20 Easy Ways Readers Can Help Promote a Book

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

Dear readers, did you know authors need YOUR help in promoting their books? Yes, they really do!

Many readers already do a superb job promoting the books and authors they love.

Some promote formally by signing up with a publisher’s book review program or with an author who asks for Influencers. (An Influencer is a fancy term for someone who gets a free book for the purpose of helping spread buzz about a new release).

Some readers prefer to help authors on a more informal basis. In fact I’ve met some very sweet readers over the past few years who have book blogs and support authors out of their love for fiction. They’re passionate about what they read and want to share the joy with others.

Whether you help an author formally or informally or both, we appreciate each and every thing our readers do! 

On the other hand, there are many readers who don’t realize just how much authors need their help. Or if they do know, they aren’t really sure what will be most beneficial.

So, how can readers help? There are a zillion different ways! Here are twenty easy but effective things readers can do to spread the buzz about a book:

1. Write a review for an online bookstore. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even copy and paste that review onto several of your favorite shopping spots.

2. Add the book to your Goodreads shelf. And when you write the review for the online bookstore above, copy and paste it onto Goodreads too.

3. Write a blog review and then invite your followers on Facebook and/or Twitter to come over and hear what you think.

4. While reading the book, post comments on Facebook or Twitter about what you’re reading and what you like about it. On Twitter, you can even use the hashtag #FridayReads (even if it’s not Friday!).

5. When finished reading the book, let your followers know your final thoughts on the book and include a link to the author’s website or book page.

6. Write a review for a print newspaper, magazine, or newsletter.

7. Suggest the book to your book group (if appropriate), whether an online or real life group. Many books have discussion questions available, and many authors are willing to meet with book groups via Skype.

8. After reading the book, give it away as a prize on your blog. Everyone likes the chance to win a free book.

9. Donate your copy of the book to a public, school, or church library, or ask them if they’d be willing to purchase a copy to add to their system.

10. Offer to host the author on your blog. Ask unique and interesting questions that you think your blog readers might enjoy. Be sure to invite your friends and family over to “meet” the author.

11. Start a discussion about the book over on Goodreads in one of your groups. You could even consider asking the author to join you for a Q & A time.

12. If the author is local, invite him or her to speak to your group about the book and writing journey. Offer him or her the opportunity to sign and sell books after the presentation.

13. Pass the book along to all of your family and friends that you think might be interested in reading it. Ask them to pass it along when they’re done.

14. Buy the book as a gift for a holiday, birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc. Books always make great gifts! Ask the author for a personally addressed and signed bookplate that you can affix in the book.

15. Offer to distribute bookmarks, postcards, or other promotional items the author might have available.

16. Take the book with you to public places (like ball games, doctor’s offices, etc.) and be sure to have a spare bookmark to hand out if someone asks about the book.

17. Pin the cover of the book onto Pinterest onto a board you’ve created for your favorite books. Make sure to link back to the author’s website or book page.

18. Take a picture of yourself with the book (and make it creative!). Post that picture onto your blog, Facebook, or Pinterest.

19. Video tape your review of the book. Keep it short, entertaining, and give a summary of what you liked most. Then upload your video onto Youtube.

20. Most importantly, TALK, TALK, TALK about the book. When you’re genuinely excited about the book with others, then they’ll want to check out the book for themselves.

What other ways can readers promote a book they love? I’d love to hear more of your ideas! What have you done or seen done by others?

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  1. Jody, this is why I read your blog. I have never seen another post tackling how readers can help writers spread the word about their books. Before embracing my calling as a writer, I had no idea how to help my favorite authors get the word out (other than sharing personally with friends), how to contact an author, or the importance of online blogs and reviews. Now I tend to forget that regular readers may have no clue how to help. For non-fiction writers, asking your church to hold a book signing is also a great avenue to getting the word out.

  2. Good work, Jody. This is the best list I've seen on this subject. I'm glad you also mention what readers can do locally. A lot of times they want to help, but have no idea how to go about it.

    All the best,

  3. Ditto Katie!!!! This is awesome, Jody!!! People often ask "How can I help" and it's great to have a resource with practical tips instead of my, "Uh, I guess, you, uh, could, uh, buy it, uh, or something." I'm super eloquent like that ya know.

  4. Fantastic list, Jody! Definitely a keeper! :)

  5. What a great resource, especially since writers are readers too. I love to know how to help fellow authors promote their work. Thanks!

  6. This is a great post. I've just recently started my own blog, and part of it encompasses sharing some of my fiction favorites. This post gives me more ideas on how I can further promote an author's book. This is my first time visiting your blog. It is great. I look forward to checking out your books! God bless.


  7. A great list. I follow most.

    #6 was pretty ambitious.

    Another wonderful posts as usual, Jody.

    I'm recommending a fun, romantic comedy book right now on my blog. Build a Man by Talli Roland. It's her first of three books from a series called the 'The Serenity Holland Books.' Construct a Man, the second book in the series just came out! So come on over and check it out!

  8. Could this be anymore helpful? I think not. Thanks so much, Jody. Great tips.

    I use lots of these on my site, which is for helping authors promote themselves and their work.

  9. These are awesome ideas, Jody! I've never thought about how I could promote my favorite authors and I imagine the average reader doesn't either. I'm excited to share this on Facebook and Twitter! I have a lot of friends who love Christian Fiction and it would be great to mobolize them to promote our authors! Thanks! :)

  10. Great list, Jody!! I think we readers can feel intimidated about helping spread the word about our favorite books. But lucky for me, I have a big mouth, a lot of opinions, and I'm not afraid to share them!! Ha!

  11. Lots of great ideas here, Jody:) I didn't think about doing a YouTube video about books I like...since I like to do #20...TALK...that might be worth it :-)
    Great post!

  12. This is a great list, Jody. I'm going to add a link to it on my website.

    Here's another list from author Deb Raney with some similar ideas and a few that are different:

    And for those who want to help an author promote her book before it's been released (such as Unending Devotion - Hint! Hint!) here's a post I wrote:

    Tagging books on Amazon can help get the book more notice, too. Here's my post about that:

  13. Drat. The links didn't work. Sorry. I forgot I needed to add them using HTML. Sadly, I cleaned my office recently and misplaced my how-to note. The links can be copied and pasted, or perhaps someone more tech savvy than I am can make the links clickable.

  14. That's a great list, Jody. Now no one needs to wonder what to do, just check out this list and get on with it. Still can't wait!

  15. Hey everyone! So glad you're liking the post today! And thanks for the additional suggestions some of you have made! I appreciate it!

  16. Great list, Jody! =]

    I've done some of these, but hadn't thought of the others. Thanks!

  17. Love this list, Jody! Thanks for some original ideas!

  18. Great ideas. I have been practicing four of the ideas already, and am looking forward to trying more. Thank you for the awesome list.

  19. I always learn new things on your blog. Congrats on having another book published. And if you need another influencer you can could on me.

  20. Great tips! Now you have me wanting to do a vlog review post. :)

  21. I guess it falls under the last item of "Talk, talk, talk," but when I like a book, I also try to mention it on forums or in blog post comments, when it's relevant.

  22. Tweeted this. People should pick several that they can manage, as this is a very long list. But the great thing is people can pick and choose what works for them. I'd like to see a list for authors in etiquette for acknowledging the folks who do this type of promo. Love your notion that on blogs the author is going to "meet" with readers but that doesn't always happen. I guest posted about tips on blogging over at Hartline Literary recently that addresses this. Thanks Jody!

  23. Great tips, all. I especially like #16. I'm still waiting for the day when I see someone I've never met in a public place with my novel in his/her hands. I might run up and hug them.

  24. A lot of cool ideas.

    If you bought the book off amazon then another strategy is to look in the Top Free Books charts on amazon for books of a similar theme to download. That way when other readers also download that top-selling free book, you increase the chances of the author you want to promote's book coming up in the 'Customers who bought this item also bought...' section.

    The books at the very top of the free charts will have a lot of competition in the 'Customers who bought this item also bought...' section though, so sometimes it's perhaps wiser to download free books which are still popular but not quite at the very top of the charts.

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  28. This is such an interesting read! I have helped other authors promote books and have their bookmarks, etc. to pass out. I would be interested in promoting your books and can use facebook, pinterest, and word of mouth. Thank you, Judy Cook

    1. Hi Judy!

      Thank you for your interest in helping promote my books! Why don't you send me an email or you can use my contact page to get in touch with me for more information. Thank you!!

  29. Jody I'd love to help you out but I don't know how to do many of the things you suggest. I have a blog but I don't have the slightest idea of how to go about posting a picture of the books I read to it or where to go to learn how to do so. My reviews are rather short as I'm not sure just what to write and I don't want to share too much of a story and spoil it for others, though I would never reveal the ending of a book as I've seen a couple of people do. I love reading books, I have a lady at church I trade books with, and I enjoy passing out bookmarks, postcards, and the like for books.
    Another problem I have is that most of the people I know don't read they same type of books I do! It can be very frustrating at times believe me.

    1. There are definitely more ways than listed above to help promote a book. The most important is talking about it with friends! If you'd like more information, please email me or use my contact page and we can talk some more! Thank you! :-)

  30. Enjoyed the blog today. I can do #2,9,13, 16, & 17. I almost always pass my books around to family and reading friends and when returned to me, I donate them to our church library. I post reviews on Goodreads and now I know I can copy and paste them to other sites too. I also use Facebook and Pinterest and have a BOOKS board there. I would like to help promote your books. Sharon

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Would you like to email me or use my contact page to send me your mailing address and so that we can chat a little bit further? Thanks for your interest in promoting my books! I appreciate it!

  31. I think this is a real great article post.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

  32. This is a great post full of wonderful ideas. Some I do, some I will do, but I will never do a YouTube video...that would be like an author's nightmare! Not my thing. But I do love when authors have YouTube book trailers or interviews themselves, because I'll usually look for those when reviewing a book so I can attach to my blog. I just love them.
    Keep up the good work and keep giving us great ideas! I love to promote Christian authors!

    1. Thank you, Debbie! We appreciate the help with promotion SO much!

  33. Hi Jody - I just ran across your blog post! Love it! Thank you for all the ideas. I'll be passing this link on to all my influencers.

    1. You're so welcome, Brenda! Glad that you came across the post. I hope you'll find it useful!

  34. I now have, thanks to you, the tools/suggestions to motivate my eager, well-intentioned friends and family to help in the promotion of my book. Thank you, Jody!

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  36. Thanks for sharing this remarkable content with us. Yes I totally agreed with you that readers help us a lot to promotion of any book. Please also refer one of the best non-fiction books My Father the Godfather, Inside the Godfather brings together, for the first time, those from Brown’s inner circle.

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