The time is late at night.
Candle wax is melting on the table.
There’s a feather quill in hand as you pen away your epic.
Words flow through you as if you can see into the future. You already know what you’re gonna write before it’s written.
You’re in total isolation to complete your masterpiece.
Finally, you throw down the quill because the work is done! You’re on your way to being a bestseller.
That’s what most think when you tell them you’re a writer, but the truth is being a writer is more than just writing drafts. It’s not a solitary event, with long sprints penning by candlelight or pounding away at a typewriter.
At most the drafting process is when you need to lock yourself away from the world. But what happens when you finally finish the first (or billionth) draft?
Well… two words enter your lexicon.
Trust me, going at it alone is a recipe for disaster!
And that’s where your support system comes in. You’ll lean on them to help you through the process. But, what if you are the support system helping a beloved author through the process?
And worse, what if you’re flat broke?
How do you help then?
Easily! Supporting an author doesn’t mean just buying their books. Sure, your author friends would love it if you did, but there are so many ways to support authors without spending any money.
If you know an aspiring author or you are an author yourself, here are 10 ways to get involved if you’re short on cash.
P.S. Authors reading this, share this with friends and family. Let them know they can support you too.
#1 – Review their books on Amazon and Goodreads.
Amazon is so critical to an author’s professional life, it quantifies the amount of books bought from the publisher with concrete numbers, and even getting featured in other newsletters and promotions (the magic number is 50 reviews). Goodreads also has a lot of weight in the publishing world, as it has the single largest community of readers online.
How you can help: Don’t get intimidated and think you have to write a long review analyzing the plot, the character, and the story’s development.
You can simply say:
“I liked it” OR “The action scenes were great.”
#2 – Face their books outwards in the store.
If your friend’s book is in a brick and mortar store, say BAM or Barnes and Noble, and you see it in the aisle… turn it outward, so that the cover faces the customer perusing, and not just the spine.
This is huge, just be extra ninja about it ; )
#3 – Interview the authors on your social media page, blog, or podcast.
If you have a blog or a platform, interview them on it. It’s free and word of mouth is so important. And your blog doesn’t have to be about books. Bonus points if you can find a way to tie your audience’s interest with what your author friend is all about.
#4 – Join their mailing list.
Successful authors have a highly engaged mailing list; just one person can motivate an author to continue giving you creative and engaging content. Stay in their universe. Sign up and find out what they’re doing next.
#5 – Take a pic of the book.
If you’re good with Instagram, take a photo with the book and tag the author. It makes our day like you wouldn’t believe. Or, if you don’t want to be in the pic, take a pic holding the book or a pic of a stack of books you just read, including the title!
#6 – Engage with them on social media.
Follow your favorite authors; like, comment, and share their posts. Again, the comment doesn’t have to be extensive, but it does all kinds of great things for the algorithms.
#7 – Request their book in bookstores and libraries.
If they sell books digitally or exclusively through Amazon, call around in your local area. Tell libraries and physical bookstores about this must-have book. Hype it up, so that other people can experience a hidden gem.
#8 – If you’re artsy –– make a book aesthetic.
For all my creatives out there that have an artist friend, ask them to make fan art of the book or even the book cover. It’s mutually beneficial; you design something that gets more eyeballs and you save your author friend valuable resources.
#9 – Make a Twitter thread.
If Twitter is your thing and you’re good with threads, make a Twitter thread and include your friend’s book. Give highlights with your analysis, and explain why this author is underrated.
#10 – Send the author a message that gives them support and encouragement.
A simple message of support always goes a long way. Imagine when you feel discouraged about something (we all tend to be too critical of ourselves) giving them both positive and constructive feedback is the best way to help anyone sharpen their skills.
Bonus – Invite them to lead a workshop.
If you have a platform of people interested in subjects of writing and editing. Support your author friend by setting up a digital or in-person workshop. It’s a great way to share their experience with others who don’t know about them yet.
Remember, supporting people doesn’t have to cost you a thing. Remember, exposure and worth-of-mouth can be in most cases just as powerful as short term financial gain. Be resourceful and creative when helping others.