Before I began hanging out with writers, it never occurred to me that the authors of my favorite books were real people with mortgages, laundry, soccer practices, and—in many cases—day jobs. Obviously, I knew these things, but I didn’t think that there was anything I—a reader—could do to support or encourage them in any meaningful way.
But now I know better, so I give you…
7 things you can do to support your favorite authors.
1. Buy their books. Yes, this really does matter. There’s only a small percentage of the writing population that has anything that resembles job security. Most writers are only guaranteed to be published through their current contract. If book sales don’t meet expectations, the publisher may choose to pass on their next idea.
2. Write them a note. I’m not kidding. Again, there’s only a handful of writers out there who are so “big” that they don’t have time for fan mail. Most of the writers I know (including yours truly) have files where they keep every encouraging card or note.
3. Write a review of their book. Seriously. I had no idea how much this matters. You don’t have to be a writer to write a review. Take five minutes, log onto Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook.com, Goodreads or wherever you purchased your book, and say something nice. Did it keep you reading until 2AM? Say so. Did you order takeout because you couldn’t put it down? Tell them! Did it change the way you think about a topic or open your eyes to an issue you were unfamiliar with? Let them know.
(Even authors who say they “never read reviews” still need reviews. Statistics show that books that have a higher number of reviews sell better than those that don’t.)
4. Go to their book signings. I know you think this means standing in line for hours, but that’s not the case for most authors. If a favorite author is signing books anywhere near you, take the time to meet them and say “thank-you” or “I love your books” in person.
5. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Publishers expect authors to maintain a social media presence. And yes, they check to see how many fans and followers an author has. Many of my favorite authors post daily. Some are very good about sharing when a bookseller is featuring one of their titles at a discount. Most will let you know if the Kindle or Nook version is free or discounted as well. What’s fun is when they are working on a manuscript and ask a question that relates to the plot—I love those little glimpses into their work-in-progress!
6. Subscribe to their blogs and newsletters. Again, publishers want to know how many subscribers an author has. When you subscribe, blog posts will be delivered to your inbox and you can read them when you have time. It’s very easy to subscribe, and it does matter!
7. Pray for them. Authors have all the real-world issues that plague the rest of the population—they pay taxes, struggle in their marriages, pray over rebellious teenagers, care for aging parents, and cuddle sick babies. They fight insecurity and exhaustion. They wonder if what they are doing matters in light of eternity.
I don’t know a single author who wouldn’t be thankful for prayers for strength, creativity, and the courage to write the stories God has given them.
So what about you? As a reader, have you ever done any of these things? For my writer friends, do you agree with my list? Have some things you would add? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
On her blog, Out of the Boat, Lynn writes about faith and family. She is the mother of three amazing children and one fabulous man. You can visit Lynn’s blog at : http://lynnhugginsblackburn.blogspot.com/
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012