A little more than 8 years ago, I was in some dark days. My mother had died on Thanksgiving morning. The man I was dating had shown up drunk later that day. I had left the teaching positions I loved to stay with my dad and write. I was lonely. I was grieving. I was a bit lost.
But I had the local library, and I went there many days a week to find new books to read. I burned through titles, especially YA fantasy titles. It was during these days that I read Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother and the Life As We Knew It Series by Susan Beth Pfeffer, but it was Alison Croggon’s Pellinor Series that captured my heart. I flew through the four-book series, losing myself completely in the fantastic world where music might be the answer to saving it. (My mom was a musician, so you can imagine the resonance of this.)
Last night, I sent Croggon a quick email to say thank you for her books, to tell her how much of a comfort they were in hard days. This morning, she wrote back to say that was, perhaps, the kindest note she’d ever received. I was teary thinking that a note that took me one minute to write could be so meaningful to someone whose tomes of words had helped me heal. I’m teary just writing about that now, in fact.
For the past week or so, I’ve been thanking a writer a day for their work, and almost every one of those writers has written me back to thank me for my note. I’m surprised by that, but also I know that every note I receive to encourage me – including the amazing notes my friend Fran has written me the past few days after she read my entire Steele Secrets trilogy in 24 hours – has touched me. The kindness we can give our fellow writers is not to be underestimated.
So here are 10 ways you can easily show kindness to the writers whose words have mattered to you:
- Write them a note. Say thank you. Tell them what their work meant to you. You can find most people’s email addresses or contact forms on their websites, or you can message them through social media.
- Follow them on Amazon or BookBub. That little follow means you’ll get notifications about their new work – win for you – but it also helps boost their standing and opportunities on those platforms.
- Review their books. Reviews matter. They help other readers decide if they want to pick up those books, and they help authors, especially authors who are just starting out, to be able to get other promotional opportunities. You can post a review to Goodreads and then just copy and paste it anywhere that author’s books are sold.
- Recommend their books to your local public and schools libraries. Many libraries have forms you can fill out to recommend a book. It’ll take you two minutes, but it’ll mean a whole lot to an author.
- Suggest podcasters you know interview them. If you listen to a podcast that is thematically appropriate for a writer whose work you love, drop that podcaster a line and suggest they check out the book and the author.
- Share your copies of books. When you tell a friend you loved a book, it makes it more likely that they’ll read it. And more readers means more fans, overall.
- Post about what you read on social media. Do a quick Instagram story about what you read. Post a link on FB or Twitter. Tag in the writer if you can.
- Join their launch team. Many writers have launch teams to help spread the word about their new books. It’s easy, and often you get to read the book early.
- Sign-up for their email list. Sign-ups matter to an author because of future book contracts and marketing opportunities, but they also give you behind-the-scenes access to the author and sometimes special deals on books.
- Go to their readings. Just be there. Listen. Ask questions. It means the world to see the faces of readers in the flesh.
Now, what are other ways to support writers? What forms of support have you most appreciated?
If you’d like to join me in thanking 30 writers for the next 30 days, I’d LOVE THAT. Leave me a comment below and let me know you’re joining in.