Five Ways to Help an Author (Without Writing a Single Word)

It’s kind of a given – if you like a book, the best way to help an author is to write a review of that book in some visible location, such as Amazon or Goodreads. And this is true – readers love reviews that give them an idea of whether or not they’re likely to enjoy the book too.

But what if you don’t want to write a review? What if you can’t write a review? What if you turn into a frozen block of self-conscious ice upon seeing that blinking cursor at the top of a very, very empty text box?

(Don’t worry. It happens to authors, too.)

It’s okay. There are other ways that you can help – all without having to write a single word.

(You might have to click the mouse button a few times, though.)

Rate the book. Amazon Kindle even makes this easy for you, if you’ve downloaded the book from them. Once you finish, they’ll pop up a screen that asks you for your rating. If you’ve got a Goodreads account, they’ll even post the rating in both places for you. Click on your favored star rating… and they’ll do the rest. No writing necessary!

Vote on other reviews. Both Goodreads and Amazon have a system to “vote” on previously written reviews – for Amazon, it’s that little “Was this helpful?” question that follows every review. For Goodreads, it’s the more blatant “Did you like this review?”

Why is this important? Well, reviews with the most votes are more likely to be the first shown when someone navigates to that page – regardless of whether or not the reviewer liked or disliked the book. If you liked a book, and there’s a review already written that you agree with – vote on it! The more votes a review gets, the more likely it is to be at the top of the page – and the more people will see it. Plus, they’ll even be able to see how many people agreed with that review – which just gives it more weight. All without having to write a word.

Reblog/retweet on social media. “But how can I blog about something without writing a word, Pen?” Easy. Most authors, to some extent, are egotistical. (Some more than others.) At some point after a book’s release, though, we’ll have made a comment about it, or shared a link where to purchase it. Some will even provide links for you in the body of the ebook itself. Click on those links – reblog or retweet those posts – and you’ve just shared with all of your followers that great new book you finished reading.

Amazon provides links for you to reblog/retweet on their website – if you navigate to the book’s page, you’ll see a handy row of them under all of the purchasing information on the right-hand side of the screen. Click on your preferred social media platform – press “Post” – and you’re good to go!

“But I only have six followers! And one of them’s a chicken!”

That’s okay. They’re five people who might not have known about the book before. And maybe the chicken will like the book, too. Thing with social media – it’s not about how many followers you have, it’s about who’s online watching at any given time.

Shove the book into someone else’s hands – literally. Buying the book for someone else is the obvious route – and don’t let me dissuade you from that course. But lending it is equally good. (Some ebooks can be shared for a limited amount of time, if the author has allowed for that.) I know it seems a little counter-intuitive to lend a book – after all, the author doesn’t get the proceeds – but really what you’re doing is trying to convert another person into a fan of that author, which will in turn make it more likely that they’ll buy the next book. Trust me. Authors are really good with that concept.

And if you can’t find a friend (or co-worker, or unsuspecting person who sat next to you on the bus that one day) who wants to read it – consider donating a copy to your local library. Most libraries love free books, and who knows? Maybe it’ll find a dozen new readers that way. (Check with your local library first to see what their donation guidelines are.)

Join your favorite author’s mailing list or follow them on social media.Assuming you aren’t already, of course. Authors may traffic in words, but numbers are super important too – and knowing there’s a certain amount of people who are more or less signing up to read literally every word we put out there is a gigantic egotistical boost –  which in turn is going to spur us to write even more. (And hey – more is exactly what you want from the authors you love, right?)

So there you have it – five super easy and fast ways to help an author you enjoy, all without writing a single word. Of course.. feel free to write a few words too. (Even just a simple “I liked this” is a great way to get started, and very nice to hear. We aren’t picky, trust me, and we aren’t going to judge you on lack of verbosity.)

I’m sure there’s other ways to help writers without writing a word. What ways can you think of to help?

Posted in self-publishing and tagged , .

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