Ways to Help an Author

There are many ways you can help an author you like, whether it’s one you know personally or just one who writes wonderful books. I’ve tried to sort my suggestions into categories, so you can find one that fits your situation. You don’t have to do all of them, of course. Just pick one or more that sound like fun.

You like the genre and have a little money to spend.

Buy the e-book! (It’s pretty common for an author to get as much or more royalties on a cheaper e-book than a more expensive print book.) Pre-order the next book. Buy a copy shortly after it’s published (early sales do more for ranking). Buy a copy from the author’s website directly or from their web link (direct sales give more royalties). If you like the book, choose something from the “enjoyment” category to do.

You like the genre and have more money to spend.

Buy the book! (If you love the feel of paper books, go for it. If you don’t care, the e-book is likely to pay the author just as well or better.) Buy copies to give to friends or family. Abandon a paperback in a public place with a note saying it needs a new home. Buy a signed copy. Buy a copy from the author’s website directly or from their web link, or in person (direct sales give more royalties). Ask a local bookseller (in person, even if you know the answer) if they carry the book and where it is, then buy it if they have it. If the author has bookmarks or swag for sale, buy something you like and use it in public. If you like the book, choose something from the “enjoyment” category to do.

You don’t have any money in your book budget, but you want to read the book.

Ask a librarian if they carry the book. Request it at the library, and then check it out when it arrives. See if the book is available as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), request it, AND review it. Watch for a free (or maybe 99c) sale on the e-book. If you like the book, choose something from the “enjoyment” category to do.

You want to share your enjoyment of the book.

Review the book! Positive (honest) reviews are one of the best ways to help an author, on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, your own blog/website, or your preferred book review site. Take a selfie with the book and post it on social media. Share an excerpt in person or on social media. Turn the book face out at the bookstore. Discuss the book in public or on social media. Blog about it. Create a Wikipedia page for the author/book. Post a video review. Recommend the book to friends or a book club. Share bookmarks or other swag. Link to the author’s website/blog/sales page or bookmark it on a bookmark site. Like the book page where you bought the book. Like the author’s social media or website.

You want to help/encourage the author personally.

Tell the author you like the book! Comment on the author’s blog or social media. Send the author a review quote. Nominate the book for an award. Interview the author on your blog. Host the author for an event. Contact the author with speaking opportunities. Send the author some fan art.

You don’t read the genre, but know the author and still want to help.

Choose something from the “enjoyment” category that doesn’t require having read the book. Give the author a hug. Pray for the author. Recommend the book to a friend who DOES like the genre. (This is not a situation where buying the book helps, at least not in the first several months. Thanks to “Also Bought” recommendations, early book-buyers should be from the marketing categories that normally buy similar books.)

I hope you found something here that will suit you. 🙂 Remember, writing can be a discouraging job. If you like an author, a bit of extra encouragement might keep the books coming. 😉

Happy reading,

M.C. Lee

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