Just before Thanksgiving I wrote a post suggesting that the holidays were an opportunity to help a struggling author. I suggested giving their book as a gift and when small talk is required, promoting it (“Hey. Read any good books lately?”).
I was delighted to hear from a couple of authors who each said that they experienced sales thanks to friends either giving their books as gifts or through word-of-mouth. With all the sophisticated techniques available to market products, I find a certain smug satisfaction that experts acknowledge word-of-mouth to be such an effective tool.
So with the next set of holidays upon us, why not pitch the idea again? In addition, here are a couple of other simple ways to help your friend, the struggling author.
1. Write a brief review of the book. It doesn’t have to be more than 1-2 paragraphs. I’m certain the author would appreciate if it is posted on Amazon.com or the B&N.com website. There are other important sites such as Goodreads and Shelfari. If you know of other good sources, please leave a message in the comments below. Where do you look for information on books? Post it there.
2. Create a Wikipedia page for your friend. While authors can’t create their own Wikipedia page (without getting a “conflict of interest” badge of shame), other people can. You can.
Every author deserves a Wikipedia page, since a published book grants the author at least a modicum of fame. On the Wikipedia page, feature a short bio, a bibliography, a link to the author’s website. How encouraging for an author to discover a spike in his/her search engine traffic due to a link posted on Wikipedia. It’s kind of like having a secret Santa!
3. Recommend your friend’s website online. Link from your website, blog, Facebook page, etc. Tweet about it. When your friend writes a blog post that moves you, link to it. If your friend tweets something great, retweet it. Feature a quote from your friend’s book on your website. Or tweet the quote.
Remember when you throw a stone into a lake, it hits the water in only one place, but its waves can spread a considerable distance. I realize that many of you are living near frozen lakes right now, sorry. But maybe you can throw a stone online and give your friend, the struggling author, an extra present for the festive season.
Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com