How to Help an Author

Rah! Rah! Rah! 

We all need cheerleaders whether we work in an office, spend the day with the kids, teach the care and taming of dragons, or write for a living. And most people—authors included—want to earn a living wage writing stories and we have you to thank, dear, wonderful readers!

I've had a few people ask me lately what they can do to support the upcoming release of Sugar (my debut young adult novel from Skyscape. 6/1/15. Squeee!) 

First, again, I thank all of you because you've already helped provide a strong foundation with kind and thoughtful words of encouragement. It means so much, knowing that this little book that started as a fledgling has now grown wings and will end up in your caring hands.

But since you asked, here's a solid stack of ways you can help spread the word about Sugar or any author and novel you enjoy. The literary world is a rich and wonderful place so I invite you to join in the community if you haven't already. Full disclosure, I'm going to toss in a few specifics for Sugar, but the general ideas apply to any book and author. 

1. Pre-order the book. The bonus here is occasionally you'll get it before the release date or right on, meaning you won't have to wait or have picking up the book slip your mind. Find Sugar here.

2. Buy the book in whatever format works for you. Despite our best intentions, so many of us have to put reading for pleasure toward the end of the to do list. The good news is you can listen to your fave stories or keep a copy on your ereader or tablet when you have a few minutes between commitments or while traveling. 

You can get Sugar in paperback from Amazon, Kindle, audio book, Barnes and Noble, online or in store, IndieBound, and of course at your local bookstore. If you don't see it in stock, politely request it from your bookseller.

3. Gift the book. Books are great gifts for holidays, birthdays, or just a little special something for someone sweet. You can also gift a copy of the book to your friends, family, coworkers, or book lovers. I also like doing "one for me, one for you." Sometimes if I spot something I fall in love with, I'll get a second one for someone else who I think would enjoy it. You can also leave a second at a library, coffee shop, participate in events like Rock the Drop, and super cool projects like the Little Free Library.

4. Read the book. Duh, right? But you can introduce it to your book group. (Or start one! They're great fun, there's usually food, and lots of laughter.) Check the author's website for questions or talking points specifically tailored for the book to get you started.

5. Spread the word. Ask for the book by name at your bookstore or library. Tell your friends, family, coworkers, fellow booknerds what a great read you've discovered! If you know people in influential positions, for example, those who work at magazines, for websites, in schools, libraries, media outlets, or just during casual dinner convo, talk it up!

6. Leave a review. Don't let this intimate you. Or if you enjoy sharing your opinions and thoughts, let the words flow. You can leave reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other book review sites. Hint: if you're not a wordsmith, just leaving a star rating is very much appreciated. You can also use the same review across sites.

7. Post a blog. If you have a blog, even if it isn't a book review blog, write up a post, recommendation, or request promo materials (media kit) from the author for an easy cut and paste. If you don't have a blog, but there's one you enjoy reading that is open to contributions, inquire about sharing a post of that awesome book that you just couldn't put down.

8. Amplify. If you're active on social media, take a photo of the book and post it, retweet or repost items related to the book to followers and friends. It isn't called the world wide web, for nothing. (*Gets memo. Oh, we don't call it that anymore? Got it.)

9. Spread the word! Yes, again. Share what you enjoyed about the book with the author in a tweet, FB post, email, or in person at an author event. Which brings me to...

10. Attend an event. Check your author's website for appearances. The folks who host the event are always happy when you purchase books, have them signed, and participate with friendly enthusiasm.

11. Hangout Online. Chat up your favorite titles on book forums or other related online communities.

12. Follow and Friend. Follow your favorite author's Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter feeds. Not your jam? There's also Pinterest, Instagram, and G+. Wink wink.

13. Subscribe. An Enewsletter is the gold standard for authors. Not to worry, I'm not spammy. Get your quarterly, non-spammy and totally sparkly news from me by signing up here

14. Swag. Some authors have book swag, some don't. You can always make your own. Luna Lovegood's raddish earrings, anyone? There's some Sugar dazzle on Zazzle. That didn't quite work did it? These items also make great gifts along with a copy of the book (and chocolate or tea always goes over well with readers!)

15. Pin it. Add the cover to your bookish board.

16. Donate. Need to donate something to a raffle, giveaway, or auction. A book is a great contribution and it does double duty by promoting literacy!

17. Author pages. Both Amazon and Goodreads have Author pages with a feature where you can "follow" your favorite authors. This way you get info about upcoming releases and recommendations for similar books you may enjoy.

18. Turn it out. At your brick and mortar bookstores, if you see a favorite book, turn it cover out to get more views by other customers.

19. Expose. If browsing Kindles, Nooks, or other ereaders, search for the book and leave the page open. The next person to check out the ereader will see it.

20. Listicle. Amazon and Goodreads both have "lists" There's the wishlist, which you can add books to for gift ideas or so you don't forget to buy when you have some extra scratch. There's also listmania and favorites and recommendations to share. Explore your accounts and list those books you love!

21. Vote. If you see your fave books is in the running for an award or recommendation, your vote matters, cast it.

Phew. That was a long list, but as you see there are both big and small ways you can support books and authors. Some of which you may already do. Thank you for reading this and in general for being a champion of the written word. If you know of any other great ways to help support and promote your favorite authors and books, please share in the comments below. 

Happy reading!

P.S. Here are few sweet little notes to share with your friends. (If you please—and thank you!)

Copy & Paste to Twitter:
Sugar, a bullied teenager who learns to love the reflection of the girl she sees in the mirror. 
#yalit #fiction 

Copy & Paste to post on Facebook: 

Through friendship, Sugar discovers she amounts to more than a worthless daughter, an annoying sister, and the target of the senior class prank.

Twitter or Facebook:

Sugar: novel. A girl, a friendship, a motorcycle, and a green light. 
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