I’ve been a devoted reader for decades, but this week I’m experiencing the other side of the reading life for the first time. My first book Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything came out on September 19, and it has been an interesting journey.
Since 2011, I’ve been enthusiastically sharing my favorite books with you here on Modern Mrs Darcy. Can you try and imagine how just plain weird it is to now be sharing my own? Praising other people’s work is easy—I’ve been doing it for what is now awfully close to four decades. But talking about my own? It’s weird, y’all.
But you have not been weird, thank goodness. You’ve been AMAZING at helping me get the word out about Reading People. Thank you for that, it means the world to me. (And makes a huge difference for my book!) And you’ve asked (thank you!) what you can do to effectively spread the word.
So today I’m sharing 7 free and easy tips I’ve picked up along the way to support my favorite authors. Some of these I’ve been doing for years, but it’s only recently that I’ve discovered how effective others are. I’m sharing them all today. (If you have additions to this list, PLEASE share them in comments—readers want to know these things!)
Put them into practice for Reading People (my eternal gratitude to those who choose to do so) and for any author whose work you love. It’s 2017, but you know what really sells books? An enthusiastic vote of confidence from a fellow reader. Thank you for that vote of confidence.
Of course, buying the book is also a huge help in spreading the word, especially if that purchase comes shortly after launch (meaning in the first week or two). Those early sales set the tone for the year to come: retailers rely on early numbers to decide how many copies to order, how much shelf space to allot, and how much to feature the book on their site or in their store. If you want to support a favorite author, an early purchase helps a lot.
Buy Reading People anywhere new books are sold. Order online or walk into your favorite local shop; if they don’t have it they’ll be able to order it. (In fact, the very act of placing an order with a local retailer helps spread the word about the book—they might not know the book existed before you asked for it! I have so loved hearing how many of you have ordered from your local indie.) Reading People is available as a paperbook, ebook, or audiobook (and I narrate the audiobook myself!).
Below are some easy and free things you can do to help spread the word about Reading People, and about any book you love, or any author you want to support.
1. Read their work. This one gets underestimated, I think, because what practical good does simply reading a book do the author? (My answer: Oh honey, A TON.) Reading is the biggest gift a reader can give a writer. We’re thankful you cared enough to spend time and energy with our words, whether you bought that book at the bookstore, or borrowed it from the library, or won it in a Goodreads giveaway, or read a free review copy. We don’t care. We’re just happy you read it.
2. Check the book out of the library. Here at Modern Mrs Darcy, we are a community of avid readers. We read way more books than the average human. Way more. A surprising percentage of us read more than 200 books a year, and who can afford to buy 200 books a year? This is why avid readers tend to be heavy library users.
So .. ask your library to buy a copy, and then check it out.
Another fun library angle: if you steward a Little Free Library, or have one in your neighborhood, pop a copy of a favorite book like Reading People in there for a lucky neighbor to find. Face it out. And then by all means, take a photo and share it on social media because those tiny libraries are the cutest.
3. More on social media. It matters, because your personal recommendations matter to the readers you know. Even in-the-know bookstore owners get their book recommendations from Instagram. Your photo, blurb, or tweet doesn’t have to be long or carefully crafted. Hey, look what I’m reading right now! or I can’t wait to start reading this next! are surprisingly effective. FEEL FREE to borrow my photos of Reading People (like the ones in this post) to share on YOUR accounts. It’s my pleasure to share them with you.
4. Talk about the books you love. Social media is great, but word of mouth is even better. Readers love to hear what other readers are reading right now or thinking about reading next. I’m not alone when I say a personal recommendation from someone I know is my very favorite way to find out about new-to-me titles.
5. Post a review or rating. This is so important—more important than I wished it was! File under “sad but true”: I can’t tell you how many readers have casually mentioned that they’ll never read a book with less than a hundred Amazon reviews, or less than a four-star rating. Writing a review, or rating the book on a site likes Goodreads tells other readers that this book is worth reading, and that means the world to an author like me. Even marking a book as “want to read” makes a big difference in that book’s visibility to other readers.
Your review doesn’t have to be long, or detailed, or time-consuming to be a big deal to the author. I made you some links to make it even easier.
6. Follow the authors you love. Follow them on social media: they might not care about their numbers, but their publisher certainly does (and is probably on their case about “buildingtheir platform”). So check them out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (those links are to my accounts). Click “like” so the algorithms don’t hide their posts from their readers.
If they have a newsletter, subscribe to it! (Here’s mine, that I send out monthly-ish.) Hot tip: you can often hit “reply” to those newsletters and tell your favorite authors anything at all, and your email will land in their inbox or their assistant’s inbox. If you want to send kind words or ask a question, this is a good way to do it.
7. Read their books with your book club. Having a group of readers get together to talk about your work? Readers, this is an author’s pipe dream. It’s a huge compliment, and it also does wonders for spreading the word about their book. If you ask nicely, many authors will even pop on the phone or skype to chat about their work with your book club. This is such a cool experience, and if you’re the one responsible for bringing an author to your event, your fellow readers will think you’re a rock star.
Want me to come chat with your book club about Reading People? Let’s talk: email me at modernmrsdarcy at gmail dot com.
Readers, what’s your favorite way to support the authors you love? What would you add to this list?