Word-of-mouth is a powerful force, and there’s nothing wrong with encouraging your fans to tell their friends about your book. The key word here is fans. It’s clear that a person is a fan of your book if she writes a favorable review on her blog, if he sends you an email telling you he enjoyed it, if she signs up for your newsletter, etc. In those situations, ask away!
What I don’t recommend is asking people who are not fans to act like they are. I once received an email from an author, whom I hadn’t met, asking me to forward a one-page description of his novel, which I hadn’t read, to my network of contacts. The “description” he included was essentially a glowing review of his book. It was also written in the first person, so if I forwarded it to anyone, it would appear that I’d written it.
What would you have done in that situation? I thanked the author for getting in touch and told him I couldn’t promote a book I hadn’t read. I felt bad for him because he had clearly put a lot of effort into his outreach. His email to me was personalized, which got me to read it – good! If he’d only added in the additional step of offering to send me a copy so I could read it before possibly recommending it, who knows what might have happened. I’m always looking for a good read.
If right now you’re thinking, “I don’t know if I have any fans to ask for help,” you can start by including a note in your email signature along the lines of, Did you enjoy my book? Please tell your friends! If it results in a recommendation, it will be an honest one.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. 2017 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.