1. Buy and read the book – when you buy a book you ensure that author’s effort is rewarded and you help to make sure that the publisher publishes their next book. One guy read Diana Evans’ 26a and liked it so much because it helped him to understand what happened to his daughter and as a result he bought 100 copies and gave them out to schools near him. Till today, we know that if no one buys our books, at least 100 copies of every book we publish will be sold to this guy. You don’t have to commit to that amount, but you can decide that you want to continue to support our effort by committing to buying a certain number of any books published by us.
2. Spread the word – hearing somebody you trust speak about a book with passion and excitement is one of the most powerful ways to get people to buy a book. I know this because most of the novels I buy come through word of mouth. Not as a result of awards or reviews - as important as they are, but through others recommending them. You cannot imagine the number of bestsellers that rely on mouth-to-mouth. If you like a book, talk about it, Facebook it, tweet it or blog it. You can even have a picture file on Facebook with the covers and information about your the books you like or want to recommend and add the link of the author/publisher’s website.
3. Buy the book as a gift for others. When I was growing up, books featured more prominently as Christmas pressies than anything else. For the summer holidays, I was lucky enough that my mom would buy me at least ten books to read. I love giving books as presents and I love receiving them. If I like a book sufficiently enough, I’ll buy maybe three or four as presents. Bibi on the other hand used to go crazy and buy up to fifty copies of one book and send them off one by one. I remember thinking she was obsessed with Maria Rainer Rilke’s Duino Elegies and sending copies to friends all over the world. But online purchasing has changed all that. You can order books from Cassava Republic and surprise a friend with the package.
4. Blog about the book. On this blog, I have just over 200,000 unique visitors every month, yet I don’t promote books as much as I ought to. I’ll start henceforth. If you have a blog, blog about books and authors you like. You can leave comments on your favourite blog about your favourite author or a good book you have just read. Spread the word because it is powerful!
5. Get your local bookshop to stock the book. Sometimes bookshops only order books that they have heard about. You should wax lyrics about why they should order the books you like.
6. Request your school or college library to purchase copies. If you like any of our books or any books by an African writer recommend them to your school or your children’s school. You’d be amazed how many libraries in private schools in Nigeria do not have books by many contemporary African authors. We have found that many don’t even know and they are pleased to buy the books once we recommend it to them.
7. Recommend a book to your book club. We give discounts to book clubs for our books. I would like to be in a book club. However, as far as I know, all the book clubs in Abuja are women only. I think Bibi’s club are reading Al Aswany’s Chicago. This is a wonderful way to share what you like.
8. Tweet about the book you are reading. If you like a book, tweet it. Even go as far as quoting a line or two from the book. Remember to give the correct author’s name and title.
9. Buy books for your old school. Old school networks are so strong and powerful in Nigeria. Make use of them to purchase books for the benefit of the current crop of students. Also, use the network to invite authors to your alma mater.
10. Attend a book reading. There are lots of opportunities to hear writers talk about their work. Support them by attending their book events. Get your friends, colleagues and families to a reading and show an author your support.
Courtesy Jeremy Weate's Facebook Post. Check out how you can support Jeremy's publishing company Cassava Republic Press here.