Helping Authors: You’ll Be Surprised What You Can Do

Some days I can’t imagine what to say in this space. Luckily I have resources for new ideas.

Helping AuthorsAlmost two years ago I found this post about helping authors and thought the idea would be fun to use here someday. Jen Malone listed several things readers can do to help their favorite authors. I thought I’d share some of my own, inspired by some of hers, with you today. These are quick and easy, and most of them don’t involve opening your wallet.

You will notice I have chosen to use “her” as my favorite pronoun for this post. The reason should be transparent. So without further adieu. . .

Some surefire ways for helping authors, thereby encouraging them to write more books, more often, with more enthusiasm.

First: Buy her books. You knew that, right? You didn’t need to read my blog for that one, but the good news? Books are reasonably priced, at least most of the time. Let’s add buy her book as a gift for a special friend here. Books make great gifts, and unlike candy and flowers, don’t add pounds or trigger allergies.

Second: Buy her books the moment they arrive at bookstores. That’s a bit more esoteric, right? The reason is actually simple. Publishers are silly creatures who pay more attention to lists than to anything in the universe. (I am allowed to exaggerate because this is my blog.) Writers who make bestseller lists get new contracts. That, too, is simple. If you like a writer, you want to read more of her books. Unless she is publishing independently (more and more authors are) she will need a contract to write more books.

Third: Inspire your public library to buy her book. A sale is a sale, and this is a wonderful way to reach more new readers. How can you inspire librarians to love your favorite author?

  • Request the book at your library. (Jen shows a request form from her own local library. Yours will have something similar.) Go in armed with title, author (spelled correctly–Emilie has an ie at the end, right?), publisher, and the ISBN # (you can find this online at bookstores or the author’s website). If you don’t have all of that, have as much as possible.
  •  Mention the author to librarians whenever you can. Librarians have the memories of elephants. This is a scientific fact.
  • Suggest an author as a possible speaker if the librarian supports programming.

Fourth: Speak positively about the book online. Where?

  • Goodreads (you can both review and vote for books here.)
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram, Tumblr, Google Plus and so on.

Online book communities are blooming. If you’re part of one and you’re in your helping authors mode, mention the book and say why. Comment on book blogs, and don’t be afraid. Readers are hungry for new books they might enjoy.

Fifth: Review the book as close to its publication date as possible.  Where?

  • Amazon
  • Barnes and Noble
  • eBook stores like iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Draft2Digital
  • Any other page or bookstore that takes reviews.

Good reviews make a difference when a reader is looking for a new read. If you didn’t like the book? Ignore this.

Sixth: Suggest the book as a selection for your favorite book club. Then see if the author will Skype, Face Time or even make a personal appearance during the discussion.

I know that you, too, have a million things to do every day. After all life’s best when you’re busy doing things you love. But if the opportunity presents itself, helping authors isn’t all that hard. You have the power to inspire more books you can cherish. I can say with assurance that your efforts will be much appreciated.


  1. Nancy Lepri on April 27, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Great suggestions!!!!

  2. Terri Chlapek on April 27, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Books for Mother’s Day!

    • Emilie Richards on April 28, 2016 at 11:11 am

      Why didn’t I think of that? Perfect gift. Mom just needs a little time to read it, too, right?

  3. Kathryn Trask on April 27, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Very good post Emilie and now that i am “retired” I love doing most of those things. The only problem is I can’t keep up with all the books I want to read. Recently I had an email from the Book Dep telling me a book was on the way. I was thinking what book? Why would I order that? Then a blogger’s post reminded me of why I had. A NZ author and a debut novel. What more reason would I need!

    • Emilie Richards on April 28, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Time is always a problem. Prioritize, right? But I always make room for someone new, someone who might become a huge favorite down the road. Like your debut novelist.

  4. DONALENE PODUSKA on April 27, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    All good suggestions but I would add one — give books for gifts. For years our grandchildren got a box of books for Christmas – until it was hard to keep up with their interests. Then we could give money for them to use to buy. My problem – I have so many books that I have bought to read that I have lots of piles of books plus baskets of books!

    • Emilie Richards on April 28, 2016 at 11:13 am

      I should have emphasized that more, because books are great gifts. Like you I always give them to my grandchildren. I hope to be known as Book Grammar, but we’re still working on that.

  5. Terry Guerra on April 27, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks for all the great information, Emilie! P.s. I buy books for my nieces and nephews, great-niece, and even my great-niece-to-be! (Due in June) I enjoy giving them and am happy that they enjoy reading.

  6. Marsha Markham on April 28, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Great suggestions…I give many books as gifts, especially to my grands. I just got home from visiting them for six days (and am exhausted, by the way) and read dozens and dozens of books to them. I love to read and encourage children to enjoy books. The love of reading opens worlds to a person.

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