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How to Support Authors without Breaking the Bank

There is nothing more satisfying than wandering around a bookstore and coming out with an armload of crisp new books. And while this may be one favourite pastime of book lovers, it’s not always easy on our wallets. Pre-ordering and buying books in store is a great way to support authors, as it raises their number of sales and shows their publishers that there is a demand, which ultimately can help their career and get them another book deal.

For people who can’t spend hundreds of dollars on books every month (I wish!) or who are running out of space (I have stacks on stacks on stacks of books with nowhere to put them), here are three easy ways to support authors without breaking the bank:

Borrow from your local library

Borrowing a book from your local library is a great way to support authors free of charge. Based on the number of times a book is borrowed, this can also act as a way to show publishers the interest and demand, again affecting the author’s likelihood of receiving another book deal. This also shows that the author’s book is in demand within the community, meaning the library is more likely to purchase future books by that author, and more likely to replace it if lost or damaged. Each of these factors produce royalties for the author and betters their reputation with the publisher. If the book you’re looking for isn’t at the library, most of the time you’re able to request it, and it should be there in a few weeks. An added bonus from this is that you’re supporting your local library!

Give book reviews online

Another great way to support authors without spending a dime is to review books online, on websites like Amazon or Goodreads. Leaving an honest review is important, but there’s no need to be too harsh or critical on the plot or author. Say what you really loved about the book, and if you’ll be looking for the next novel by this author. This shows the publisher that people are reading the book, enjoying it, and again, that there’s demand! Reviews help readers decide if this book is something they may be interested in, and the more reviews a book has, the more visible it becomes to others. And if you’ve read a book and didn’t enjoy it, think first on if that review needs to be written, as it could damage the author’s career. Additionally, if you’ve read a book and found something offensive and problematic within the plot, writing, and/or characters (such as racism, sexism, homo/transphobia, etc), bringing attention to it in a thoughtfully written review, rather than a scathing review, will make it more likely to be seriously considered by others.

Tell other people about the book

Tell your friends, your family, strangers even! Share about the books you’re most excited about on your social media account(s), as word of mouth is the best free advertising there is. Sharing your excitement about books with others is a great way to make people consider reading that book, support the author, as well as connect with other book lovers. If you share about the book on your social media, attaching a photo of the cover is always a good idea, too! Who knows, you may even end up exchanging books with a circle of friends through this engagement. 

Supporting authors, especially debut authors, is an important part of the literary community, but it doesn’t have to drain our funds. Consider one or all of these suggestions on how to support authors while continuing to read the books we love.

Happy reading!

Heather McCardell studies English Literature and Creative Writing, with two minors in Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies. She completed her undergrad at UWindsor and is currently working towards her graduate degree. She loves to play piano, drink tea, and wear fuzzy socks.
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