Publishing books is a tough gig. It’s a roller coaster that spans the Everest-level highs of getting a bestseller to the Marianas Trench lows of variable cash flow or lost deals.
I weather those ups and downs much better than when I first started, mainly because I now have so many books to worry about that my brain and heart have had to close off a little to keep me sane. Plus, these books aren’t truly mine; I’m more like their caregiver, ushering them into the world and doing as much as I can for them.
I look at what writers (or any creatives, really) go through, and think that looks more difficult than what I do. They pour their heart and soul into this creation and then let it go into the world where reviewers could tear it apart, people sometimes pick at the smallest details, or sales might just never materialize.
I honestly don’t know how they don’t take these things personally, but for the most part, the writers I’ve met seem to be able to separate themselves from it. Or maybe they just don’t show me when they’re hurting. There’s been a few events that have happened recently that made me want to write this post. So here are a few things I think we all can do to help support our friends who are writers.
Buy: Seems pretty obvious, but if you know someone who wrote a book, even if you don’t think you’ll read it, buy it. If you don’t want the paper book, buy the ebook—heck, it’ll likely cost about the same as a few lattes.
Borrow: You don’t have to spend money. You could request it from your local library and they might just bring it in for you. It won’t cost you anything, and the publisher and author still get paid.
Review: Any time you read a book, leave a review online at bookstores or on Goodreads or your socials. Be honest but be fair and be kind. And if you really hated the book, then maybe that’s the one time you don’t have to take this advice. As the saying goes, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Attend: Your friend might be holding a reading at a local bookstore or coffee shop. Go, show up, buy a coffee from the establishment, and show your support for both the writer and the local business.
Showcase: Social media means we all have a platform where we can help spread the word on their work. Host an interview or post a selfie with their book.
Listen: Don’t change the subject when someone says, “I wrote a book!” Ask them what it’s about or why they did it, and show your support by listening.
Connect: You might know someone who runs a book club (virtual or IRL) or a bookstore, or a teacher who can support them in a way you might not be able to. Hook them up!