The following post from another author resonated with me this week. As many of you know, Amazon added the Kindle edition of Beyond All Price to its free list this week. (Note: I did not ask them to do this, and it will last only for this week.) Almost immediately the downloads began. Now, on Friday morning, the total is somewhere over 22,000 copies, which puts the book at #1 on the Historical Fiction list, and #6 on the store-wide list. I'm thrilled, of course, with the reception. That's 22,000 readers, and I couldn't be happier, even though I have not made one cent on those transactions. But will it ever help me sell more books? That depends on those 22,000 readers passing the word.
Ironically, I received a check this morning from Kindle, paying me the royalties on the month's sales BEFORE this promotion started -- a blazing $19.00 in the bank. If that sounds just a bit unbalanced to you, you CAN help. Read the suggestions below and then go to Amazon (either the trade paper edition or the Kindle edition) to leave a couple of sentences under the reviews section. If you just can't think of anything to say, at least click the "like" button. It WILL make a difference!
As authors, we spend a lot of time trying to promote our books. Our biggest obstacle is obscurity because there are a lot of books out there. No, really. A lot. We like to think that good stories are all it takes to make it (in author terms “make it” usually means “become well known enough and sell enough books that I can quit my day job and write for a living”), but you can doubtlessly think of mediocre books that are selling bazillions of copies and authors you love who never make it out of the “mid-list” category.
Sometimes it’s just the author (or publishing house) with the biggest marketing budget who wins, but you, as a reader, have amazing power. Don’t believe for a second that you don’t have anything to do with whether an author makes it, because you do. A lot. No, really. A lot. Why does this matter to you? Well, authors who get to quit their day jobs can write faster and put more books out for you! The following are some little things you can do that can make a big difference. Some of them only take a few seconds. Your favorite authors will appreciate the effort. Trust me.
Helping out on Amazon
Amazon is the big kahuna of book sellers, especially when it comes to ebooks, so helping an author “get found” on there can give them a big boost. You can certainly do these things on other bookstore sites as well (nothing against copying and pasting a review, for example), but Amazon tends to have more cool features to help an author get found. Here’s the list (any one of these things can help):
Helping out with Social Media
If you’re involved with Twitter, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc., you can give your favorite authors a shout-out when they release new books. If they blog, you can follow their site (through Google Reader or other RSS readers) and share the link when they post something that may be interesting to your friends. If they’re on Twitter, you can follow them and retweet their links now and then. Authors don’t expect you to follow them 24/7 and repeat everything they say (that might actually alarm some folks…), but a little promotional help now and then is greatly appreciated.
If you like to be social about books, you can join sites such as Goodreads, Shelfari, or LibraryThing. You can help your favorite authors by posting reviews and talking about their books on those sites, or you can just use those places to find online reading buddies with common interests.
Helping out with Your Blog
Do you ever talk about books or what you’re reading on your blog? You might consider reviewing your favorite authors on your site (you could even make a few dollars if you signed up as an Amazon affiliate). Also, if most of your favorites maintain websites, you could add an “author blogroll” list in your menu with links to those sites.
These days, most authors have websites and contact forms so you can get in touch. If you enjoyed their work, consider sending them a short note to let them know. While it won’t help them sell more books, it’ll make their day. Thanks for reading (this post and books in general!)
--Originally by Lindsay Buroker, and copied with permission.