In today’s email: “How do I support my favorite authors?”

Spock-ReadingI get asked a variation of this question on a fairly regular basis, and so it was in today’s eMail:

Besides the obvious, which is buying the book, how else can readers support their favorite authors?

First, I sincerely appreciate the support that comes from people buying my books, because hey! I like to eat, and as it happens, so do my wife and kids. Getting paid to write is a privilege, and it’s one I take seriously. A big part of that is respecting the people who put time and money into my books – editors, publishers, and readers – by doing my best to make them feel that such investments aren’t wasted. I’m fully aware that I don’t always hit that mark, but I can promise that it’ll never be due to a lack of effort or caring.

How else can one show their support? Reviews are a rather easy way to share your feelings on a particular book. Post them to sites like Goodreads.com, and – yes – online booksellers like Amazon, B&N, etc. I don’t typically solicit reviews for my own books, so this is offered as a general, “Yes, post reviews of a book you’ve read if you really feel the need to say something.”

As for me, I don’t personally begrudge those who choose not to do this, or if they decide a book didn’t work for them and opt to review it accordingly. You bought and/or took the time to read it (and hopefully not through shady means like a pirated eBook or something), and are therefore entitled to review it or not as you see fit, and to have your say, good or bad.

On that previous point: If you’re not able to buy a book, don’t support pirate sites that offer illegal copies of eBooks. People who provide or support content in this manner are parasites, and I wish nothing but clouds of mosquitoes to infest their genital regions for all eternity.

Instead, check with your local library, many of which are constantly expanding their inter-library loan programs and digital lending services in order to offer ever-greater selections of titles for checkout. Libraries pay publishers for the books they offer, and writers eventually get a piece of that action. Plus, you’re supporting your local library while also giving some love to your favorite authors. Everybody wins, right?

If you are a book buyer, I strongly encourage you to patronize your local/independent bookseller, if you have one, when seeking books by your favorite authors. I’m a big fan of such stores, and I’ve been stepping up my own efforts to show that love as I’m able, in the ongoing battle to keep Amazon from eating everything. If it’s in print, chances are the bookseller can order you a copy at no additional cost, and they’ll usually order one or two more for the shelf if they decide it’s something that might appeal to some of their other customers.

My bookstore of choice is Readers World in Lee’s Summit, MO. They have a great staff, and they’re very, very supportive of local writers. If you don’t know whether you have such a store in your neck of the woods, you can search for one near you through sites like IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/.

Most authors have some kind of social media platform, these days – a website or blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, an Instagram page, and so on. If you’re into any or all of that, follow your favorite authors in those venues. If the author is doing the social media thing correctly, then you won’t be subjected to an endless barrage of sales pitches and “BUY MY BOOK!”-type posts. Instead, they’ll be…you know…social, but with the occasional sly marketing/shameless whoring post thrown in for flavor. Also, authors tend to follow other authors, so connecting with one may well introduce you to a whole slew of awesome word pushers you may not know, and then BAM! More cool shit for you to read.

It’s kind of contagious, that way.

These are just a few quick and easy tips, and I offer my thanks to the reader who posed the question in this morning’s eMail, simultaneously giving me food for thought while also providing fodder today’s blog post. 🙂

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About Dayton Ward

Freelance word pusher. Husband. Dad. Trekkie. Rush fan (the band). Tampa Bay Bucs fan. Observer/derider of human behavior. I know where my towel is.
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