How to Support an Author’s New Book: 11 Ideas For You

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photo by darkmatter

GIVEAWAY: I am very excited to again give away a copy of my newest book, CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM. It’s a book all about how to build your visibility, brand, network and discoverability so you can better market yourself and your books. I’m giving away 1 copy to a random commenter based in the U.S. or Canada; comment within one week to win. Good luck! (Update: Dori Weinstein won.)

My screenwriting partner and WD coworker, Brian A. Klems, is gearing up for the April release of his first book — a humorous guide for fathers called OH BOY, YOU’RE HAVING A GIRL: A DAD’S SURVIVAL GUIDE TO RAISING DAUGHTERS (Adams Media). On top of that, my coworker Robert Brewer (editor of Writer’s Market) recently got a publishing deal for a book of his poetry. (This is big because getting a book of poems traditionally published is next to impossible.) So I find myself as a cheerleader for my writing buddies — trying to do what I can to help as their 2013 release dates approach. I help in two ways: 1) I use my own experience of writing & publishing books to share advice on what they can expect and plan for; and 2) I simply do whatever little things I can that help in any way.

This last part brings up an important point: Anyone can support an author’s book release by doing different things to help the book sell and get noticed. So, in no particular order, here are 11 things — some big, some small — that you can do to support a writer friend when their book comes out:

1. Buy their book. An obvious point, sure, but important nonetheless. Naturally, we must buy new copies of books, not used copies, for the sale to “count” and the author to get a royalty. So buy new. Heck, consider pre-ordering the book. Publishers pay attention to pre-orders to help get a sense of what titles are getting buzz and attention. Impressive pre-orders help the author.

2. Buy their book for others as a gift. Think of which friends and relatives would enjoy the book/novel. Buy it for them as either a birthday gift or holiday gift. You get to support your author friend and give cool gifts at the same time! Get copies signed if possible to make gifts special. Even people who don’t read many novels will still take note if a gifted book is personalized and autographed.

3. Face the book out at bookstores. Simply rearrange a bookstore shelf so that your friend’s book faces out to make it much more noticeable. (The theme begins: It’s all about getting noticed.)

platform face out
Now THIS is why you want your book to be face out.

4. When you actually read the book, read it where people can see it. Read it in public. Read it on the subway. Read it in the aisle seat of a plane. Read it on the deck of a cruise ship. After all, don’t you find yourself looking at what others are reading when you pass by? I do! And if I see 3 different people in 3 different places reading the same book, will I start to investigate it out of curiosity? Yes. It’s all about building public knowledge of something to the point where people are curious and discuss it.

5. Ask a bookstore employee where the book is located. When entering a bookstore, do not look for the book, even if you know exactly where it is. Go to the bookstore customer service clerk and ask them about the book. They will find it in their system and lead you to the book. My hope is that if several people do this at the same bookstore, then the employee(s) will begin to take notice of the title, wondering what all the buzz is about. If you’re lucky enough that an employee finally picks it up and reads it, then they might put it in the “Employee Picks” section or refer it to people who come in and ask “What’s something good I probably don’t know about?” or “What book makes a good gift?” Let bookstore employees help sell copies!

6. Leave a review on Amazon or BN.com or Goodreads or all. Reviews are still very important. Think about it. If you come by a new book and see it has 2.0 stars on Amazon, would you buy it? On some level, that silly rating does affect me and my decision — and my guess is that it affects you, too. So it’s crucial that, when you read a book and enjoy it, you leave a review on Amazon or BN.com or Goodreads or all. Those first 10-20 reviews really matter and can set a book on the right path. (Note: You can leave the same review on all sites to save time.)

7. “Like” the book on Amazon, or “Like” the author’s Facebook Fan page, or both. I heard from a literary agent once that the more “Likes” a book had on its Amazon page, the more frequent it turned up in Amazon’s comparable titles elsewhere. Getting your personal friends to “Like” another friend’s page is an easy favor to ask, as it requires no money. (Heck, go do some good right now: Open this separate page and “Like” Brian’s Facebook page if you have a second.)

8. Reserve a copy at the library. An employee here at Writer’s Digest Books once told me that if all copies of a book are reserved from our county library before the title came out, the system has a way of noticing this popularity and marking the book as one for “more orders.” (Also: Use the bookstore method above and ask librarians about the book — simply to draw attention to it and get the title on the mind of staff.)

9. Attend the book release party (if there is one) and bring a warm body or two. This task isn’t so much to help the author as it is to help the author’s self-esteem. It’s lonely to have a book release party or local signing with low attendance. If you already bought a copy, bring that book to be signed.

10. Spread news of the book through your social media channels. When the author mentions it on Facebook, share the news with your social circles and include a small note about what the book is and why they should buy it. In other words, spreading the word by saying “My friend got published!” is nice — but it’s better to say, “This new book by my hilarious friend is a great gift for dads who are raising daughters. Laugh-out-loud-funny stuff for all fathers to enjoy!” See how the second one targets people in a simple-yet-specific way? Do this kind of targeting when you spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, or blogs.

11. If you have media contacts or know people of influence, arrange a connection. This is one of the best things you can do and probably the biggest way you can truly influence the life of the book and the success of the author. If you’re married to the cousin of a local news personality, it’s exactly that kind of connection that serves as a great introduction between author and TV host. If you know a book reviewer at a newspaper in Boston, say so. If your old college buddy now runs the biggest reading club in all of Central California, try and help your author friend’s book be a future choice in that club. Utilize your network!

My own example of Point #11: When Brian’s parenting book was being edited, he was told to seek out blurbs for the cover. The top two people on his list were humorist Dave Barry and 8 SIMPLE RULES FOR DATING MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER author Bruce Cameron. Brian got the Dave Barry blurb, but not Cameron. Then I remembered: Hey. Didn’t I teach with Bruce Cameron at a writers’ conference in 2010? Yes I did. Maybe that will be enough to help. So I wrote Cameron personally and mentioned our past meeting and how he and we shared a hobby because we both authored dog books, etc., etc. And then at the end of the e-mail, I nicely asked if he would blurb Brian’s book. I was careful to explain that Brian’s work would be worth his time, and that the title was not some kind of small book that would only sell 17 copies in its lifetime. “This book has buzz,” I told him. Cameron replied back a few weeks later with a tremendous blurb. Success!

This last, large point touches on something very important. When you do approach someone of influence and ask them for a favor or suggest a book to them, have all your ducks in a row. Tout the book’s accolades or blurbs or interesting aspects to quickly convey that this connection/suggestion is worth their time. Don’t just say, “My friend has a new novel — check it out!” Say, “My friend has a new murder mystery novel and the Vanity Fair review comes out soon. She also just got a cover blurb from Michael Connelly.” Now you’ve got their attention…

Help writers sell books. It’s that simple. Just help them and support the publishing industry. Good karma will befall you, and the hope is that others will help you in return as your big release day comes.

Can you think of any helpful ideas to add? Say so in the comments below (and be entered in my drawing for a free book at the same time!).

GIVEAWAY: I am very excited to again give away a copy of my newest book, CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM. It’s a book all about how to build your visibility, brand, network and discoverability so you can better market yourself and your books. I’m giving away 1 copy to a random commenter based in the U.S. and Canada; comment within one week to win. Good luck! (Update: Dori Weinstein won.)

 

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About Chuck Sambuchino

Chuck Sambuchino is a freelance editor of query letters, synopses, book proposals, and manuscripts. As an editor for Writer's Digest Books, he edits the GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS and the CHILDREN'S WRITER'S & ILLUSTRATOR'S MARKET. His Guide to Literary Agents Blog is one of the largest blogs in publishing. His own books include the bestselling humor book, HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK, which was optioned by Sony Pictures, as well as the writing guide, CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM. Connect with Chuck on Twitter or at his website.

Comments

  1. J. Goslee says

    I’m not sure I would call amazon ratings “silly”. I know someone through non-writing online channels that has published a trilogy of science fiction books on amazon, and I was considering helping him out by buying a copy, until I realized that of the five amazon reviews that he had for his first book, three were fake fluff reviews (all in the same week, all reviewers that never reviewed anything else) and the other two were very derogatory. So although his book showed up on amazon as having 4 stars, it was really 2 stars if you disregarded his fake reviews. I decided that acquaintance or not I wasn’t going to order his book.

    So I definitely agree that giving someone a (legit) review of a book that’s just starting out on Amazon can do a lot for their credibility.

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    • Travis says

      I don’t understand how you knew those reviews were fake? Because they enjoyed the book? Because they all came out in the same week? Because they had not reviewed anything else?

      I just published a book on Amazon and I have twelve reviews. Hooray! Most of them are from friends. Most do not have any past review history as they did not know that reviewing things is a valuable tool.

      Are my reviews fake? they were written by other people who legitimately enjoyed the book. My wife did not put up a review, for obvious reasons, but why shouldn’t my friends? I did not pay anyone or coerce anyone to put up a review. i asked them to review it if they had the time, as most indie authors do.

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  2. Debbie Watley says

    I hadn’t thought to ask the store/library employees for help. That’s a great idea since those employees don’t necessarily see the sales/check-outs.

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  3. says

    Wonderful tips. I love the bookstore advice. Since only the established, name brand authors usually have front table space, I often find myself searching for the “little” guys I want to read and support. Yes, I should ask, make the book known.
    Kerry Ann @Vinobaby’s Voice´s last blog post ..Review: Why We Write

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  4. Carol Phillips says

    Writers I know who are self-publishing are having a difficult time placing their books in bookstores, even those who have been traditionally published before. I am not sure why this is – finite shelf space, competition between independents, or what. Asking for the book at independents is a great idea. I am not sure what influence it will have B&N.

    Re: Amazon reviews. Some writers & friends write glowing reviews to promote a book, or pan books that are viewed as competition. I approach all online reviews the same: I take seriously only those in which the reviewer backs up their praise/criticism in a meaningful way. While I might question the fluff and pans, it would not deter me from purchasing my friend’s book. And, then write an honest review.

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  5. says

    These are great tips — I’ve done all of them without really knowing they’d be helpful, but I’m really glad to get some more ideas. You touch on this with other ideas you give, but one very simple thing I do is to talk to my non-writer IRL friends about books I hear about in the writing community — some they may never have heard about otherwise. Looking forward to supporting my writer friends, thank you!
    Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..The Thrill of the (Blank) Page

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  6. says

    Turning books “face out” can be a lot of fun. I take my daughter and we do it for all the books of authors I know! Maybe next time I’ll take along a non-writer friend. It’s a fun outing and beneficial to everyone. Of course, I always leave with a few books too!

    Another idea is, when you give a book as a gift, as the recipient to pay it forward, and to buy a book (your book or a friend’s book, perhaps) as a gift for someone else. If you have a connection to an author, offer to “hook them up” for a book club visit or a Skype chat. “Knowing” an author is exciting for readers!

    I think it’s also important to remember that since not everyone likes the same books, if something isn’t right for you, it might be right for your neighbor. Just be careful not to say negative things about the book, maybe just that it’s not what you normall read, or it wasn’t your favorite, but that you think they might really, really like it. Of course I don’t advocate passing along a book you really dislike, but I don’t finish books I don’t like, so it’s not an issue for me.

    Thanks for the fabulous list!
    Amy Sue Nathan´s last blog post ..Book Covers, Tea Cups* and Blustery Cold

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  7. says

    What a great post! I’m friends with a lot of newly-published/self-published writers and I often want to help them but I don’t know what to do. I especially like the birthday present idea and the bookstore advice- I will now start “facing” all the debut authors I love!
    I’ll be sure to save the blog post for when I’m published (someday!) and my friends want to know how to help.
    Thanks again!
    Laura Lee´s last blog post ..Baby, it’s cold INSIDE!

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  8. Laura Lynn says

    I often support author’s by mentioning their books on writer’s blogs I frequent – making a comment about their usefulness in content, or about character or plot or anything else I like. This way the word gets around to confirmed book-aholics!

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  9. says

    I always go to bookstores and “rearrange” things a little so my friends books get prime real estate! Who knew this was a strategy?!

    I have found writers to be a most wonderful giving community. As you said: karma. It really does come back to you!

    I’d love a copy of this book!
    Renee Schuls-Jacobson´s last blog post ..Not a Tale for Children

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  10. says

    Wow, those are some great ideas, many of which I would not have thought have. I especially like #4, reading in public, because not only do I notice what other people are reading, I’ll even sometimes ask them about the book (I know, weird, but I can’t help it!) and whether they’re enjoying it. And I can’t wait to go to my local bookstore and try out some of the other suggestions, like facing a book out so everyone can see the title. I have a friend whose book is coming out in May and I’m going to try to do as many of those things as possible for her. Thank you!
    mshatch´s last blog post ..The Mistaken

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  11. Robin Yaklin says

    I’ll attest to facing the book with the cover outward. Did that for a friend. It was her first book. She was out there with little publicity and needed as much help as possible and so, when no employees were watching I faced the five books outward. By the following week, the store had sold every copy. At one of those airline terminal shops, I walked in holding a copy of another author’s first book. The clerk noticed, giving me a chance to talk it up, and the clerk propped up a stack of her books which made them lots more noticeable. I was only a drop in Erika’s publicity bucket, but it sure was a nice experience. Should the opportunities come again, I’ll certain take advantage.

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  12. says

    I like #5 the best. The only problem with #5 is that it doesn’t help digital only authors. There’s no one waiting at amazon to direct me to a book and therefore take notice if the book gets buzz.

    But I have heard that sites like Amazon have an algorithm that notices search patterns. So if 50 readers go to amazon and search for the title of my latest book, it supposedly “flags” my book for better promotions. Not sure if that’s true or not. Something to look into.
    SelenaBlake (@SelenaBlake)´s last blog post ..Book of the Week: Mated to a Cajun Werewolf

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  13. Tom Witkowski says

    I have just done all of those things for THIS particular post. Although turning a web article face out proved to be difficult. Look for this post to be a NY Times Bestseller very soon.

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  14. Rational Person says

    Some of this advice is obvious, some decent, some wrong and unfair.

    Booksellers are busy people. They work for living. They do not like to be asked irrelevant questions to falsely up someone’s importance and they hate like hell to have to rearrange shelves that they carefully arranged themselves. If you owned a dress store, for example, would you want customers coming in and moving the dresses around because they have a friend who’s a designer? Don’t’ do it.

    Moreover, booksellers are not stupid. If someone consistently faces out books by an author, they realize what’s going on and may, in fact, take it out on the author.

    Finally, if you start facing books out on a full shelf, it means turing others inward or covering others or pulling books off shelf (this is simple geometry). These authors you’re dissing worked hard too. It shouldn’t be done.

    It is fine to promote an author and even help them with words, purchases and ethical deed. It is wrong to do so with false impressions or creating more work for the people we claim to cherish.

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  15. says

    Hi Chuck, reading your new book now as I just started a new blog and author website in my one-year countdown to publication. Great stuff! But don’t worry, if I win I’ll pass it on to someone who can use it, as so many of us can.

    I love this post, especially #s 4 & 5—guerrilla marketing! I’ve too have noted when repeatedly seeing people read certain books. After The Lovely Bones caught fire I once saw it being read three times while window shopping—one by a guy awaiting his wife at a hairdresser. Great idea!

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  16. says

    Thanks for the tips. There are enough of them that at least some will be useful for any book, even if it’s not in bookstores.

    I wonder about facing out books – how do bookstore owners feel about that? I could see potentially getting annoyed if you have everything arranged how you want it, and a couple times a week, someone comes in and rearranges the books without buying anything. Surely they recognize this as an author trick. No doubt if someone buys the book when it’s faced out, bookstore owners will be happy, but if the books still aren’t selling and they are blocking visibility of other books, they may be tempted to just stop stocking it. Maybe I’ll ask the next time I’m at our writers meeting in an independent bookstore.

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  17. says

    PS – it seems that non-writers often get intimidated by the idea of writing reviews. I think they are flashing back to high school essays and feeling like they have to sound erudite. Perhaps “how to write reviews” is a topic for another post?

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  18. Marie says

    Some great ideas there, and I agree with Kris. A post on how to write a review might beof great interest.

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  19. says

    I would love a copy of your book! I recently self-published my book and selling through Amazon only right now. The reviews are helpful and I have heard you get more status if the reviews are through the verified purchaser and clicking on the this review was helpful. That is one way you can support your friends too.

    It is all a learning curve and books like yours help with that curve!
    jules´s last blog post ..Do we really start with a blank canvas?

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    • says

      Good one, Leanne. If appropriate (not all books are good for such discussion) I always recommend my friends’ book to my book club! And have the authors visit as well.

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  20. Denise Willson says

    Great, simple tips, Chuck.

    Once I stood at Costco suggesting a friend’s new release to everyone passing by, looking at books. My enthusiasm was honest and contagious, and several people put the book in their cart.

    Denise Willson
    Author of A Keeper’s Truth

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  21. says

    I appreciate the tips, Chuck!

    One additional one that I’ve used for friends books is to check my library for listings a month or so before the book comes out. If it isn’t there, I’ll submit a patron purchase request. With my local library system, this can all be done on line. And since relatively few patrons do so, I’ve had a great success rate.

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  22. says

    Being an avid reader, I get most of my books from the library. Making “purchase suggestions” for new books is another great way to support authors. Our library nearly always purchases books that are suggested.
    (Many which I discover here on WU.)

    Thanks for the post, Chuck!
    Cindy Angell Keeling´s last blog post ..Truth and Beauty in the New Year

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  23. says

    Great points, Chuck. Here’s a tip to potential reviewers. Recognize your own prejudices and limitations. Chances are, if it’s a first or second book, the author is still a bit fragile, still immersed in the learning curve — trying to make their craft the best it can be. Your lashing out with all your venom might look really cool in the comments section, but it might also set an emerging writing career back, or convince a writer that they need to keep their day job and not make any more attempts. If you enjoy reading a couple of specific genres, those are the books you should look for to review. It’s where your experience lies. The author will have an idea of what you enjoy reading, otherwise, they might have put their work in the hands of someone really not interested. Of course the review won’t be good if that’s the case!

    Likewise, authors, trying to get readers to notice them will often now, throw their titles out there in the freebie eBook storm without any care given to where they will actually end up. As a reader, try not to say yes to free titles unless they are in a genre you read, then, make the effort to review them fairly — it’s not a book report, it’s a review. Compare them to other titles you’ve read in the genre, and let other readers know where the book measures up as well as where it doesn’t. These things will be very helpful to any author, but especially for the developing writer who needs honest encouragement as much as honest criticism.
    Richard Sutton´s last blog post ..Has The Twitter Bluebird Flown The Coop?

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  24. says

    Great list. I too have done many of these. My personal rule for myself is to buy at least five books (when I can afford it) to help a writer friend. I can always find four people in my personal network who would enjoy it besides me. Good reminder about turning the books to face front and asking a bookstore clerk to find it. I also encourage non-writer friends to offer similar support to their writer friends (usually mutual ones).
    …and I’ve learned some new things about how to optimize the Amazon reviews.
    Jagoda Perich-Anderson´s last blog post ..Handling Criticism: A Four Part Process

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  25. says

    Great suggestions. I know Goodreads is a great place to find book suggestions and for promotion, but I would like to see it as a more popular place.

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  26. says

    Am I writing this comment just for a chance to win a book? It seems likely. But I’ve run out of money with which to buy lottery tickets. Hopefully 1-2-3-4-5-6 won’t come up this week. Someday it’s bound to.
    jon´s last blog post ..An Analogy

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  27. Michael says

    Just came back an hour ago from a signing by Tim Hallinan at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, as it happens. Love author signings.

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  28. says

    Hi Chuck . I would be honored to receive a copy of your book. I have taken numerous seminars of yours and have had my novel pro edited twice. Currently I am seeking a publisher. I am a twin and my novel is a contemporary romance about a twin in the quaint hamlet of Rosehaven, Georgia, who discovers, after her parents deaths, not only was she adopted, but also was born with a wombmate.

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  29. allison reid says

    I would also like to add that if the author is willing to donate their book and a guest appearance at the winning bidders house at a fund raiser, they are sure to get all the guests of the winning bidder to buy their book because of course they want to get their copy autographed! Also it gives the author’s book some really great exposure at the fund raiser…

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  30. says

    Great tips, Chuck! One thing I have done recently is give some friends a few of my business cards to hand out in places they visit. Their coworkers, a library I don’t visit, a club I don’t belong to are just a few places.

    I’m also all about promoting my author friends and myself to strangers. Sitting in a waiting room while waiting for a doctor appointment is a great time to promote.

    A copy of your new book would be a fabulous win!

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  31. says

    Thank you for the list. I’ve done most of these things to help my author friends, but reserving a copy from the library is something I haven’t thought to do. I always appreciate seeing a friendly face at my book signings, so I try to make it to my friends’ signings as well.
    Cate Macabe´s last blog post ..The Trap of Perfectionism

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  32. says

    What great ideas. I am writing a book right now and know how important marketing is. The ideas listed above are things I never thought of. Easy and effective. I love it. I try to give a push to authors I like on my social media pages whenever I can.

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  33. says

    Great tips. I believe that blogging may be a great way to get information out on a friends book. I have read several blogs where the blogger mentioned works and posted links to articles that were published.

    I promote my friends whenever possible. There are several of us that read at work and we are always looking for something good.

    I have done several book reviews for my friends, and for a small local paper. A few good words can go a long way.

    I hope that I am the luck winner of your book. My sister has a copy and just recommended it.

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  34. Jamie B. says

    This is a great post. The tips about the bookstore and the library are really great. I wonder how many others would have thought about that. I try to like, review, and share the works of my friends but I hadn’t thought to go so far as some of these tips suggest. I know I would appreciate if someone did that for me so now I have a few things to add to my to-do list for my friends. Thank you for such a great post!

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  35. says

    GOOD BOOKS NEED GOOD FRIENDS!

    My friend Keija Parssinen told me this when her first novel, THE RUINS OF US came out. I try to be a good friend to the good books of my good friends. These suggestions above (especially #3: change friends’ books in the store so they face out–the audacity!) are excellent ways of putting this philosophy into action.

    . . . and if you’re curious about Keija’s books, find her at
    http://www.keijaparssinen.com/
    Kate Klein´s last blog post ..Sweet and hot: almond cayenne biscotti

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  36. Lois Baron says

    I wish I could be sure that everyone whose book I’ve bought would buy a copy of mine :-) But I figure it’s up to karma.

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  37. says

    HI Chuck- I loved these ideas!

    I recently released my first novel, and my friends are always asking me what they can do to help. Now, I have some great ideas to tell them. I loved the idea of just reading my book in public. I can tell them to hide their Kindle inside my book, since most have already read mine! :)
    And I loved the idea of having them go to the library to check out the book. It is free for them (which makes it easier to suggest) and sounds like it can really make a difference.

    Thanks for the great ideas! ( I am retweeting your post!)

    Jennie Marts
    Author of Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got No Body (a Romantic Comedy)

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  38. says

    The most obvious way to help a writer is to buy a bunch of books, but for those of us who can’t, getting the word out there in as many ways as possible can be a huge help.

    My library has reading clubs where patrons submit reviews of books they love. The librarians tell me they use the reviews as a guide when they go to buy more books, so when I review my friends’ books, it helps get their titles into to the library system and in to the hands of a much wider audience.

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  39. Tyler says

    As a student trying to write his first book, and with the big dream of at least having one book published someday, this was really helpful. A friend of mine showed me something similar, and I think that social media is really helpful in expanding the world in which we can advertise our books. Thanks for the article!

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  40. says

    This would definitely have given me a better start when my novel ‘Cape Town’ came out last year.

    Can you hear me lament, ‘If only I’d known!’ Sadly, an all-too-frequent experience in my writing life.

    A big thanks to you for so many great and truly helpful posts.

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  41. Scott Thomas says

    This is a great article. Thanks! Some of it reminds me of Guerrilla Marketing for Writers. Thanks again!

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  42. says

    This is really great advice for someone like me. I self published a book last year but am now working on a memoir to be published through conventional channels. To see my book on a shelf…very cool, but your tips…face the book outward, ask the clerk where you book is located in the store…I would not have thought them up. Also…I should be reading my book where people can see it. I’m flying today…so, I’m going to employ this tip at the airport, on the plane, in the Alaska Airline Boardroom. I also have you marked as a favorite so I can devour your advice and exploit the posibilities. Thank you. OH…yes, Of course I would love to the random winner of your book, Create Your Writer Platform.

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  43. says

    Love the suggestion of specific details about the book when telling others rather than just, “my friend published a book.” I will be posting this to family and friends!

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  44. says

    These are great ideas, Chuck. I do some of these just from a love of books, but I’ll start planning ahead for my own books when (if) they are about to be published.

    p.s. — Looking forward to your talk at this summer’s WLT conference in Austin.

    Michael

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  45. says

    Us writers have to stick together :-) Love the idea of reading it in public–because it’s so true, I’m always snooping on the metro to see what other people are reading.

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  46. says

    I was really interested in your thoughts on “liking” a book. We’ve been having a discussion about this on one of my online groups. There was a lot of confusion about what good it does. Thanks for the clarification.

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  47. M. J. Putnik says

    Great advice! Now here’s my 2 cents: always be your friend’s cheerleader. Always remind them that they have an awesome gift that can be used to reach, touch, or entertain people. But, be honest. If the project they are working on needs to be tweaked, let them know. Honesty and support are powerful weapons in a writer’s arsenal.

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  48. says

    Some great tips! Not sure about facing books out in a bookstore as some mentioned, that might make it worse for the author if the store employees got annoyed.

    Another way to help the author is to find a connection, for instance if hospice is part of the plot, send the books to hospices and ask them to suggest it.

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  49. Suzanne Shattuck says

    Listing your book in places who love books go to:
    Paperback Swap review
    Bookmooch
    Goodreads review
    FB Reading communities
    Amazon reviews

    I think leaving reviews for books makes a huge difference when buying a book. I always check the reviews first.

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  50. says

    I wrote a blog entry about platforms (http://soiwanttowriteanovel.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/creating-a-platform-without-connections/) because it’s really been a self-learning experience for me.

    What I’ve learned along the way will help me respond to your numbered items.

    1. I do on a regular basis and then I review the book on my blog and other media sites, as well as tweet it out to followers (6, 7, 10). I read the books everywhere (4) and talk about them to whomever will listen to me.
    2. I have not done this yet, however I’ve lent my ebook on Nook as well as lent hardcover books to family or friends.
    3. I have not had this opportunity, but will do it when I do.
    5 and 8. Have not had the opportunity.
    9. I will when I see one announced.
    11. I wish I did have connections.

    Thank you for this opportunity.
    Terri Powers´s last blog post ..American Goddesses by Gary R. Henry @LiteraryGary – My Review

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  51. Jennifer Taylor says

    Thank you for the great tips Chuck. It goes back to the basics of PR and that is to create a buzz about something. Based on your tips here, I would love to read your book. The additional tips left in the comments were also helpful.

    I would just like to add one more site, Book Movement. I use it for my book club and to keep track of books that I’d like to read. It’s a fantastic tool for book clubs as well as authors because readers can review the book. The better the reviews and more clubs that chose the book, the better the book’s rating on the site.

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  52. Deborah Schaumberg says

    Thank you Chuck. Great information. I wanted to add that someone I know published a book for teens and her friend, that has a clothing store for teens, hosted a book signing. Another pairing was a yoga studio hosting a book signing party for someone who wrote a book on meditation and surviving cancer. It’s great when you can draw lots of people who would be particularly interested in a certain book.

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  53. says

    One additional tip I’ve found helpful as a new author is to give eager out-of-town friends/family a stack of your promo materials–be it bookmarks or glossy, business cards showcasing the cover of your book–and have them stick them on bulletin boards in their hometown where readers congregate (coffee shops, bookstores, ice cream parlors, etc.).

    Must be working, too, because a fan recently emailed that she found my card tacked to the wall of her local sub shop–1,000 miles from where I live!

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  54. Hope Benson says

    I am ashamed to admit that I do not always write a review for Amazon or Goodreads. Something so simple that I hope someone will one day do for me. I’m heading to Amazon right now for right a review of a book I just finished reading and thoroughly enjoyed. It was The Supernaturals by David L. Goleman. There, that was something, right? Now off to Amazon.

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  55. says

    Thanks, Chuck, for a great list of suggestions. I especially liked the ones about asking for help finding the book at libraries and bookstores. I hadn’t thought about that before. Wish I had the kind of connections you mention in the last point.

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  56. Michelle says

    another way is by using the information – as a counselor, I might recommend a book on fathers raising daughters to a new dad, or a memoir of an abuse victim to a battered wife. Sometimes my clients need to hear the words from someone who has lived through it…that’s why there are support groups. Even a book of poetry can offer emotional support to someone experiencing grief or depression.

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    • says

      LOL! I always face books out at the bookstore. I try to make consumers see books that I think are important! Your book sounds great to me, I just posted my first blog today, as I am trying to set up my writer’s platform.

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  57. says

    Great column, Chuck! I wish my critique group friends were as well organized about helping one another as you are!

    I haven’t read the other 90 (!!!!) comments, but sharing the book on whatever social media you belong to could also help–have a Pinerest board for ‘my favorite books’ and post the jackets; put a link on your Facebook page, etc.

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  58. says

    Thanks for writing Create Your Writer Platform. This is just what I’ve been searching for.I’m always in the dark when it comes to promoting myself and my work. I need suggestioins and direction.

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  59. says

    These are excellent ideas. I do buy and promote others’ work and you have given me additional ideas of how to do so. “What goes around comes around.” I have found that when I help others they are eager to help me.

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  60. says

    I like these ideas. I might mention that within one’s “social media channels” are religious organizations that may allow book reviews in their newsletters. Or one may get the opportunity to promote a friend’s book through other clubs and organizations (such as AARP, et al).

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  61. says

    Blog posts, tweets, blog comments, and when I preach/teach are ways that I’ve referenced books countless times. When I really enjoy a resource, I will use it in my material because I believe it really is helpful. People appreciate sincerity and transparency when suggesting a book. And the reading it in public does work…

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  62. says

    When I want to promote a friends work, on my website or blog site I make them a feature story. I would give a shout-out about the fact that they have a book published and give a short commentary of what it’s about. From there I wrap up with a tag line from the book and ask readers to try it.
    Then to give the message extra backing, I will post a link to the story with a photo of the book on my timeline just in case someone did not get the message.
    Lila´s last blog post ..It’s my Birthday, Hey!

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  63. Liz Tully says

    I know Goodreads and FB posts work because before I joined Goodreads I had never heard of Claire Cook, even though she wrote “Must Love Dogs”. I usually didn’t read “romance” or “woman’s books” but noticed her on Goodreads. Now I have bought some books and left a review on Amazon and plan on buying more. I have shared her posts on Facebook and really enjoy her novels.

    Now, I guess I need new writer friends.

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  64. says

    I like the idea of reading a book where others can see it. In addition to asking store employees to help find the book, I would also call the larger chains and ask them to look up a book to see if it’s in stock.

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  65. says

    Great ideas. A writer in my writers’ group just gave me an aughographed copy of his newest book, Priory of the Dammed, and I’m going to do all of the above to help him promote his book. I’ve been told that the KC library will order a book that isn’t on the shelves yet if requested just once. I plan to give this a try this next week. It seems library policies differ so asking for friends’ books, your own book, and books that you like will bring attentions to new authors. Have a great day everyone.

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  66. says

    I am a member of a goodsized writers group in California. I am sharing your blog with my writer friends. We do try to support each other, but you have presented some ideas that are new to me. Thanks

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  67. says

    Chuck,
    I really like the idea about reserving the book at the Library even before it is released. This is not something that I would have thought of to support friends or local authors before now. I am going to start doing this. Thanks.

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  68. Annette Lyttle says

    I didn’t realize how important it is to “like” a book on Amazon. I’ll start doing that right away.

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  69. says

    Great list! I didn’t know about the library request one, that’s good to know. I didn’t read through all the comments so someone may have already said this, but if you have a blog you could do a feature for your friend whether it be a cover reveal post with synopsis, or an interview of the author or even a fun giveaway to help them with exposure.

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  70. says

    I love the list and am going to forward it to my friends. Speaking of friends… or even acquaintenances…please help authors that have self-published good material (like myself) by telling your friends, and telling them to tell their friends, and buy NEW books. I loved that trick about getting a group of people to go into the bookstore on different days and ask for the book. The time it takes you to do this will come back to you tenfold when you see the smile on your author friend’s face!
    Thanks.

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  71. Minh-Tam says

    All great ideas. Got to put the network to work. I always read reviews when ordering anything although not all reviews are trustful. My favorite idea was asking an employee at the bookstore to help find the book.

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  72. says

    Wonderful ways to get the word out on a book, and if I win yours, I’ll do them all (except for the buying thing).

    Heck, if it’s good, I’ll go to a bookstore, ask for the book, turn the copies face-out, and even buy one for a friend (I know you’re probably sitting there thinking, “IF??? IF it’s good? Okay…he’s out of the running.”).

    Great ideas. Thanks for putting them out there.
    ML Swift´s last blog post ..Pet Peeves: Supposably

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  73. Celeste Leon says

    I love these ideas of how to “pay it forward.” I attended a lecture at the Squaw Valley Writers Conference a few years ago and the panel of agents said basically the same thing–go to bookstores and support the industry you’re trying to be a part of.

    One more idea is to recommend a book to your or another book club–it often translates to a group of sales and often the book club will request a SKYPE conference with the author, something many authors really enjoy!

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  74. Jess says

    Love your suggestions. I always turn my friends’ books face out on the shelves and put them at eye level. I’ve also snapped pics of the book on the shelf for friends who keep scrapbooks. I’m always asked by shoppers why the pics so I get to pitch a good book and great author! Every little bit helps, doesn’t it? Thanks for a good post.
    Jess´s last blog post ..Love A Book * Love An Author

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  75. Julie says

    Love the ideas! Being a new author myself I’m still looking for ways to get my name out there. Thanks! And I love to support other new authors as well.

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  76. says

    Also, what I’ve been doing is a little “giveaway” where I put my buyers’ names into a proverbial hat and draw a name to use in my next book (as a really minor character, of course). People always want to have their names in books, so that’s always a goodie. :)

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  77. says

    Your new book sounds like it will be a indispensable guide for those who wish to become published for the first time and even for those already published who may need some additional guidance in the vast world of publication. May your free book go to the person who is in need of it most. Thank you very much for making this offet to us.

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  78. says

    It amazes me that people will tell me they have checked out my books a dozen times from the library and expect me to be flattered. It would mean so much more if they would buy it!

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  79. says

    Good sound advice. Going back to my teenage job of Book Reviewing (slowly, because of a new baby), I appreciate the timely reminders of the craft and some new updated tips, too.

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  80. Danielle Ray says

    I really like this information. I plan to let others know to check it out. Good luck to everyone.

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  81. Lynn Jarrett says

    What an excellent article!! Kudos to YOU for being a good friend. Several of the items on your list hit home with me. I am one to ALWAYS notice which books are turned to face the reader in bookstores and libraries. I work part-time in a small library and make sure that books that I have liked or those that are making a difference get turned out on the shelf. A fellow co-worker was working on a display for books about snow. I suggested she include Eowyn Ivey’s “The Snow Child.” She gave me permission to add it to her display. Of course, I was able to quickly locate the book BECAUSE IT WAS ALREADY TURNED TO FACE THE READER ON THE SHELF (hmmm, wonder who did THAT?).

    I have a number of friends/family/acquaintances that I share book news with on occasion. When a super new book comes out, I immediately send a quick e-mail message giving the title, author, and publisher along with a quick blurb about the book. Heck, I have even sent book news e-mail messages on books I have not read and always mention in the message that I have not read the book, but have heard people talking about it and think the receiver of the e-mail message might be interested in it due to past discussions, etc. we have had.

    As I mentioned above, I work part-time in a small library. When people checkout a book that I am interested in, I always ask them to let me know how they liked the book. Sometimes I am not on shift when they return the book, but always have folks mention the book to me whenever they next see me. At first, people did not want to say they did not like a book, but after a period of time, most have “warmed up” and will give me their true thoughts on the book. I reassure patrons that it is okay to not like the book and tell me. I also let regular patrons know when one of their favorite authors is coming out with a new book in case they want to be put on the reserve list.

    I always notice what people are reading while taking public transportation or planes. I even struck up a conversation with a fellow passenger while standing in the aisle waiting to get to my seat. I noticed that she was reading one of my favorite authors. I do not give spoilers or anything like that, but do encourage the person to read the next volume in the series, etc. A downfall of using e-readers is that people will not notice what you are reading. I wonder how many missed opportunities there are everyday for communication between strangers because comments about a good book were not shared.

    Thank you for the good article. I do appreciate it!!

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  82. Vickie Burns says

    Thanks for all the good suggestions. When my first is published I will ask my friends to do some of these for me, but in the meantime, I already follow some, like talking up books to friends, buying copies as presents, getting autographs, etc.

    I belong to bookmooch, and I review books there, and those books I like the best are often not available in more than one copy. My review can likely get others to purchase copies, or check out a library where they may have to request the purchase.

    Other suggestions: do talks about the book to Women’s clubs, book clubs, church groups, couples get togethers, school presentations or dinner parties. Review the book after reading anywhere it is mentioned. Small town newspapers have community sections. Mention it there.

    Read the book even when not reading the book, i.e fall asleep on the commuter train? (Do so with the book open and in plain view.) Flip to the last chapter and read when in public after you’ve read it of course. That shows you are interested all the way through – and it kept your attention.

    Ask everyone you meet, “Did you read —- by —-? It’s just come out. ” Name dropping extraordinaire.

    Find it on e-stores and click on the option to read a few pages. It shows interest to the sellers via their tracking software.

    I like the idea of turning a book out. I do not want to negatively impact anyone, yet some of the placement has been done based on a writer’s popularity previously, not based on their new work and its value. Spread the wealth, and help anyone that took the time to write and accomplished being published. That’s huge!
    Vickie

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  83. Debbie says

    Book clubs — libraries have them, a group of friends may have a book club, a bookstore might have a book club.

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  84. says

    Chuck,
    Great ideas. I’m going to take my book to my local library as well as asking about my friend’s book. Getting on Kindle’s Daily Deals is great way to boost sales too.

    Galen Rose

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  85. Katrina says

    Awesome ideas! Those are great ways to promote a book. Generally, there are more steps that one can do in order to promote someone’s book.
    Honestly, I go by the motto “If there’s a will, there’s a way.” This is very true in all ways. If someone really cares and really loves the book, they can’t help but spread the word.
    Basically, what people can do is just let as many people know about this book. They can use social media, talking to friends, group messaging, and more. We have so much technology available that it’s easy to market what we know.

    Katrina

    P.S. another thing a person can do is blog about it. Make a blog and post photos of the book and write up your own personal reviews. This is especially good if the person already has an existing blog that receives a lot of traffic.

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  86. says

    Great post with accessible ideas. I’d caution against moving books around in a book store because they are often registered in the system as being in a certain place. While placing your friend’s book on the front table sounds good, it would make the book impossible to find when someone wants it.

    I do face books outward but only if it doesn’t require rearranging.

    Since I run several book clubs, I let both the library and my favorite local bookstore know what upcoming books we will be reading. This starts a conversation, allows them to purchase additional copies, and I always offer my discussion questions to the store, so they can share with other book clubs as well.

    Word of mouth will always be the best way to sell books–on or off line. Making similar connections is key. If you like that book…you’d probably like this book.

    Thanks for a wonderful, shareable post.
    Nicole Amsler´s last blog post ..A Readable Feast

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  87. Barbara Evers says

    Chuck, great suggestions! It had never occurred to me to ask bookstore clerk to help me when I know where to find it. Another “help” is to Tweet articles that mention the book. I’m going to Tweet this article, for example.
    Barbara Evers´s last blog post ..Helen of Troy, The Early Years

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  88. says

    Ha! Great list. I was contemplating a similar post — buying a second (or third, or fourth) copy as gifts was one of the most obvious things that popped into my mind. I like your not-so-obvious ones like reserving a copy at the library or asking the bookstore employee to look it up.

    If I can add a 12th – “Follow the writer on his or her blog and/or Twitter”. An active blog or Twitter feed can help attract more readers in the long run.

    ~Graham
    Graham Strong´s last blog post ..Day 871 – Frozen

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  89. says

    Thanks for the tip. I am going to try writing reviews in public spots instead of quietly in my journal, where, I realize, they are not dong the author much good.

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  90. says

    Some good ideas here. When two of my friends published books a few years back, I did whatever I could to help and support them, including recommending it be reviewed for a website. It’s all part of building community, and now with social media, it’s so easy to help get the word out!

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  91. Tabitha Breeden says

    This article is very helpful. I am looking into publishing my first book and the great information here will help. I will also be able to coach my friends and family on your marketing strategies. Thank you for sharing.

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  92. Diana Shallard says

    I really love these ideas, esp. regarding the buzz you can create by having bookstore employees and librarians “in the know” about the book.

    I was going to suggest Allison’s idea too: Suggest the book in your book club.

    And I agree with others, esp. for digital books, it helps to hype the read on your Facebook timeline (or other social media). Facebook is the go-to place for my friends and I to share recipes, advice… and our latest movie/music/book favorites. If you include a link, there’s a good chance that link could be passed along to the friends of friends quite quickly.

    Fingers crossed these helpful ideas come in handy when it’s my turn too. Thanks for sharing.

    Thanks

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  93. Krysten H says

    I like the tip about reserving the book at the library to add attention to it. Never considered that before.

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  94. Michele S says

    You may want to add this idea to the list: host a book reading at your home, book club or church. My church’s bookstore carries the books authored my members and their friends. Having the author there for a reading and book signing is a small way to help gain visibility for the author and sell a few books too!

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  95. says

    Great specific list, Chuck. Here’s another idea, for networking st conferences…before I went to A Room of Her Own Foundation’s 2011 retreat, I decided to try to read the books of as many attendees as possible and wrote up mini reviews for the ones I genuinely enjoyed on my blog at the social networking/writing/publishing site She Writes. I only got through 4 books and four reviews, but they prompted deep and postal connections when I met the authors in person and they appreciated the tangential exposure.
    Tania´s last blog post ..The Ex-boyfriend, The Blogosphere, and Why Your Blog Title Matters

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  96. Another Rational Person says

    There are some ethical issues here. As well as the annoyances regarding bookstore reorganization as pointed out by A Rational Person above – most small press authors, literary authors, poets, playwrights, self-pubishers, and non-fiction specialists don’t get into bookstores. Indies are dying and carrying less new stock – and B&N, Waterstones, etc., only carry the top commercial or big press titles. So this advice about bookstores doesn’t apply to most of to most authors. I work with a publisher and I can promise you that most bookshops, even the cool independent ones with the black cat, are no longer ordering large. well-rounded stocks outside. Even a lot of smaller press commercial and genre fiction is not getting to bookshops these days. Most sales come from Amazon and online vendors. But rearranging the shelves is machiavellian at best – and pestering bookstore employees won’t necessarily lead to special orders of the book.

    Also, the false “like” culture on Amazon and Facebook is over-estimated. Yes, it may get you a bit more recognition and a sale here or there – but these “like-fests” that are driven by authors and their friends are dishonest and lead to false appraisals. You should only “like” a book if you’ve read it and liked it – you should only review a book if you’ve take the time to read it and found merit in it. The false appraisal culture can also backfire because people write poor. sloppy or irrelevant reviews and misrepresent the book. Also, I’m on Amazon all day every day and I only just noticed recently that they’ve add a ‘like’ feature and copied Facebook. Many famous books on Amazon, big sellers and mainstay titles, have no ‘likes.’ When you do notice the count – the fact that many people ‘like’ something doesn’t mean it’s good – doesn’t mean all those people bought it or read it.

    The best form of marketing is honest review, word of mouth, readings and author events, and genuine commentary. People will give you a list of tips that will end up taking over your whole life because you will be on Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon, Goodreads, Librarything, and hundreds of other sites all day, every day, trying to viral market yourself to the top. In reality, you’ll never be able to keep up with all those commitments and you’ll find most of the time is wasted and irrelevant to book sales. Some of those activities are good but a lot of it does nothing at all. You’re better off spending the time trying to become a better writer and producing better material. In our culture people have become more obsessed with marketing than with the quality of production in the first place. Most of the submissions that come to our press are awful manuscripts – little craft, no voice, few ideas, and poorly edited. All the marketing tips in the world won’t help much.

    Lastly, don’t badger people. If people want to review your book, great, but don’t press them. If people want to go ‘liking’ you on all your social network pages to enhance some mysterious algorithm – fantastic – but don’t force it. Nothing is a turn off more than a pushy and self-obsessed author. If you want people to do all those things for you then be prepared to do it for them – but truthfully.

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    • says

      I am happy to see TRUTH stated here. I just completed writing and having my novel ms pro edited and while it is discouraging to read the likelihood of it “going anywhere” is virtually nil, I would rather hear truth than false promises. I consider it a FABULOUS success personally because I accomplished my goal, so I have soul success if I never receive one penny for it. I spent thousands, literally, to have it pro pubbed but, again, it is what I needed to do to make the experience right for me.

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      • Another Rational Person says

        It is an achievement, you should be proud, and I hope you get a few sales. The truth hurts – but writers need to know the truth – and that is that the majority of them are not going to get any support from bookstores. With the press I work for, bookstores are our worst customers and as much as I love the indie bookstore I’m beginning to see why they are going out of business. They want books on ‘consignment’ or just don’t pay their bills to the publisher – when you remind them they often just send the books back and in used condition. 90% of our business comes through online vendors – and that’s where people are buying books these days.

        The truth is – the market is saturated. It’s easier for people to self-produce books and music CDs from home and that’s a wonderful development – but the downside is that your book or CD is competing with thousands of self published and small press published books all competing for the same market space. Viral marketing tips may work on some level – but they also turn buyers off. Our authors sell the most books when they do readings, booksigning events, or other public appearances. Even reviews don’t necessarily produce sales. Many authors are obsessed about getting review in journals or webzines – but the general public does not buy and are not persuaded by such venues. An amateur review on Amazon or a local newspaper article is actually more valuable than an academic review in a journal or one of those review sites.

        Think about what stimulates you to buy books. I’ve bought thousands of books – but hardly ever from reviews – and never once from seeing someone reading it in a showy manner or because it was faced out in a bookshop. Nor am I ever impressed when a book has loads of fakey reviews or likes on Amazon. Word of mouth is everything – and a good writer’s blog can be efficient. Those listopia things – where people might buy your book because it’s likened to another that they like – may also have some traction.

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  97. Jo Anne Burgh says

    A corollary to #8: Ask your library to order the book if it doesn’t already own it. My local library pays attention to patron requests. As an added bonus with some libraries (including mine), if you ask the library to buy the book and it does, you’re automatically first in line for the book when it hits the shelf.

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  98. says

    This is good stuff! Some excellent tips!! I hold my head high in knowing that I follow most of your helpful advice. I love showing support for my writer buddies! Support Local Author Events/Book Signings and feature them on my blog!!! Feel free to visit my fairly new blog “Write in the Moment”- be sure to click the News & Events tab -as witness to my showing support for local authors!

    http://dianesloftis.wordpress.com/

    PS. I would love a copy of your book- as I have been focusing on building my writers platform for almost a year now.. it is very exciting!! :) Oh, and I am sharing your post on FB!!
    Diane´s last blog post ..Operation Christmas Preteen

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  99. says

    Put a link to the author’s website in your email signature. Book trailers are popular now, so help your friend create one if they don’t already have one and post it and /or put the link to it in your signature.

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  100. Jo-Ann MacDonald says

    Great advice, Chuck. Thanks for sharing. I am new to writing and aside from buying a book, I previously didn’t recognize the importance of some of the other methods of promotion. Great recommendations in the comments here, as well!

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  101. says

    I’m currently typing a book with more to come. It should be available by the summertime. I’m currently creating business cards and will put them around different places, give some to my friends and family for them to hand out and place at different locations. I’ll be sending them when I can. That should be very helpful I’m thinking so I think others should try it as well. :) Colleges have boards you can post on too. Thanks for the article!
    Heather Fields´s last blog post ..~Choices~

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