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25 Ways to Help an Author

I’d like to share all the things that authors and their friends, and especially their readers can do to help each other, and keep Romance strong.  All authors for the purpose of this article will be considered female.  (No sexism intended).

#1. Help the search engines find her.  Why? Even if you know where to find your friend, her blog, and her books, “hits” help.  The more visitors the search engine spiders find, the more priority the author's website gets.  So: Google her.  Ask Jeeves about her.  Dogpile her.  A9 search her.  (That’s the Amazon search engine) Try a Yahoo search.  Blog search.

#2.  Having “Searched”, Visit… her website; blogs;  author pages.

#3 Amazon Connect with her.
links to an alphabetical directory by last name.  Click on your author’s name and go to her Amazon page where you can: Invite her as an Amazon Friend.  Add her to your list of Interesting People. E-mail her page (to your other friends). Add her posts to your plog, Click on every link.

#4 Click to read any reviews she has written.  If you like them, click Helpful. If you may comment on her review, do so.

Why? If authors write reviews, their books are advertised free in the attribution line, and their links to their page and their books are seen by people who are interested in the products that your friend reviewed..

#5. If there’s a link to her own web site, click on it… to give the site traffic.  Then go back to Amazon.

#6. If the author has blogged there will be a link to Comment.  Comment!  Vote that you liked her post (it’s encouraging feedback). 

#7 If the author clicked “product” as she wrote her blog, the cover image of one of her books will link to her Buy The Book page.  Click. Give her book page traffic.  Scroll down and see her bibliography, who her friends are, what search suggestions she has made, what “tags” she has created for each of her books, and what tags her readers have added.  See her Reminders.

#8. If the author has a reminder on the calendar for a booksigning near you, click on Remind Me Too.  Booksignings are nerve-racking.  Support is always appreciated, even if you don’t buy a book.

#9. Check out her friends, click on other authors whose books you like.  Amazon often pairs up two books by different authors and suggests “Buy Both”.

#10. When you are on a book page, without buying that book, click on links to:
Put it on your wish list.  It’s extra, free advertising. Tell a friend. Scroll down the book page to Tag this product.  (or make a search suggestion). Add a tag.  (Loved it!  Can’t wait to read it!  Soooo romantic!  Etc)

#11. Join in the Customer discussions.  Ask a question.  Start a discussion.  The search engines pick up on the discussions.

#12 If you have read her book: write a customer review.  It doesn’t have to be long or scholarly.  Be as generous with the star rating as you can.  Try to be specific about what you liked best about the story or one of the characters.  Don’t give away the ending. It doesn’t matter if some people think that you are friends.  More often than not, you became friends because you like and respect each other’s talent, or sense of humor, or something you bring to your writing.  People do respect recommendations

#13.  Ditto all of the above for Barnes and Noble, E-Bay, Borders, Chapters Indigo, Waterstone’s, Amazon uk, Amazon ca, (did you know the overseas Amazons have different content?) or any other bookstore chain that allows customer reviews, comments, discussions etc.  Or, simply search online bookstores for her name, titles, reviews.

#14. If you have a MySpace page or Bebo.com, or Twitters, or Clasmates.com, or facebook.com, or theyack.com (and if you don’t, but really want to help, get one… it’s free) invite your author friends to be your friends there.  Write a bulletin about your friend or her book. Add a comment on their profile page’s comments section.  Your comment is their opportunity to say something about their book without the appearance of soliciting. Review their book on your MySpace blog. Or on You Tube!

#15.  If her publisher has a forum, join it and ask her questions.  For instance, Dorchester Publishing (home of Leisure and LoveSpell authors) has  http://forums.dorchesterpub.com/

Again, your comment will be seen by hundreds, if not thousands, and it will give your friend a reason to post something interesting and quotable about her book without seeming to be self-promoting.
#16.  If you have a blog or website, (and you should always secure your own domain name before you become famous yourself) publicize your friend’s upcoming signings/author talks/workshops on your blog.  Mention her website URL.  Link to your author friend’s website or blog on yours. Put her book as a 'must read' on your own site, or in your own newsletter.

#17. If you belong to readers’ group sites, or book chat sites, or special interest sites, post what you are reading.  Plugs never hurt.  These are also picked up on RSS feeds and the search engines.

#18. Join your favorite author’s yahoo group, let her know where you’ve seen her book in stores, or where you’ve seen discussions of her book, or reviews of her book.

#19. Drop in on her online chats to say how you enjoyed her book.  Supportive friends at chats are cool because chats can be chaotic, and typing answers takes time.

#20. Send e-mails to your entire address list recommending the book.

#21. Offer to take a bunch of her bookmarks to conventions, or conferences, and make sure they are put in goodie bags, or on promo tables.  Or simply visit her table at a convention, and sign up for her newsletter, or pick up her bookmark and tell someone else how good the book is. Offer to slip her bookmarks into your own correspondence when you pay bills, taxes, etc. 

#22.  Instead of quoting Goethe in your sig file, try quoting a line from your friend’s blurb in the week of her launch.

#23. If you see a good review—on any bookselling site that allows customers and visitors to comment on reviews-- click Helpful if it is a helpful review. Votes help both the reviewer and the author (especially the reviewer’s rankings ).
If you see a bad review (eg where the reviewer hasn’t read the book), click Not Helpful. If you see a personal attack disguised as a “review” click Report This, and tell the author.  If enough people click to report ugly remarks, bad reviews come down in 50-60% of the time

#24. If you see your favorite author’s books in a supermarket or bookstore: Facing her books (if there is room, turn one so the cover shows). Tell store personnel how much you like that book, or that the author is local. If you don’t see her books, especially when they ought to be there, ask about them. Ask your library to order your friend's book, too.

#25.  Buy her book.

With thanks to the following for their help and suggestions

Kathleen Bacus,                      http://www.kathybacus.com
Diana Groe,                              http://www.dianagroe.com
Joyce Henderson,                   http://www.joycehendersonauthor.com
Diane Wylie,                       http://www.dianewylie.com
Jacquie Rogers,                   http://www.jacquierogers.com
Deborah Anne MacGillivray, http://deborahmacgillivray.co.uk
Charlotte Maclay,                     http://www.CharlotteMaclay.com

List compiled by Rowena Cherry, http://www.rowenacherry.com

newsletter: www.rowenacherry.com/newsletter/
book video: http://www.youtube.com/v/RNnX5dyfzmQ
group blog: http://www.aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com
myspace:    http://www.myspace.com/insufficientmm
bebo:       http://InsufficientMating.bebo.com

newsletter: www.rowenacherry.com/newsletter/
book video: http://www.youtube.com/v/RNnX5dyfzmQ
group blog: http://www.aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com


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