Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

Authors Can Reach a Larger Reader Base By Using Free Little Libraries, Free Copies, and Word of Mouth

5 min read

One of the toughest feats an author faces is the ability to reach more readers without paying a ton of money

Both seasoned and new authors are always racking their brains in regards to reaching more readers.

This is because every reader belongs to a different market.

Some readers strictly visit the library, enjoying the no-strings-attached concept of reading. Some readers only read Ebooks on a Kindle or phone for convenience while traveling. While other readers stick to paperbacks because they love the feel of a book in their hand.

Because this creates such a broad audience to reach, authors need to find creative ways to keep getting the word out there.

The first way is through Free Little Libraries.

A concept that is growing steadily where people drop off books in these designated library boxes.

People place them in their front yards in towns or city streets. They are also located in parks and in the middle of town squares. And they seem to be very popular to repurpose for community food supplies in hard times.

Many boxes are large enough to be divided into sections such as children's, adults', and magazines.

Authors can take advantage of these by placing paperback or hardback copies of their books inside. Then the next step is to spread the word. Perhaps posting to social media, ‘I’ve placed three signed copies of my latest book inside the Little Free Library on (insert place) main street!’ accompanied with a photo of your books inside the box.

It doesn’t hurt to add a simple, ‘tell your friends!’ at the end.

If authors can find a way to provide free copies to readers, you can reach a much larger audience (obviously done in moderation, because we still want to get paid).

There are a few ways that you can do this:

  • Free Promotion: Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program allows members 5 free promotion days every 90-day period. Other services create book coupons for authors to give readers. Or you can drop the price of your book for free for a limited time across platforms. Be sure to let people know ahead of time.

  • Connecting: Many authors forget that you can simply ask readers for help. Authors have been known to ask previous reviewers of the book to share a post about an upcoming sale for the book or to spread the word about how great the book is. It also doesn’t hurt to provide them some sort of exchange for their hard work (sneak peeks, discounts, and such.)

  • Exchange: Authors have also been seen asking readers if they would be willing to provide an honest review of their book in exchange for a free paperback or ebook copy. You would be surprised at how many people will offer. If they say yes, be sure to provide them with links to all the places you would like them to post their review.

Building awareness about your book and brand through the old-fashioned method of word-of-mouth is often thought of last.

This is because it depends on previous readers of the book, family, or friends to tell other people in hopes they too buy and read your book.

Now, as unstable as this method is, with the right network, it can prove very successful. Here are ways to ensure that it can be done with a higher rate of success.

  • Plan ahead: Make a list of people you plan to ask to join the word-of-mouth campaign. Decide what kind of benefit you can offer them for their hard work such as free merchandise, a free ebook, or a signed copy. Be clear on giving them examples of how they can reach people. (Social media, book groups, friends, and more.)

  • Follow up: A few weeks after your plan goes into place, be sure to reach out and thank them for all of their hard work. They may even be able to tell you if they had any success.

  • Spotlight: As you see the people on your word-of-mouth campaign spreading the word, be sure to give them a shoutout on social media. Share their post and let people know how helpful those people are. (Because they definitely are!)

Authors can reach a larger reader base by using Free Little Libraries, free copies, and word of mouth.

Using these unexpected methods can yield great results if done well, with planning and process.

Be sure to thank the people helping you along the way because they could turn into repeat customers or even become part of your street team.