You may never have thought about it, but there are things you can do to help that author succeed. And most are at low or no cost to you.
In general, authors are shy, retiring people. They don’t want to give you a sales pitch for their book, but they are extremely grateful for any support you provide.
So I’ve compiled a quick list of way to help a favorite author out that anyone can do, whether they have cash on hand or not.
Most books are relatively inexpensive compared to other pleasures in life, so I’ll start with …
THE THING THAT COSTS MONEY
Buy a copy of the book. This might seem really obvious. But it is, by far, the most useful thing you can do for your author friend. March yourself into a bookstore or go online and by the book. Publishers judge an author’s success and future potential by sales, so your copy, and the few moments you spent purchasing it, makes a difference.
As a newly published author, I’ve been surprised by how many people have asked me, “Where can I get a copy?” Most books are available online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or powells.com. And, almost any bookstore will be able to order a traditionally published book if it isn’t already on their shelves. Some will even have it shipped directly to you.
Don’t think that your author friend’s book fits your interests or demographic? Think creatively.
- Would it interest a family member?
- Could it be a donation to your local public library or a school or church library? (Then, you’d get a tax-deduction, too.)
- Could you give it to a day care, a Toys for Tots Drive or a Boys’ and Girls’ Club?
- Might you save it for a future holiday, birthday or baby shower gift?
Don’t be one of those people who, every time they see the author in question, says, “Oh, I’ve been meaning to buy a copy of your book. I’ll have to do that sometime.” There’s no good way for the author to respond, except to smile awkwardly and say, “That would be great …”
Instead, be the person who can honestly say, “I bought a copy of your book. It was awesome!” (And, if you can be a person like my cousin, Kris Schmidt — who emailed me to say she’d bought TWELVE COPIES for current children in her life and future babies to be born — you just might get a hug.)
And if you want to know more about the importance of buying the book of an author you like, see this illuminating post on the From the Write Angle blog.
But, I know, sometimes cash is scarce. If that’s the case, you still can support your author friend by doing…
THINGS THAT DON’T COST MONEY
Ask your local public library to order the book. Most libraries have purchase request forms you can fill out online — or paper versions you can fill out in the library. They’ll usually ask for:
- The title (Like, for example, SOPHIE’S SQUASH).
- The author (Pat Zietlow Miller).
- The publisher and publish date (Schwartz & Wade / August 2013)
- The ISBN (978-0-307-97896-7).
Check it out or request it from your public library. If enough people want to check out the book, the library may order extra copies.
Post a review. You can share your thoughts on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or goodreads. If you say positive things, that’s a bonus.
Post something on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn about the book. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Something like this is fine. “My friend _ADD NAME HERE_ wrote a book called _ADD TITLE HERE_. It’s awesome. You can check it out at: _ADD LINK TO AUTHOR’S WEBSITE OR BOOKSELLER HERE_.”
Of course, if you want to wax poetic about the author’s or the book’s many virtues, that’s wonderful, too. Lauri Chandler, a librarian from Indiana, posted this photo of herself celebrating the release of SOPHIE’S SQUASH. And while we’ve never met in person, she’s definitely on my list of people to hug someday.
Attend the book launch party or book-signing event. Authors always secretly fear that no one will show up and they’ll be left sitting all alone feeling unloved. So stop by and say “hi.” Even if you don’t buy a copy, the author will be thrilled to see you.
What other things have you done to support authors?
Share them in the comments below.
Now, you’ll have to excuse me. I’m off to buy books by some fellow EMU’s Debut authors.