You’ve heard of the starving artist. Well, I’ll let you in on a secret. Most authors are starving. If not starving, at least struggling. Very few authors make a living with their words. Especially Christian authors since secular books make up most of the market. For every consistent bestselling author dominating Christian sales, there are thousands struggling to get another contract.
Why should publishers take a chance on a mostly unknown author, when they can be certain that bestselling author will pay off? Or why take a chance on a book that’s out of the box, rather than the tried and true? Let’s face it, Christian publishing is a business. This is why many authors have turned to self-publishing.
So lets talk about some ways you can support your favorite author—especially the struggling ones—who after a dozen published books or more are still mostly unknown to readers as a whole.
- Pray for them.
Writing can be a lonely pursuit. We spend much of our time alone. We have to in order to churn out all those words. We turn down lunch or shopping with family and friends to carve out time for writing.
Authors often get discouraged. When the words won’t come. Or the contract doesn’t. When the book releases, but the sales don’t add up enough to ensure the publisher will give us another contract. Or in self-publishing, when we don’t get enough return for our investment.
We’re also, just people, like you. Sometimes life happens. We have illnesses, lose family members, and face tragedy just live everyone else. And sometimes amidst the upheaval, we have a book deadline too. Publishers are good to give us more time. But in the hard parts of life, it’s hard to focus. Hard to think about our fictional characters when we or our loved ones are hurting.
Pray for your favorite author. For health and safety for us and our loved ones. That the words will come and new readers will discover our work, so we can keep doing what we love. That we won’t miss out on life in our pursuit of holing up to write.
- Buy their books.
I know money is tight. But books are a really cheap form of entertainment. And once you invest, you get to keep a book forever. Or share it with friends and family.
I know three sisters on fixed incomes. They take turns buying books, then take turns reading them. And if you can’t afford a paperback, e-books are cheaper and still count as sales.
If you can’t keep up with new releases, subscribe to their newsletters. You can also follow them on Amazon and Bookbub. Both sites send e-mails when authors have new releases, so you never miss a book.
- Write reviews.
I know it’s time consuming. But reviews often convince readers to try new to them authors. Reviews help sales and can even convince publishers to dole out contracts. Or help the self-published author to sell more books so they get some of their hard-earned funds back.
That said, if you’re unsure of how to write a review, read some to get a feel for it. Be careful not to reveal plot twists or endings. Focus on the characters you loved and what you loved about them.
Sometimes, there are bad reviews. Personally, if I don’t like a book, I don’t review it. Reading is subjective. Just because I didn’t enjoy the book doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Bad reviews hurt author’s hearts, can hurt sales, and keep the next contract from coming. Bad reviews insult an author’s baby. They pored blood, sweat, and tears onto that page. So please be careful with your words.
- Give their books as gifts.
If you have readers on your gift list, books are the perfect present. Birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, even Father’s Day—why not buy your beloved reader a book?
If there aren’t readers on your list, you’ve probably got a Christmas party to go to where you have to take a gift that costs $15 or less. Lots of books fall under that price range.
Or the next time you need to buy someone a gift and you have no idea what to get them, try a book. Even if it turns out, they aren’t readers—which I can’t fathom how anyone can simply not be a reader—it’s the thought that counts. And they probably have a reader in their life they can pass your gift on to.
- Tell ten people about a book or author you love.
If you’re excited about a book, tell your friends and family. Tell the cashier who checks you out when you buy it, tell the grocery sacker, tell people at church, your kid’s or grandkid’s teacher.
The greatest thing about finding an author you love is getting excited about a new release coming out. Share your excitement. Pass it on to those around you.
- Read their books for book club.
I talked about book clubs last month. If you’re in a book club, suggest your favorite author’s book when it’s your turn to pick the book. Share your favorites with you online book club.
If you have friends or family members who live in different areas than you, and they’re in a different book club, suggest your favorite author to them.
- Request their books at the library.
Readers often think authors don’t want their books in the library. Because thousands of readers can check out the book for free. But the opposite is true. Libraries buy books. Authors love when anyone buys our books. There are lots of libraries in the world. If each library bought an author’s books, it would make quite an impact.
And library patrons often buy books once they discover an author they love. Or they might have family or friends who are book buyers and they can suggest authors they discover at the library. We write our books to be read.
- Promote on social media.
Share your favorite author’s new release on social media. There are lots of sites on Facebook set up for Christian readers of every genre. Avid Readers of Christian Fiction is one. This group and countless others are places to share about books and authors you love.
If you Twitter, tweet about it. If you Instagram, instagram about it, if you Tiktok, tiktok about it. Goodreads helps you keep up with books you’ve read and allows others to see what you’ve read and loved. Social media has almost boundless reach.
- Post pictures holding their books.
We absolutely love seeing readers holding our books. If you don’t think you’re photogenic or don’t want your face all over the internet, just show your hands holding the book. Or cover your face with the book. Or take a picture of your shelf holding all of the author’s books.
Once you have the picture, put it on all your social media and tell everyone how much you love the book. How you’ve read all the author’s books and anxiously await each new release. Word of mouth like this is priceless.
10. Send authors a note.
Most books have where you can send a note to the author. If not, send it to the publisher. We love getting notes from readers. Absolutely love it!
E-mail works too. Most authors have a place you can contact them through their websites.
I have a box I keep my cards, notes, letters, and printed e-mails, in my office. There have been bad days when the words wouldn’t come, when I’ve read those notes for inspiration.
I feel confident the readers here are working hard to support their favorite authors. I hope you’ve gotten some good ideas from my list.
On that note, this will be my last post on Inspy Romance. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my five years here. Wow, it doesn’t seem like that long. Initially, I was asked to be a guest and loved it so much, I wrangled my way into a monthly spot.
When I mentioned praying for your favorite author’s focus, it seems like I do everything but write. So I’m streamlining my time and focus to do what I love most. I’ll miss everyone here. But when I have a new release, I’ll try to wrangle my way into a guest post.
So, is there a way you support your favorite authors that I haven’t listed above? Give me some ideas. All comments will go in the drawing for winner’s choice from any of the 2 in 1’s I have on hand. Once I pick a winner, I’ll e-mail the choices. U.S. and international. But if international, I’ll have to choose what’s easiest to send.