I get it, books are expensive. As much as you want to buy books, there’s bills to pay, kids to be feed, and you’d really like a pair of sneakers without holes so you can walk your dog through puddles without having squelchy socks afterwards – or is that just me?
So you might have found yourself asking:
How can I support local authors for free?
Good news, there is a number of easy ways that you can help your favourite local authors without spending cold hard cash.
Here’s my Favourite Ways to Support Local Writers for FREE
Number 1: Visit Your Local Library.
Libraries want to provide books that their members – that’s You – want to read.
And speaking from personal experience Libraries are extremely supportive of local authors.
So go in and find out if your local library stocks the books of your local author – if not, find out how you go about recommending a book. Yes, that’s right, You can recommend books to libraries!
And when they get the book in, or if they all ready have the book on the shelf BORROW it.
This may seem obvious, but actually borrowing a book from a library helps your favourite local author because here’s the thing, libraries keep stats on how many times books are read and authors get paid via a library fund system if their book reaches a certain threshold.
So if you feel badly that you can’t afford to buy a book, by actively borrowing those books from libraries you are still helping your local author. Win-win.
And you know what? Even though you don’t own the book, You can still write a review for the book on GoodReads. What’s GoodReads? I’m glad you asked…
Number 2: Join Goodreads.
“Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. Our mission is to help people find and share books they love.”
After joining go look up your favourite authors and hit the Follow Button on their author profile page. As per the example below of local Dunedin writer Deb E Howell:
Then go through their books and add them to your hypothetical To-Be-Read pile by clicking the Want to Read button.
If you’ve already read those books even better, Click Read, and give a star rating.
Undoubtedly the best thing and most supportive is to Write A Review at this stage. A star rating is nice, but reviews get noticed, reviews count, reviews are worth three times their weight in gold.
Relax though, this isn’t hard.
Reviews don’t have to be a grandiose statement of delightful prose discussing the finer points of theme, whimsy and narrative arc versus narrative drive. They can be, but they don’t have to be.
A review can be a comment “I enjoyed this book a lot”. You’re not expected to write an essay, this isn’t a school report, just say what appealed to you. Was it funny? Sad? Who was your favourite character? Do you want to read their next book?
Trust me, Writers love feedback. Think about it, have you even had a compliment from a stranger? It makes your day, right? Same for writers. Even a simple line like, “This book made me see my city in a whole new light” will make an author’s day. Your single line review might be the difference between someone giving up or not. Seriously. You have that power.
[By the way, If you do want to learn how to write reviews, read my Guide: How to Write A Book Review ]
Number 3: Social Media.
But maybe you’re not a member of Goodreads, maybe you don’t read all that much and just want to help your writer friend.
Well, even in this high-tech-age, it turns out that good old-fashioned ‘Word-of-Mouth’ is still valid and helpful way to support local authors, and Thanks to Social Media it’s easier than ever.
Take a photo of their book (which you borrowed from the library, or saw on the shelf in a bookshop, or perhaps you did buy a copy) and share that photo of the book cover on Your social media.
Maybe a quick post on Facebook/Instagram with “Here’s a good book I read recently” or “Here’s a book my friend wrote, you might like it” – this is something my friends have done and I’m extremely grateful.
Speaking of Social Media, don’t forget: Find your local author friend on various social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc etc and FOLLOW them, but more than that ACTIVELY ENGAGE by liking, commenting and sharing their posts.
So that’s it, my Favourite Ways to Support Local Writers for FREE and none of that was hard, right? No money spent but plenty of support given.
You can do it! And if You have, as one author, may I say Thank You! Thank You, Readers everywhere!
Because at the end of the day Writers and Readers are a partnership, and I for one am grateful to have You on My team.
Now go read something, I’ve writing to do.
Kura Carpenter is a Dunedin Fantasy Author
and Founding Member of the