Hey, friends! The release of my debut novel, Kingdom Above the Cloud, is just around the corner. Many of you have been asking how you can support me (insert crying emoji), so I put together a Top 10 list from all of the advice that has been given to me by other authors. And really, many of these can apply to supporting any type of artist, entrepreneur, business owner, any human being who is trying to get the word out about something.
10. Follow & Engage on Social Media
Harness those algorithms! Follow your author friend on every social media platform that you have. Then, take it to the next step and engage with them on those platforms. If nothing else, make a habit of liking their posts. If you want to get crazy, leave a comment. Believe it or not, by commenting on a post and showing the social media gods that the post matters to someone, it is more likely to show up in other people’s feeds.
9. Ask for It
Every time you stop by a bookstore or library, request the book. If they get enough requests, they’ll carry it. For Christian writers (like me), don’t forget to request it at your church if they have a church library.
8. Attend & Invite
Is the author hosting an event near you? Attend! (Ok, not for the next several months…
Is the author hosting a VIRTUAL event? You should definitely attend those.
Do you have an idea for an event? Invite the author to come to you. For instance, if you think your church youth group would love to meet the author, invite the author to join online youth group, a virtual small group, or speak at the church in the future.
7. Post, Post, Post
Word of mouth has been revolutionized by social media (yeah, I know… old news). #10 talked about following and engaging in the author’s posts. #7 is about creating the content yourself. Post about the book. Post why you’re excited about the book. If nothing else, brag that you know an author and include the link to purchase the book.
This might seem small. BUT, it is powerful. Your post will reach potentially hundreds or thousands of people whom the author does not know. This type of word of mouth can be more influential than most paid ads.
6. Share the Author’s Posts
This one is similar to the previous one. If you don’t want to write your own post, share the author’s posts. Better yet, share it with your own commentary. For instance, if the author posts the cover of the book, you can share that post and say, “Everyone be on the lookout for this upcoming book! My friend so-and-so wrote it. Insert personal story about your friendship here.”
Like I said about your own posts, sharing the author’s post will multiply the audience and expand the reach of the original post.
5. Shelf It
Do you have a Goodreads account? Find your author friend’s book and put it on your “Want to Read” shelf. (Then read it, give it some stars, and review it).
4. Recommend It
Think through your friends. Who would be interested in a book like this?
For instance, my youth pastor and my high school small group leader (who happen to be married), Mike and Kristin Berry, write books about the life of adoptive families. When I hear my friends are thinking about adopting, I make sure to tell them about Mike and Kristin’s books.
My pal Stephanie May Wilson has incredible resources for young women trying to figure out this whole life of faith thing. I give her books out like candy, and I love spreading the word about what she does.
My friend and colleague Joel Shrock wrote a history book on the Gilded Age. Am I going to recommend this to my 13-year-old campers at Great Escape? Probably not. But IF I had a second friend who was super into the Gilded Age, you better believe I’d be recommending it.
So, think about your friend’s book. Think about who you know who may like it. Then, tell them about it! Or better yet, buy it for them as a gift 😉
3. Buy It (duh)
Buy one for yourself. Or, if you’re not into it, buy it for someone else. Purchases support the author directly AND indirectly by helping the book gain traction in various algorithms.
2. Write HONEST Reviews
Once you’ve read it, get on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, and any other review sites you can think of. Write an honest review. If it’s too fluffy, people won’t believe you. Reviews are most helpful when they mention things like, “If you like such-and-such book, you will like this one.” Or, “Here are the ways this book stands out and why someone would like to read it.”
Don’t hesitate to include reasons you didn’t like it. That will still help get the book into the right reader’s hands, and keep it OUT of the hands of someone who won’t like it.
Once you’ve rated and reviewed a book, the algorithm gremlins take that information and start putting the book in other people’s suggested reading lists.
Bonus points: If you purchased the book on Amazon, you’ll get a “verified purchase” stamp on your review.
1. Pray for and Encourage Your Author Friend
This might be gourmet-level cheesy, but I don’t care! The most important way to support your author friend is through prayer and encouragement. There aren’t very many actions that are more vulnerable than taking your art and putting it out there in the world for people to see and comment. And in a tough, over-saturated publishing market, the process can be frustrating and demoralizing. Your care and support make a big difference!