How To Support Your Author Friend

So your friend published a book. Fantastic! Publishing is one of the most vulnerable things a person can do. Here are 10 ways for how to support your author friend.

The idea for this article came to me as I remembered something I did years ago with a friend who published a book. He was excited about this big milestone in his life and so was I. We were at a conference together where he was launching his book. I asked him for “the friend” discount. He looked a bit surprised and gave me a complementary copy.

After publishing seven books myself, I’ve been on the other side of this equation many times.

It’s Not About The Money

I now cringe at asking my friend for a discount. A friend asking for a discount communicates, “I want to read your book, but it’s not worth $18 to me. How about $14?” The sensitive author thinks, “even my friends don’t think enough of me to buy it.” Ouch!

It’s not about the money. Having your name on the cover of a book means: you’ve got your name on the cover of a book.

Authors of published books only receive an average of .90¢ royalty on each $18 book sold. Self-published books do much better per copy but sell far fewer copies. Very few authors make more than a supplemental income from books.

It’s really about the author’s vulnerability. Publishing a book is a vulnerable process that lays bare your soul for the world to examine and critique.

Put yourself in the mind of your author friend. You’ve published a book. It took more than a year to write. It’s a lonely task. You’ve spent far more on producing it than you imagined it would cost. You’re both excited about your message getting out, and at the same time nervous that you’ll be criticized. Or worse, that no one will care.

It’s not just authors, but anyone who creates something. Announcing to the world, “Here it is – here’s my contribution,” is a vulnerable place to stand.

How To Support Your Author Friend

Here are 10 ways you can support your author friend. It’s much easier than you might imagine. Do these simple things:

  1. Encourage them. You may think that your author friend is full of confidence and self-assurance. After all, she wrote a book! With few exceptions, authors need all the encouragement they can get. Tell her how proud you are of her. And how much you appreciate her hard work.
  2. Buy their book. Ask, “I want to buy a copy of your book, is it better for you if I buy it directly from you or from Amazon.com?” This act will mean a lot to your friend.
  3. Read their book. Time is our most precious commodity. The fact that you actually read your friend’s book will be a tremendous encouragement.
  4. Write a review at Amazon.com. Customer reviews online are essential to getting the word out about the book. Authors read every review. Five star reviews matter. The more reviews and the better the ratings, the more the book pops up in search results.
  5. Give copies to others. Think of people you know who would benefit from your friend’s book. Give them a copy with your recommendation. They benefit. Your author friend benefits. And so will you.
  6. Buy copies for your group. If you want to purchase a large number of copies, there’s nothing wrong with asking the author for a discount. The fact that you want to give a copy to your whole group is affirming and the bulk purchase demonstrates your support.
  7. Spread the word. Share the book on your social media, blog, newsletter, etc. “My friend just published a great book on…” with a link to the book on Amazon.com will get the word out.
  8. Invite them to speak about their book. Most authors are happy to speak in person or on webinars on their book. They can achieve greater impact through a workshop than by someone reading their book. Speaking fees are where authors bring in needed income.
  9. Follow them online. Did you know that publishers evaluate the number of social media followers potential authors have before agreeing to publish their book? You can help your friend by clicking “Like” on her social media profiles and subscribing to her blog if she has one. (Here are mine: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog.)
  10. Tell them how you benefitted. Authors aren’t just trying to sell books. That’s a means to an end. They are looking for results, positive changes in the lives of their readers. Write your author friend and let her know what’s changed as a result of applying what you learned in her book.

We can support all our friends who put themselves out there by revealing their creation. I write and speak. Others sew, design, build, paint, connect, develop, code, brew, engineer, and cook. Each person, as they reveal their creation for all to see, make themselves vulnerable.

As friends, we can support them to feel a little less vulnerable, and a bit more successful.

Question: How do you want to be supported when you reveal your creation? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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