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4 Ways Readers Can Encourage Authors

If you read fiction, this post is for you. I’m a book-lover and I’m guessing you are, too. I’m also an author (before you ask the inevitable question, I haven’t been published—not officially anyway). Being both an avid reader and […]
| Feb 23, 2016 | 6 comments |

readerIf you read fiction, this post is for you.

I’m a book-lover and I’m guessing you are, too.

I’m also an author (before you ask the inevitable question, I haven’t been published—not officially anyway). Being both an avid reader and a writer allows me to see both sides of the situation. Call it a superpower if you want—I’d actually like that, and you would earn major brownie points from me. 😉

I know plenty of other people have this perspective, so it’s not unique to me. Most authors I know also love to read, but I want to bring up an issue that hasn’t gotten much attention in the circles I run in—especially on the reader side.

I think I can safely speak for authors when I say we thrive on feedback. Yes we write because we love the creative process and since our brains would probably explode if we didn’t have an outlet for all the ideas churning around inside. For many, the simple act of writing, of creating, is satisfaction enough. Yet as any published author will tell you, it’s nice to hear from your readers.

As a blogger, I’ve experienced this firsthand over the past year since I got started. It’s encouraging to know my posts haven’t disappeared into the black hole of the internet. When someone leaves a comment or tells me how much they enjoy reading my blog, it’s a gift more precious than chocolate. And that’s saying something.

The same applies for books. Hearing how much readers like a book is a joy for authors.

excited kidAs writers, we pour our heart and soul into our work. It’s only natural we find gratification in being rewarded. The best way you can do that is by buying books, but I think a close second is by letting an author know how much a book entertained or impacted you.

Trust me, authors can be a fragile bunch. We may seem like geniuses upon whom the mortal worries and troubles of the world have no effect.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We doubt ourselves. We question whether our books are any good or if people will actually care enough to spend time in a world we’ve created, following the lives of our characters. Sometimes we want to crawl into a hole because we’re convinced our author skills have become duller than a forgotten sword.

Dear readers, we need encouragement from you. I say this not to judge the readers. I’m one of you, don’t forget, and I’m just as guilty of not showing enough appreciation for my favorite authors.

I’ve come up with four easy ways you can encourage the authors whose work you enjoy. I’m sure there are plenty more, but life is busy and time is short, so here we go.

Encouragement Tip 1: Get involved in online groups

groupI’m part of a couple fan-based groups on Facebook, and those give me plenty of opportunities to put this idea into action. If I’m honest, I haven’t done a great job, but you don’t have the chance unless you actually get involved.

Lesser-known authors will appreciate this immensely.

Maybe you’re a Brandon Sanderson fan (if you are, YOU ROCK!). Nothing wrong with that, but his fanbase is ginormous. As in, bigger than the Death Star. I suggest you target authors with smaller followings. They’ll notice your presence, and that’s what you want.

The best part? You can interact with the author. Ask questions. Get involved. You’ll enjoy it and be able to encourage them at the same time.

Encouragement Tip 2: Interact with them on social media

Don’t just read. Engage. Post reading updates on Facebook and Twitter. Share pictures of your favorites books on Instagram. When authors post a status update asking a question or opening the door for discussion, take a minute or two to leave a comment. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or profound—merely a way to let them know.

Same goes for blog posts. I know not many authors blog, but when they do, and you enjoyed the post, leave a comment. Let them know people read and care about what they’re saying.

Encouragement Tip 3: Write your favorite authors a note

Yes, even if you don’t know them. *gasp*

This can be priceless. I was part of a book launch team a few months ago, and at the end of the process, the author sent me a note. I nearly died of joy the day it showed up in the mail. It may seem like a simple suggestion, but don’t underestimate the power of small acts of kindness.

You can also shoot them a message on social media, but sending a handwritten gives it a more personalized touch. If you’ve really enjoyed a series or particular book, writing an author to let him or her know that will brighten their day. Guaranteed.

Encouragement Tip 4: Talk about their books on social media…and everywhere else

Personally, few things hearten me more than seeing people share my blog posts and encourage others to read. Word-of-mouth is the most effective way to garnering attention for a book, and as booklovers, why would we not talk about the books we love? It should come as naturally to us as breathing.

Take that enthusiasm and transport it to the online arena. Mention authors in tweets and status updates. Link to their books, blogs, and Pinterest pages. Don’t be shy about spreading the word.

Those are a few easy tips to get you started, but don’t stop there. Get creative. Authors spend hundreds of hours crafting, polishing, and perfecting the books we read. Why not reward them for the hard work?

I know life is busy and it’s easy to get distracted or overwhelmed by all the other items on the “must-do” list. The thing is, none of these ideas are hard to put into action. Take a couple minutes a day to write a review, comment on a blog or Facebook, or send out a few retweets.

Authors will thank you for it.

If you’re a reader, do you have any suggestions to add? If you’re an author, what are some ways we readers can encourage you?

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Leah Burchfiel
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Leah Burchfiel

Are there authors who aren’t readers? I suppose that’s theoretically possible, but I don’t see how they would be any good, unless they come from an oral tradition and literally don’t read.
But in the vein recommended by this very article, I am going to spam you peeps with an item from “Children’s stories made horrific” from The Toast: http://the-toast.net/2015/09/22/the-six-swans/

Paul Lee
Member

But in the vein recommended by this very article, I am going to spam you peeps with an item from “Children’s stories made horrific” from The Toast: http://the-toast.net/2015/09/22/the-six-swans/

I think that story is the first thing to give me a model to understand the specific ways that I can’t relate to a woman’s experience. For the most part, everything else I’ve heard about women feeling dirty and silenced and incapable of succeeding left me feeling ambiguously uncertain as to how I don’t or can’t experience the same—except that I can’t find motivation to care about not succeeding.

The really bold thing about this story as a pro-feminist piece is that it almost validates MRAish thinking about women overthrowing men and removing the man’s place in society. After all, the king actually says that the reason the sons are to be killed is that the daughter “alone might inherit the kingdom.” I wonder if this might be a criticism of the worst kind of feminism, or at least the caricature of it. The result is powerful expression of empathy. The sons’ bitter suffering is validated, and the injustice done them by hierarchy is clear. The man’s displacement, loneliness, worthlessness is validated, but I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be the daughter in the story instead.

For that matter, the story doesn’t even necessarily invalidate the hierarchy. Both kings are evil, but the end sees the restoration of the royal sons in a fairly traditional manner. The noble sons aren’t denied their grand moment of masculine bravado. I shouldn’t be so surprised that a presumably feminist work could show such a traditionally heroic rescue scene, but its so easy to think in stereotypes.

The other thing to unpack from the story is its explicit abortion themes, but I think that’s too contentious for here.

Leah Burchfiel
Member
Leah Burchfiel

It has a weird sort of douchebag logic, in that the king would have more control over picking his successor by means of picking his daughter’s husband rather than being dead as a doornail while the sons engage in horrible civil wars to determine succession. His sons’ masculine action effectively emasculating him or some Freudian shizz like that.

Paul Lee
Member

Being both an avid reader and a writer allows me to see both sides of the situation. Call it a superpower if you want

Are you the kind of writer who likes to read deeply analytical reviews of your own works? Reviewing has been my most significant hobby for a few years, even though I’m not prolific. I’m not interested in criticizing people or genres or labeling trends in my reviews. I’m mainly interested in finding meaning and connections. However, most of my reviews end up being in critical in some ways, and I’ve heard of authors who don’t want to read that kind of analysis. I think I’ve heard a piece of author wisdom that they should “Never Read The Reviews,” and that actually discouraged me a great deal. When I find something meaningful enough to review it, I want to think that someone in the world might appreciate my thoughts, and I usually assume that the author would be a prime candidate to find my analysis interesting, if nothing else.

Vanity is a universal affliction, I guess.

As far as applauding and promoting and fanmailing, it’s tricky and complicated. The scale between a popular who obviously always has something better to do than talking to you and between a small-time indie author who is hanging on the social media feed desperate for the Internet to acknowledge his or her existence is obvious but ambiguous.

Alex Mellen
Member

For what it’s worth, I’d call writing for SpecFaith being “officially” published. Not a novel, sure, but it totally counts. 🙂

Eric
Guest
Eric

Okay, you’re a superhero. Give me my brownie points! 🙂

So, what are some of the fan groups you’re part of?