If your friend or relative is an author, you might wonder how you can support them. Perhaps you think that there isn’t much you can do apart from buying the book. The good news is that there are a few different ways you can help them after the book is published. If you’re reading this as an author who’s had offers of help but doesn’t know what to ask for, send your friends to this blog. There are some useful tips for you here too.

Buy their book

I know that this one’s a bit obvious, but if you think you’ll enjoy the book, buy it! It’ll encourage your friend to carry on writing and can help them to get picked up by a traditional publisher if that’s what they want. They’ll be posting on social media to let you know how to get your copy, so it’s good to buy the book when you see one of these posts. That way, you’re less likely to forget.

If you’re the author and you’re marketing your book, post on social media more than you’re comfortable with. People don’t always see your posts. I thought I’d done far too many posts about my book, ‘Unflip’, but there are still people who haven’t heard about it when I talk to them in person.

Share and engage with their posts

Marketing a book is hard work and your friend will be putting in a lot of effort to talk about it on social media. If you can like, comment and share posts about the book it’ll make your friend happy, and it helps their marketing to go further. Even if the book isn’t for you, you can still share it with your friends. You never know who might be interested. You can also tag people in the comments on marketing posts if you know it’s their kind of thing.

My book is about my experience with chronic illness. You might know someone with the same experience or condition, but a lot of people don’t talk about it and may even hide their condition. You never know who you might be helping.

Leave a review

Leaving a review helps a book to be seen by more people. You can review it on Amazon if you bought the book there or you could email the author with a review to use in their marketing if you bought it from their website.

I believe that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. A negative review often just means it wasn’t right for that reader. I’ve seen awful reviews complaining about things that are considered plus points in the genre, for example, lots of detail about the setting in science fiction or fantasy.

A tip if you’re an author; don’t forget to ask for reviews and let people know where they can leave them. Post links if you can and make it clear.

One final thing

Writing a book is tough and sending it out into the world can be scary. If your friend is an author, emotional support and encouragement are always appreciated. Random acts of kindness go a long way. I coordinated a book of short stories called ‘Escape Reality’ during the lockdown. A friend brought me a box of chocolates and a card after it was published. It was so unexpected, but it meant a lot.

Are you an author who wants to find out more about self-publishing? Get in touch or come and find me on social media.