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How to help your favorite authors when they have new books coming out

first time we saw himMy new book officially releases today! It’s called “The First Time We Saw Him” and it’s stories about Jesus retold in the 21st century, as if he had come to Portland, Oregon instead of Jerusalem.

Whenever I have a new book come out, friends and fans ask me how they can best help get the word out. Most authors hate asking for help (not all of them… but a lot of us), so I thought I’d put this post up for all my author friends, too.

Here we go… the best ways to help an author when they have a new book releasing!


You don’t have to look far to find a book that publishers will say, “That book succeeded because of word of mouth.” It’s like magical fairy dust that every author wants sprinkled liberally on all their books.

Word of mouth means putting a post on Facebook, or tweeting about the book. Or getting your book club to all buy books. Or taking a picture of yourself reading the book by the pool and putting it on Instagram.

I’ll tell you a secret. If you want authors to cry tears of joy, make it a goal to personally sell a certain number of books. Say to yourself “I’m going to keep telling my friends about this until I know my friends have bought ten copies.” I’m getting choked up just thinking about it.

Authors believe in their books, but it’s awkward to constantly tell everyone to buy them. We LOVE it when other people believe in our books, too. So tell your friends and family and enemies and neighbors about the book any way you know how. Word of mouth is the best.

book launch word of mouth
YAY! Word of mouth is the best! That bear is a hero!

2. Post a review.

What’s that? That sounds just like word of mouth? Well, yeah. I guess it is.

Posting a review to your favorite bookseller or on Goodreads can be a huge help. We want you to be honest, of course! However: if your goal is to help the author, negative reviews aren’t “helpful” in the traditional sense. Have something negative to say? Drop your author friend a kind email.  Every book gets its share of negative reviews, but they don’t (usually) help authors sell books.

So: honesty is good. Especially if you liked it.

book help review
“This book was good enough to warrant a two word review!”

3. Give the book as a gift.

Sometimes you tell your friends “READ THIS BOOK” and they’re thinking, yeah yeah I’ll get to it give me a break.

Sometimes it’s best to buy the book for them and say, “Read this right now so we can discuss it.” It’s a time-honored tradition .

Think about the book and who among your friends would most benefit from it, and then buy a few copies to give away. Everyone loves the gift of books.

No, seriously. Everyone. No exceptions.

book launch gift giving
“Now I have to board my sleigh and take this book to all the good boys and girls in the whole wide world.”

4. Use your influence for good.

Are you the host of a podcast, radio or television show? Have the author on for an episode!

Get them invited to speak at a conference or church or book club.

Most libraries will take requests from their patrons… request that the library buy the book or bring the author in!

If you have influential friends, send them the book.

And so on. You have a lot of influence, believe it or not, so take a few minutes to think how you can best help, and then do it!

He's talking to the President of his book club.
“Maybe I’m not making it clear to you how important this is.”

  5. Give the author some love.

Authors are people, too. Possibly more neurotic than other people. We like to hear nice things about our work. So send us a note. Say something nice to us. Tell us you’re looking forward to the next one. It may not sell books, but it could keep us writing!

"I get five minutes into a chapter and then BOOM I wake up in the morning."
“I get five minutes into a chapter and then BOOM I wake up in the morning.”


We authors know there is a lot of competition for your reading time. Which is why we encourage you to EAT ANY BOOK WRITTEN BY A COMPETITOR! DESTROY THEM ALLLLLLLLL!

Just kidding. The great thing about books is that “competitors” often generate sales for your own books, because people finish a great book and say “I want another like that.”

I hope you’ll enjoy The First Time I Saw Him and thank you so much for your support! I look forward to your thoughts about the book.

Just be sure to buy the books before eating them.
Just be sure to buy the books before eating them.

By Matt Mikalatos

Matt Mikalatos is a writer not a fighter.