As you may know from my posts over the past couple months, I’ve been working hard to create publicity lists for my upcoming release of The Trials of Hercules. This is a daunting process of finding contact information for hundreds of reviewers, libraries, PR sites, book clubs and the like; and even more daunting to think I’m going to have to contact all these people and places over the next few months.

This got me thinking of the ever-present need for writers (self-published or traditionally published) to get their name out to the world. And the idea that’s it’s tough to do it all on your own and how it would be great to have help from someone other than a profit-eating publicist (don’t get me wrong, they do great work, just not work that fits into most writers’ budgets).

Now, of course, the most wonderful way you can help writers is to buy one of their books. Unfortunately, you, like me, may not have money to plunk down to further someone’s career. However, there are many ways you can help out the writer in your life without spending a dime and without investing too much time.

7 Free & Easy Ways You Can Help a Writer

1. Share, ReTweet or ReBlog the writer’s book information. Time investment: about one second. Writers amass social media followers and friends like a pet hoarder collects cats, but our reach only goes so far. Every time you share, retweet, or reblog a post relating to our books you help spread the message even further and we truly appreciate it.

2. Ask your local library to carry the writer’s books. Time investment: about five minutes if you’re already at the library. Most libraries are more than willing to add books to their collection to satisfy patron requests. Yes, I can let the library know my book exists, but you specifically asking for the book will (in most cases) prompt them to buy a copy or two. If your writer has their book available in e-book format as well, be sure to mention this since libraries are eager to build their electronic collections as well as their physical ones.

3. Ask your local book store if they have the writer’s books in stock. Time investment: about five minutes if you’re already in the shop. It’s not an easy task to get book stores to devote shelf space to lesser known authors. By mentioning the author’s name and his or her book, you may be able to convince the book store owner that the books from the writer in your life may be worth a few inches of retail space. You don’t have to buy the book, just mention it to spark the owner’s curiosity.

4. Fill in an online title request for your local library. Time investment: about five minutes to look up the form and about five minutes to fill it in. Many libraries now have an online form for patrons to suggest a title. You’ll need a library card number, but other than that, simply find the form on your library’s website (it’s usually in the Contact Us section), fill it in, and click send.

5. Post the writer’s business cards or book promotion sheets on notice boards. Time investment: about one minute per board. Notice boards in colleges, community centers or grocery stores are a perfect place for free advertising. If you know of a notice board near you, ask your writer for a few business cards or the promo sheet for their books and put them up next time you pass by the board.

6. Mention the writer’s work if you’re at a place you think could carry the writer’s books. Time investment: about five to ten minutes. Remember, bookstores aren’t the only places that carry books. If your favorite writer writes garden books and you stop by a local garden center, mention the writer’s books might be a good fit. A historical novel set in your area or book on local history would work well in the gift shop of a local historical society’s museum. Whenever you see a non-bookstore shop that carries books, consider whether your writer’s books would fit in. If so, leave the name and email of the author with the owner, or pass on the manager’s contact info to the writer.

7. Mention you know a writer whenever a writing-related quandary comes up. Time investment: about five minutes. Most writers are glad to take on freelance writing or editing work. If you know someone who needs document or book editing, help with website content, a resume revamped, a newsletter written, or any of the thousands of other writing/editing needs out there, mention you know a writer that might be able to help. Give the person the writer’s contact info and you’re done.

Thanks for reading everyone. Now go spread the word about the writer in your life!