Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ten Ways to Support Your Fave Authors for Free

I've had a couple people come up to me and basically apologize for getting Venom or Belladonna from the library, as if maybe they're not really a fan of the books since they didn't buy them. Truth time: The only books I bought recently were those released by close author friends or those bought at signings. This year was really hard for me financially, and I also knew I was going to be moving. Even with all the books I didn't purchase, and the books I gave away while packing, half the moving boxes still stacked in my bedroom are full of books. So yeah, I simply couldn't buy more.

But I read over fifty books in 2013--most of which I got from the local library. And that's okay. In fact, that's great. If people quit going to the library we'd probably quit having libraries. And that would be terrible. If you're in a place physically or financially where you can't buy books, that doesn't mean you can't support your favorite authors.

Here are ten ways to give a little author love without spending a dime:

10. Skip the piracy and use the library. Librarians take notice when books are in high demand, and they can be powerful author allies.

9. Follow your favorite authors on Twitter and like them on Facebook. Don't feel bad if they can't reciprocate--Twitter isn't very useful if you're following 10,000 people. If the author posts something that resonates with you, share or retweet the post.

8. Request books. If your school or local library isn't carrying a book you enjoyed, ask them to order it. Again, librarians are superheroes in the publishing world.

7. Reviews, reviews, reviews. I don't care if you bought the book, checked it out of the library, or read it slowly over several visits to Barnes & Noble--honest reviews are an author's best friend. Nothing says "Hey, this must be good. It's really popular!" like seeing a new book pop up on a website with loads of reviews. Copy and paste your reviews to all the major sites--Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.

6. Comment on the author's blog. Most blogs seem to get fifty page views for every one comment. Take the time to respond to posts that are especially meaningful to you. Yeah, it sucks to figure out some of those captchas, but authors love to know that someone is listening.

Andrea Cremer and me. Even authors like meeting authors!

5. Go see authors in person. Nothing is more horrifying than spending weeks stressing out about and preparing for a bookstore appearance only to have three people (two of whom are related to the author) show up. Don't feel like you can't attend a signing or speak to an author because you don't have money to buy the featured book. You matter to us. We want you there.

4. Sponsor a read-a-long. A read-a-long is like an online book club discussion. You invite the author to provide some questions about his or her book and recruit a group of readers who want to read and discuss the book at the same time.

3. Become a member of Goodreads. GR is chock-a-block with ways to support your fave authors. Start simple and add the author's book to your to-be-read list. Maybe vote for the book on Goodreads lists or add your favorite quotes from the book. Recommend the book to other members you think might enjoy it.

2. Tell your friends about the books you love. Tell them in person and on GR and Twitter and on your blog if you have one. Before the internet was big, there used to be a saying in customer service like "A satisfied customer tells 7 people about his experience. An unsatisfied customer tells 25." Pretty sure nowadays an unsatisfied customer tells thousands of people. But you can use the internet's power for good too! Most books don't get six-figure marketing budgets. The way they become successful is through word-of-mouth. That means you!

1. The most basic thing of all--send the author a tweet or an email. They may not be able to respond to you--some authors get thousands of messages a week--but that doesn't mean they're not reading them and appreciating them. No one ever gets tired of hearing someone say "Your book changed me/saved me/ helped me/ made me laugh my butt off." And when we're struggling with our newest project, sometimes it's your emails and tweets that motivate us to keep going.

Can you think of other ways to support authors for free? What about ways for authors to support their favorite bloggers? List them in the comments.

Happy holidays! And as always, thanks for reading :)

Seasons Greetings from Mufasa AKA "Moo."