Writers are a peculiar breed. Many of us are solitary creatures that live off the tears of our muse and copious quantities of chocolate and caffeine. We create worlds with a breath and destroy them with a keystroke. But, we are also fragile beings that need plenty of love. I’m not talking hugs or warm fuzzy words. Although, those are appreciated and usually well received if you happen to know the writer in real life. The love I’m referring to is sharing. Sharing their writing with others. Sharing your love of their writing.
1. Sing their praises
Writers often have a hard time putting themselves out there. One way to advertise our books and accomplishments is through word of mouth. But, when you're a new author, your reach is pretty small: close friends and family. Many writers are also introverts, so the thought of standing at a booth at a crowded convention and hawking your book to passers-by will probably bring on a rash, hyperventilating, and the strong urge to lock yourself in a room in your blanket fort. Even talking to a harmless stranger about our stories can bring on this reaction. Some writers thrive on the face-to-face contact, but most of the writers I know would prefer to get a root canal.
If you enjoyed the writer's work, spread the word. Tell your friends. Shout it from the rooftop. Help get the word out about the writers you love. Invite your friends to share the love if they enjoyed the writer’s work. While word of mouth campaigns tend to be small, they can spread like wildfire so get out there and set the world on fire.
2. Write a review.
Amazon has a policy against family or those closely connected to the writer leaving reviews, but reviews are a key component in a book's ranking. The more positive reviews, the higher the book lists in searches. So if you really love a book, leave a review and help give the book - and the writer - a boost. Encourage others who have read the book to leave a review. Spread the word. The more reviews, the merrier.
3. Follow them on social media.
To sell books, writers have to build a marketing platform. This platform often consists of social media and blogs. Show your favorite writer some love by following them, liking their posts and tweets, and sharing their posts and tweets with those who follow you. Help them increase their reach in cyberspace. This goes back to word of mouth. A new writer’s reach starts out small, but if every one of their immediate friends and family followed them and shared the writer’s posts on social media, their reach increases substantially. So show some love and follow them.
4. Give them the gift of time.
Many writers have a set amount of time to write during the day. Writing doesn’t always pay the bills, and they need to have a day-job to keep a roof over their head. Constant interruptions can cause the muse to disappear which means the next project takes longer to write. Give the gift of time by respecting the writer’s time to write. Help them eliminate distractions and create an environment where the writer can let the creative juices flow. This can be as easy as leaving them alone when you see them at the keyboard or as complex as creating a space where they can focus on their writing. Show them love and give them time.
5. Be patient.
There’s nothing worse than having someone ask you, “So, when’s your next book coming out?” or “How’s your book coming along?” The questions are well-meaning and show an interest in what the writer is doing, but the truth is that writing takes time. It takes work to beat a plot into submission, to find the right motivation for a character, to fill plot holes that you didn’t see until an editor or friend pointed them out. It takes time to find solutions to those plot holes and issues. The more complex a plot, the more time it can take. Writing a good story is like constructing a building. It requires a solid foundation, good design, and time and materials to build. You don’t rush it if you want it to stay standing. Stories are the same. Show your writer some love by being patient.
Writers get excited about their projects. We get to build worlds after all. We love to share and brainstorm with anyone who will listen. But, it also can be embarrassing to open up about our craft and ideas. Especially with people who we care about and think might judge us or might have no interest in the genre we write in. Show your love by listening, asking questions, and offering ideas. Sometimes we get stuck and need someone to sound ideas off of. Even if the ideas you offer never make it into the story, the time you spend being the sounding board is invaluable to the writer. Show your love by listening.
7. Encourage them.
Writers are our own worst critics. We can be excessively harsh when it comes to evaluating our own writing. It takes time and practice to get to a place where we can see the beauty in our own words. Even after a piece is published, a writer can pinpoint all of the flaws and errors in their own work. So encourage us. Encourage us to keep putting pen to paper. Encourage us to keep working. A story takes time to construct, and during the process, we often want to tear our hair out and toss the story in the trash. Words of encouragement go a long ways toward keeping us moving forward. And chocolate. Chocolate helps too. Show your writer love by plying them with encouragement. And chocolate. Did I mention chocolate?
So get out there and show your favorite writer some love.