I’ve been a reader all my life, and I’m a firm believer that as a writer, it’s crucial to keep reading. I’m also a firm believer in the power of word of mouth — no one can read a book they haven’t heard about.
As writers, we’re in a unique position to both spread the word about books we love and to benefit from the subsequent engagement this gives us with readers. Recommending books I’ve loved has brought me new readers and has allowed me to engage in the enthusiastic online book community.
Why I recommend books
I recommend books for lots of reasons:
- I enjoy it! First and foremost, I love books. I am always reading something, usually multiple books at once. And when I read something I love, I love to tell others about it.
- I know how much it can mean to other authors. Since I’ve become a published author, recommending books has taken on a greater importance in my life. This is because I’ve learned how helpful and awesome it is to have a reader or a fellow writer recommend my own books.
- It builds goodwill with readers. I think that sharing authentic enthusiasm for other people’s books is a great way to engage with readers online. Readers can also come to rely on your recommendations, so it’s something to take seriously. If I don’t like a book, I don’t talk about it online. If I am talking about a book, it’s because I truly love it and hope others will as well.
- It builds goodwill in the author community. As well as staying top-of-mind with your readers, book recommendations also help foster great relationships with other authors.
My favorite ways to recommend books
I make recommendations across several platforms: BookBub, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and more. Readers are in lots of places, and the more places that you shout out about a book, the more readers you will reach.
Make recommendations on BookBub
I make recommendations on BookBub because it has become much more than a platform where you can find deals for books. Over the past few years, BookBub has made a concerted effort to be one of the key places that readers go for book recommendations. The more books you recommend, the more visibility you get with other users. This can increase your follower count, which in turn helps increase visibility of your own books, including when you have a new release or a Featured Deal (BookBub emails all of your US-based followers when you launch a new book, run a Featured Deal, or run a Featured New Release!).
There are two main ways that I choose the books I recommend on BookBub: first, I post a review if I’ve read and loved a book. Second, BookBub sends emails asking for thematic recommendations, such as your favorite beach read, so I try to participate in those as well. I do also try to skew my recommendations to my own genre.
Any time a reader recommends one of my books, I think that is a win. But I’ve also been lucky enough to have two high profile authors (Mary Kubica and Christina Baker Kline) recommend my books. Author recommendations can get featured in their followers’ weekly recommendation roundup newsletters, so my books got great visibility from their large follower counts.
Editor’s note: Learn how you can boost your exposure to BookBub readers using recommendations here.
Boost news about other authors’ books on Twitter
On Twitter, I like to retweet the posts of authors I follow when they share news about new releases or book deals. It’s a great way to amplify others’ work and to take a break from self-promotion.
Share new releases on Instagram
On Instagram, my approach is similar to Twitter. When I have a friend with a new book out, I try to extend their reach and provide some content to those who follow me.
Ask readers questions about a book I loved on Facebook
Facebook can be a good way to engage with readers about books I’ve read and loved. When I recommend a book on Facebook, I often ask my fans to let me know if they’ve read it too, and what they thought.
Almost ten years ago, I started a book recommendation group on Facebook to shout out books that I loved. I did it just to pass on the goodwill and good luck I’d had in my publishing career. A side bonus that I didn’t anticipate is that it created a lot of goodwill among readers and other writers which has ended up benefitting my own career. The lesson? Recommend books you love because you love them, but know that if you come from a true place, it can benefit your career as well. I plan to continue recommending books on different platforms. And I plan to keep on reading. Hope you join me!
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Click to tweet: Great tip! Recommend books you love to build goodwill with readers and writers. #WritingCommunity https://bit.ly/2Y5XV8g
Click to tweet: Yep, talking up other authors’ books is a great way to connect with readers! #authorlife https://bit.ly/2Y5XV8g