How Readers Can Help Writers

So you just finished reading a great book, and the second thing you want to do is tell people about it (the first thing you want to do, of course, is find more books by this writer).

As a reader, you have a surprising amount of power in the world of books. Writers would just be shouting into the wind without readers. A reader’s secret power is word-of-mouth–the ability to share with other readers your enthusiasm about a book and a writer.

Here’s a quick checklist that describes what you can do to help spread the word about your favorite author and better support writers you know and love. We’ll start with the easiest to do, and work our way down to the more labor-intensive.

1. Tweet about the book to your friends. With Twitter, you have just 140 characters (that includes letters, numbers, punctuation, and spaces) to get your point across. Your review has to be short and sweet. Something like:

I just finished reading an amazing novel by Author XYZ. Couldn’t put it down. Grab a copy at http://unwreckedpress.com/novels/ 

The link is important, because it allows people to get more info about the book, and purchase it if they’re interested.
How to sign up for Twitter.

2. Share your brief review and link on Facebook. You can just copy and past your short “tweet” review of the book to your Facebook page, or add a bit more info if you like. But like most things on the Net, brevity is the key.
How to sign up for Facebook.
How to create a Google account and sign up for Google+.

3. Post your review on other book-related social media sites, such as Goodreads, LibraryThing, and Shelfari. Facebook and Twitter seem to be the top sites for social media, but spreading the word elsewhere is also going to help your author, especially at these three sites for avid readers. Shelfari is also connected to Amazon.com, so reviews and info you add to that site about books and authors can end up at Amazon, as well.
How to sign up for Goodreads.
How to sign up for LibraryThing.
How to sign up for Shelfari with your Amazon.com account.

4. Post a short review and rate the book at the site where you bought the book. This one seems obvious, but most people forget to do this. So go on over to Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble or Weightless Books or DriveThruFiction or whatever site you used to buy the book and leave a review and/or rating for the book.

5. Post a review on your own blog or website. You can go into more depth here, delving into the characters, the writing, the setting, the plot, and more. You can also add cover art to your review. Some tips: Write your review as soon as you can after you finish the book, and write down all the things about the book that excited you. Write it like you were describing the book to your best friend.
How to create a free blog.

6. Lend a paper or digital copy of one of your author’s book to another reader who you think would like it, and encourage that person to do a mini-review when they’re done reading it.
How to lend an ebook.

7. Start a fan page for the author’s book or the author on Facebook or WordPress. Hey, authors can dream! Maybe you want to make a place for like-minded readers can gather and chat about your author’s books, as well as books by similar authors.
How to create a Facebook page (you’ll need to join Facebook first)
How to create a free WordPress website.

[UPDATED on 6/20/12]
8. Call your library and request this writer’s books. Another helpful thing readers can do is ask their local library to get copies of books by indie readers they like. Most libraries welcome such requests and getting into libraries is a good way for writers to reach new audiences. Plus, the library usually buys multiple copies, especially if they are a multi-branch system. [Hat tip to Mario Milosevic for this suggestion! Now go read his incredible writing!]
Find a library close to you.

If you do just one of these, you’d be a hero to your author. If you two or three, you’d be a star. All seven [eight!]– well, that would make you a super-reader, and possibly qualify you for sainthood. And you just might enable your writer to write more of those books you love. Everyone wins.

If you know of other ways to get the word out, or other sites to use to talk about books and authors, please leave a comment below, or send an email to UnWreckedPress@gmail.com.

Authors and indie presses, feel free to link to this page and use excerpts of it at your own site.

(This post was inspired by Author David Farland’s great blog post about “Teaching Your Fans to Shout.”)

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8 thoughts on “How Readers Can Help Writers

  1. Another helpful thing readers can do is ask their local library to get copies of books by indie readers they like. Most libraries welcome such requests and getting into libraries is a good way for writers to reach new audiences. Plus, the library usually buys multiple copies, especially if they are a multi-branch system.

    Like

    1. Mario — you’re right, of course! i just slapped my forehead.

      Now that my forehead has stopped stinging, I’m updating my list above with your suggestion, if that’s okay. THANKS!!!

      Like

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