I wrote this post last year on my blog, but it's still just as true today.
One of the questions I get asked often at conventions and appearances is "How can I (or we) help you?" First off, being at the con or event and stopping by my table is always a good start so they are already off to a good start. Last night, I ran across the image above and liked it so I thought I would share. Sadly, I do not know who created it to give them credit, but there is a web address at the bottom.
I thought I would take a look at each step.
Buy their books seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how often those who ask the question don't actually buy a book. Yeah, it's a head-scratcher for me too. If you see an author at a convention or signing, unless they are a big name author, they most likely purchased the books from their publisher, usually at a discount, and they make a couple bucks off of the sale. Buying a copy not only makes the author feel good that their book(s) is going home with a reader, but it helps pay for lunch or their gas to and from the event or the table cost at a convention.
Review their books is a biggie. No matter where you bought the book, leaving a review at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A- Million, wherever you like, or at each, is like gold. Word of mouth sells books. I'm more willing to try a book from an author I'm not familiar with if a friend tells me the book is a good read. Reviews are always appreciated, even if you don't like the book. The more reviews on a site like Amazon, for example, means more promotion placement on that site. If you liked ____, then you'll like _____. Reviews help make that happen.
Follow them and share on social media is a good, quick, and easy way to spread the word. I am very lucky to have a small group on social media that shares my posts to their friends. It takes seconds, but the impact could be fantastic and has the potential to gain the author new readers. I try to promote books from writers I know or movies from actors and directors I know. Indie creators generally don't have a large (or any in some cases) budget so social media is a good avenue to spread the word about my projects, even those that are still in production to hopefully build buzz. Supporting Patreon, Kickstarter, and GoFundMe projects is also a good social media way to help out if that's of interest to you. Also, if you take photos at a con, on a panel, at a writer's conference, or book signing, tag the creators. It's a good bet they will then share that photo and promote you. It's the circle of social media.
Recommend them. Remember what I said about word of mouth? It's a powerful marketing tool. If you follow me on social media (I'm on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Patreon, Amazon, and GoodReads. Please stop by and visit.) you've no doubt seen the "Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate" post I do from time to time. That is what this part is all about. If you read a book, watch a movie, or have a favorite TV show, play, or band, then tell the world about it. I'd much rather see posts talking about how much you love musicals, which are not my thing, than seeing your post about how you hate Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (for example) and only watched two episodes and can't believe it's still on the air. You don't like it. I get it. That's fine. I do like it, so I will skip your posts. Plus, there is already a lot of hate and negativity going around about life, politics, healthcare, jobs, religion, war, and on and on. Do we really need to add more hate for something that we find entertaining? Let's be positive. Tell me what you love. Who knows, I might love it too.
Offer to help. This takes us back to the beginning of this blog post and since I started writing this, I have added a few ways that anyone can help their favorite authors. We'll start with the two on the infographic above. Approach a library or bookstore on the author's behalf. This one is simple. Next time you're there, ask if they have any books by Bobby Nash (or your favorite author). If not, ask if they have heard of the author or mention a book you enjoy. It may or may not be enough to convince them to put a book on the shelf, but you never know. Bookstores and libraries usually have a local author section. If your author is local, that might help as well. Donate a copy to the library yourself. Libraries often take donations, as do hospitals and places where people spend a lot of time waiting. I have donated some of my books that way. I don't know if they lead to sales or not, but you never know.
All of this is a crap shoot, really. There's no tried and true method to get people to read our books. If there was, that would be great, but no. Word of mouth is still the best way to get someone to notice my books. To all of you who have helped spread the word, you have my sincerest thanks.
As always, I appreciate all of the help and support.