If you’re like me, asking for favors is never easy–this is something I learned firsthand when I published my book. As an author, we are expected to generate pre-orders and reviews and buzz in social media. In order to get this buzz started, we need to ask our family and friends for help, and oftentimes that can be uncomfortable. So the best advice I have for you is to start filling that favor bank the moment you get a book contract. If you have done favors for others, it will be a lot easier to ask for favors when it comes time to start promoting your own book.
There are many ways authors can band together to help each other succeed. Here are some that I have found most effective:
- Editorial feedback: When you’re just starting your manuscript, share the first few chapters with fellow writers and ask for honest feedback. Repeat this feedback loop throughout the writing process so that you’re submitting the best manuscript you can. Remember, you can get all the reviews in the world, but if the book isn’t good, it won’t matter.
- Social media promotion: If you’re just getting started building out your social media presence, ask other authors to share your content with their readers and help drive traffic back to your pages. Retweet your fellow authors’ content. Link back to their pages. Share good reviews/features. Promote their events. If you really like another author’s work, chances are your readers will as well (especially if you write in similar genres).
- Reviews: We all know the importance of online reviews, so be sure to ask fellow authors to write reviews of your book so that you have a populated product detail page if they are comfortable doing so. You want to make sure the reviews are authentic, so ask them to be truthful. And don’t just stop at Amazon. Post reviews on other sites, like Goodreads and BN.com.
- Promote: Recommend your fellow authors to bloggers or podcasters you may know and help them get attention. Imagine if everyone in your group knew 10 people who could help spread the word, you wouldn’t need a publicist.
- Buy: Most importantly, buy or, even better, pre-order the books. If each one of you buy the others’ books, it will even out. If you really love it, buy more copies and give them out as gifts.
A strong community is essential for publishing successfully. In an environment where over 1 million books are published each year, it’s important to make yours stand out, and to help your fellow authors do the same. Remember, we’re all in this together.