November 1st is considered National Author’s Day, and I missed the party, if there was one, because I was working on a deadline. November is also National Novel Writing Month. I haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo—the challenge to write a novel in a month—because I’ve been doing just that for far too long, as it is. But I look forward to hearing what amazing and creative literary works come out of this challenge.
If you’re a reader, and not a writer, I hope you understand that writing is a lonely and painful occupation. Sometimes the words flow easily and spill onto the page with little effort. Other times writing taxes the brain and no amount of pushing, prodding, or mental ripping will produce words, much less good ones. It takes mental acuity, organization, creativity and innumerable well-honed gifts to craft a novel that is then made available for all to see.
For everyone to enjoy.
For anyone to crush, which is another painful side to an author’s life.
So this month is the perfect month to celebrate writing and literature by encouraging and supporting your favorite authors.
Here are four simple things you can do:
1) Buy their books. This is first and most important. Publishers don’t buy from authors if their books don’t sell. I think there might be too many free books floating around out there. Blog giveaways or digital downloads given in return for reviews. With the onset of the digital age and ebooks, piracy is also an issue. Everyone wants a free book without thinking about how much time and effort was put into the process. But at the end of the day, books must be sold if an author is to continue writing.
2) Write Reviews. I can’t express how key this is after you have bought and read a book. This has become even more important with the onset of the digital age. Reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads help a book’s ranking, and can help an author’s sales grow exponentially. Such a small thing, really, and it takes only a few minutes. Or if you’re a blogger, post your review on your blog too. Consider how easy it is to write and publish a review these days—an opportunity that wasn’t available years ago. Think of writing a review as a freedom and a gift and a right (am I going too far?)—a way for your voice to find an audience.
3) Tell Someone. If you enjoyed the book, what better way to help your favorite author than to tell your friends and family about the book and the author? I always love to hear about a book that someone has enjoyed, or about a new author. I almost always investigate for myself. Become an influencer.
4) Tell the Author. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear from a reader that they enjoyed my book. It always makes me smile, and I make a new friend. Let your favorite authors knows when you finish one of their books how much you enjoyed it. Making someone happy will make you happy too.
All of the above can be considered acts of kindness, though maybe not random. Think about it. When you do these things for someone else, good things are bound to come back around to you.