Friday, June 15, 2018

12 Easy Ways to Support Your Favorite Writers

You know what I love about the writing community? It is full of people who are incredibly supportive. And, because writing is an incredibly vulnerable and terrifying profession, this supportiveness makes all of the difference.

One of my absolute favorite things is when a fellow reader or writer asks: "How can I help?"

I love this question because it shows how much they truly care. They take the time to ask how they can help in the most worth-while way possible. It's helped my writing journey in numerous ways and I know it has helped others, too. So, whether you are a reader or writer, if you've ever wondered how you can support your favorite writers (published or unpublished), here are some ideas:
12 Easy Ways to Support Your Favorite Writers

1. Ask. Seriously. Ask the person if there is anything specific you can help them with. Sometimes the person will have suggestions. Sometimes they won't. Maybe because they're too overwhelmed or shy or because they aren't sure what it is that you'd be good at doing. In that case....

2. Encourage. Whenever you get the chance, offer genuine encouragement. Remind them that their writing is important. Tell them that you're cheering them on. Send them happy gifs, funny pictures, or randomly email them to tell them something you really like about their writing. You can even screenshot a 5-star review they received months ago and send it to them just to remind them that other people like their writing, too. It's simple, but it means a lot. We writers are in our heads too much and can sometimes lose sight of why we're writing (or we'll talk ourselves into believing that our writing sucks), so this encouragement means the world to us.

3. Buy and read their stuff. If your writer is published, buy and read their stuff. Don't ask for a free copy (that's rude and discouraging). The money and time is appreciated.

4. Offer to beta read. If you read a lot within their genre, offer to read their story before publication to give feedback. Beta readers are SO important to writers and it's always nice to know that somebody thinks enough about us that they want to read our writing and give feedback. Not sure what beta reading is? Read the first part of this article.

5. Offer to edit. This is a time commitment and requires a specific skill set, but if you happen to have the time and knowledge? Go for it! Developmental editing is appreciated by all authors and line editing is especially appreciated by indie authors. Editing can be grueling, so knowing that we have somebody in our corner can be a huge stress reliever.

6. Review. Leave a review of their book. It doesn't have to be long or complex (though it can be). Be sure to leave the review everywhere: Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever else the book may be. That being said, if you're planning to leave a 1 star review, just....don't. This post is about ways to support your writer, not whack them over the head with a giant bat labeled "I hate you and everything you do," which is basically what a 1 star review is.

7. Add favorite quotes to Goodreads. All those sentences and passages you loved in their latest book? Add them to Goodreads so that others can be in awe of them, too. It's easy (instructions are here) and really helps the author with marketing...and will also make them smile to see which parts of their book you loved enough to quote.

8. Create fanart or quote graphics. Have artistic skills? Draw some of their characters or animals or settings. Or create a pretty quote graphic to show off their pretty writing. This is a cool, personal way to help your published writers with marketing. And it's also a really sweet way to encourage and motivate your unpublished writers. It can help them visualize their story and will also make them grin.

9. Buy copies of their stories for friends (and tell the writer about it). There's nothing cooler than hearing that somebody liked our stories so much that they felt the need to go out and share them with friends. Not only is this super encouraging to your writer, but it also boosts their sales and helps them with marketing. Win win.

10. Set up a giveaway of their book(s). Set up an Amazon giveaway of their book or ebook. Again, this boosts sales and helps with marketing. And is also just super thoughtful.

11. Buy them books in their genre. Writers draw inspiration from other books. Going out and buying us a book or two in the genre that we write is like providing us with fuel. In buying us books in our genre, you have given us the means for new ideas, helped us keep up with the current market, saved our wallets, and told us that you care. All that by buying a book? #WorthIt.

12. Use your platform to boost theirs. Do you have a blog? A large following on Pinterest or Twitter or Instagram?  A Youtube channel? Use those platforms to give your writer a shout-out! Tell your followers how awesome they are. If they have a published book, find a way to tell your people to buy it. If you don't have a natural way to do so, consider working it into your own platform. That was the entire thought process behind the #ChatWithIndieAuthor podcast. And the logic behind the creation of #AuthorBookClub.  This concept also led to the creation of Phoenix Fiction Writers, a website where some of us indie authors come together to help each other with writing/marketing, review other authors books, promote others by having them on as guest posters and podcasters, and more. There are so many cool ways you can use your platform to boost your writers blog or books or social media. Speaking of which...

*smoothly segues into promoting a favorite indie author* This Saturday (06/16/2018) at 9 AM PST I will be hosting a Youtube livestream with E.B. Dawson to discuss her upcoming sci-fi novel, Under the Skin. Yep. I may or may not have written this entire post just to have a (somewhat?) natural way to plug this fun event. Look at me, following tip 12. Be proud of me.

Anyway, the info for this event is here:

Be there or be square! Not really sure what that's supposed to mean, but yeah. Show up. You can find the Youtube page here.

Have any other fun ways to support writers? I'd love to hear them! Please leave all of your ideas below!

Not going to be able to make the livestream with E.B. Dawson? No worries! If you have any questions about Under the Skin or her Creation of Jack series in general, just leave them below and I'll be sure to ask them during the stream.

Have writing, reading, or writer's life questions? Use the hashtag #ChatWithHannah below or on social media to have them answered on my Youtube channel!

Related articles:
Inside the Creative's Mind: 9 Things You Should Know
7 Tips for Balancing Your Writing with the Rest of Life

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  1. This is a really sweet post:) Also, it's a great way to promote the livestream:D

    I one hundred percent agree with everything except #6. Do you think ppl shouldn't leave 1-2 star reviews if they didn't care for the book? I mean, obviously don't make it a personal attack, like "this person is a terrible writer and an idiot" but it always rubs me the wrong way when people suggest only leaving good reviews (not lying of course, just ignoring the books you didn't like). I actually don't trust books that only have good reviews, because then I assume it's only friends/family who read it. I mean, it's not going to ENCOURAGE a writer to get a bad review, but that's part of publishing a book- it's a professional business, not a middle-school art fair. But I'm curious what you think- I love your perspective on things:D

    1. Lol! Thank you!

      I'm so glad you (and Fran below) pointed out the issue with #6. I was looking at it from a very distinct perspective, but didn't clarify that in the post, so that was totally my bad.

      Also: I originally wrote "1 to 2 stars," but I mean "1 stars" but forgot to go back and edit it. *facepalm* I’ve fixed it in the body of the post.

      I was looking at it from: If this is an author your really like (a favorite writer, friend, or both), leaving them a 1 star review doesn't make much sense. People usually only leave a 1 star because they have something personal against the writer, read the wrong genre by accident, are just really angry people in general, or because the book has harmful content (more on that later). In which case: None of those problems (aside from the harmful content issue) are relevant to the book, so such a review isn’t helpful.

      Basically, what I was (very badly) attempting to say was: Leaving a 1 star review for a favorite writer is not generally going to be a normal or probable scenario. And, if you find yourself suddenly wanting to give a previously favorite writer of yours 1 (or, honestly, even a 2) star, the problem may be with you and not the writer (example: this particular book was not targeted at you). That doesn’t mean you can’t leave a review, it just means that your review won’t be helpful to anybody (either the writer or their target audience) and is thus a waste of everybody’s time.

      However, if the content is harmful: Yeah, a 1 star review is totally legitimate. But this scenario is (hopefully) improbable given that this is a favorite writer of yours that you read because you wanted to support them.

      As to your question: if somebody doesn't care for a book, should they leave 1-2 stars? Yeah, people should always feel free to leave whatever type of review they want. Writing is a profession, so writers should be prepared for that kind of thing. But if you’re leaving a review from the angle of wanting to support a fav writer, a 1 star review doesn’t make much sense.

      So all that to say: No, I’m not advocating for not leaving a negative review. People can (and should) do that if they feel the need. So sorry if I came off that way! I hope that all made sense. If not, just let me know and I’ll try to explain.

    2. Okay, thanks for clarifying! I personally use 1-star reviews when I really dislike the book, and scrolling through those ratings, I double-checked and I am the target audience for many of them. That being said, I am more likely to use the 1-3 stars than most other people.
      I also do have a couple authors that I usually enjoy in my 1 stars as well (Orson Scott Card comes to mind).
      But at the same time, I don't have any of the authors that I enjoy as a presence on the list, if that makes sense. All the writers' blogs I follow, etc, who I follow as a person as well as an author, would probably take something like harmful content to get a 1 star out of me.
      And from the context of wanting to encourage a certain writer? One-stars certainly are NOT the way to go about that, I get it:)

      Also, like you and Fran, I really wish I could do fanart, but I don't think the final product would encourage anybody :D

  2. This is helpful! Sometimes I've wanted to support my favourite writers but I'm always worried it will come off as annoying. I'll keep these suggestions in mind (except the art one because I can't draw to save my life haha).
    I don't agree about not leaving negative reviews though. I leave reviews for other potential readers, not writers, and if I really hate a book I like to know I'm not the only one. As long as it doesn't insult the author personally, I think honest reviews are important and helpful.

    1. Hey Fran! Thanks for the comment! Yes, you are correct that reviews should be for readers and not writers. Thanks for pointing that out! I was not very clear about my meaning in point 6 and explained it above in my response to Justice, so I hope that helps clear things up.

      I laughed when I read your comment about the fanart tip. My drawing skills are questionable at best, so that is one version of support I also will not be handing out. =D

    2. Okay, that makes sense. Thanks for clearing that up. :)

  3. Ooh, there are some great ideas in here! It's nice to know what's going to be most helpful and encouraging, so thank you for the suggestions.

  4. Thank you for not making Me feel weird about not following the rules in my aspirations to become an author there's so much they say lol how not to start your novel hoe to start or how to not start it. And all these rules but you made me feel like it was okay to just go about my business and not only write whats acceptable in their eursyhsnk you for keeping this blog "open" saw an article from 2014 on Pinterest today been gobbling every other article. I started writing because as a Christian our options are very narrow,they force down everything in the MSM and sadly this has also poured into books,gore,hypersexualism it's not easy but we must mskemdo with what we have as a child I'd read books and that's what they just were books,not ways to shape our minds in a certain way but that's a story for another day thank you miss Hannah😃


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