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Helping your writery friends

February 28, 2013

I have some buds now who are published writers. I hang out with them because they allow me to and because I respect what they’ve accomplished and learn from them. They hang out with me because…it must be the shoes.

My writery friends have helped me in ways that range from small and forgotten to very large and touching. So it’s important to me to help them back. Rachelle Gardner posted eight ways you can help your favorite author on Books & Such. Like practically everything else she writes, it’s filled with value.

Here are some other ways you can help authors you like:

Don’t buy their books used. It should probably go without saying, but published authors derive income from books they’ve written. When people buy their books, they make money. When people buy their book used, the used book store makes money. While it’s true the used copy of their book could spur people to purchase other copies of their book new, the person who did most of the work to make the book happen doesn’t get any money out of the sale of that book.

Wait a minute, you may ask, how is that different than checking their book out of the library? No one makes money from the sale of the book when you check it out from the library. At a used book store, as I said, the author makes nothing, even thought the store owner does. And, to be honest, there are authors whose works I check out from the library. This post is about helping out a favorite author, maybe someone who’s helped you out directly.

And if you do buy their book used, never, ever tell them about it. They’ll be very pleasant about it, but they don’t want to hear that.

When you’re done with their book, recommend it. Rachelle Gardner covers this pretty well. You can recommend books on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, and a galaxy of other places. But you can also recommend it in person.

Loan your book. I loaned one of my favorite author’s books to my parents, who live in upstate New York and said I didn’t want it back. It’s not because I don’t like that author any more. It’s because in that part of the country, this author hasn’t had tons of exposure. But if my parents loan it to someone else and they like it, it might help with sales up there.

Buy their book at the store. If you can buy their book at the store, rather than online, they’re more likely to get placed in that store again. Although more and more people buy online, a lot of people at least browse at bookstores. If you can buy their book from the store, the store’s more likely to stock their titles in the future. Their shelf space is valuable, and they’re more likely to use it for things that make them money.

Buy their book. Sure, I’m repeating the previous point verbatim, but it bears repeating. These people are writing for income when they get published. Not only do they make money if they move units, they’re more likely to stay under contract for future books.

Although karma isn’t part of my religious faith, I believe in it. Things just kind of work out that way. If you support the authors you really like–especially if they’ve personally helped or encouraged you, even just at a conference–it’ll come back to you when you reach that point.


  1. February 28, 2013 6:24 am

    All good advise. I hadn’t thought about the used book situation, that was good to know.

  2. February 28, 2013 10:56 am

    Sometimes I pimp my books out for hugs, and use of the neighbor’s swimming pool..

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