Reading Time: 7 minutes

Guest post by Brett Duncan:

Why is it so awkward to ask friends to help you out?

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I don’t have the answer. I just know that it’s never easy. Which makes no sense, because friends should be more than willing to help out. Especially if you just launched a new book. In fact, friends should be your biggest supporters, your strongest evangelists. But they so often are not. {Sigh….}

My guess is that most friends don’t really know how they can help you promote your new work. My guess is they really want to help, really badly, but they don’t know how.

So why don’t you enlighten them? There are so many ways that “the common man” can help promote your book now, it’s silly to think a group of a few friends and an Internet connection couldn’t do you a solid and get the word out.

Here’s what I suggest: email all your friends, make sure they know about your new book and then ask them to help out. Yeah, you might think it’s a little uncomfortable at first, but think from your friends’ perspective. They want to see you succeed, and I bet they’d love to help.

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Then, in that same email, choose a few of the cool ways to share the news below to get your pack of pals off and running. Give them detailed suggestions so they can’t claim ignorance here. Most of these tips are super-simple and no-brainers. Anyone worthy of being called a friend (or even an acquaintance) would be happy to do at least one of these things. I bet most of them will do several.

Easy Ways to Promote Your Book

1. Rate it on Amazon. I know, this one should be obvious. But even the best of friends don’t completely “get” that this is a big deal, and can help you immensely. So briefly explain it to them, and ask for an honest review of your book on Amazon. Let them know that this simple act, more than anything, can vastly help fuel your success as an author, given that it can influence how often your book shows up in searches to closing the deal once someone lands on the page.

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2. Create a Video Review on YouTube. Some of your pals are bound to love the camera. So with an iPhone camera and a YouTube account, anyone can give a quick 5-minute review of your masterpiece. I’ve done this before myself. I find doing video reviews of books is an easier way to really dig into how I feel about the book. Plus, adding anything to YouTube only helps with things like search engine optimization and the potential of going viral. Tell your crazy friends to get creative and have some fun on YouTube (they could even do it together).

Another thought on the YouTube front is that you could do your own review or summary of the book on YouTube and then ask your friends to review, rate and comment on that. I love listening to authors talk about how they really made their book happen, and YouTube is a wonderful outlet for that.

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3. “Like” your Book. You do have a Facebook page, yes? At the very least, you need one as an author. You may even consider giving your book its own page. When you do, it gives everyone a chance to like it. And who doesn’t like to be liked? This is probably the single easiest act any of your friends can do. They owe you a “like” just for calling you friend.

Of course, you can use the Facebook Page for all kinds of other cool stuff, too. Book giveaways, discussions, pictures of you slaving away on your tour, whatever.

4. Use the “Reading List by Amazon” app on LinkedIn. Chances are, your friends are on LinkedIn. Suggest that they add an app that Amazon created that allows for you to share what you’re reading and some comments with your LinkedIn network. It’s a pretty cool, intuitive app, and it’s a great way to get the word out there.

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5. Tweet quotes … lots of ‘em. We’re all different about how we “read” a book and capture the best parts. I like to highlight my favorite takeaways. Others circle with a pen. Others dogear the page.

Whatever the method, encourage your entourage to tweet their favorite quotes out, too. And not just one of them. If you have 10 friends who tweeted 10 separate quotes from your book over a month’s time, that’s a lot of exposure to various networks. And it’s so simple to do. Plus most people on Twitter love sending stuff like this out.

Be sure you remind them to add a link to their quotes, too, so readers can learn more. They could either link to your website, your blog or your Amazon page. It’s a great way for people to take that nugget that is your quote and find out more.

6. Share Quotes from Your Kindle. I just discovered the other day the “share” feature in my Kindle app on my iPad. I LOVE it. It allows me to quickly select some text from a book, push it out to a social network, and then links to the Kindle page of the book. Brilliant. Heres an example of one I sent out recently. Be sure to click through and see the actual Kindle Page with the quote.

Chances are you’ve got quite a few friends using a Kindle in some form or fashion. Let them know about this feature. Prompt them to share their favorite parts as they’re reading it. It’s an awesome way to really fan the flame. Plus, Amazon typically lets people read a segment for free.

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7. Write a Blog Review. I bet you have a few friends who have a blog. Seems like the perfect place for them to give a full review of the book, just for their readers. It’s a great opportunity for your friends to expand on their thoughts about the book, and it’s an awesome way to expose the book to different audiences. Plus, the content and links will help you from an SEO perspective.

8. Suggest Guest Posting. So what about your friends who don’t have a blog? You could suggest guest posting to them. It’s a great way for people who enjoy writing to “get it out there” when they don’t have their own platform. There are tons of sites looking specifically for book reviews on a regular basis, and all it typically takes is 400 words or so.

Of course, many of your friends aren’t going to know what the heck to do, so offer to help them. Ask them to write the post and then you find a site that it would be a good fit for. You probably already know of some great sites perfect for your target audience where guest posts are accepted. You can also check out services like Blogger Link Up or check out this list of 100 Best Blogs for Book Reviews and see what you can find.

Guest posting is an amazing way to increase your audience quickly, as well as bolster your online marketing efforts. Help your friends out by finding places for them to post.

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9. Become an Affiliate. OK, I know you’ve got friends that will be extremely interested in actually making some money helping you out. That’s where all the different affiliate programs out there that share a commission for referrals can become very attractive. The most popular program is clearly with Amazon. There are also many other affiliate programs you can set up on your own (just Google it).

Some people make really, REALLY good money with programs like this. And this might be something that really interests your friends. So make sure they know about it as an option. Every time they share your book in the other examples we mention, they could actually make a little cash. Not a bad deal for helping out a friend.

10. Email their List. This one seems obvious, but it’s probably still going to be the most effective. Encourage your pals to email their pals. Suggest they add a personal note that explains their friend just wrote a book and they’re so proud of you for doing it. Suggest they pick 10 people from their email list that they think the book would resonate with.

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BONUS: I know we’ve been talking mostly online tactics here, but don’t forget going old-school with the promotion on this. Probably the simplest thing anyone could do is just mention it to friends one on one. Or just sit the book on their desk at work and see what conversations pop up. As great and efficient as all the online tools are, simple word-of-mouth is still probably the best way to truly get the word out.

So that’s it. Think you can do it? It’s tempting to think asking your friends to do some of this is spammy, but THEY ARE YOUR FRIENDS. As long as you position it with sincerity and authenticity, they should be glad to help in some form or fashion.

Plus, most of them probably don’t know about all the easy ways they can help you promote your book. In the list above, there are at least four of ‘em that EVERYONE should do, and it would take less than five minutes.

So, what are you waiting for? Craft that email, ask for a little help from your friends and see what happens.

Brett Duncan is Vice President of Global Marketing for Mannatech. He also blogs regularly at MarketingInProgress.com, where he offers a free marketing ebook containing 33 fresh ideas on how to make your business rock. You can follow him on Twitter, too: @bdunc1.

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