How to Support Your Friend When Their Book Debuts

tumblr_inline_mlob624iaa1qz4rgpCongratulations, you’re friends with a writer! How brave of you. You’ve befriended someone who spends a LOT of time talking to/thinking about/complaining about people who exist only in her* mind.

Your second question** is how can I best support my friend in her writing career? Wow. You are amazing. Want to be friends? Best friends? Here, I made you a bracelet.

Listed below are some of the many ways you can support your friend when her book launches.


Buying is buying right? Nope. How you buy your friend’s book matters.

Pre-sales help your friend, because they show the publisher that people are interested in the book. For more on that topic please read Josh’s blog entry: Why Pre-Sales Matter. Josh works at Porter Square Books and has a book coming out soon. So he knows what he’s talking about.

Buy the book at your friend’s reading. This shows the bookstore that inviting your friend was a worthwhile investment and keeps your money local, which makes you a hero.

Buy more than one copy of the book. Give it to a friend who likes to talk about books. Start a word of mouth campaign!


Give your friend’s book 5 star ratings on Goodreads and Amazon.

Review the book on Goodreads, Amazon, or your blog. You’ll be adding your voice to the supporters and detracting from the haters (who are, as ever, gonna hate.)

Social Media your love. Blog, Tweet, FaceBook, Pinterest, Instagram the novel and how much you love it.


Many libraries have online forms you can fill out to request they purchase a copy of the book. If not, ask your librarian to order a copy.

Check the book out of your library. If it’s seen to be in high demand, they might order more than one copy!


If you know authors/publicists or other people in the writing field who are good matches for your author friend, volunteer to make introductions.

Know someone at a review site or book site who might like to interview your friend and/or review her book? Introduce away!


Listen to your friend practice her reading. Offer helpful advice and/or booze.

Help your friend by setting up or breaking down after an event. Bring food or water or booze.

Take pictures at the event she can later use in publicity efforts.

Emotional Support

The book debut period is wonderful/scary/fraught. Maybe your friend had a reading at which only two people showed up. Or her book just got savaged in a review. Maybe she won a prize! Whatever the situation, be prepared to commiserate/celebrate.

Even if you do just one of the above listed things, you’re a great friend. You deserve a brownie! So go bake some and let me know when they’re done. I’m hungry. And then I want to tell you all about my new book idea. Hey, new friend! Bestie? Where are you going?


* I know more women writers. And I refuse to use the pronoun “their” when I’m referring to a single person. But feel free to mentally use the word “his.”

**Your first question: Should I be worried about my friend spending so much time with imaginary characters? Nah.


  1. I agree, it’s so important to support your friends when their books come out. A friend of mine in NZ self-published her first novel in October. Once it was out, I interviewed her for my blog to help get the word out, and I mentioned it to another blogging friend who ended up reviewing the novel on his site. It feels good to be part of a word-of-mouth campaign – not only because I know my author-friend appreciates it, but because I truly, honestly want to help and I hope with all my heart that it does. 🙂

  2. A big yes to buying the book at a bookstore. This will help the friend’s BookScan numbers when she tries to sell her next book to publishers. As well as the reviews! I don’t think a friend should give a book five stars just because of the friendship, nor do I think the friend should expect that, but if you really love the book, go for it. It really means a lot to other book buyers.

    Great list, Stephanie!

  3. Nice post, Stephanie. Funny, I was just chatting with an author friend who pointed out that people often promise to post reviews to Amazon / Goodreads etc., then don’t! While it can be really hard for the non-author world to understand how vitally important those reviews are, I think your point about “Reviewing” cannot be emphasized enough! Amazon Reviews, for example, get pulled into algorithms that’ll determine whether Amazon gives certain books an additional visibility boost. The more there are, the higher the chances are that that will happen. And posting reviews is such a generous, yet cost-free, gift!!

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