It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child. Although there are at least 35 ways you can grow your book yourself, you’re going to need your friends and family to pitch in a little too. So, indie authors, this post isn’t for you: it’s for them.
If a book is an author’s baby, that makes you the cool uncle, or the godmother, or the estranged aunt that still sends saltwater taffy for Christmas each year. Here are five ways you can help raise the newest addition to your family:
1. Actually buy the book
Yes, your author-friend might give you a copy for free if you ask, but if you want to support them, you should buy a copy. Presales and first-week sales are important to building hype around a book, and a large chunk of those sales come from friends and family.
Authors put hundreds of hours into their work, and by giving it away, they’re still not getting paid back for what they put in. If you really want to support them, buy multiple copies; you can support your author-friend and buy your niece a bat mitzvah present with the same fifteen dollars!
2. Leave a review
People often turn to websites like Goodreads and Amazon to either discover a new book or to learn more about a book they’ve heard about somewhere else. Positive reviews take a book from “oh, that looks interesting” to the shopping cart.
Don’t just leave a five-star, three word review: talk about why you love the book, other titles it reminds you of, and how badly it needs a movie adaptation starring Julianne Moore.
3. Engage with their social media persona
Don’t just follow your friend on Twitter: retweet them. Don’t just like them on Facebook: comment on their posts. Don’t just double-tap-heart-thing their pictures on Instagram: take a selfie with the book and post on your account.
Social media presence is a two-way street: authors need to both talk to their audience and have their audience talk back. The more important and loved your author-friend seems on social media, the more people will also want to engage with them and buy their book.
4. Use your ins
If you write for a blog, figure out a way to get your author-friend featured in some capacity. If you have any contacts in the media, shoot them an email. If you have an office with a waiting room, leave a copy of the book there.
Think outside the box: what spaces can you reach that the author can’t?
5. Read your copy in public
When people see you reading on the bus, they’ll want to know what kind of masterpiece it is that makes you brave inevitable carsickness. You don’t have to get a face tattoo or be the world’s best sign twirler to promote a book: just reading in public makes you a living advertisement.
If you read it at a bar, it’s an automatic conversation starter, by which you can back door a sales pitch. Keep it sticking out of your bag. Wave it around like it’s on fire.
Okay, I’ve got one last metaphor for you: say your author-friend just finished a marathon and now has to run another. Wouldn’t you offer to make it a relay? Figurative language aside, often some of the hardest work for an author comes after the book is released. So be a pal and lend a hand.
Do you know any other ways for friends and family to help out an indie author? Do you want to see fewer cliche metaphors in these blog posts? Sound off in the comments!