Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Writer's Sandbox: How to champion your fellow author (and not annoy everyone else...)

One of my big struggles since becoming a published author is marketing.

Not only my own (which definitely is a struggle) but how to best market my fellow authors that I want to support!

My last post I got "real" and talked about the insecurity that comes when you feel like support from other writers is "eh" at best.

So I wanted to spin it to the other side today.

There are a LOT of authors out there. And quite a few of them I count as "friends" even though we may only be acquainted on Facebook.

But there is NO way I can champion them all. I just can't. None of us can. There isn't enough time in the day. And if I shared EVERYONE'S Facebook memes, my followers would be beating a path to the unfriend/unlike/unfollow button.

I am not perfect at this. In fact, sometimes I'm BAD at this. But wanted to share a few tips, not based on what I DO, but what I STRIVE to do. There is a difference. LOL. (Kinda like when I tell my kids they don't need dessert but sneak a little ice cream when they're in bed! Shhhhh.... don't tell....)

So, my confession aside, here are my tips --

BE HONEST. Sharing a post and saying, "BEST BOOK I'VE READ ALL YEAR" when you struggled to finish it might help the author in the short term, but it will damage your credibility when your readers pick it up and see the less-than-stellar writing. Personally, I'm a fan of the "if you can't say something nice, say nothing at all" rule.

DON'T OVER PROMISE. One of the lessons I learned in the corporate world, I believe said by our CEO at the time, was "Under promise, over deliver." Better to beat our promises than not to deliver on them! When agreeing to influence/review a friend's work, don't set unrealistic expectations. "I'll have it reviewed next week" and then get to it a month later. Or worse yet, "I'll leave you a glowing review" but then actually READ the book and not be able to review it at all because nothing you could say would be positive.

. Don't let your page or your timeline become a walking advertisement, for your books OR your friend's books. Your shares and "advertisements" should be balanced with engaging content, or find a way to MAKE the share engaging. "I just read this book by Pepper Basham set in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Oh my goodness it was so good and made me want to take another weekend trip to Gatlinburg! Anyone have a favorite spot to visit in the mountains? I'd love some ideas for our next weekend away!" Or something like that!

"My friend wrote this amazing book -- go read it!" will garner a little less enthusiasm than "Oh my goodness, I'm swooning right now! Just finished When Fall Fades by Amy Simpson, SO. STINKIN. GOOD!" The first shows clear bias and may put a question in your friend's mind.... Did she REALLY like it or is she just super biased? The second is much more word-of-mouth friendly!

TIMELINE OR PAGE. A lot of authors, myself included, have both a personal FB timeline and an officially author page. Many promotions, I share both places, because only a small portion of my friends like my page and only a small portion who like my page are my friend. SO, for authors who have pages, always share from their PAGE and not their TIMELINE. This helps them get more likes, and pages are HARD to get views on sometimes due to FB algorithms. Shares help visibility of their page and ups the helpfulness of your share!

VARY IT UP. We have so many social media options. Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, blogging.... There are so many ways to help promote. Mention their book on your blog. Share or post on FB. Retweet on Twitter. Post a pic of you and their book on Instagram. Have a board for covers and links on Pinterest. You don't have to do all of them. But varying it up will help from overloading any one site with advertisements.

But regardless of HOW you do it, supporting each other is important. No, you can't support everyone. And there is no "perfect" way to do so. But word-of-mouth is still the BEST marketing for books, and chances are that when it's your turn to be published, you'll be looking around at your fellow author friends and hoping THEY help you promote too.

Krista is a follower of Jesus, a wife, a mother, and author of Sandwich, With a Side of Romance, A Side of Faith and A Side of Hope. AND nnow the author of A (kinda) Country Christmas! She blogs about finding JOY in the journey of LIFE at She is represented by Sarah Freese of Wordserve Literary.


Kara Isaac said...

Love all the tips, Krista! I'm a big fan of under promise and over deliver :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

this is most excellent! Sorry I'm late but I'm gonna share!