As a new author with a small press, I am dependent on the goodwill of my friends, family and fans to generate publicity for my novel. This is both an earnest plea to them and a document for other authors to use for their own pathetic begging. All of these options take minimums of time and courage and practically no money.
Attention for books on outline sales and review outlets follows the behavior of a positive feedback loop. Titles with reviews and rating get more attention as they are pushed higher in the rankings. You shouldn’t feel guilty in asking loved ones to “prime the pump” by posting the first reviews on these systems. Honest reviews and ratings only; no-one takes seriously an unknown self-published book with forty-two five-star reviews. Some of the places you can ask your F/F/Fs to post reviews would be Amazon, B&N online, Goodreads, or Library Thing. Also, anyone who has blogs dedicated to book reviews or even access to print outlets should be encouraged to post their opinion once they’ve read your book.
There is no usually obligation to buy if you make a request at your local bookstore to see if they could carry an author’s new book. There is absolutely no obligation to make the same request at the local library. Even if the shop can’t stock the book, you’ve put the name and title before the eyes of someone who spends much of their time thinking about books.
This is the easiest way to help a struggling author. If you like their book, tell other people. However, if you do NOT like the book, buy several hundred copies and burn them in public. That’ll teach ’em.