You would love to support writers. Right?
The most obvious way: Buy their books.
But you can’t buy all the books of every writer. Right again!
Writers understand that too. They wouldn’t want you to break your bank either, but of course they do need your love and support as a reader.
Can that be done? I thought and thought…and asked my writer friends… and the conclusion- YES! It can be done. So, here’s how, right from the writer’s mouth, so to speak.
The top tips on how to support a writer without spending any money…
As an added bonus, most writers would mention you in the credits for the help you provide. I always do. They might even dedicate a book to you!
This is what you can do to help.
1. Download their books
But you were not going to buy any books!
You don’t have to buy them if you can’t. Many writers offer books for free as a launch-time freebie or a special offer. If there is such an offer, make sure to download their free books and spread the word about it without being asked. Get your friends and family to download them too. Download them even if you are not going to read them straight away. The book will still be there later when you have more spare time. It helps the writers to reach more people even if they are not making money out of it.
2. Write a review
Once you have read the book, please write a review. This is the best way to support the writers apart from buying their books. Every writer needs a review. Spend a few minutes and write, even if it is only a couple of sentences. Just a few honest words. You don’t have to lie and call the book fabulous. Write what you like and what you didn’t. That’s enough.
Review it on the site where you got the book from and on Goodreads.
If you have a blog, write a post with the title book review and the name of the book. You don’t need to be a book blogger. An informal post about the book and your views about it will be wonderful too!
3. Follow the writers on the social media
That’s easy! Even if you interact with them on only one social media account, follow their other accounts as well. Numbers always help too, even if only as a confidence booster. Subscribe to their newsletter. A shout-out on your posts and stories is always welcome.
4. Share their posts
Share the posts of the writers from their website or social media. Even if you bring them just one more reader, they would still appreciate it immensely. You don’t need to share every post but one every now and then would be really nice.
5. Recommend their books
Recommend their books to family, friends, colleagues, or neighbours.
If you happen to see online posts that ask for book recommendations, be sure to recommend your writer friends and help them gain more readers. One minute of your time can give a lasting benefit to the writer.
6. Become a beta reader
Many writers, especially those who write novels look for beta readers. Offer your time if you can. You get to read their book for free as it unfolds and your feedback helps them write what the readers love.
7. Offer to review ARC’s
Offer to read an advance review copy of the book ahead of the launch and post your review at launch time. These can be a huge help to the writers.
8. Offer to edit their book for free
If you have the time and the capability, and a very big heart, offer to help the writer with the editing process. It is a tiring job but the writer would probably give you the next five books free in appreciation!
9. Offer help with art, photography and graphics
If you are an artist, or a Photoshop whiz, offer to help them create a book cover or a book trailer. If you can do graphics for their non-fiction books, it would be a great help. If you are a photographer, consider giving them a photograph to be used on the cover or their website and social media. They are going to be eternally grateful to you.
10. Recommend their books to local libraries
Recommend the books of the writers you know to your local library. Sometimes, the writers might even give their books to libraries for free. Ask them if the library agrees to keep a copy of their book.
11. Offer constructive feedback
Nobody is perfect and the writers aren’t too. They will make mistakes and you should point them out. However, please don’t be rude or insensitive about it. The books are a labour of their love and while they would surely benefit from constructive criticism, they don’t need to be hurt unnecessarily.
If there are too many typos that you want to point out, it helps to say that the removal of the typos would provide for a better reader experience. Don’t call the writer careless, sloppy or worse.
Attacking the person is in bad taste and very hurtful. Besides, while a sensitively written comment would send most writers back to the editing table to get rid of the trouble spots, calling names is not going to help the book or the writer.
Also, it would be better to make sure your criticism is valid. There can be more than one version of the truth. Let me tell you about an incident.
A review written for one of my books mentioned many spelling mistakes. That got me looking into my book again but I couldn’t find any. It doesn’t take more than a day to go through a poetry book again, there are not too many words to look at, unlike a novel. After much deliberation, I decided to ask that person personally to point out the mistakes that I had missed because I definitely didn’t want them in my book.
The answer turned up a list of words, all of which were not spelling mistakes but a difference in spelling between the American and British English. You see, I am an Indian and we have traditionally followed the British version of English. Therefore, we have the difference between words like colour/color, favourite/favorite, acknowledgements/acknowledgment and so on. I pointed that out to the person in question but the review had already been written and I have no idea if that was ever changed. I didn’t go back and look. However, I now wonder how many people have no idea that the two different spellings exist in this world.
I hope my 11 top tips on how to support a writer without spending money is going to inspire you to go beyond buying their books and lend a helping hand whenever possible.
Can you think of more ways to help a writer? Write in the comments.
What would you expect from the writers as a reader? Let them know. I’m sure they would be happy to oblige.
Help a writer today. They need you. Happy reading!