7 Ways to Support a Writer (That Won’t Cost You a Cent)
Whether you’re a fan, friend, or family member, the obvious way to support the writer in your life is to buy their book(s), if they’ve written any. Think of it as an investment in your relationship with them and in their future. When you buy a book, you are literally helping that writer pay their bills and buy food.
A writer spends months – even years – writing, editing, formatting, re-editing ... All of that to create one tiny book that will most likely get lost in the sea of other books written by other authors. It’s a gamble a writer takes; time invested vs. potential income. It often takes a few rolls of the dice – several books – before an author’s name starts to get noticed. Even if a writer is producing articles, short stories, or other written material, those are often overlooked, the pay is usually low, and the reward is, well ... It’s like beauty; it’s in the eye of the beholder.
In a career that most people would deem as thankless, a writer will find the payoff they need to continue.
Although the average person may not understand that kind of “risk”, there are simply some things that cannot be explained. Please, take it on faith that the writer in your life needs to write and that someone in the world needs to read what they wrote.
How to Help
But, what if you just don’t have the funds or you want to do more for the writer in your life? Luckily, there are several cost-free things you can do to support your writer and it will still mean a lot to them (and their success).
1. Read Their Work
First and foremost: Read their work! Whether it’s online articles or full-length novels, reading what they’ve written means the world to a writer. It means you care.
Reading someone's work can also provide meaningful (or at least new and interesting) conversation topics. It gives you some good insight to their skills, experiences, and knowledge.
2. Offer to Help
If you’re able to be (gently) honest and can go through the writer’s work with an objective and (gently) critical eye, you could offer to edit. If you don’t feel confident about your ability to catch mistakes with words like your/you're/yore and their/there/they’re, weak phrasing, and proper comma placement, you might be more comfortable being a beta-reader.
A beta-reader looks for issues in continuity, plot, character development, and facts. SmallBlueDog.com has a great article on being a good beta reader.
3. Ask Others to Buy Copies of the Author’s Work
Along with buying your own copy of the author's book(s), you can encourage friends, family, and colleagues to purchase copies. You can also ask your local library to order a copy of the author’s book(s). If their book is suited to other locations, ask the appropriate local businesses, schools, and organizations to buy copies, as well.
4. Follow, Like & Subscribe
Whether it’s on social media, their blog, or their author page(s); “Follow” them, “Like” them, and/or subscribe to their site(s). This will keep you up-to-date on what they’re doing, plus it will boost their numbers and gain them more attention.
Writing is a lonely business and sometimes a writer feels like they’re shouting into a void. Lack of conversation, feedback, or interest from the outside world will seriously erode a person’s confidence. You can help the writer in your life feel connected and heard by “liking”, sharing, and commenting on their blogs, tweets, and social media posts.
(PS - I *love* to hear from fans!! It feels awesome to know that my hard work is appreciated)
Have you ever left fan mail or an encouraging message for a writer?
Word of Mouth is the most important factor for a writer’s success. When people hear someone talking enthusiastically about a book, they get curious, and will often try to find a copy to see what the buzz is all about. Be that enthusiastic “someone” for the writer in your life. Share links to their work on social media. Pin their book covers on Pinterest. Tweet your favourite quote with a link to their book. Get the word out to your network.
Share their social media posts, blogs, and/or vlogs to help drive traffic their way. The important key here is to let your friends/followers know what you like about it or what they might like about it to motivate them to read it for themselves. Again, more traffic means more income, but also helps them to feel supported and encouraged in their work.
7. Leave a Review
Again, “Word of Mouth” comes into play. Readers are more likely to take a chance on an author they’re not familiar with if they can find decent reviews. Even if you didn’t like the book, leave an honest review at online book retailers and sites, like Amazon, GoodReads, and Smashwords. Keep it constructive by explaining what you liked and didn’t like – and why. Not only will it help other readers make a decision about buying, but it also gives the author useful feedback they can use to improve their writing.
You can also take it one step further by sending a copy of your review to the local newspaper(s) to help give the author’s book more exposure.
On behalf of the writer in your life, and to all the wonderful people who support my work: Thank you for all you do!
Did I Miss Anything?
Is there something else people can to do help and support the writers in their life? Is there something special you do? Tell me in the comments below!!
© 2015 Rosa Marchisella