I met author Lisa McKay when she visited my area with her husband Michael Wolfe, who grew up here. Lisa grew up in five different countries, and the couple now lives in Laos where Michael works for World Vision. They met and corresponded by e-mail for three months before meeting and then, a year later, marrying. She has written the story of their romance in her second book, Love At The Speed of Email. They have a delightful toddler named Dominic.
With her permission, I’m copying Lisa’s blog, because it may give you ideas about supporting your favorite authors (and, of course, I hope I’m one of them).
Do you have a friend who has written a book? Do you want to support them, but aren’t quite sure how to do that?
Since I released Love at the Speed of Email, several people have asked how they can best help me get the word out. If you’ve ever wondered how you can effectively support a writer-friend, here are seven simple things to do:
1. Buy the book: It’s sort of obvious, but this one is really important. The number of books authors sell means a lot more than just how much money they stand to make. Book sales influence everything from how well the book shows up in internet searches to whether an author is likely to get another book deal. If an author’s first books don’t sell well it can be even harder to get another publishing contract than it was to land the first one.
So buy your friend’s book. You’d be surprised how much that gesture of support means to them. Every time someone tells me they’ve bought one of my books I feel as if they’ve given me a thoughtful gift.
2. Write a review: Reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Shelfari and other book forums are worth more than their virtual weight in gold.
The number of reviews a book has and how positive they are influences whether and how that book shows up in searches. Online reviews also influence whether the book is likely to be singled out for special promotions (e.g., recommended to customers by Amazon or featured by GoodReads in their newsletter).
If you enjoyed the book, you will be doing the author a wonderful thing if you write a review. It doesn’t have to be long, detailed, or particularly eloquent—a couple of sentences saying how much you liked the book will be more than helpful. The button to add a review on Amazon is at the bottom of existing reviews.
3. Feature the book on your blog: If you are a blogger, mention the book on your blog. Post the book description and cover image, write a review, or invite the author to do an interview with you. Use your blog to give them a boost. They’ll really appreciate it.
4. Rate it on GoodReads: It’s always more helpful to write even a sentence or two about the book, but if you really don’t want to write a review you can still help out by rating the book on GoodReads. Log into GoodReads and use their star rating system to give the book some stars (and just in case you’re in any doubt about this, 4 or 5 stars is preferable to 1).
5. “Like” it on Amazon: Here’s a really easy one. Underneath the book title on Amazon there is a button. Log into your customer profile on Amazon and click it. How many “likes” a book gets influences the book’s ranking and how prominently it’s profiled in searches.
6. Tag it on Amazon: On the book’s Amazon page, down below the reviews and the author profile, there is a section for tags. Tags are keywords that help classify items and influence how those items show up when that word is searched. You can help your friend by ticking the tags you think are appropriate to their book and by adding any others that come to mind. The more times a book is tagged, the more prominent it becomes in search results on that topic.
7. Share the news via facebook, twitter, or email: let your friends know about the book by sharing the news with them via facebook, twitter, or email. Most people prefer to read books that are recommended by their friends, so you can help out by recommending!
If there is a sample chapter available (for example, the first chapter of Love At The Speed of Email – Spinsters Abroad – is available online for free) then point your friends to that so they can decide for themselves whether they’re interested in reading more.
So there you have it—seven simple (and mostly free) ways you can support your author friends and help them promote their books. There are scores of other ways you can show your support, of course—from recommending the book as a book club selection to requesting that your local library stock the book.
Writers and friends-of-writers, what else can you think of? Leave a comment below.
And if you’ve read and enjoyed either of my books, please take a few minutes to do one of the above. You can find Love At The Speed of Email on Amazon, GoodReads and Barnes and Noble. If you have other author friends they’ll also be delighted if you put some of these tips into practice. Writing books is a long and lonely business, and it’s always lovely to get some cheerleading from friends when the book finally comes out.
END OF LISA’S POST
P. S. I would love to have you apply one of Lisa’s suggestions to support Janine, Kim and I and our book, Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides. It is listed on the same sites as Lisa’s book.