How to support writers without buying books

One sure fire way to support the writers you love is to buy their books. If you buy their books, the authors receive royalties. With these royalties, authors make enough income to write something else. While it’s true that writers don’t make as much as they should make due to a number of factors, buying books by authors you love is a solid way to help them. If you’re low income, however, or don’t have enough money to buy books, there’s a number of other ways you can support authors without spending money.

Buying books is the most direct way to support authors. Even so, there are many ways you can support writers without spending money on their books. Most of these alternatives will have the reader taking time out of their day to support the writer, but these alternatives will give your favorite writer a helping hand in a number of ways.

Promote them through libraries.

Libraries are great for everybody. They help low income readers get a chance to try your favorite author. They provide the author with free exposure by exposing their book to its many patrons. Libraries buy books recommended to them, so the author is still making money through libraries. Libraries buy books directly from publishers, so for each purchase, that author is making a royalty.

If a book is very popular in a library, digital or physical, the library will buy more of that digital or physical book. Authors make money because the library buys directly from the publisher.

Even if you don’t use a local library, recommending that a library buy your favorite author’s book will ensure that your favorite author gets on shelves and into new readers hands.

If you are unable to use a library, recommending a library buy your favorite authors book is the best way to support your favorite author. Usually, libraries have an online system that allows you to recommend a book if they don’t have it.

To check and see if a library has a book, use WorldCat because it’s a world wide database.

Also, recommend your local schools buy the book for their school’s library. Call the school library directly.

Make sure you have the publisher name, title, author, and ISBN ready.

Help translate work.

If language skills are your specialty, you can help authors translate their work into multiple languages. Some small publishers will even pay you to translate their authors books, but not all publishers are willing to allow translations. Smaller publishers are far easier to work with but the easiest books to translate are books under a Creative Commons License or public domain books.

If authors publish work under a creative commons license, respect the license the work is under. For example, my first book is under the least restrictive form of Creative Commons.

Here’s some more resources for Creative Commons books.

Plug them during interviews.

If you’re someone that gets interviewed a lot by podcasters, bloggers, or any other media figure, it costs nothing to plug your favorite author. Even if you’re not a writer yourself, chances are, you’re an expert in something, which is why the media is interviewing you. There’s always an opportunity to plug their name during the interview. The best link to plug when mentioning them is their website, not social media handles. Their website will last longer than a social media handle, most likely.

Nominate books for awards.

Many awards judge suggestions by readers like you. Some awards come with cash prizes that can help the author write. Some come with other perks your favorite writer will find extremely useful and helpful. Even if they don’t win, they could be in the runner up section, which means your favorite author is getting recognition, which is good.

A good place to find awards is this list of updating book awards so be sure to bookmark that link.

Make sure you have the publication date, publication year, publisher, ISBN, title, author, and authors website handy as well as the book synopsis.

Write a letter of recommendation.

This may seem a bit unusual at first, but I believe many fans can help writers out with grant applications in this way. In many residency applications, they require a letter from a third party as a testament to the writers dedication and or hard work. Many writers, like me, don’t have easy access to these kinds of letters, or can easily ask for these letters in enough time to complete the application.

Write your letter on a formal letterhead or using a formal template. Avoid slang words and keep the letter professional.

Join a street team.

A street team is a dedicated group of volunteers that agree to promote an authors work in exchange for getting exclusive content. If you review books, joining a street team is a good way to ensure you get exclusive content including advanced reader copies, or advanced listener copies of a book.

You don’t have to be a member of the media to join a street team. If you’re willing to help in promotion of the book, or the author, you can join any authors street team.

Many authors run their street teams very differently from others. Some may give out bookmarks. Some may put you in acknowledgements of upcoming books.

A street team is very different than a Patreon or donation. A street team is a willing exchange. Promotion of their work for exclusive content.

Many authors have different street team styles. For example, my street team is an email list. Some authors will have a forum. Some authors will have an exclusive form so they can keep track of who’s promoting them and who isn’t.

As a street team member, your duties may vary. Typically, you’ll be expected to promote their book on social media multiple times. You’ll be expected to ask your local library or bookstore to buy their books. If you review books, you’ll be expected to review their newest book every time they release a book.

If the author publishes blogs, street team members could coordinate a social media campaign around the new post to boost the new blog post. A street team is a good faith promotional exchange and is vital to ensure a writer’s success.

Not every publisher has a publicist, so this is where street teams really help writers. If a writer is self-publishing their book, chances are, they won’t have a publicist. Not every publisher helps writers with promotion. In fact, it’s rare publishers assist writers with promotion, so this is another reason why a strong street team is vital.

Don’t join a street team unless you’re willing to promote the writer in multiple ways.

Suggest indie bookstores buy their books.

Many authors find immense success with independent bookstores. You can help out writers by recommending local indie bookstores buy copies of the authors books. Call, or email, the bookstore. Email is better.

Make sure to have the books publisher, distributor, ISBN, title, genre, and author ready.

Indiebound is a great way to find bookstores near you.

Recommend reviewers review books.

Got a favorite podcaster or reviewer? Ask them to review your favorite book, even if you don’t listen to the show that often. Someone will like the review and then check out the author.

Make sure to have a link to the publishers media page handy. If the publisher doesn’t have a media page, give them the publishers media contact email or phone number.

Share their work.

This is more important than most would have you believe. Sharing an authors work to friends and family, as well as on your social media, helps immensely. It’s better if a lot of people are reading an author you enjoy.

If your favorite author doesn’t have a book coming out soon, share their blog, website, essay You’ve enjoyed, a short story you can’t stop thinking about. Tell others about it.

Sharing is important. It boosts that authors presence. Share their work multiple times and in different venues.

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