Tell them about your favorite author’s work and what you love about it. Point out the cover if it’s already on the shelves. The more a librarian knows about a book, the more likely they are to recommend it to patrons that might enjoy it.
9. Share the love on social media! Authors rely heavily on social media to spread the word about their work. Help them expand their reach! When your favorite author has something to brag about, share it with your Facebook friends. Tweet your heart out. Pin their book cover on Pinterest. Heck, make a video of you doing a happy dance holding their book and put it on Youtube. You may help your favorite author go viral!
10. Think outside of the bookstore. Does your favorite author have a hook you can help them exploit? Love their knitting mysteries? Talk them up at a yarn shop. Devour dog mysteries? Maybe your favorite dog trainer would like it. Practice yoga? Why not talk it up in your next yoga class? Many of the people who would love your favorite author’s work won’t look for it in the mystery section of your local bookstore. If you’re really passionate about sharing, ask your favorite author to mail you some bookmarks or post cards to share with your friends!
And a bonus, and probably by far the most important way you can show your favorite author some love:
11. Tell them you love them! Most of the authors I know make essentially no money on their writing. (Sad, but true!) Some of us spend more than we make. So why do we write? For our readers! Drop your favorite author a line and tell them you appreciate their work. Better yet, include a selfie of you holding their book or a photo of it on the shelf of your favorite bookstore or library. Facebook message them, send an e-mail, post a tweet with their hashtag. Believe me, you will make their day!Tell me, reader lovelies. What would you add?