I’m thinking towards launching my next book. It’ll be a few months yet, but I’m in that stage where I’m watching what other writers are doing and taking notes on ideas I like. Things like the really unique Pinterest page, the prize package everyone is drooling over, the unique character blog post… We writers are always thinking about how to reach our readers.
That got me thinking about a street team, about readers who are avid fans and want to do whatever they can, whether easy or challenging, to help their favorite author or book succeed. So I asked some writers for things that their readers did that they loved.
While a few of these ideas take time and maybe a little money, most are free and take a few minutes. Why don’t we start with those?
Free and Fast:
- Review the book — Yes, you may H A T E doing reviews. I know readers who avoid writing letters and emails and hate writing reviews. That is a thing; I get it. But you don’t have to do a book report. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. If you loved the book, just say so. “I loved this! Stayed up past my bedtime.” See how short that was? And there was even a fragment in there! But it’s okay. Really. That’s all it needs to be. One of my favorite negative reviews for Kept is, “Too long.” See? It can really be that short, but you’ll give the book reviews and stars and that’s H U G E for the book and the author. Write a review where you bought it, and then copy and paste it on GoodReads or any other reading site.
- Add to Listopias — This can definitely raise people’s awareness of a book or author. Not only is it easy, it’s fun too because I always end up adding to my TBR list when I’m putting a book on a GoodReads list. And there are sooo many different lists a book can fit on. Most anticipated, best cover, best historical, most romantic, best read of the year… So fun!
- Ask your library to buy it — This is one of favorites! Honestly. Even if you’ve bought a copy of the book, ask your library to buy their own copy. If you live in an urban or suburban area, chances are that your library will buy what you want. When we lived in the Chicago area, I didn’t have money for new books. So every other month or so, I would submit a list of books to my library — and they bought every single one. And then the book was in the library for other readers to discover. Win, win.
- Write to the author — Writers work alone. You readers read our books away from us. So we really have no idea, unless you tell us, how the book is impacting people. If the story is working. Or not. (No, actually, we tend to hear if it’s not working!) If you like a book, tell the author. Or just send them a quick note of encouragement. Very few authors will ignore that. I’ve had fun conversations with readers who just wanted to talk about the book and dive into that world a little more. You might just write a quick note to a reader and — 18 emails later –come out with a friend.
Word of Mouth (or Mostly Free with Some Time Involved):
- Social Media — Oh goodness, we could camp here all day, which is kinda sad, honestly. But this is how we communicate today, especially with people we don’t see all the time.
- Reader groups — These are all over Facebook, and I’m sure they’re on other social media sites too. Join one or two or eighteen that you like and get involved. Mention your favorite authors or books when it fits. Start conversations about those books. Basically, spread the word. Free, easy, and only takes a lot of time if you end up getting sidetracked and watching dog videos, right?
- Follow your favorites — Share their book posts. Comment on their posts. All of that helps their posts and books get more attention, which helps the author sell more, which helps ensure that the author can actually keep writing instead of having to get a secretarial job or something. We writers are sad when we can’t sell enough to keep us writing.
- Pin the book on Pinterest — There are a lot of people who have boards full of nothing but book covers they love or books they love. Start your own! People will see those books.
- Take pictures of yourself with the book — Maybe even in the bookstore? Or in a fun locale? Get creative with it. Share it on FB or Twitter or Instagram, tag the author, and join in the comments. Who knows? You might meet a fellow reader.
- Keep talking about your favorite books and authors, even if it’s been awhile since they’ve released a book. Just because a book is old doesn’t mean it’s not worth referring, right?
- Make memes of the book — Do you like to mess around with images? Find some royalty-free photos and play away! Or just use a colored background and pop your favorite quote or book moment on there. Then share it. That gets the word out and is such an encouragement to the author.
- Tell people you see in person — Yep. Just talk about the book. You never know who’s looking for a good book to read.
Here’s my last list. Don’t let me lose you here!
Some Time and Money:
- Buy the book — Sometimes money is that tight and you just can’t. I have been there; I remember that. But if you can’t, then request that your library buy it. The author still gets the sale (which is crucial) and more people can stumble upon them. Win, win, win! If you can afford to buy books, please don’t buy them all on sale. Save the sales for authors who are maybe a risk for you. Or for when you have the print but want the ebook too so you can get the Audible version cheaper. (Did you know that was a thing?) Writing a book can take a whole year of an author’s life, and if people will only read them when they’re free or $.99… They won’t be writing very long.
- Book club it! — If you’re in a book club, recommend the book to your leader or the other members. And check with the author to see if they might Skype with the group. Most authors would love to do that.
- Blog — Start a book review blog. You can even do this for free using free blogging sites. Or you can set up your own site and do it that way. Whichever way you do it, it’ll be a labor of love that will bless you and the writers you meet.
- YouTube the books you read — I recently heard of some women who have YouTube channels about the Christian fiction books they’ve read. Video is huge right now on social media, so if this is your thing, it could be really fun. Anyone game to try that out?
Phew, that’s a lot. I know. There are very few readers out there who can or even want to do all these things. But did one or two catch your eye? Did you find yourself thinking, I can do that. If so, I hope you’ll bless back the authors who have blessed you with their writing. And it can very certainly help that author to keep writing more great books that’ll keep you up way past your bedtime!
Now it’s time to turn the tables. What do you think writers can do to help you as the reader? I’m really curious to hear what you readers have to say to that!