stack of blue hardcover books

4 Things You Can Do to Help Your Favorite Author Succeed

Following a favorite writer can be hard on a fan. Often, it’s years between books, and even when a writer is as prolific as possible, it can be hard to find people to connect with unless there’s already a broad base of fans. That means your favorite funky sci-fi series might just have to be enjoyed in solitude. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to connect your favorite authors to your social media following. There are also a couple of great ways you can help promote a writer’s work so that more people will see it. None of them take very long, and when fans get active about promoting the books they love, it provides opportunities and leads to others who are looking for their next great read.

Since publishing companies base their release schedules and their future book contract offers on the sales of individual books, promoting your favorite writer isn’t just a way to share the love. It’s also one of the best ways to make sure the author will be able to continue doing good work. Here are four things we encourage every Autonomous Press fan to do when they want to help encourage our authors.

1. Review the Book

You don’t need to be a professional writer to put together a review for your favorite book. In fact, you don’t have to write more than a sentence if you don’t want to. Doing something as simple as going to the Amazon page for a book you love and leaving a four or five star review with a statement like “This book changed my life and made me a fan of all this author’s work” is enough. See, the major bookselling sites like Amazon recommend books based on past readers, reviewer social networks, and the number of reviews it has received. Whenever you leave a review, it helps those numbers.

If you want to go a little farther, leaving three or four paragraphs will let you show people why they should love the book. Make sure you give a brief summary of the plot, compare it to one or two other similar works, and provide clear explanations for the things you like about the book. If you do that, then you will be able to sway readers who might be on the fence. You will also be able to get more traction out of your review, because on top of being great for Amazon, it will also be a great fit for book loving social networks like Goodreads.

If you blog at all, then you might want to consider posting a blog about the book. If you do, make sure you link to the writer’s page and to a place where people can buy the book. This does a few things:

  • It helps your review show up when people search for the writer or places to buy the book
  • It helps the writer find your review for their own promotional purposes
  • You provide the book wider traction on search sites by making sure it is mentioned on more websites

2. Suggest the Book to Other Reviewers

OK, so you might have a book blog or a Goodreads account, but chances are that unless you’re a journalist or an aspiring author yourself, you probably don’t have access to a large platform for your reviews. That’s OK, though. You can suggest books to reviewers with larger platforms than yourself, too. Sometimes they will post threads on their venues asking for suggestions, and that is your opportunity to get in there and make a suggestion. It can also be helpful to drop notes or link to your review in the comments of related books. For example, if you follow a reviewer and they cover something similar to your fave’s books, you can always drop a comment suggesting your favorite to people who also enjoyed that book.

3. Nominate Your Favorite to Your Book Clubs

The fastest way to get ten or twelve new fans of a book to talk to is to get that book picked up in your local book clubs. Whether you gather in a friend’s living room to exchange notes on favorites or your club is larger and more organized, it helps to make sure you can spread the word and it gives you the chance to really talk about what you loved in detail. If you have the reach and the support to turn this into a larger-scale reading event like a community read-along, then that’s even better.

4. Buy Copies as Gifts for Friends

Last but not least, if you have people in your life you want to share a book with, it’s important to put copies into their hands. This is most easily done by gifting out copies to anyone you want to encourage to read the book. It also helps you figure out what to get people when you have a gifting opportunity for people you don’t know that well. Nothing works better for a Secret Santa present than a great book, too.

When you go all-out to make sure people know about the books you love, it helps build community around them in ways that are important for both readers and authors. Make sure you are taking the time out to encourage writers by gifting your favorite books. You can also help people find new writers by giving them books that their favorite writers are in–for example, if you know someone who loves Michael Scott Monje Jr.’s Shaping Clay series, you might want to get them The Spoon Knife Anthology to help them explore similar writers, or even Spoon Knife 2, the anthology where “Michael” is revealed to be Athena Lynn Michaels-Dillon, one of our founding partners.

We Are Back on Kindle! (And More International Distribution is coming!)

Hi there AutPress fans! Athena Lynn here, and I want to let you know that all of our titles are once again avaialble on Kindle. We had a couple weeks of service outage there because we were changing distributors as part of our larger plan to connect our authors to larger audiences, and there were just a couple of hiccups while we made the change. There are a few new things you might notice now that we are with our new distributor:

  • None of our ebooks are over $10 anymore. That’s because our new distributor helps us make more money at the lower price point, and we want to make sure our books are as economically accessible as possible. You can find those new prices at our store if you want .epub books, or you can get them at Amazon for your Kindle.
  • Our Amazon distribution has increased to offer more ebooks on more Amazon sites internationally, making it possible for people in countries where we previously had no coverage to access our books. This includes Japan, Brazil, and many countries in Africa.
  • Our new marketing partners are helping us to find readers in communities that are dedicated to spreading the word about books, including communities that encourage their readers to review books, like Goodreads.

Changes Coming Soon

On top of our new Kindle distribution, we are picking up a second print distributor to help us make our books available in more places. As that happens, we will be able to offer international shipping to more countries. We’re still in the process of setting that up, but once we do we will be able to get paperbacks out through Amazon in all territories, even places where we have not been carried yet or where our distribution was disrupted, like Australia.

As we make those changes, expect to see international options showing up in our store, too. I can’t promise we will be available in every country, but we are looking at solutions for the UK, Canada, and Australia to start. After that, we’ll see where we can go. Some of it depends on you, our readers, because some of it requires an extra push for demand for our books before it will be profitable to provide them in that market or that format.

One big example of this is audiobooks, which are both expensive to produce and time consuming. While the whole partnership realizes that they are an accessibility issue, if the press is simply not capable of funding them, then going bankrupt to provide accessibility is not going to work. That’s why we put our books out through Bookshare, and we let them work on ways to make them accessible to those who need non-print editions.

We would like to change that, and we realize that being in commercial audiobook markets aids with accessibility because not everyone has Bookshare. We still need to get to a place where that project is feasible, and the more our distribution improves, the easier that is.

How You Can Help

There are a few ways that you can help us out as we prepare to release a book each and every month from now until we run out of manuscripts–and currently, that looks like next year. Whether you have a lot of extra cash or not, there’s something on this list that every fan can do:

  1. Review any Autonomous Press books you have. Go to Amazon.com, search for a title like Spoon Knife 2 that you have read, and write just a 3 or 4 sentence summary of your thoughts. Give us a rating 1-5 stars to go with it, and post. We’re not even asking for a review at a particular level, just an honest assessment from as many people as possible. It helps even more if you bought the book on Amazon, but that’s not entirely necessary.
  2. Go to Goodreads and do the same thing. Also, while you’re there, search for all of our books and add them to your to-read list. It doesn’t cost you anything and it helps more people see our titles.
  3. If you’re a blog person or you work for a place that takes book reviews, consider doing a longer review that you can put out there where it will be seen by people googling our titles.
  4. Sign up for the Autonomous Press mailing list and get coupons every month when we send our newsletter with more announcements and book teasers.
  5. Buy copies of our books so you can review them later.
  6. Post about us on social media. Put us on Amazon.com lists of things you like. Do the same thing at Goodreads.
  7. Check out our anthologies, too, because we have only put out about 10 books so far, but we have published over 100 authors because of our aggressive anthology development process.
  8. If you are in our anthologies, promote them on your own platforms. That’s the only way that future books will be there as income opportunities for you.
  9. Ask your friends to review our books after you recommend them.
  10. Contact bookstores and libraries in your local area and ask them to carry our books. We are available in the Ingram catalog, or you can refer them straight to us.

If you can help us spread the word over the next six months, then we will be able to grow enough to offer true worldwide distribution, audiobooks, and a bunch of other cool stuff like book tours. It takes a fandom to build a publisher, though, so if you have been enjoying our books, please think about what you can do to help spread the word. – Athena