Though we’ve been through this process twice already, it’s been almost 3 years since our last books were released, and it’s surprising how much has changed in that time. In some ways, we’ve had to start from scratch and re-educate ourselves about how the whole thing works.
As we’ve looked into giveaways, marketing opportunities at Amazon, how to enhance author bios and profiles at various distributors, etc., we’ve discovered so many ways to maximize our marketing efforts. But we’ve also learned about some new things that we, as readers, can do to support our favorite authors. And because we’re all about helping authors, we wanted to share those with you.
1. Follow your favorite authors on Amazon. The majority of authors have an author page at Amazon containing a bio, information about their books, author-posted videos and blog posts, and more. All of that is readily viewable by clicking on the author’s name under the listing for one of his or her books.
But if you also follow that person on Amazon, you’ll receive an email notification when he or she releases a new book.
This is great for you, so you can stay up to date on new books that you’ll want to know about, but it’s also helpful for the author because it’s a way for them to get the word out about about their newest publications.
2. Follow your favorite authors at Goodreads. Following an author at Goodreads reaps the same benefits as following one at Amazon: you’re able to access personal information about that author, read posts imported from the author’s blog, see all the books written by the author, and be informed of new releases when they’re published. To follow an author, type his or her name in the Search bar, click on the name anywhere it appears in the results, then click the yellow Follow button under his or her picture.
If you want to receive notifications about new releases by your favorite authors, you just need to turn that option on. To do that, follow these steps:
- Hover over your profile image on the top right of the screen.
- Click Account Settings.
- On the right-hand side of the page, click the little Edit My User Profile link.
- Click on Emails.
- Scroll down to the Newsletters and Other Mail section. Tick the box that says E
3. Add upcoming releases to your Goodreads To Read list. This one is potentially awesome because many authors choose to host a giveaway of their new books leading up to their publications. So let’s say Stephen King is releasing a new book. If you’ve followed him, when he adds his new release to Goodreads, you’ll receive a notification. You will, of course, rush to add his book to your To Read list. Then, let’s say the King decides to host a giveaway of that book. If you have the correct notification turned on, you’ll receive a message about that giveaway. This is a great opportunity for both readers and authors; readers will get a chance to win a free copy of one of their favorite author’s new books while giving that author an opportunity to tell fans about new releases.
To turn on that notification, just follow the directions in the second bullet point above. But in step 5, go to the Comments and Action Notifications section and turn on the option to receive notifications when someone Lists a Giveaway with a book I added as To-Read.
4. Ask for favorite books to be stocked at your library. Love affairs are born between readers and books at the local library. This is where I first encountered Robin McKinley, Shannon Hale, Garth Nix, and Anne McCaffrey, and I went on to buy most of their books. Visibility is difficult for today’s authors—especially for new authors, and libraries tend to stock books that are popular or highly marketed. So if you have a favorite author, get online and see if your local library carries a copy. If it doesn’t, swing by the reference desk the next time you’re there and ask the media specialist if they can order a copy.
5. Write Reviews. This one has been said so many times, but as a reader, I know how easy it is to forget to review a good book, so I think it bears repeating. With so many books on the market today, it’s hard for people to know which ones are worth buying. More and more, readers are turning to reviews to help them narrow the field. So when you write a heartfelt review at Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, or anywhere people are likely to see it, you lend credibility to that book and encourage people to take a chance on it. In a market where visibility is hard to come by, this is incredibly helpful for authors.
One thing that Angela and I love about the writing community is its eagerness to band together and support others. I hope these ideas help you help writers. If you have other ideas for how to support a favorite author, please add them in the comments section.
Also, I’m speaking at Elizabeth Spann Craig’s incredible blog today about using the setting to add conflict to your scene. Stop by and say hello!