Request their book at your local library: Libraries are where readers discover authors, and their books. Library goers buy more books than those who don’t visit the library. Publishers are very pleased when a book is acquired by libraries, because these days it not only means hardbacks and paperbacks, it is also licenses for audiobooks and ebooks. And if a library buys one of an author’s books, chances of buying others rises, as well.
Drop a review of the book on Goodreads/Amazon: I know that sounds like a tall ask, but really, quantity trumps quality. A line or two saying what the experience of reading the book was like for you is all that’s needed. You can make the review long and in-depth if you like, but just so you know, for the author, having a super-brief review from you will be better than having none. Some promotional newsletters ask for a minimum number of starred reviews before they accept a book for promotion.
Add the book to your Goodreads “To Read” list: Goodreads is the one social network for readers and booklovers, which still gets a lot of eyeballs (Storygraph is fast rising, though). When you add the book to your list of books to be read, that notifies your friends and followers on Goodreads. This helps start a buzz about that author’s book. This is author promotion gold, and takes less than a minute.
Support the author on social media & share their posts: Social media is where a lot of readers hang out. Amplifying the author’s voice on social media is easy and free. Authors appreciate shoutouts, and if you’re shy to write a review, a line or two on social media might do the trick instead. If you’re on an image-heavy medium like Instagram or Tiktok, presenting the book might be all that you need to do. If you see a good review of their book, boosting that will be appreciated, too.
Suggest the author as a speaker or workshop leader: If you are at an office or a school looking for speakers or workshop leaders, recommend the authors you know. It seems intuitive, but people don’t think of authors as speakers. They can be fascinating when asked to speak about subjects of their interest. It gives them more exposure, provides them with extra money (most authors could use extra cash given how little publishing pays), and last but most important, it often makes them feel encouraged and appreciated.
Add a link to the book if you run a newsletter: If you run a newsletter, adding a link to an author and their books adds value for your subscribers, and is a free and easy way to introduce the author to new subscribers.
Include the book in a blog post about your favorite books: If you’re reading this, chances are you might be a blogger. Even if you don’t run a book blog, or are not an author, consider mentioning the books on your radar. Again, this is all about word-of-mouth, the absolute cornerstone of author promotion.
Talk about the author/ book with your friends: I can’t stress this enough. Even if you’re shy on social media, and don’t want to leave reviews, and maybe don’t have a book club, if you like a book by an author, speak to your friends about the book when the occasion arises. Yeah, again the same old story: word of mouth is the best kind of author promotion.
Ask your local bookstore to stock the book: If you visit your local indie bookstore often (more power to you!), look for the book by the author you’d like to support. If it is there, you can take a picture of the book and put it on social media, tagging the author, the publisher, and the bookstore. If it isn’t, you could ask the bookstore staff about the book, and ask if they can get it. A lot of bookstores would order books for their customers, and you’ve done the author a solid favor without spending a penny!
This is by no means a comprehensive list—merely an informal start-off point for book-lovers to support those who have provided them with insights and entertainment. Given our busy lives, no one can be expected to hit each one.
Some readers manage many of the above, organically, through their love of books. Book bloggers like Lynne LeGrow and readers like Kacee Jones Pakunpanya who have been featured on this blog, are passionate about reading, and let this passion guide them into reviewing and promoting books and authors.
Those who asked me the question are mostly compulsive book buyers who wanted to understand how to go beyond the buying of books in order to support authors they love. It’s thanks to readers like them that debut or mid-list authors can hope to get beyond the author promotion machine. In a capitalist society, publishing is profit-driven, which means a very subjective take on which new books to punt on, and, betting always on the authors who have established platforms and audience.
If you help an author or a book you like, you’re helping in absolutely real terms— you’re supporting more books you like in that genre, from that author.
Do you speak about the authors you read? What do you know about author promotion? Are you an author, and if yes, would you add anything to this list?
My lit crime novel, The Blue Bar will be out soon with Thomas & Mercer. It is already available for preorders. Add it to Goodreads or pre-order it to make my day. You can also help by requesting it at your local library.
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