Thursday, 24 October 2019

How To Help An Author Friend

Not all authors are like J K Rowling (although her struggle was real in the beginning). They actually have a part-time or even a full-time job as they need a reliable monthly income. They hope one day, when they "make it" - like J K Rowling - they can give up the day job.

However, for most of us, it's a reality that we can't ever give up work and become a full-time writer, and having recently talked about this, a friend suggested I put a blog post together to help guild those wanting to support their author friends but aren't sure how.

Firstly, I've found myself explaining how royalties work and that some don't understand the process.

To clarify, the days of advances are long gone for most writers. Authors only get paid if you buy their books. And then it could be something as little as 10p per copy sold depending on the RRP of the book.

Where you buy their books is important, too.

Ebay, for example, is possibly selling used books. Yes, the author would have been paid at some point for that copy, but when you buy a second-hand book, the money is going to the seller and not the author. (And the irony is they'll make more out of the sale of the book than the author ever did).

I will argue at least with a charity shop the money is going to charity. And I would much rather a book exchanged or re-sold than burned! It can be a good way to gain new readers, too. However, we're not talking about your Stephen King's of the world. We're talking about your author friend with the other job to bring in a reliable income...

And by buying second hand, without sounding ungrateful - because it is great a new reader is trying you out - it hasn't helped boost rankings like it would have done if you'd bought the book/ebook new from Amazon. And some ebooks are cheaper than buying the paperback second-hand!

Actually, all other good ebook sellers will have rankings, so whether you've bought from Amazon, Nook, Google Play, iTunes, it would have boosted the books visibility. Authors are just obsessed with Amazon and getting into the top 100 of something!

So if you can, please buy new!

Or borrow from the library! (The author gets paid lending rights and it's not cost you a penny.)

These are the best things you can do for free to support your author friend:

  • Comment on/Like/Share their Facebook posts about their books. This increases visibility and is free advertising for your friend.
  • Tell people how much you've loved your author friend's books (if you've read them - if not, why not?) and recommend they buy one.
  • Leave reviews on Amazon and wherever you purchased the book. Again, this increases "traffic" to your friend's book and helps others decide whether to buy the book or not. It also gives the author something to share and shout about over their social media accounts.
  • Tag them on Facebook and share a photo of you reading their book. Authors like to see the exotic places their books have travelled to, even if  they've not left their front room, let alone the UK in a while... 
  • Support your author friend with local book signings, help spread the word. Bring new friends along to introduce them to your author friend... or be there to drag people in off the street. Either way, your friend will be grateful. 
  • If you want to avoid Amazon and prefer to support local bookshops, order the book from there. Although depending on the publisher, Amazon maybe your only go-to for paperbacks. But if you can order from a local bookshop, and you want to keep them in business too, order your books from them! But if you can't afford to buy, remember, check out your local library. 

Your author friend is not going to suddenly get rich and forget you by these small tokens of goodwill. They're more likely to hug you till you ask them politely to put you down. But if they do become the next J K Rowling, they'll remember the friends who got them there. 😉

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