Books cost money. Most of them do, unless they’re published on personal blogs, Wattpad, Archive of our Own or something like that. But definitely all of the ones published by traditional publishers. Small presses, indies, and self-publishers — yes, they too would like to receive payment for their weeks, months, years of work in crafting a book. For some that money is what they use to feed their family and business, their passion turned into an entrepreneurial pursuit.
Artists gotta eat, amirite?
So do you. Chances are that you as a reader, a consumer, don’t have the money to buy every single book an author you’re interested in puts out. Buying books is the obvious way to support an author, but there are ways you can help them — us — without spending any money. Jandra Sutton tweeted about how readers can support authors without spending money which I thought was so lovely that I made an infographic. To go along with the infographic, I’ve written out a list of ways you as a reader can help support authors without spending a dime.
-1- Follow them on Amazon
This benefits both authors and readers because Amazon will email followers when there are new releases. If readers do happen to buy the book, then Amazon will put in more effort to get that book seen by other people who may also like to buy it.
-2- Review books on Amazon
Reviews are considered ‘social proof’ that a book has merit and helps other readers decide whether they might be interested in reading a book. How many books have you decided to read because of a rave review? This doesn’t mean that the review has to be a glowing five stars — although authors love those. Seriously, it’s the best feeling when someone says they love your work! But an honest, thoughtful review with helpful criticism is always good. Even an ‘i liked it’ would be tremendously helpful to authors. Reviews anywhere are welcome, Goodreads, blogs, vlogs, whatever. Amazon is just the platform that I’m most familiar with and where a lot of people buy books. If you buy books from Apple or Kobo, or wherever books are sold, leave reviews there.
-3- Follow them on social media
Y’all know how powerful social media can be. Social media helps people speak out and let their voice be heard. It’s also a place to make connections, share knowledge and news. It carries movements. If you’re following an author on social media, then you are a part of a community of other fans, authors, editors, literary agents, cover artists, readers, creators. Just all sort of amazing people! You’re ‘in the know’, as it were, among the first — or second depending if the author has a newsletter — to hear new updates and blog posts and giveaways from your favorite authors. And if you like the authors posts, share them too!
-4- Post about the book online
You know how you have Twitter, and Instagram, and Facebook, and Tumblr and all that good stuff? Make a post about the author or their latest book. Take a pretty picture for Instagram — or Bookstagram as the cool kids say these days. Do they still say that? Do one of those things where you fancy up one of their quotes with a cool font. I’m sure there’s a name for that.
-5- Say hi
Most authors love hearing from fans. You’re not bothering them. Say hi, offer encouragement, talk to them about their books or other author’s book. Authors are also readers — at least they should be! Now, they may not always respond back, but don’t take it personally! They’re probably just tapping away on their keyboard, trying to get that next book out to you.
-6- Tell a friend
Like a irl, flesh and blood friend — not that internet friends don’t count! But there’s nothing like introducing one — or twenty — of your friends to a book you love which leads to much flailing and mutual gushing. Think casual Book Club + Fangirling (or Fanboying…what is the gender neutral term?) in real life, and this is what could happen.
-7- Ask your library
Not only are you supporting them, but you are also making it possible to check out their books for yourself for free. And because your local library purchases the book, the author gets a little money and exposure thrown their way. The library allows other patrons to discover that author and their books, so it’s a win-win-win all the way around.
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Join their newsletter
Terms of service change on these other site all of the time — not like anyone ever read them in the first place though. You know how on Facebook you don’t see all of your friends’ posts? Remember MySpace? Social media sites go away, but unless something catastrophic happens, author newsletters are forever. Author newsletters are arguably the best way to support an author because you allow them directly into your inbox, interacting with you and delivering content that may not ever appear anywhere else. Author newsletters are also the first place most of them go when announcing a need for beta readers, ARC giveaways, sales, swag, and other exclusive content. Another win-win!
Which authors do you follow? Who are you supporting? Share it down below in the comments! Let’s give the authors some love.