October 3, 2018

How to support the authors you love

by

We all have our favorite books. Mine was anything of the Discworld series by the late Terry Pratchett. Most of us are quick to recommend new favorites to friends and our social media followers, so that we can spread the wealth. I badger my friends with multiple texts about a book until they give up and read the damn thing. Beyond the microcosm of our inner-circle promotions, here are six ways to support the authors you love.

Photo via Annie Spratt/Unsplash

1. Buy the book. (Preorders are important, too.)

Yes, supporting an author and their books does mean that we have to feed the capitalist machine until the time when we can overthrow our oppressors and—anyway, numbers count. Preorders are especially important because it gives the sales department a visible number to represent the amount of interest in a book. The more preorders a book gets, the bigger the number gets, and you can do the math here. So if you’re able to, give your support with a purchase and spread the wealth—so to speak.

2. Request the book at your local library. 

Libraries are one of the best resources made available to us, and the only better thing is that they’re free to use. So if you’re unable to make a personal purchase, the next best thing is to ask your local library to acquire the book for you (and the rest of the community). But, you most especially. The greater the interest around a book, the more inclined a library is to purchase it for circulation, and that means said favorite author gets a wider distribution, which does in fact help them and their book sales. So drop a recommendation down at the library and put those requests in.

3. Borrow the books. Frequently.

Great, now you have the books in the library! That means your community has a larger collection of titles to explore. But what generates interest and helps a librarian in future acquisitions is the amount of borrowing a book gets. The more activity a book gets, the more consideration a library puts in its amount of copies, and what’s better than one copy of the book? Two copies, that’s what. So, if you want to increase a certain author’s realm of works at your local library, you have to put in the work and borrow those books out. Show the library that these are books worth stocking on the shelf.

4. Go stalk an author’s events. (Not literally. That’s illegal.)

If you have time and the means of transport, check out the local events and panels that showcase your favorite author. Attending and sitting in support of the author helps the event planners gauge the author’s popularity and factors into the likelihood of future success with that author and writers like them. Plus at these events, there’s major opportunities to ask your favorite authors need-to-know plot and craft questions face-to-face.

5. Leave your opinions on consumer websites. 

Let’s be real. You are the voice of the everyday people. We all like to have some foreknowledge before diving into something unknown. That’s why reviews come in handy and why so many are published all the time everywhere. The people need to know. So let them know. Leave your reviews on your favorite books on sites and forums so that other interested readers can have a guiding voice in the dark abyss. If you want people to read your favorite books, you must champion the shit out of that book. Tell the reasons why it worked for you and why it didn’t, what made you laugh, what made you cry—all of it helps the next person looking for a good read. The more you review a book, the more frequent it will pop up on a recommended algorithms list, so use that to your advantage.

6. Tell your thoughts to the masses. 

Social media is your ride or die. The great thing about word-of-mouth nowadays is that it can easily be magnified two hundred times through the buzz of social media sharing. A quick tweet about how great a specific book is can be instantly shared with a few strokes of the keyboard and a click of the mouse. Nowadays, more and more people get their news and opinion reads through shared links and social media. So why not be a cog in the machine and slip in some pro-bono PR for your favorite books? You never know who or what could be the next viral sensation. Give your books that same fighting chance, too.

Erica Huang is former Melville House intern.

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