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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