So you have an author whose work you particularly love. (Or even, kinda-sorta enjoy.)

How do you go about supporting that author?

Is it as simple as buying a book? Does sharing it on social media do any amount of good?

What ways can you go about supporting some of your favorite authors?

As an author who’s self-published 5 books (the most recent, I Am We, a collection of 68 powerful little poems, was released in April), I’ve been hearing questions like these quite a bit.

I thought it would be fun to offer my insights on how you can best help support your favorite authors. Not only am I an author myself, but an increasingly vociferous reader, and as an author-reader I have some pretty thorough thoughts and perspectives on what it means to really support writers and their work (and, what doesn’t do much help at all).

I’m also including ways to support me and my new book, I Am We, here, under each point below, for you if you’d like to help support me by reading (and hopefully enjoying) my book and to spread word about it with fellow readers.

So, let’s explore, shall we?

How to support authors you love

1. Read the book!

That’s why the book exists, after all!

I was once listening to author Les McKeown answer a question from the audience at a conference in Atlanta. The question asked for Les’ advice on how to go about a certain strategy that he lays out in a few hundred words in his book, The Synergist.

Les’ answer?

“Read the book… That’s why I wrote it.”

To me, reading the book is why the book exists.

It’s for you to experience. Read the words however you can. Borrow it from a friend who has it. Start with a free sample (Amazon and Goodreads often offer these).

As an author, people reading the book is why I write it all. So reading it, to me, is fundamental!

Read I Am We, Without Buying It

I’ve been sharing many poems for free on my blog and on social media, but I’ll up my own ante.

Happy reading :)

2. Buy the book! It’s affordable, and lasts you a lifetime.

I put “buy the book” second on this list because as an author, you experiencing the words is paramount to me. And there’s no rule that says you must buy a book to experience it. You can borrow it from a friend, try to find it at the library, or even start out with snagging a free sample from Amazon or Goodreads.

If you like what you read in your friend’s copy, or if you like the sample, give the book a buy.

Put your money where your mouth is. Let a few dollars do the talking!

In a time where raw content is absurdly abundant and there’s no shortage of ways to acquire information, knowledge, strategies and techniques for free online (think YouTube, blogs, podcasts, and plain ol’ Googling), you may wonder:

If “reading the words” is paramount to me as an author (like I wrote above), why not just give all of them away for free in blog posts?

Because books are phenomenal. They are art embodied in physical form.

To me, books are vehicles of experience.

You create a relationship to a book, and its author, and its story (or stories) within. For human beings, as social creatures with a vast array of emotional capacity and mental ability, I find books to be perhaps the most capable vehicle for creating a deeply experiential relationship to another human being–without so much as ever having spoken to them. Music has a similar effect, and I love music, but music is different.

The words in a book are born again by your own breath (as Thoreau once said).

They come to life from your eyes, your mind, your heart, your soul, your lips.

Reading a book (especially a really good book) can be a pretty special, intimate, rewarding experience.

Anyway if you ask me, author-hood aside, paying anywhere from $1 to $40 for a book that does that for you is more than worth it.

(I wish we all spent more money on books, and art. Coming back from Iceland recently, man, those people love themselves some books. It’s inspiring.)

Where to Buy I Am We

3. Write a helpful review! Help new readers discover why this book is (or isn’t) for them.

Emphasis on “helpful.”

We’re all capable of writing a review that says, “This is awesome! Loved it!” and, just as much, “This book sucked! I hate it! And everyone who read it!”

But those aren’t helpful.

Those aren’t reviews. Those are reactions.

Reviews by their nature are “critical,” meaning analytical, not necessarily disparaging or disapproving (we tend to forget this side of the definition of critical).

To me, as both a reader and an author, a helpful review is one that illustrates…

  1. What this book “is,” in your own words.
  2. Who this book is for (you’ll probably share your personal reading preferences)
  3. What a potential reader can expect to find in these pages
  4. What effect the book, or some specific poems, has had on you (try to offer a detailed example)

Write a Helpful Review for I Am We

4. Word-of-mouth recommendations! Tell a friend or two.

In the age of social media and instantaneous-everything, we tend to forget about how meaningful a word-of-mouth recommendation can be.

But we rely on them from friends, peers, coworkers and family members pretty routinely. 

A word-of-mouth recommendation comes built in with an explanation of “why.” Think about when you ask a barista for a recommendation for a particular brew of coffee at your local cafe.

There’s trust built in to the decision you ultimately make when someone who seems trustworthy can offer advice, a recommendation or opinion.

5. Share on social media!

In my opinion, social media is less and less “engaging” and impactful. The more content, noise, stuff, and tricky algorithms come into play (harvesting dollars in exchange for impressions), the less impact social media has.

I say that not to discourage social media sharing, but so that we can all be honest about the impact of a Tweet or a Facebook Like. It’s not the goal. It’s not high-impact. It’s just sharing, which is great, but not revolutionary, or even the biggest thing you can ask someone to do.

But? Sharing is helpful.

If people don’t know a book exists, then they don’t know it exists. Simple. And if you don’t offer opportunities to remind them about the book, then they forget.

My marketing and social media strategy revolves around the mantra, “invite and remind,” and not “insist, insist, insist.”

Click to Share I Am We on Social Media

There you have it. Five ways to help authors you love.

(And even those you only kinda-sorta enjoy.)

So, why don’t you tell me now,

What are your favorite ways to support authors you love?

How do you help authors whose works you love to read and want to share with others?

What am I missing as both an author and a reader?

Please do share :)

And, as always, happy reading!


P.S. – All my other books are free in Kindle download form this week only on Amazon, to celebrate I Am We‘s launch month. Enjoy!

iaw-coverI Am We: Poems

Five-Star Debut on Amazon

Enjoy this colorful collection of poems for just a few dollars.

KINDLE – $2.99                         PAPERBACK – $10

The Kindle Reader App is free and can be used on iPhone, iPad, Desktop and Android Devices.

bead“I’m usually not a poem person (except for Rilke, he’s awesome), but I really enjoyed reading yours. Yep, that was Rilke and you in one sentence.”Beatrice Dähler, Berlin, Germany